Working with newcomers is no longer risky! The box office success of two recent releases "Vicky Donor" and "Ishaqzaade" is a pointer to this. Filmmakers say audiences crave for freshness on screen and new talent helps bring growth to the movie business.
From highlighting absolutely unconventional themes to revisiting classic genres, the new breed of filmmakers have hit filmdom with a vengeance. And, most importantly, they are telling their stories through new faces.
Shoojit Sircar's Rs.5 crore "Vicky Donor" about sperm donation reaped gold at the ticket window by grossing Rs.13.40 crore in the opening weekend thanks to the story line and performances by debutants - Ayhushmann Khurrana and Yami Gautam.
It was followed by Habib Faisal's "Ishaqzaade". He revisited the passionate love drama genre with first timer Arjun Kapoor and one-film-old Parineeti Chopra to make it engrossing. His risk has yielded more than satisfactory results at the box office. Made at a budget of Rs.14.5 crore, including print and publicity, the film has garnered Rs.23.66 crore in the first few days.
If filmmakers are enterprising enough to shun formulas and stars, audiences are showing the same spirit and flexibility by accepting new concepts and fresh faces.
"Everybody wants to watch new faces because they have been watching the same old faces for a long time. Not to say that they don't want to see the old stars, but at the same time it's a lot like food. You want to try new recipes and dishes. At least you try and then you pass a judgment on whether you liked it or not," Luv Ranjan, the director of "Pyaar Ka Punchnama", told IANS.
He made his debut with "Pyaar Ka Punchnama" last year and Ranjan roped in not one or two, but half a dozen youngsters to play the main leads. Much to the surprise of everyone, the film was liked by viewers and some of the scenes became popular on Facebook and Youtube.
Faisal, whose experiment in "Do Dooni Chaar", a simple tale of a middle-class family that won him the National Award and appreciation from all quarters, says it is the story that decides the fate of fresh faces.
"If the story works, then the new actors will work; if the story does not work, then the new actors will also not work. I think it has more to do with the story," Faisal said, adding preparation is equally important.
Both Arjun and Parineeti had to go through workshops and all kinds of other training, said Faisal.
"They were prepared; otherwise if you come in front of the camera, you could be camera shy or scared of the camera. So, if there is no preparation, you will not be able to perform," he added.
Even Pulkit Samrat won praises for his debut performance in "Bittoo Boss" despite the fact the film was not a big success at the box office. Other new faces who came into the limelight were Amy Jackson in "Ek Deewana Tha", Paoli Dam in "Hate Story" and Esha Gupta in "Jannat 2".
But this is not the end as forthcoming releases will introduce some more newcomers, including star kids and southern actresses.
Other than that Varun Dhawan, director David Dhawan's son, will make his debut with Karan Johar's directorial venture "Student Of The Year", which is also a launch pad for Alia Bhatt, daughter of Mahesh Bhatt and Soni Razdan.
Romantic comedy "Luv U Soniyo" will introduce Rati Agnihotri's son Tanuj Virmani who is making his debut opposite model-turned-actress Neha Hinge; "Barfi" will be southern actress Ileana D'cruz's first Hindi movie; and Shakti Kapoor's son Siddhanth will foray into showbiz with "Shootout At Wadala".
Dibakar Banerjee, credited for introducing new story telling techniques, describes this change as an essential step to keep the movie business growing.
"Until and unless you step out of your comfort zone and try something new, no new grounds will be broken, no new films will be launched, no new stars will be discovered, people won't get to see new stories and our industry will not be injected with new blood. And when you don't do that, you keep shrinking: When you do that, you keep expanding," Banerjee told IANS.
(Yashika Mathur can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)