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The changing face of Bollywood in 2021

Here’s looking at the most promising actors of last year and what lies ahead of them

Even while the glumness of 2020 felt heavy on the world, a cataclysmic shift was taking place in the Hindi film industry in the year. The year will be remembered for changing in concrete terms the idea of what sells. Earlier considered to be an industry that’s obsessed with their star kids and stars themselves, the year put the focus on actors who ably shouldered their films/series single-handedly. Some of these faces and names were almost forgotten till a breakout show brought them back in public memory. Here’s looking at the most promising faces of 2020 who shone bright, delivering strong, understated performances that are etched in our minds.

Tripti Dimri

One may remember her from Laila Majnu, but in 2020, Dimri surprised everyone with a flawless performance in Anvita Dutt’s Bulbul. Playing the enigmatic wife of a wealthy zamindar in the 1800s, Tripti beautiful traversed her journey from being a precocious girl to a solid woman who finds her purpose and identity. The actress surprised all and sundry with her command over her craft.

Shreya Dhanwanthary 

You’d remember her prominently from The Family Man but in 2020, Shreya donned many caps as she delivered one surprise after another. The first one to release a lockdown micro-series, Shreya turned director under the able supervision of her mentors Raj and DK as she helmed and starred in A Viral Wedding. One was barely done relishing the show when the actress blew everyone’s minds with her depiction of Sucheta Dalal in Scam 1992. Pitch perfect as the no-nonsense journalist who excavates the murky business of Harshad Mehta, Shreya’s performance leaves an indelible impression.

Priyanshu Painyuli 

“Ye Bhi Thik hai…” became the most said line of the year after Mirzapur but the one man who truly had a great stint was Priyanshu Painyuli. Starting off by playing the villain opposite Chris Hemsworth in Netflix’s Extraction, the actor seemed to keep topping it up with Mirzapur. Effortlessly going from devilish in the former to charming in the latter, the actor showcased his diverse range in a matter of merely two projects. In 2021, he has the brilliant Rashmi Rocket opposite Taapsee Pannu and Pippa with Ishaan Khatter and Mrunal Thakur.

Prajakta Koli 

Known as the country’s most vivacious Youtuber, who knew Prajakta had her acting chops in place as well. The influencer turned actress who debuted with teen romance series Mismatched on Netflix, gave an assured performance as the leading lady of the show. While her cutesy chemistry with co-star Rohit Saraf is one of the most talked-about things this year, Koli is already well on her way into her next movie Jug Jug Jiyo where she stars alongside Varun Dhawan, Anil Kapoor, Neetu Kapoor, and Kiara Advani.

Ishwak Singh 

Having seen him in Veerey Di Wedding in the past, Ishwak Singh truly owned the screen with Pataal Lok this year. Holding his ground in a crucial part alongside Jaideep Ahlawat, Ishwak followed up his masterful act by giving a terrific performance in Nikkhil Advani’s short in Amazon Prime’s Unpaused where he starred alongside Richa Chadha. Word has it that the actor is courting multiple offers including a fresh series from Advani’s stable that he will be headlining.


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