In the late ’80s, Sridevi reigned supreme; the noughties were all about Madhuri. 2010s have seen both the emergence— and the dominance—of Deepika Padukone. Given her upcoming line-up of films that feature co-stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan and Prabhas, Deepika is determined she won’t let the ongoing decade slip by.
An array of films showcase how much she has evolved as an actor. She can be a graceful diva lighting up the screen (the three collaborations with Sanjay Leela Bhansali), the charming mainstream heroine (Chennai Express, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani), the assured actor (Cocktail, Piku, Tamasha) and, more recently, a smart producer (Chhapaak, ’83). That her films fare well at the box office is an added incentive, making her one of the highest-paid and sought-after actresses in the industry. In a highly competitive world where actresses are made to settle for less, be it screen time or meaningful parts in big-budget spectacles, Deepika has ensured she works on her own terms.
The ability to wield such influence comes from learning from one’s mistakes. “I fell into that trap of what a heroine is expected to do and what she should look like,” she told India Today Woman a few years back. “It has been a journey of self-discovery.” History has time and again shown that careers of the biggest leading ladies come with a shelf life. Wiser and creatively hungrier, Deepika intends to be an exception. n
ANGEL INVESTOR Padukone has invested in companies such as Epigamia, Furlenco, Purpple and space start-up Bellatrix Aerospace
RIDDHI SEN , 23
Riddhi became one of the youngest actors to win the National Film Best Actor Award for his portrayal of a eunuch in Kaushik Ganguly’s Nagarkirtan when he was just 19. Still only 23, he has already worked with a number of notable directors including Aparna Sen, Sujoy Ghosh and Pradeep Sarkar, playing such varied roles as a helper at a tea stall in Kahaani, a debauched son in Parched and an adorable one who helps his mother find her creative identity in Helicopter Eela, and the war-ravaged orphan in Children of the War. Many of his films, such as Parched or B.R. Mishra’s Chauranga, were made with international collaboration and went on to win awards at the Locarno Film Festival. Apart from this, he also directed his first short film in 2020. Coldfire won the best short film award at the Miami International Science Fiction film festival. n
THE GASTRONOME Mother Reshmi caters to his fondness for international cuisine by cooking Continental, Mexican and Chinese dishes at home
The Bigger Cause
PA. RANJITH, 36, Film director
Pa. Ranjith’s influence on the cinematic and cultural landscape of Tamil Nadu in the past decade has been unlike that of any other film icon. Beginning with his debut film Atta Kathi in 2012 to his latest Sarpatta Parambarai, Ranjith has created brilliant films that have also been statements of Dalit assertion in Tamil cinema. His imprint is not just confined to films but is apparent in different spheres of culture through the many organisations he has helped set up, including the Neelam Cultural Centre, Neelam Productions and Nee lam Publications. His Neelam cultural centres now have branches and educational projects for Dalits across Tamil Nadu. He has also backed several new-wave filmmakers like Mari Selvaraj, Shyam Sunder, Manoj Leonel Johson and Athiyan Athirai through The Casteless Collective. His next film, Natchathiram Nagargirathu, is a romantic drama, and he’s also finalising a project with actor Vikram.
SET APART Housing sets of Ranjith’s films like Madras can be traced back to the realist aesthetics of films like Chennai 600028 in which he worked as an assistant
TAKING HIS CHANCES
KARTIK AARYAN , 30
Since his debut at 20 with the sleeper hit Pyaar Ka Punchnama (2011), Kartik Aaryan has gradually edged his way into becoming one of the leading young men of Hindi cinema. It’s all the more impressive given that the Gwalior-born actor didn’t have any connections in the Hindi film industry when he first landed in Mumbai as an 18-year-old. “There’s no second chance for me. It’s always been the only chance, film or character to prove myself,” he says. He capitalised on the few chances to effectively portray the angst of young Indian men in a string of friends-centred comedies—the two Pyaar Ka Punchnama films and Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety—and later expanded his fan base among the youth with Luka Chuppi and Pati, Patni aur Woh which touch on live-in relationships and adultery respectively. There’s been a conscious effort to try different genres and seek interesting directors to collaborate with. “Lots of people say, ‘Chalti gaadi ke engine ko mat chhedo (Don’t mess with the engine of a car that’s running well)”, he says. “But I have never thought of losses, I have always seen the silver lining.”
FRAME AND FORTUNE Kartik’s first paycheck—Rs 1,500 for a commercial that he did— lies unspent as his parents have framed it
BHUVAN BAM, 27
YouTuber/ actor/ singer
In 2015, when Bhuvan Bam began exploring a career as an entertainer on YouTube, friends and relatives laughed him off. But with 24.2 million subscribers for his YouTube channel BB ki Vines, a hit web series (Dhindora), a merchandise brand (Youthiapa), a short film (Plus Minus) and multiple interviews with stars under his belt, Bam is having the last laugh.
He is a clear example of the ability of video streaming to empower creators. Bam’s success comes courtesy his ability to develop a range of characters, many of whom are drawn from real life. Having grown up on the comedy of Govinda and Kader Khan, Bam focuses on the mundane, the little things that make his humour relatable. The sum of his talents, though, is best visible in Dhindora, an eight-episode series he has created, co-written and in which he plays 10 characters.
LONELY TUNES Before becoming a YouTuber, Bam used to sing six days a week, four hours a day at a restaurant in south Delhi
THE GAME CHANGER
Actor/ singer/ director
Dhanush has been at the top of his game for more than 10 years now. He found almost instant success with his second film, Kaadhal Kondein, directed by his brother, director Selvaraghavan. Except for a brief lull in the late 2000s when he was still in search of his niche, he’s not had a period when he wasn’t in the conversation with a truly original film. He may not have the market of his peers Ajith and Vijay, but his success is measured by his roles and collaborations that have come mainly with Selvaraghavan in his initial days, and now with strikingly original filmmakers like Vetrimaaran and Mari Selvaraj. He won his first National Award in 2010 for the Vetrimaaran film Aadukaalam and hasn’t looked back since. He is also the rare multi-hyphenated star actor in the mould of Kamal Haasan, a producer with a film that was India’s entry for Best International Feature in 2016—Visaaranai—and also on many occasions as a lyricist (Ilamai Thirumbudhe)/ singer (Why this Kolaveri Di)/ director (Pa. Paandi) who is just about to break loose. n
FLASHBACKS Dhanush’s directorial debut, Pa. Paandi, starred Rajkiran in the lead. Rajkiran also acted in Dhanush’s father Kasthuri Raja’s debut film En Rasavin Manasile in 1991. The poster of that film can be seen in Vetrimaaran’s Vada Chennai, a film set in the 1980-’90s
KEERTHY SURESH, 29
Daughter of Malayalam film producer G. Suresh Kumar and Tamil actress Menaka, cinema ran in Keerthy’s blood. She appeared as a child actor in some of her father’s productions but then went on to study fashion design at the Pearl Academy in Chennai. Soon, however, she realised cinema was her true calling , and began acting in Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu cinema.
While her initial years as an actor were eclipsed by the heroes of the films (Rajini Murugan, Remo, Sarkar, Bairavaa), it was with the 2018 film Mahanati (The Great Actress) that she came into her own. A biopic of one of the greatest actors of Indian cinema—Savitri—casting Keerthy in the iconic role invited a lot of scepticism. Soon, however, Keerthy turned all her critics into believers, going on to win a national award for her performance. Mahanati paved the way for more titular and well-defined roles in Penguin, Miss India and Annaatthe. The Great Actress had, indeed, arrived.
— Aditya Shrikrishna
GREATEST COMMON FACTOR Keerthy’s mum Menaka was paired opposite Rajinikanth in Netrikann (1981). Keerthy now plays Rajini’s sister in Annaatthe (2021).
RANVEER SINGH , 36
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Cryptos On A Crash Course
Cryptocurrencies have been tumbling worldwide as the Ukraine war prolongs and the spectre of still higher crude prices and inflation haunts countries.
YOGI'S NEW NEUTRAL AVATAR
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath is into his second term and one of the changes he is ringing in is a softening of the ardent Hindutva warrior image that he has been cultivating all these years.
Why Marital Rape Qualifies as Rape
In the second week of May, the Delhi High Court passed a split verdict on the issue of whether the marital rape exception engrafted in Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was constitutional or not.
WHY JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS ARE DELAYED
Tardiness driven by a tangle involving collegiums and the Centre characterises the filling up of vacant positions of high court judges. And pending cases pile up inexorably
WHAT ‘IS' INDIAN POETRY?
A milestone and a doorstopper, this ambitious anthology brings together 94 poets whom India can claim as its own
THE CASTE CALCULUS
A NEW MOON BECKONS? CM Nitish and RJD's Tejashwi at the latter's iftar party in Patna, April 22
SORENS IN A MINEFIELD
Jharkhand chief minister Hem ant Soren has some real fire fighting to do in the coming days if he wants to continue in his post. Everything seems to be going wrong at once.
Q+A IN ON THE ACT
One of Indian fashion's brightest stars, Masaba Gupta, 33, is living her childhood dream of acting. This time, she has a part in the Amazon Prime anthology Modern Love: Mumbai
NEW RESOLUTION, OLD CONGRESS
On May 16, a day after the Congress ended its three-day-long Nav Sankalp Shivir in Udaipur, the party witnessed a formal gesture.
BETTING ON THE HINTERLAND
BHUPESH BAGHEL KICKS OFF HIS 2023 RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN BY UNDERTAKING A SWEEPING TOUR OF RURAL CHHATTISGARH AND ASSESSING GOVERNMENT WELFARE SCHEMES
It’s the end of an era — and the start of a new one — for the beloved series
Grazia Cool List 2022
Bringing about meaningful change through fashion, film, and social media isn't easy in the best of times, never mind in the second year of a global pandemic. Still, our 2022 class of headliners, changemakers, and risk-takers have gone against the odds, making positive change and spreading joy while they do it. In what has become an annual tradition, we're, once again, honouring some outstanding people shaping the future whether by influencing mindsets, breaking barriers, or simply daring to imagine a bolder future for themselves and those around them
IN THE WOO OF SAG 2022
Screen Actors Guild Awards Recently Took Place in Santa Monica, California, Do you Want to Take a Look At Your Favourite Star?
Screen Actors Guild Awards: Coda takes top prize, Squid Game makes history with two acting wins
LOS ANGELES • Coda, a heartfelt indie drama about a struggling deaf family, won the top prize at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards on Sunday, boosting its hopes as a potential dark horse for this month’s Oscars.
Who Run The World? Fearless Women!
Rasika Dugal, Kubbra Sait, and Kirti Kulhari belong to a new crop of actors who are not afraid to unapologetically be themselves. With their quiet determination and bold choices, they are inspiring lakhs of women to own who they are. During the course of their interviews, Rasika, Kubbra, and Kirti discuss what feminism means to them, how we can create an equal world, and the sheroes who motivate them to do better.
Will The ‘Superstar' Khans Manage To Get Back Their Position In 2022?
Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan have had a dream run at the box office for twenty years but now things have changed and their downslide has already begun. Sumita Chakraborty wonders whether the magical Khans can bounce back? Can they storm back on the number one position in 2022?
Disabled to get permanent ramp to hit sea at Marina
New 200-m long wooden ramp to cost ₹2.5 crore; activists want lifeguards and floating wheelchairs operated by trained swimmers
20Q: Armie Hammer
The new Lone Ranger talks Big Macs and Vespas and tells how to tie anyone—including his wife—in knots
Anthony Ramos And Jacob Collier, Changing The Landscapes Of Film And Music Respectively
We shine the spotlight on Anthony Ramos and Jacob Collier, who are changing the landscapes of film and music respectively. What they both share is a commitment to their craft and the unconventional routes they’ve taken to get where they are.
Vicky Kaushal - Liberated By His Approach To Making Movies And Managing Frame
On the revolutionary road with Amazon Prime Video's Sardar udham | Vicky Kaushal attacks stereotypes to balance expectations, films and family —crafting an ecosystem that is public and private in equal measure