New Delhi, Teenage pregnancy, terrorism, an out-and-out actioner or a spooky jungle thriller-Bollywood newcomers like Shruthi Haasan, Ruslaan Mumtaaz and Arunoday Singh are opting for different themes and strong scripts rather than being lured by big banners and typical potboilers.
Tamil superstar Kamal Haasan’s daughter Shruthi chose an unconventional debut in “Luck”, a hardcore action film.
“I’ve never understood what is or is not commercial. I chose ‘Luck’ because I loved the concept. I’m glad I was a part of it. I chose a script that excited me and I will continue to do so-whatever the genre may be,” 23-year-old Shruthi told IANS.
Similar is the case with Arunoday Singh, grandson of Congress veteran Arjun Singh. Arunoday is making his entry into Bollywood with Piyush Jha’s “Sikandar” and he plays a militant. Set in Kashmir, the film is slated to hit screens Aug 21.
The budding actor says he can’t fathom the need for a marked difference between commercial and non-commercial cinema in Bollywood.
“I don’t know why there is an understanding here that films with a serious subject are inherently better than typical masala films. It’s not like that.
If the story and the script of a film are interesting-that’s all that matters,” said Arunoday, who had been living abroad for nine years.
He says doing a film like “Sikandar”, which has terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir as its backdrop, was not at all a deliberate effort to do something out of the box.
“I’ve just arrived in Bollywood. It’s not like I had to choose a certain role. I was keen to just work and didn’t think it was practical to wait for someone to launch me. I had economic reasons to get work as well.
“But when I heard what Piyush (Jha) wrote for ‘Sikandar’, I really liked it.
It is a very strong script and that’s why I’m proud and grateful to have been cast in the film. The film is not preachy-it doesn’t give a biased view on terrorism,” said Arunoday.
While Shruthi and Arunoday made a conscious choice of doing ‘script-based’ roles, Ruslaan just happened to be roped in for “Teree Sang”, Satish Kaushik’s take on teenage pregnancy.
“My first movie ‘Mera Pehla Pehla Pyaar’ was not a commercial one and I wanted my second project to be a commercial one. When I was approached by Satish Kaushik for ‘Teree Sang’, I gave my nod, thinking his films are always commercial in theme and presentation. But after reading the script, I realised it was not. But I’m glad I did it,” Ruslaan said.
“The film just has a non-commercial theme, teenage pregnancy, interspersed with a love story. It has turned out to be a great learning experience for me and I’ve grown a lot with this role. Ultimately, it’s the character that makes you a hero-not always your acting,” he said.
Another newcomer to make an unconventional entry is Gautam Rode. He plays a superstar in Ram Gopal Varma’s adventure thriller “Agyaat”, which again is not a regular Hindi potboiler.
For Gautam, his choice of “Agyaat” was a mix of three things-a “gripping story”, “different character” and the “way Ram Gopal Varma narrated it”.
“I took up ‘Agyaat’ after the way I was approached for it. Ramu approached me for the film in November. He met me for an hour and the way he narrated my character and told me about the film, I was assured it wasn’t going to be a regular role,” Gautam said.
Having said that, the 31-year-old actor says he felt it was a risk doing such an offbeat film-but was confident about going ahead with it.
“I was open to taking risks. I knew it was not going to be a conventional story with 8 to 10 songs in it. All I saw was that it was a combination of a good script, a good banner and a fabulous director,” he added.