With 2019 coming to an end, it also marks the conclusion of a glorious decade (2010-2019). Why do we say glorious? Because these ten years (finally) saw the lines blur between independent and commercial cinema. In a refreshing departure from the usual sing-and-dance kind of films, filmmakers and writers took to movies that were thoughtful. The dialogues penetrated the hearts and minds of the audience, the story line seemed real and relatable, and the climax wasn’t forced to be ‘happy’ because reality is not always a bed of roses. Tales coming out of the nooks and corners of India made it to the silver screen, with some of them also becoming the country’s official entry to international coveted award events. To sum it up, the power of storytelling was truly felt in this very decade. But these ten years were not all about writing, direction and screenplay. A lot of this paradigm shift can be credited to the actors. Nope, not the Khans and Kapoors (no offense) but the Khurranas and Kaushals.
A typical kid, born in the 90s, grows with a set idea of a screen hero – extremely handsome, chiselled features, toned hot-bod, hair that embody perfection and biceps that can put anyone to shame. The aforementioned description has been pretty much how actors were expected to be until Ayushmann Khurrana, Vicky Kaushal, Rajkummar Rao, Vikrant Massey, amongst others, happened to Bollywood. Resembling the guy from our neighbourhood, these stars, with significant contributions from those alike, have shaped up the industry into what it is today. The Hindi film industry has been widely associated with gloss and glamour, but it wasn’t until these regular-looking guys arrived, that we were served with content that we’d actually relate ourselves with.
You see Rajkummar, Ayushmann, Vicky, and even Vikrant, for that matter, have never had to remove their shirt and flaunt rock hard abs to attract attention. Sparking a debate and engaging their viewers in a meaningful dialogue, these men and the likes of them relied heavily on acting chops and the script alone to get footfalls in cinema halls. This allowed them an easy transition, whether it was a bechara saree salesman Pritam Vidrohi from Bareilly ki Barfi or a Mudit Sharma suffering from erectile dysfunction in Shubh Mangal Savdhaan. Even for Vicky to get under the skin of Major Vihaan Shergill in Uri: The Surgical Strike, he didn’t need a hot heroine in his arms or an A-lister to help him keep the josh high! As for Vikrant, the boy refuses to dole out a dud performance and continues to hit us right in the feels with every release.
We cannot think of any mainstream Bollywood actor to play any of the parts played by these men in the movies they did including Aligarh, Trapped, Raman Raghav 2.0, Half Girlfriend and even the latest one, Dream Girl. The internal battles, struggles of the characters they played, and every achievement that came along with it is theirs and theirs alone. Considering their filmography, don’t be too hard on yourself if you are no longer interested in the big-budget, masala action entertainers. Appreciate and accept. Put your money where your heart is, because these men deserve every bit of your adulation and fandom.
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