There was a time when first-timers were usually considered amateurs. You know, the ones who are in that most-dreaded freshers level? Tagged new and inexperienced. Nowhere close to the big-wigs of their field. Yes, those ones.

Well, looking at Bollywood though, all we can say is that, those days are gone – as new directors, with a fresh outlook and novel storylines, are daring to do the different. They are churning out freshness and raw talent in a way no one would expect ‘amateurs’ to and are slowly and steadily gliding their way to Box Office moolah.

We, at The Red Sparrow, look at a few such pro-newcomers who have left a mark – and how – since last year.

Vasan Bala (Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota)

If crazy was a movie, Vasan Bala would happily be its director. Oh wait, he was. For people who watched Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota, they were shocked – in a good way. To make a superpower out of a disorder  (congenital insensitivity to pain) and showcasing, all very straightforwardly, all kinds of filminess in what was clearly a tribute to the 90s child – Bollywood and Jackie Chan – so very refreshingly was a feat not many would be able to achieve. P.S. If you haven’t watched it yet, what are you waiting for? Go!

Shelly Chopra Dhar (Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga)

In a country where homosexuality is still struggling to find a foothold, and somewhere getting misrepresented by several stereotypes especially through its cinema itself, a film like Ek Ladki… was, by all means, a breath of fresh air. Not just did it attempt to normalise same-sex relationships, it also brought forward mainstream actors, rather stars, through Sonam Kapoor, Anil Kapoor and Rajkumar Rao, to advocate the same. And that does matter, doesn’t it?

Aditya Dhar (Uri)

Now what was the last memorable army film you could recall? Border? Well, that came back in 1997! Yes, 22 years ago. Who would’ve imagined that a debut director would, out of nowhere, not just make a movie on surgical strikes but also re-introduce the concept of army films in such a big way? Not to forget, he also gets the credit for turning the much-loved Vicky Kaushal from star material to a bonafide star.

Prosit Roy (Pari)

2018 was a pretty good year for this genre. And this was the kind of debut not many expected to see. Grabbing eyeballs for an out-and-out horror film in Bollywood hadn’t happened too often. But the moment lead actress Anushka Sharma started posting posters and teasers of Pari, it garnered a rarely-seen-before response. The clips were actually bone-chilling, and so was Anushka’s sometimes sweet, sometimes ghastly – rather ghostly – appearance. Revolving around the concept of Ifrits, the film was underrated, definitely, but also critically acclaimed for finally showing something hatke in the horror game. Anushka and Parambrata Chatterjee as Pari and Arnab stole the show from the word go, the former as an abandoned, troubled woman trying to shun her inner demons – literally and figuratively – and the latter as the kind-hearted man who just wants to be of help. While you silently rooted for the pair to get together, you knew where it was headed to. Nonetheless, the treatment of the story was refreshing enough for film lovers to take notice.

Amar Kaushik (Stree)

From Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota to Mard Ko Dard Hota Hai (as the poster of the film rightfully said), Stree was the film of 2018. Horror had always been one category where, in my opinion, Bollywood always lagged behind. And then this film happened. It was remarkable in several aspects – it was topical, satirical, had its moments of comedy, and of course had the right dose of horror. What moved me in this film was just how smoothly it took us into a world where men were afraid to go out of their houses at night and were asked to wear sarees while going out to keep themselves safe. Ironic, isn’t it? It helped Rajkumar Rao add another feather to his already-loaded cap, and Bollywood, a legit horror-comedy to boast about.


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