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The Top 5 Promising Bollywood Gen-Y Newcomers

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By Soumya Venugopal:

When the original maverick of Hindi film industry gets outmaneuvered by a newcomer, then one knows that change is here to stay. After a spate of big-budget archetypical Bollywood potboilers, it is heartening to see that the faith in low-budget tales told from the heart is very much intact. The phenomenon that made small-budget film “Aamir” a success, though it was released alongside “Sarkar Raj” that had Amitabh Bachchan his son Abhishek and daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai, was not a flash in the pan but is here to stay. We as an audience obviously have no grudges against the typical masala stuff, infact all of us enjoy such kind of movies. But for true cinema lovers what will be ideal is the peaceful co-existence of all kinds of cinema. The industry needs big-budgeted movies like Om Shaanti Om and Devdas to fund small movies like Aamir, Mumbai Meri Jaan and Bheja Fry. The sheer diversity in movie releases these days goes to show how far Hindi cinema has come from the days when films strictly followed formulas and points to where the industry is headed.

Gone are the days when cinema was passed on as legacy. Today this industry has grown to such an extent that anyone…anyone…me, you and yes you too.. all of us can write a refreshing story, and make a movie. All of us have some story to tell, then why not tell it to the whole world? The sudden emergence of young breed of actors, directors and musicians finally confirms that the industry and the box-office has finally let go of the old prejudices and welcoming new ideas with open arms. With so-called multiplex movies like “Mithya”, “Jab We Met”, “Khosla Ka Ghosla”, “Bheja Fry” and “Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na” – doing well, the day when independent expression and mainstream masala films begin to co-exist at the turnstiles are not far. The Hindi filmdom will no longer call filmmakers who harbour this dream, maverick or the unbecoming fool. The audience has grown up. With more than eight channels beaming the best of cinema — local and global — right into your living room, movie consumption has tripled, so exposure is tremendous.

The young actors and directors today are so efficient that even the biggies like Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan are willing to experiment and try out something new along with them. With their fresh and out-of-the-box approach they are bound to make Indian movies and actors equal to that of Hollywood biggies. What makes these young people and their movies so different? The fact that these people do not fear experimenting and are willing to take the untrodden path. Another advantage these young guns have is that they are no strangers to the Hollywood or world cinema trends. Infact they have been exposed to the best of both the worlds.

These film-makers have been trained just like their Hollywood counterparts and hence employ same kind of writing and techniques as used in Hollywood flicks. These people have easily overcome another roadblock, that being the language. Today with most of the flicks using Hinglish in plenty this gap between the Hollywood and Bollywood is being bridged.

Here are some of the promising young film makers….

1) Abhishek Chaubey

Ladies and Gentleman…Put your hands together for Abhishek Chaubey. This is the man who gave us a fascinating tale about love and lust, greed and deceit and down right cunningness boiled in passion that is embedded in true life characters that you can see on a day to day basis or even in some mirrors. This man gave the girl-next-door Vidya Balan a complete make over, in terms of looks and character. It was the realistic handling and perfect presentation that made the film absolutely engrossing and kept the audiences glued to the seats till the final titles roll-over and lights came on. From the Vishal Bharadwaj’s School of Film making this young director,writer has penned the dialogues for movies like Omkara (also won a Filmfare award for the same), Kaminey and Ishqiya.

2) Ayan Mukerji

Good looks with oodles of talent – That’s Ayan Mukherji for you. The man…oops boy who gave us ‘Wake up Sid”, the story of a young confused boy and his journey. It had a constant flow throughout, no over the top or understated drama, no ultra emotional strangulation of audiences, absolutely no yuppie cool dude act, and last but not the least, this is an original and refreshing story. Ranbir Kapoor was anything but a hero in this movie and Konkana Sen was more than happy to play women five years older than Ranbir. Despite of the odd pairing there was this something that brewed between the two and it pretty much gave us a true picture of a platonic relationship. There was no ‘overnight transformation’ in this movie and that was a refreshing change for the audiences.

3) Sagar Ballary

The first name that comes to ones mind is Bheja Fry. This man managed to impress the audiences with his maiden directorial venture. It was a simple clean and unique story. It didn’t have any of those vulgar, double meaning jokes that are used as a stimulant in the comedies these days. It was film about an idiot intelligently made and very well received. This man introduced us to a new era of Bollywood which relied more on brain than brawn. With some pop-corn and some bheja fried this movie was a gourmet dish.

4) Amit Trivedi

This singer, lyricist and musician shot to fame in the Hindi film music scene for his critically acclaimed work in Aamir and more recent one Dev D. Deck the halls with boughs of holly and watch out for this talented man in the upcoming, most awaited movie Aisha. The feel of his music does its own talking and that’s the style of this young music director.

5) Prateek Babbar

Yet another promising star-kid with grrrreeeeeeat looks! He made his entry in Bollywood sans all the fanfare usually associated with a launch pad. Since it was a debut vehicle for Aamir Khan’s nephew, Imran Khan, and the film being an Aamir Khan Production, attention was bound to be focused on Imran. But that didn’t stop Prateek form signing on the dotted lines as he wanted to make it on his own, without the ‘star-kid’ tag attached. Streaks of the legendary Smita Patil are evident in this young actor.

There are many more upcoming young actors, film-makers and musicians who are coming into Bollywood in a big was and they are here to stay! Curtains up for them!

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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