In his documentary photography book Living The Dream: The Life of The ‘Bollywood’ Actor, eminent shutterbug Mark Bennington writes, “In Mumbai, the Bollywood dream pours down like the monsoon, drenching every starry-eyed actor with hopes of fame and fortune.” Down the decades, small-screen actors have successfully transitioned into silver screen stars. The journey of India’s biggest superstar Shah Rukh Khan from TV to films is the stuff of legends. In the last one year, two names have stood out in this quest.
Sushant Singh Rajput
Films: Kai Po Che!, Shuddh Desi Romance
Upcoming Projects: Detective Byomkesh Bakshi, Peekay, Paani
From Barry John’s theatre classes to the quintessential lover boy of prime-time TV to the graceful dancing star who made Madhuri Dixit misty-eyed with his acts in Jhalak Dikhla Jaa 4 to a blistering debut in Kai Po Che! to being touted as “the next big thing” (and the “next SRK”), Patna-born Rajput has come a long way from being a background dancer at the 51st Filmfare Awards.
A film critic wrote about his performance in Kai Po Che!: “The actor has an indescribable presence, and it’s clear from his confidence and distinct likeability that a star is born.”
Today A-list producers are queuing up to sign him while new-wave directors are eager to explore new subjects riding on his acting skills and appeal. He’s the next Byomkesh Bakshi in Dibakar Banerjee’s adaptation of the detective series; he has replaced Hrithik Roshan in Shekhar Kapur’s (who said “Sushant is one of the most inspiring young actors to emerge out of India”) much-awaited Paani; and is acting with Aamir Khan in Rajkumar Hirani’s Peekay.
(This story appears in the 27 December, 2013 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)