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All those who have been witness to first look gigs would agree that they have turned into rather predictable humdrum affairs. Besides, the tedious trudge and long wait seldom seem worth it especially when the trailer is just a click away almost immediately after the launch. Fortunately, every once in a way, with the spate of first look launches there come a few that provoke you into making the journey. The trailer launch of producer (and now director too) Sajid Nadiadwala’s Heropanti starring Tiger Shroff, son of the eighties’ star Jackie Shroff, was one such.
It’s early days yet but it would be safe to declare that with his debut film Tiger joins the ranks of the young adults working towards a career as an actor. The only difference in this instance is that Shroff belongs to the privileged subset known as “Industry kid”.
Sample this: for his first tryst with the media, not only did he have papa Shroff — still charming and a media favourite for his unaffected ways — noted director Subhash Ghai and Sajid Nadiadwala for company, he had the ace of Khans, Aamir, not merely attend the do but even endorse Tiger’s talent and screen presence to the media. The actor recalled that he had first spotted Shroff during a school play in which even as a kid, he stood out and then went on to praise the movie trailer, even requesting the team to play it again!
Given that it was merely a trailer and the fact that most of those present lacked Aamir’s unerring gaze, it would be way too early to pass a judgment but if all goes well, Shroff could certainly be a good fit in action films. Whatever the outcome, there is no denying that it was rather magnanimous of Aamir to have put on record his endorsement of a newcomer.
Of course, most youngsters who make their way into filmi wonderland, start with much less both in terms of opportunity and recommendations. But the good news is that apart from grooming and launching a young find, there are enough cinema veterans willing to encourage and hand-hold new talent, sometimes even recommending them to colleagues.
With the skewed demand-supply ratio (of talent) in the film industry, mentoring and nurturing of talent though not new, is regaining ground, which is good news for the workforce. There are several instances of mentors operating in varying capacities. Gulzar sa’ab has done his bit for helping new directors, A.R. Rahman is doing a sterling job of it, Karan Johar has a more personalised approach with new finds such as Alia Bhatt and Siddharth; while Ranveer Singh often mentions Aditya Chopra, YRF’s head honcho as someone he turns to for career advice and Randeep Hooda has found himself one in Naseeruddin Shah with whom he collaborates extensively for both, films and theater. Salman Khan is also a popular go-to guy for a lot of industry kids looking for a movie career.
Luckily, the list is only growing. Recently, Shilpa Shetty Kundra decided to play showbiz mentor to stylist Ayesha Khanna, launching her in Dishkiyaoon. Priyanka Chopra did her bit of mentoring for cousin Parineeti and the list goes on. Moving forward, this could really be a healthy trend if lead players cast their net wide, beyond family and friends –corporate India warmed up to its merit a long ago and benefitted handsomely from it — and one that would help enormously in creating a level playing field.