The New Year brings with it a spontaneous outburst of young spirit – eclectic events to look forward to, dates to fill up, with a joie de vivre that only a fresh calendar can inspire – and a host of new people to discover. Like our previous windows to blossoming talent where we showcased young guns Freida Pinto, Sonakshi Sinha, Aditi Singh, Aatish Taseer, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Jyothsna Chakravarthy, Charmi Gada Shah, Madhav Mathur and more, this year’s edition shortlists girls and boys from diverse fields who are all set to make an impact.
They hail from different parts of the country – some have even shifted home to fulfil their nascent dreams. All under 30, they are bright and looking forward to careers that are on the verge. Gung-ho, articulate and very often individualistic in their attitude to life, this smart crowd follows its own dreams.
Continuing in our annual vein, our 2012 Fresh List spotlights GenNext from fashion, sports and entertainment. Verve celebrates the sense of anticipation that surrounds the debutant dozen...
Styling by Roli Gupta (Mumbai), Rishi Raj (New Delhi); Sounak Sen Barat (Bengaluru)
Make-Up by Shika Mishra, Hair by Farida Khan, (Mumbai);
Make Up And Hair by Ashima Kapoor (New Delhi);
Make-Up And Hair by Anita Appu,
Production by Yolk Studio (Bengaluru).
THEATRE ACTOR 23
SO FAR: Have completed over 100 shows of various plays in 2011 and am looking forward to a directorial debut this year.
GROWING UP: It is still an ongoing process – till now it’s been quite a fun ride.
CHERISHED COMPLIMENT: Someone told me, ‘You sound a lot like your Dad (actor Akash Khurana)’.
ON A LAZY SUNDAY: I watch football or a movie.
ASPIRATIONS: I want to be a vigilante.
ON YOUR IPOD RIGHT NOW: Kasabian, Temper Trap and Arcade Fire.
PASSIONS: Sports and theatre.
UPCOMING PROJECTS: My directorial debut Jump-start which is opening at The Comedy Store and also Spunk which is part of the Writer’s Bloc festival.
YOU IN THREE WORDS: Open to anything.
THREE STAPLES IN YOUR WARDROBE: Boxers, movie T-shirts and villager pants.
YOU WOULDN’T BE CAUGHT DEAD WEARING: A Justin Bieber T-shirt.
WORK INSPIRATION: Christian Bale and the Motley veterans.
SUPPORT SYSTEM: Mr AK (brother, actor-director-producer Akarsh Khurana) of Akvarious fame.
BEST PIECE OF ADVICE SO FAR: When I was told, ‘Create your own identity.’
THEATRE OR FILM? Both!
BEST MEMORY: Watching India lift the World Cup at Wankhede last year.
WHAT MAKES YOU CRY? The Lion King – especially when Mufasa dies.
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? Little Britain and Govinda.
STAGE FRIGHT: Every single time.
BIGGEST LEARNING SO FAR: Must attend rehearsals.
ONE THING YOU HATE ABOUT YOUR INDUSTRY: There’s not enough of it.
HARSHEST CRITICISM SO FAR: I was told ‘You’re sitting on a goldmine but you’re making a mess of it.’
25 TELEVISION SOAP STAR
SO FAR: Three primetime serials – Devi, Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Ki Jo and Sasural Simar Ka.
CHERISHED COMPLIMENT: While shooting a promo for Sasural Simar Ka (Colors) the cameraperson asked me ‘Has anyone ever told you that your smile is exactly like Madhuri Dixit’s?’
FAVOURITE STARS: Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit.
ON A LAZY SUNDAY: I wake up late, cook and do some shopping for home – it helps me unwind.
ON YOUR IPOD RIGHT NOW: Ishq sufiana (The Dirty Picture), Teri meri (Bodyguard).
YOUR FIRST SHOOT MOMENT: At Janaki Devi theatre, we were shooting a sequence during which we had to munch on popcorn. It was hilarious as the spot boys refilled our tub after each take – we kept on devouring the food that was kept right in front of us, for the camera to capture.
ON YOUR LONG WORKING HOURS: A sacrosanct ideology that I follow is to treat your colleagues like one big happy family. Working then becomes a part of a good time spent with your loved ones – something that can never stress you out.
UPCOMING PROJECTS: Right now I am focussing on Sasural Simar Ka.
YOU IN THREE WORDS: Independent, talkative, sensitive.
SUPPORT SYSTEM: My parents and friends.
BEST PIECE OF ADVICE: Actor Manav Gohil told me, ‘Nobody can help you if you are not willing to help yourself.’
SAAS BAHU SERIALS OR BIGG BOSS: Definitely Saas bahu serials.
ON THE CRYING SCENES: I am leading my life more like Simar’s than Dipika’s. Every expression comes naturally to me as do the tears.
ITEM SONGS OR THE DIRTY PICTURE: The Dirty Picture any day.
FASHION DESIGNER 23
HOMETOWN: New Delhi.
SO FAR: Made an impact soon after debuting at Lakmé Fashion Week; known for my GenNext designs and accessories and have launched my flagship Bodice store in Hauzkhas Village, New Delhi, last year.
CHERISHED COMPLIMENT: It is said that I have an eye for aesthetics.
FAVOURITE DESIGNERS: Martin Margiela, Rei Kawakubo for Comme Des Garçons, Vivienne Westwood, Alber Elbaz.
ON A LAZY SUNDAY: I watch movies.
ASPIRATIONS: To build my brand, Bodice, to keep learning and progressing.
ON YOUR IPOD RIGHT NOW: Volare by Dean Martin.
PASSIONS: To create, to photograph and I am learning the piano these days.
DRESS GIRL OR JEANS GIRL? Jeans girl.
UPCOMING PROJECTS: The Spring/Summer 2012 collection and other expansion plans.
YOU IN THREE WORDS: Inspired, curious, eager.
THREE STAPLES IN YOUR WARDROBE: Trousers, tailored blazers, beautiful necklaces.
YOU WOULDN’T BE CAUGHT DEAD WEARING: Crocs.
NEXT ON THE CARDS: To supply Bodice through the right stores to make it more accessible.
SEXY OR SENSUOUS? Sensuous.
LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2012: More beautiful and well-constructed garments.
CHIC IS: Classy.
FASHION, A JOB OR A LIFESTYLE? Lifestyle.
WORK INSPIRATION: Everything around me that I see potential in.
SUPPORT SYSTEM: My family.
BEST PIECE OF ADVICE SO FAR: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
BIGGEST LEARNING SO FAR: That creations need to be interesting and intriguing, not just beautiful.
THREE FASHION ELEMENTS YOU CANNOT DO WITHOUT: Structure, androgyny and tailoring.
HARSHEST CRITICISM SO FAR: That I don’t do my accounts very well – but it’s true, we creative people are not too good at all this! I am working on it though.
21 MUSIC COMPOSER
SO FAR: Have composed music for 3, the Tamil film that includes the substantially famous hit, Kolaveri di.
GROWN UP ON: A R Rahman. I love the man and his music.
INHERITED: I was born with the gift of identifying tunes and appreciating music.
THANKFUL FOR: Kolaveri di being such a hit. One couldn’t have asked for a better debut than this.
ADDICTIONS: South Indian food and sour candy.
PHILOSOPHY: I am too young to have one; I know I’ll learn along the way.
INSPIRATIONS: A R Rahman, Hans Zimmer, John Williams. Their music is unforgettable.
FAVOURITE SONG: Currently I am hooked on to Tum ho from Rockstar. I have been listening to it on repeat mode.
ICONS: Rajnikanth. He is the perfect representation of a star.
YOU IN THREE WORDS: Calm, composed and shy.
FAVOURITE MEMORY: The last few days since Kolaveri di has gone viral have been like a dream for me and I shall cherish them forever.
BEST ADVICE: Given by all the people around me – ‘Keep your feet on the ground.’
AMBITION: I want to continue making music from the soul.
CREATIVITY IS: God.
CHERISHED COMPLIMENT: A 70-year-old man from Scotland tweeted saying ‘I don’t understand one word of this song, Kolaveri di but I have heard it 1000 times. It connects’. I was touched by it.
IN YOUR FREE TIME: You’ll find me at a Subway outlet.
SO FAR: Have directed Desi Boyz, was assistant director for Don and Partner.
GROWN UP ON: Films and holidays in Switzerland. It is where my father (David Dhawan) shot most of his films – so we landed up there for most of our family vacations.
YOU IN THREE WORDS: Lazy, boring and responsible.
INHERITED: A tendency to put on weight.
FRONT OF THE CAMERA VS BEHIND IT: When I saw my father making movies, I realised that being a director does give you a strong sense of power and, by that, I don’t mean being a megalomaniac. I subtly imbibed the traits of a director from him.
GUILTY PLEASURES: Mango ice cream and buying stuff on iTunes.
PHILOSOPHY: Live and let live. As long as it makes you sleep peacefully at night, do it!
ADDICTIONS: Being confined to my room. I don’t get out of it unless really required. In fact, I practically made Desi Boyz there, although Eros had an office I could go to. I am a complete slacker by nature.
FAVOURITE DIALOGUE: It is ‘You talkin’ to me?’ by Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver and ‘Yo, Adrian, it’s me, Rocky’ by Sylvester Stallone in the film Rocky.
ON MY IPOD: Lots of Hindi music and the ’80s stuff like Berlin; it’s all stayed with me. I am a big fan of film themes and music by Hans Zimmer and John Williams.
PASSION: Cinema and surfing the Internet. A lot of my reading happens online.
FAVOURITE DIRECTOR: Farhan Akhtar and my dad, of course.
NON-FILMI ICONS: M S Dhoni and Rahul Gandhi.
REGRETS: I should have probably interned a bit longer in the US after my graduation.
24 ACCESSORY DESIGNER
SO FAR: Have launched Ketchup, a high-fashion label that manufactures leather bags for women. First fashion collection (Fall/Winter 2011) was showcased at Lakmé Fashion Week.
ON THE SWITCH FROM BEING A SOFTWARE ENGINEER TO A DESIGNER: I was looking forward to graduating from engineering school; I thought I had my life all figured out. My graduation coincided with the global recession and my offer letter was put on hold. After two months of joblessness, I started designing bags.
THE NAME KETCHUP: Ketchup – an easy-to-remember word that hopefully will not invite strange abbreviations! It magically captures the essence of my designs that are funky, fearless, distinctive, honest, vivacious, timeless and have a sex appeal.
FASHION, A JOB OR A LIFESTYLE? Neither. I think it’s the science of style and creativity.
MAJOR INFLUENCES: Rock and roll, surrealism, food, travel, photography and randomness.
CREATIVITY IS: Anything that is not a straight line.
UPCOMING PROJECTS: Ketchup Spring/Summer 2012 collection and the Ketchup e-shop.
DINNER AND WINE, OR PARTY TILL DAWN? I would have a mellow dinner and wine session with my entourage followed by a lunatic party till dawn.
KAREENA KAPOOR OR VIDYA BALAN? Chammak challo all the way....
THREE STAPLES IN YOUR WARDROBE: Apart from Ketchup Satchels, my wardrobe consists of blue jeans, polo shirts and flip-flops.
WON’T BE CAUGHT DEAD WEARING: A hot pink velour tracksuit.
ONE THING THAT MAKES YOU CRY: Onions.
ONE THING THAT MAKES YOU LAUGH: Bloopers.
SO FAR: Have had a presence at several fashion weeks and been in the finals of the Readers Choice Award – Ford Supermodel of the World India Finals.
A CHERISHED COMPLIMENT: ‘Wow!’
ON A LAZY SUNDAY: I stay lazy!
ON BEING AN ENVIRONMENTALIST: I love Mother Earth. I’d like to try and leave a little bit of it for the future – with gardens full of birds and bees instead of wastelands.
FIRST SHOOT EXPERIENCE: I was excited, but clumsy as ever.
WALKING THE RAMP FOR THE FIRST TIME: I loved it!
MODELLING IDOL: Tamara Moss.
THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A PERFECT FIGURE: It keeps your health in check.
DINNER AND WINE OR PARTY TILL DAWN: Dinner and wine.
EAT AND WORK OUT OR STARVE AND LAZE? Eat, work out...and laze. There is no starving in my book.
SEXY OR SENSUOUS? Sensuous.
YOU IN THREE WORDS: Warm, passionate, green.
MOTTO IN LIFE: Live and let live.
THREE THINGS ON A LONELY ISLAND: Music, food and friends.
THREE FASHION ELEMENTS YOU CANNOT DO WITHOUT: Shoes, belts, scarves.
RUNWAY STRUT OR PHOTO-SHOOTS: Shoots have a great feel about them.
25 SQUASH PLAYER
SO FAR: An Arjuna Award recipient and the first Indian to have reached a world ranking of No. 22. Won the bronze medal at the Asian Games.
PHILOSOPHY: Everything works out in the end.
ADDICTIONS: Gourmet food.
I have a massive sweet tooth, so Nutella crepes and ice cream.
VALUED INHERITANCE: The ability to see goodness in things and people. When I die, I want people to remember me as a good human being. I have a huge conscience.
FAVOURITE DESTINATION: Paris. It is a poetic and architectural marvel with a fantastic cultural milieu. I can spend an entire day at the Louvre and not get bored, sit by the Seine river or in one of the many open air cafes.
FUTURE PROSPECTS: I want to be back at being at least No. 22, the rank that I had before my injury and then to get into the top 20.
GAME PHILOSOPHY: Winning is not everything – it is the only thing. The world only remembers the winners and not the ones who came close to winning.
GREATEST RISK EVER TAKEN: Taking up squash as a sport because it’s not a mainstream game, so if you don’t make it big, you are nothing more than a struggler. I could have enjoyed a six-figure salary post my degree from Leeds. Maybe I’ll do that in seven-eight years…but as of today, I enjoy what I am doing.
FAVOURITE ICONS: Sachin Tendulkar and Roger Federer. I was in serious depression when he lost at the US Open.
HOMETOWN: Los Angeles/Bengaluru.
SO FAR: My debut solo album Surrender was released in India. It was nominated for a GIMA in the best Pop/Rock Album category. Three honourable mentions at the Billboard World Song Contest.
CHILDHOOD: I grew up surrounded by great music and great musicians. My brother Ambi and I travelled a lot and saw some amazing parts of the world – from Norway to China. When we returned we had to work hard at school and on our music.
FORMAL MUSIC TRAINING: As a child, I learnt Carnatic vocal, violin and had piano lessons. I also learnt Western Classical singing.
ON BEING A CHIP OF THE OLD BLOCK: I’ve got some amazing opportunities being L. Subramaniam and Kavita Krishnamurthy’s daughter – but it has also been tough due to unrealistic expectations and the pressure you put on yourself. Some people dislike the fact that I’m doing a different style of music from my parents. The comparisons reduce as you come into your own and people start viewing you as an independent entity.
BEST CONCERT MEMORY: We performed at the Lincoln Center in New York and we got a standing ovation. A guy came backstage and told me, ‘I totally felt what you were singing, I understand what you were saying – it’s as though you were singing to me.’
ON YOUR IPOD RIGHT NOW: Lady Antebellum, Keane, Maroon 5, Coldplay, Linkin Park, Evanescence, P!nk, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Kishori Amonkar, M.S. Subbulakshmi.
UPCOMING PROJECTS: A new album, a book – and I am performing as part of the Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival’s ‘Global Fusion – Four Continents, One Stage’ tour in January. I’ve just taken over as the dean of the Subramaniam Academy of Performing Arts (Bengaluru).
SO FAR: Have written and directed the musical Taj Express and choreographed for Ladies vs Ricky Bahl.
GROWING UP: I was the youngest child and lived a normal South Mumbai life.
YOU IN THREE WORDS: Moody, shy and super organised.
BEST CHOREOGRAPHY MEMORY: When I choreographed a piece for my sister (Vaibhavi Merchant) and, after watching it, she had tears in her eyes.
CHERISHED COMPLIMENT: I feel very shy when I receive them. The one I get the most? People who know me say I’m very loving.
FAVOURITE ARTISTE: Jagjit Singh.
FAVOURITE DESIGNER: Chanel.
FAVOURITE STARS: Hugh Jackman.
ON A LAZY SUNDAY: I sleep for hours and hours at a stretch. I can really irritate people with the amount of time I spend on sleep.
BOLLYWOOD MUSIC: I love the songs from the ’70s and ’80s.
PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE: Keep it simple!
FAVOURITE LINE: We need to be organised.
ASPIRATIONS: I want to bring the culture of commercial theatre to India.
ON YOUR IPOD RIGHT NOW: Rihanna and a lot of house music.
STAPLES IN YOUR WARDROBE: Jeans, checked shirts, clutches and heels.
WORK INSPIRATION: Anything can trigger my creative juices – be it a book, a snapshot or something on the road.
SUPPORT SYSTEM: My family and my work gang.
BEST PIECE OF ADVICE, SO FAR: Don’t let things that people say get to you; simply move on.
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH: My mindset, my thoughts.
LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2012: The world premiere of Taj Express and a year filled with travel.
HOMETOWN: New Delhi/Boston.
SO FAR: Have worked with the production team of Life of Pi; have written three children’s books and two film scripts – one for Hollywood and one for Bollywood – and worked on developing a couple of website ideas.
ON BEING AN ‘ALTER’: Having grown up in Maadi, Egypt and Boston, MA, I was never aware of any fame being associated with the Alter name. In Mussoorie most people know who the Alters are – but they are much more interested in getting to know the men of the family – some white chick with the same last name is of very little interest to most people.
ON LIFE OF PI: Working on Ang Lee’s Life of Pi was an amazing experience. I had a fantastic boss, I hounded him for over six months to give me a spot on the film; I flew out to Los Angeles and convinced him to meet me. We instantly connected and three months later I was in Pondicherry working with an outstanding production crew. We worked like donkeys but we had a blast, a lot of chocolate and just the right amount of red wine.
ON YOUR LIFESTYLE: I’ve lived a fairly interesting, diverse life and met some amazing people along the way – one of the biggest perks about my nomadic lifestyle.
FAVOURITE WRITER: Haruki Murakami.
CURRENTLY READING: The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
THREE THINGS TO TAKE ON A LONELY ISLAND: I’d take a Frisbee, a snorkel and a thick notepad and pen.
UPCOMING PROJECTS: I’m finishing my work on Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Then I hope to disappear and get back to my writing – I have some unfinished pieces that I’d like to wrap up.
SO FAR: Noticed in Sahib, Biwi Aur Gangster; have a comedy film and a contemporary drama in my kitty.
BEING DR RAJENDRA PRASAD’S GREAT GRAND NIECE: When you know that someone from your family has made enormous contributions, you are filled with the belief that things are possible. But I saw people in my family being known as relatives of someone great. And I did not want that. I do not want to be anyone’s anyone. My achievements must be my own.
FAVOURITE ACTORS: Aamir Khan, Meryl Streep, Clint Eastwood and Renée Zellweger.
THE MOMENT YOU FACED THE CAMERA FOR THE FIRST TIME: Nerve-wracking!
YOU IN THREE WORDS: Explorer, listener of silences, chatter queen when excited.
BEST PIECE OF ADVICE SO FAR: The greatest achievement in life is to get to know yourself thoroughly.
CURRENTLY READING: Tender Is The Night by F Scott Fitzgerald. My grandfather used to read it often and I repeatedly go back to it.
THREE FASHION ELEMENTS YOU CANNOT DO WITHOUT: Tailored pantsuits and classic designs of Bill Blass, Yves Saint Laurent. I love colours.
DRESS GIRL OR JEANS GIRL? I feel feminine but never had the luxury of a superbly crafted dress. I see myself as an everyday worker, thus the comfort of jeans.
DINNER AND WINE OR PARTY TILL DAWN? Dinner, wine, and a little dancing, looking into each other’s eyes would make my day.
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