New Bollywood faces to watch out for

Udita GoswamiThis year seems to have been pretty dismal in terms of new talent in Bollywood.
Hugely hyped faces like Nakul Kapoor ("Tumse Achcha Kaun Hai") and Vatsal Sheth ("Taarzan: The Wonder Car") bit the dust along with the more deserving and certainly gifted new faces like
Nakul Vaid ("Ab Tak Chappan") and Udita Goswami ("Paap").

So is there no hope for a bright tomorrow? Not so fast! There's a brave new world waiting around the corner and any one of these faces can claim tomorrow as their own:

1. Mohit Alaawat: Ram Gopal Varma's new blue-eyed boy is being launched in a film called "Jim". Varma, for once, has dropped a complete cloak of secrecy around his new discovery. There's none of the anticipatory hype that surrounded the launch of Vivek Oberoi.

Alaawat's film, being directed by debutant Rohit Chauhan who assisted Varma on "Bhoot", is being quietly readied for a release next year. "You wait and watch," Varma smiles secretively.

2. Sammir D. Dattani: Though his debut film, the Rajshris' over-sweetened candyfloss "Uuf...Kya Jadoo Mohabbat Hai", did a silent somersault at the box-office, Sammir's debut was noticed far and wide. No stranger to the camera, he has been modelling and doing music videos, not to mention his two tremendously successful Kannada films, since the age of 17.

At 22, Sammir has the potential to steal away the entire teenybopper market from Shahid Kapur. A lot of big names, including Subhash Ghai and Manish Malhotra, are taking a keen interest in this newcomer. Next move? A film produced by a expatriate Masood Ali to be shot entirely in Chicago.

3. Neel Mathur: Son of singer Nitin Mukesh and grandson of the legendary Mukesh, Neel is supposed be the next big thing that the illustrious family is waiting to unfold on celluloid. Multi-talented and capable of carrying on the tradition that the late singer Mukesh had once established, Neel assisted Kunal Kohli during "Hum Tum".

Mukesh, it must be remembered, wanted to be an actor and in fact did a number of films. Will his grandson be the clan's torchbearer?

4. Soha Ali Khan: She has it in her genes. Sharmila Tagore's younger daughter has already done a very successful Bengali film. Soha is now being directed by Rituparno Ghosh in "Antar Mahal" opposite Abhishek Bachchan where she plays the repressed daughter-in-law of a feudal Bengali household.

With beautifully expressive eyes and an ability and determination to be more than just a cosmetic cutie in the crowd of wannabes, Soha exudes a certain sophistication and old world charm that her colleagues lack.

5. Sonam Kapoor: Tall, sultry and a stand-out in a crowd, Anil Kapoor's daughter is, in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's words, "outstandingly beautiful". He should know. Sonam has just assisted Bhansali in "Black". Though right now she laughs off all suggestions of a career in acting, her final destination might be just that. Watch this space.

6. Sikandar Kher: Tall Sikandar Kher is a square among circles. And that's precisely what his USP will be when he finally faces the camera. Sikandar's mother Kiron Kher says she has no money to produce her son's launch pad. But there are producers out there willing to invest in the proud mother's dream.

Strapping Sikandar will have to choose carefully. He cannot be a Hrithik Roshan. Imperfection is his forte. Sikandar represents the triumph of asymmetry in a world where guys are working out feverishly to get that perfect V shape.

7. Sidhartha Koirala: Right now, at this very given moment, Manisha Koirala is the proudest sister in the world. She has just seen her kid-brother Sidhartha's rushes in his debut film directed by the captain of quirkiness, Makarand Deshpande. And in all objectivity, she can't stop raving!

Sidhartha has his sister's sunny good looks, plus he won't make the mistakes that she did. That's the advantage of coming in second.

8. Ranvir Kapoor: Can Rishi Kapoor's son resist the lure of facing the camera? Not when his first cousins Karisma and Kareena have conquered the sky! Ranvir took his first tentative steps into cinema by assisting Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Now he's biding his time, toying with the next move. A career in acting seems inevitable. Perhaps it will happen in a movie directed by uncle Randhir or papa Rishi Kapoor?