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January 09, 2018

Men For All Reasons: 7 Actors We Would Keep Our Eyes Open For In 2018

Text by Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena

Film aficionados have ample cause to rejoice. This year, a host of movies will hit the screen – watch out for the performances of these critically acclaimed performers in talked-about projects

Aamir Khan

As we have said earlier – and all who know him well will testify – he is ‘wired, well-spoken, arrow sharp and articulate’. Known for his punctuality, eye for detail and perfection and, of course, his versatile performances, Aamir Khan is a delight to watch on the silver screen. The man of many roles – he’s ‘starred’ as an actor, producer, television host, director and playback singer too – has been applauded by critics and fans alike. Known to be rather private in real life, he tends to emerge from his cocoon for media interactions when he feels passionately about something, or when, of course, his production or starrer is due to release. In both cases, the world waits almost with bated breath.

Watch out for in 2018 – Thugs of Hindostan: Aamir gives us something to look forward to this year with Thugs of Hindostan, his first film appearance with Amitabh Bachchan. The combo will be watched closely for their histrionics, and on-screen chemistry. And with this movie, he continues his one-movie-a-year-release trend of the 2016 and 2017 that saw Dangal and Secret Superstar respectively.

Memorable quote to Verve: “I’ve become quite adept at ignoring rumours; I do things with all sincerity towards the people I deal with, who matter. If there appears something contrary, I owe no one else an explanation. Not that I don’t make mistakes in life. I certainly have.”

Akshay Kumar

He is the consummate family man – his life with Twinkle Khanna and kids, Aarav and Nitara, is picture perfect, as the several cameos and messages on social media amply prove. And it is touching to see ‘Mr Funnybones’ at his better half’s side – they make a lovely, sought-after couple. The original khiladi has matured, like good wine, over the years – and his hints of salt and pepper give him a dashing touch. Akshay seems to have successfully put his action-oriented performances behind him – this is not to deny that these did not appeal to a large section of the audience – and moved on to socially-oriented based films. Toilet Ek Prem Katha, his last year’s offering, is a case in point.

Watch out for in 2018 – Padman and 2.0: It is going to be an interesting year, workwise, for Akshay. This month – on Republic Day –we see Padman hit the silver screen. It is based on a short story from Twinkle Khanna’s book, The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad, and is inspired by the life of Arunachalam Muruganantham, who revolutionised the concept of menstrual hygiene in rural India by creating a machine to produce low-cost sanitary napkins. The Balki-directed film highlights a sensitive social issue. Another noteworthy release is 2.0, where Akshay gets a fiendish avatar in the sci-fi film co-starring Rajinikanth. Both will be definitely worth watching.

Memorable quote to Verve: “Competition is stiff and everyone is so stressed out. I know there is a need to earn and save for post-retirement years but I cannot ruin my present slogging for the future. I need to spend time with my family. I want to be a happy man.”


Having journeyed a long way from his home in Jaipur to Mumbai, Irrfan broke boundaries and made an impact both on the national and global filmi firmament. Without any fanfare, the actor lent admirable support to the leads in Slumdog Millionaire – before he was seen in parts of varying stature in movies like A Mighty Heart, The Namesake, The Amazing Spiderman and Life Of Pi. And lest we forget, we loved his commendable turns in Hindi movies like Maqbool, The Lunchbox, Piku, and last year’s Hindi Medium and Qarib Qarib Singgle. He becomes, as film buffs will underline, his character.

Watch out for in 2018 – Blackmail: The actor will be seen in Abhinav Deo’s black comedy, paired opposite Kirti Kulhari. It is the presence of this versatile performer that promises to give the movie an extra edge, we believe.

Memorable quote to Verve: “For ten years, I was fighting fate. It frustrated me. But life has its own plans. No one asked me when I came to this planet if I wanted to be here. There is a destiny that is written. You have to align yourself to that.”

Nawazuddin Siddiqui

The little big man has scripted his own success story. Hailing from a farming family, he worked as a watchman before he embarked on his journey to celluloid acclaim. In every movie, chameleon-like, Nawazuddin transforms into the part he is playing, leaving no trace of his real-life persona in sight. He has often attributed everything he is as an actor to the lessons he learnt at the National School of Drama. Rewind to last year’s Mom and you will realise why this performer is one to always closely watch. Despite having to work through several small parts in movies like Sarfarosh, Munnabhai MBBS, Black Friday, Dev D, Peepli Live and small-screen serials, the actor did not give up. He earned a deserving breakthrough with Black Friday and then there was no looking back. Kahaani, Talaash and Manjhi – the Mountain Man were noteworthy; but it was in Bajrangi Bhaijaan that he stayed in the minds of masala moviegoers with his portrayal of a television reporter!

Watch out for in 2018 – Manto: He plays the titular role in the Nandita Das’-directed film where his resemblance to the literary legend Saadat Hasan Manto is phenomenal. He is also seen as a corrupt Mumbai importer in the new BBC drama McMafia.

Memorable quote to Verve: “My directors are squeezing every ounce of me, which is great because I have about a thousand more characters inside me all dying for a chance to get out. I’m very observant; I’ve seen all kinds of people even in my village and I want to play complex, really fleshed-out roles. This is not to say that I’m not open to playing an out-and-out commercial character but I want it to be believable, it can’t be a bematlaab ka role.”  

Ranveer Singh

He is one of the hottest stars in B-town today and his reel and real life ‘acts’ keep everyone enthralled. His energy levels reach new highs – watch him in live performances at award shows and you’ll sense the high-voltage vibes that emanate from him. The fact that he has Deepika Padukone as arm candy – the two stars are now quite open about their affection for each other – is but an additional factor that enhances his star quotient. His filmography proves his growth as a performer – he is definitely one who can keep us glued to the screen in darkened theatres. His recent filmi outings – Dil Dhadakne Do, Bajirao Mastani, to name just two, show how he has evolved since his debut in Band Bajaa Baaraat.

Memorable quote to Verve: “I still don’t have a plan. But I do know what I want to do: eventually, make a significant contribution, have a significant body of work. We are all mortal beings; I will die one day. What I really want to leave behind is a legacy on celluloid… When it comes to life’s decisions, I always play for high stakes.”

Watch out in 2018 – Padmavat: Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s much-awaited, much-talked about magnum opus has Ranveer showcasing his acting teeth as Sultan Alauddin Khilji. His transformation into a ruler with negative shades is bound to be interesting.

Shah Rukh Khan

The quintessential lover on celluloid – he of the outstretched arms and romantic gestures – is a man all, if not most of us, love to love. So, what if he has crossed 50 – age cannot wither or stale his infinite charm, if we may say so. And whether it is his intense following of his team’s performance at the Indian Premier League, his numerous brand appearances, his real-life outings or his screen renditions, fans faithfully keep track of each. And you can completely rely on the star to keep us entertained even on social media.

Watch out for in 2018 – Zero: This year marks the return of the dilwala in a completely new avatar. And his outing as the dwarf in Zero, Aanand L Rai’s directorial offering that is scheduled to release on December 21. The teaser trailer, released just a few days ago, has our interest piqued.

Memorable quote to Verve: “Newness in work – novelty – turns me on. I guess it’s boring when you are doing the same work for 20 years. So I wake up every morning thinking today is going to be a novel day. And that is what makes everything so special.”

Shahid Kapoor

Following Jab We Met – where we put our hands together for his understated performance, we watched his career trajectory all the more intently. And quite liked the way the boy, who was a dancer from Shiamak Davar’s dancer institute, and the chocolate hero of earlier films (Ishq Vishq, Vivah, 36 China Town) had matured into a performer of repute (Kaminey, Haider, Udta Punjab, Rangoon). Known to be completely focused with an obsessive attention to detail, Kapoor is, by his own admission, a completely different man at home as the devoted husband to Mira and the fond father to Misha – but naturally, we say! And like Shahid told us in a recent interaction, he has become domesticated and the way marriage and fatherhood have changed him could fill a book.

Watch out for in 2018 – Padmavat: Playing Mahrawal Ratan Singh, the husband of the legendary Queen Padmavati, this is his first project with Sanjay Leela Bhansali – one in which he co-stars with two SLB faithfuls, Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh. We wait to see how his intensity translates this time on screen.

Memorable quote to Verve: “I find it very tiring to keep convincing filmmakers that I’m right for the role. I don’t understand why most filmmakers try to cast someone who looks like the character…. What’s most exciting to me is how I can change my silhouette and surprise people. The difficult part is to convince people that I can. And my hands are tied unless I get something with which I can break my shackles and do something spectacular or different or shocking or difficult. That is my biggest struggle.”

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