2015 was a great run for Bollywood with stars, both big and small, spinning money at the box office. Last year was also marked by some great performances by a string of new comers like Bhumi Pednekar in Dum Laga Ke Haisha and Vicky Kaushal in Masaan, proving that at the end of the day, it is talent that gets one noticed in the industry. And from the looks of it, 2016 also appears really promising, especially with some stunning fresh faces all set to rock the silver screen.
Here's a list of 17 promising debutantes of Bollywood to watch out for in 2016:
1. Mahira Khan - Raees
This actress from across the border has already showcased her skills with her Pakistani TV shows. And this year, she is ready to woo Indian audiences with her debut opposite Shah Rukh Khan in the highly awaited film, Raees. The Pakistani actress also had her customary share of trouble with Shiv Sena last year after photos of her Halloween costume created an uproar, but here's hoping that the controversy will be soon forgotten and she will be welcomed with open arms.
2. Harshvardhan Kapoor - Mirziya
Harshvardhan happens to be Anil Kapoor's son, Sonam Kapoor's brother, Boney Kapoor's nephew and Arjun Kapoor's cousin. Naturally, his debut will be closely watched out by many since he comes from a family who has been in the film business since the 1950s. The 25-year-old will be making his debut in Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra's much-awaited love story Mirziya.
3. Shriya Pilgaonkar - Fan
Shriya is the daughter of the much loved TV jodi Sachin and Supriya Pilgaonkar. She makes her Hindi film debut this year in SRK starrer Fan. Though the film is reported to have no female lead, Shriya has a small but important character in the film. She is also a theater actress and has directed a few short films. She made her acting debut in 2013 in her father's Marathi production Ekulti Ek.
4. Saiyami Kher - Mirziya
Saiyami marks her debut opposite Harshvardhan Kapoor in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Mirziya. Though she has mostly been modelling and also featured on the Kingfisher calendar once, acting runs in her blood as she happens to be the niece of Shabana Azmi and Tanvi Azmi. Her mother Uttara Mhatre Kher was a Miss India in the '80s and her grandmother Usha Kiran was a leading yesteryear actress. No wonder, all eyes will be on the actress this year!
5. Gautam Gulati - Azhar
The flamboyant winner of Bigg Boss season 8, Gautam Gulati is also set to make his debut in films this year. His ripped body helped him win audiences' heart and the reality show too, however, now's the time to capitalize on his humongous fan base. He will be seen sharing screen space with Emran Hashmi in the Mohammad Azharuddin biopic, Azhar.
6. Ritika Singh - Saala Khadoos
Ritika will be seen sharing screen space with R. Madhavan in Saala Khadoos. The promos are out and Ritika is already getting appreciation for her tough portrayal of a boxer in the movie. While her contemporaries are getting their nails and hair done, Ritika stands out for her choice of debut vehicle which happens to be a combat sports film. Way to go, Ritika!
7. Aparshakti Khurrana - Dangal
Aparshakti is the younger brother of VJ-turned-actor, Ayushmann Khurrana. He has been a popular RJ and has also worked on the small screen. He will be seen in Aamir Khan's wrestling based movie Dangal. His brother surely left a mark with his debut film and here's hoping that Aparshakti manages to do the same as well.
8. Diljit Dosanjh - Udta Punjab
Diljit is already a superstar in Punjab and this year, he'll rock the nation with his debut in Bollywood as well. He will be starring in an important role in Udta Punjab, which also stars established Bollywood names like Kareena Kapoor Khan, Alia Bhatt and Shahid Kapoor.
9. Shekhar Ravjiani - Neerja
Shekhar, from popular music director duo Vishal-Shekhar, is making his debut this year in the Sonam Kapoor starrer Neerja and we couldn't be more excited. He looks mighty charming in the promos of the movie and considering his personality, his debut should have come years ago. Here's hoping that his debut will be worth all the wait.
10. Fatima Sana Shaikh - Dangal
Fatima will be seen playing one of Aamir's daughters in his upcoming film, Dangal. Interestingly, Fatima was also a child artist and was seen playing Kamal Hassan's daughter in the film Chachi 420. Later, she was also seen in Shah Rukh-Juhi Chawla starrer, One 2 Ka 4.
11. Sanya Malhotra - Dangal
Sanya is a Delhi girl and is a trained dancer and she'll be seen playing Aamir's daughter in Dangal. In Aamir Khan's own words, "Dangal is not just a film about wrestling but an emotional journey of a father and his two daughters, which teaches us to empower our girls." Here's hoping the two girls in Dangal will actually showcase great work.
12. Pooja Hegde - Mohenjo-daro
Pooja will be seen in Ashutosh Gowariker's highly anticipated period film, Mohenjo-daro. She has appeared in a few Tamil and Telugu films in the past but this marks her debut in the Hindi film industry. Pooja will share screen space with Bollywood's Greek god Hrithik Roshan in her debut film itself. Lucky girl!
13. Waluscha De Sousa - Fan
Waluscha will be seen in the SRK starrer Fan. She has been a leading supermodel and was married to actor and model Marc Robinson. Apparently, Waluscha has struck gold in her debut vehicle and will be seen as SRK's love interest in the film.
14. Sayesha Saigal - Shivay
Sayesha is the niece of popular veteran actress Saira Banu. The 18-year-old girl will be seen alongside heavy duty actor Ajay Devgn in Shivaay. Saigal also made her acting debut in a Telugu film last year.
15. Sakshi Khanna - Untitled Sanjay Leela Bhansali film
Vinod Khanna's son Sakshi will make his debut this year. His half-brothers Rahul and Akshaye have already been around in the business for many years and they'll surely help their kid brother learn the tricks of the trade. Having said that, Sakshi couldn't have asked for a better project to start with as his debut vehicle will be produced by none other than Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Go on, win the world Sakshi!
16. Ayesha Kapur - Paani
Ayesha, who was earlier seen in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Black, will be seen this year in Shekhar Kapur's much awaited movie, Paani. The 20-year-old has been cast opposite Sushant Singh Rajput in the film. This particular pairing will be an interesting watch!
17. Abrar Zahoor - Neerja
Abrar Zahoor will be seen in Sonam Kapoor starrer Neerja. He plays one of the main antagonist in the film which is based on real-life events. The 23-year-old Kashmiri actor looks quite convincing with his dark shades in the trailer and hence remains a good prospect to watch out for this year.