Recently, the IIFA 2020 awards were announced, and Ananya Panday won the award for the Best Debut 2019, for her film, Student of the Year 2. 

Admittedly, 2019 didn’t see a horde of impressive debuts, but there are certainly a few actors, who were more deserving of the award:

1. Geetika Vidya Ohlan for Soni

Though technically Soni premiered in 2018, at the 75th Venice International Film Festival, to a standing ovation, it released nationwide in 2019, on Netflix. And Geetika Ohlan, who was phenomenal in the role, did not win the Best Debut in 2018 or 2019.


2. Ankita Lokhande for Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi

One might argue that Lokhande was a seasoned TV star, but Manikarnika was her movie debut. And thus, she deserved to not just be nominated, but even win. She certainly appeared far more comfortable in front of the camera as compared to most other debutants. 


3. Nithya Menen for Mission Mangal

If Diljit Dosanjh could win an award for Best Debut for Udta Punjab, then why not Nithya Menen – an established star of the South Film Industry whose charming, not to forget authentic performance, even in a brief role, had her winning over the crowd. 


4. Harshita Gaur for Kanpuriye

Harshita Gaur has been slowly making her mark in the world of web series, with her role as Dimpy in Mirzapur generating a separate fan base. And her debut movie role, in Kanpuriye, was also one to note – though clearly, it did not receive the attention it deserved. 


5. Shreya Dhanwanthary for Why Cheat India

While the film failed to impress the audience, Shreya Dhanwanthary’s performance struck a chord. Shreya, who already had two web series under her belt before the film, made a commendable movie debut, and went on to star in hit web series like The Family Man and Scam 1992. But while the audience loves her, the jury seems to have missed her act altogether! 


While Panday may go on to prove herself worthy of the awards she is nominated for and even wins, Student of the Year 2 was certainly not that performance. At the very least, IIFA could have shared the award with her co-star and fellow debutant, Tara Sutaria – though frankly, none of them could hold a candle to Geetika’s incredible act in Soni. 

This is certainly not the first time that an award for Best Debut was awarded to an actor who, many believed, did not deserve it. And clearly, the trend continues.