The debutante directors who created a solid impact this year included Abbas Tyrewala (Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na), Kunal Deshmukh (Jannat), Neeraj Pandey (A Wednesday), Rajkumar Gupta (Aamir) and Tarun Mansukhani (Dostana). And, if one may add one more name, Abhishek Kapoor (Rock On!!), who, after tasting failure in his debut film, staged a comeback with his second film.
Ask Abbas Tyrewala what worked with the viewers and he replies instantly, "Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na was more of a nostalgic trip. You went back to the days when you weren't burdened with the responsibilities of life. That worked," he admits. Abhishek Kapoor, on the other hand, feels that ROCK ON!! worked because people could identify with its story and the life-like performances by every member of the cast. "If I had to make Rock On!! all over again, I'd choose the same cast. I can't think of anyone else doing justice to those roles," he remarks.
Rajkumar Gupta, the man behind Aamir, also feels that Rajeev Khandelwal portrayed the character with amazing precision. However, Rajeev and Rajkumar have decided against working with each other in their second films. Meanwhile, Karan Johar, Tarun Mansukhani's mentor, gives Tarun the credit for thinking out of the box, while producers Anjum Rizvi and Shital Bhatia attribute the super-success of A Wednesday to its debutante director (Neeraj Pandey) as also the superior performances by stalwarts Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher.
Recession or no recession, Bollywood continues to attract newcomers in hordes. A number of first-time directors tried their luck this year. Some succeeded, some didn't. But the best part was they had the courage to swim against the tide, narrating diverse stories.