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These stars struck gold from Day One

Stars who bagged Filmfare Best Actor awards with their debut films

Mayur Lookhar

First impression is the last impression.  However, even some of the greatest actors of Indian cinema took time to find their feet in the industry. That only highlighted how tough it is to crack the formula right with your very first film. Truth be told, most actors are merely satisfied to get a break in the industry, leave alone winning an award.


Indian cinema though managed to produce few names who struck gold at the very first step.  Here’s looking back at the few actors who won the Filmfare best actor/actress award in a leading role with their very first film.


1. Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia – Bobby (1973)


The inaugural Filmfare Awards took place in the year 1954. This was an era where the likes of Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor, Meena Kumari, Nutan dominated the industry thereby making it doubly difficult for new comers to make an impression.


It took 19 years for a debutant to strike it big. And it just wasn’t one, but two actors who stole the show at the Filmfare Awards in 1973. Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia became the toast of the nation bagging the best actor and best actress award with their maiden flick Bobby – a romantic drama directed by Rishi’s father Raj Kapoor. Kapadia was just 16 then while Kapoor was 21.  The duo became the youngest actors to win the best actress/actor’s award in the history of Filmfare.

Interestingly, Kapoor stated that his father Raj had not made Bobby to launch his son, but he had to cast him as he couldn’t afford Rajesh Khanna. Raj Kapoor had suffered losses from his earlier film, ‘Mera Naam Joker’. The overwhelming response to Bobby came as a pleasant surprise for the Kapoors.

As opposed to Rishi, Dimple Kapadia always aspired to be an actress. She was discovered by Raj Kapoor at 13 and he’d promised to cast her in a film. Kapadia had to share the award with Jaya Bachchan, who was honored for her role in Abhimaan.

Rishi Kapoor’s win came as surprise for most people had expected Amitabh Bachchan to bag the award for his portrayal of the ‘angry young man Vijay Khanna’ in Zanjeer.


2. Lakshmi - Julie (1975)



Down south she was revered as Lakshmi, but to the Hindi film industry, Lakshmi Yaragudipatti will forever be known as the quintessential Julie for whom your heart will forever keep ‘beating’.


In 1975, southern starlet Lakshmi made her Hindi film debut in and as Julie, a first Indian film depicting the story of an Anglo Indian family.  Indian audiences gave thumbs up to Julie. The film’s music was a huge hit with popular numbers like ‘Dil kya kare’, and the timeless track ‘My heart is beating’. Lakshmi went on to win the Filmfare award for best actress in her maiden Hindi film. Rajesh Roshan bagged his maiden award as music composer, while Preeti Sagar bagged the award for the best playback singer (female) for ‘My heart is beating’.


It must be recalled that Julie was a remake of a Malayalam film Chattakar. Lakshmi had bagged the best actress award for Chattakar too. She went on to act in Julie’s Telegu remake too. Director K.S Sethumadhavan had also directed the original and it wasn’t a surprise that he chose Lakshmi for the Hindi remake.


3. Anupam Kher - Saaransh (1984)



The late 70s and 80s was a period when parallel cinema had gained prominence for its realistic, slice of life tales. Stars like Naseeruddin Shah, Pankaj Kapur, Amol Palekar, Shabana Azmi had become the face of parallel cinema.

In 1984, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt helmed ‘Saaransh’, an emotional drama film that was inspired by the death of his guru U.G Krishnamurthi’s young son, and later by a Maharashtrian couple whose only son was murdered in New York.  Bhatt cast 28-year-old Anupam Kher, a National School of Drama alumnus.  Producers Rajshri Productions weren’t too keen on casting a new comer for the role, as they preferred having an star like Sanjeev Kumar. A peeved Kher vent his frustration at director Bhatt, who eventually managed to convince the producers to cast him.

At 28, Kher made his debut playing the role of a 50 plus old man. Before the film’s release, not many would have bet on ‘Saaransh’ to spring a surprise. However, against all odds, ‘Saaransh’ struck a chord with the masses and classes alike. Anupam Kher became only the second male artist to win the Filmfare Best actor award in a leading role.


4. Hrithik Roshan -  Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai (2000)



The 80s saw the rise of stars like Govinda, Mithun Chakraborty, Anil Kapoor before the Khans arrived towards the end of the decade.  Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir and Salman’s early films were blockbusters, but it didn’t land them any major honours. SRK began his reign with the 1993 action thriller Baazigar and over the next decade, he dominated most award shows.

Through the 90s, the Khans were considered impregnable until a certain Hrithik Roshan arrived at the start of the millennium. Son of actor-turned-producer Rakesh Roshan, Hrithik had made cameo appearances as child artist in films like Bhagwaan Dada, Asha, Aapke Deewane. He’d also assisted his father in films like Karan Arjun and Koyla.

Father Rakesh wanted to cast SRK who was preoccupied with other projects. Hrithik himself had urged his father to look for a new comer. Little did he know then that his father wouldn’t have to look beyond the Roshan household.

For a man who stammered for long periods, Hrithik underwent tremendous transformation, both mentally and physically to justify the faith shown in him by his father. He took to speech therapy to iron out his stammering, consulted Salman Khan to build those biceps. All the efforts paid rich dividends as Hrithik won all hearts with his astounding display.  Most critics remarked that not since Aamir Khan that Bollywood had seen another natural actor.


SRK was slightly built but he was the king of romance, while Aamir had made a name for himself as Mr. Perfectionist. Salman did work on his body, but the hits eluded him. Hrithik showed shades of all three while playing the dual roles in his maiden flick.

 Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai swept the Filmfare awards that year with Hrithik bagging the best actor’s award and also picking the best debutant (male) trophy.