Home » Spotlight » From Nenokkadine to Luka Chuppi – the emergence of Kriti Sanon as a true-blue Hindi film heroine and a formidable actress

Her first film ‘Nenokkadine’ (Telugu, 2014) exemplified the fact that Kriti Sanon is not just a beautiful face. She was somebody who could emote, dance and register her presence very well. Though she did not have humungous screen-time in the film, the fact that she could hold her own in front of a mega star like Mahesh Babu was a testimony to the fact that there was immense talent waiting to be unleashed. The film did not click at the box-office but later that year, she made her Hindi film debut with ‘Heropanti’ which also turned out to be her first commercial success. Though was film was promoted as the launch pad of a star-kid (Tiger Shroff), Kriti had a fairly important role to play in this remake of the Telugu hit Parugu. Nothing succeeds like success and the commercial success of the film paved the way for more films in Kriti’s kitty. A film opposite Akshay Kumar (‘Singh Is Bliing’) and a Rohit Shetty directorial (‘Dilwale’) were signed, though she had to opt out of the former because of date issues. In the meantime, she did another Telugu film named ‘Dochay’ (2015) which turned out to be an average success at the box-office.

Though ‘Dilwale’ did not turn out to be the blockbuster one had expected it to be, it did reasonably well and Kriti got to display her dancing prowess in the popular songs from the film. One of the songs, ‘Premika’, was not there in the final edit of the film but was released as a standalone track/video and was very popular. Though the film underperformed in India (did much better in the overseas market), it was still one of the highest grossing films of the year. It must be noted that the film garnered much more footprints in the theatres than ‘Heropanti’ which was a certified hit. In an interview given to a portal before the release of ‘Raabta’, Kriti rightfully stated, “Dilwale has somewhere increased my audience reach.” Just like ‘Heropanti’, the film exemplified the fact that she had the trappings of a commercial Hindi film heroine and could register her presence despite senior actors like Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol being in the same frame.

“If a film does not do well, nothing matters. Even if you do a great job, you do not get noticed. Yes, I do feel when you have less make-up and are in a de-glam avatar, people tend to notice your performance and take you more seriously as an actor. Otherwise, it takes a while to make them look beyond your appearance. It is not fair but I guess that is how it works,” said Kriti to this writer in a recently conducted interview. That ‘de-glam role’ or the ‘slightly offbeat’ film came to her in 2018. It was her second release of the year ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’. Before that, she had another release in the form of ‘Raabta’ The film, which marked the directorial debut of producer Dinesh Vijan, was a reincarnation drama in which she was paired opposite Sushant Singh Rajput. ‘Raabta’ had a brilliant soundtrack and some crackling chemistry between the lead pair but the disjointed screenplay weighed heavily on the film and it turned out to be a huge commercial failure. Though the film did not work, Kriti delivered an extremely sincere performance and she definitely got to do a lot more than her earlier films. As the film dealt with the theme of reincarnation, Kriti played two different characters – a young woman from the present times named Saira and Saiba, a tribal woman from an unknown time and place. She excelled in both the roles but unfortunately, as a result of the film performing poorly at the box-office, not many saw her performance.

2017 was not meant to be a bad year for her as two months after ‘Raabta’ released, she was seen in ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’, a film which was far removed from the big, overtly glamourised setups she had been a part of in her earlier films. In the film, Kriti was playing the role of Bitti, a young woman who does not conform to the conservative mind-set of the small city she lives in. In a couple of interviews, Kriti had reiterated the fact that before the release of the film, the audience had reservations about her doing a non-glamourous role in a film set in a small city as Kriti herself comes from a cosmopolitan city like Delhi and had only played glamorous roles till then. Her performance in the film proved everybody wrong who thought she would not be able to pull off the role of a middle class girl from a small city in the heartland of the country.

She continued her small-town act this year with ‘Luka Chuppi’ and it bore great results as well. The film is on its way to become a major success and Kriti’s performance has been duly appreciated. Though both ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ and ‘Luka Chuppi’ are set in small cities of Uttar Pradesh, Kriti insists that there is a significant difference between Bitti and Rashmi, the character she plays in ‘Luka Chuppi’. “Considering the two films are set in small towns, perhaps there is a bit of similarity. But the characters and the story are completely different. I was way more de-glam and tom-boyish in ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ but Rashmi, the character I play in ‘Luka Chuppi’ is very feminine. She was born in Mathura but studied in Delhi. She is very liberal,” she stated in the PlanetBollywood.com interview.

Her next release is ‘Arjun Patiala’, which is actually the first film she shot for after ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’. The romantic comedy is set in Punjab and Kriti plays a journalist in the film. Later in the year, she will be seen in Ashutosh Gowarikar’s period drama ‘Panipat’ and producer Sajid Nadiadwala’s multi-starrer comedy ‘Housefull 4’. The audience will get to see different shades of her in all these films and one hopes she continues to prove her mettle as a solid, confident actress and climbs up the echelons of superstardom steadily.