• Saturday, August 20, 2022

Arts and Culture

The new generation: Top 30 under 30 global Asian stars

Mrunal Thakur (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

By: Manju Chandran



THE future belongs to the young and one look at rising south Asian stars globally shows it is looking very bright.

These terrific talents, bringing something unique to diverse artistic fields, are already breaking boundaries at a very young age and giving us hope at a time when we all need it.

Eastern Eye decided to put a spotlight on the brightest of these artists for a first-of-its-kind 30 under 30 global Asian stars to look out for in the coming years.

Iman Vellani: All eyes will be on the 19-year-old as she takes on the title role in high-profile TV serial Ms Marvel. The first Muslim superhero in the Marvel universe will turn her into an instant icon, and she is already being lined up for a big screen appearance in huge Hollywood sequel Captain Marvel 2.

Alia Bhatt: The 27-year-old remains Bollywood’s crown princess and a massively bankable movie star. With huge blockbusters, including Gangubai Kathiawadi and Brahmastra on the way, she will look to consolidate her position in the upper tier of Hindi cinema, which will result in her inevitable ascendency towards becoming its undisputed queen.

Danyal Zafar: The 24-year-old singer, songwriter and musician has inherited all the talent of his superstar elder brother Ali Zafar. The young Pakistani star has been quietly bubbling away with stunning songs, which are getting him noticed globally and ones that will see him cross multiple musical frontiers.

Saloni Gaur: The talented 21-year-old student has been owning the Hindi language comedy space over the last year and looks unstoppable right now. She is changing the entertainment landscape in India by taking on the male dominated comedy domain head on. She will build on her massive recent success and continue providing laughs globally.

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan: The 19-year-old signalled her global arrival with a stunning lead turn with Netflix series Never Have I Ever in 2020. The teen comedy was such a success that it got greenlit for a second season weeks after its release, so expect more brilliance from the young actress this year and don’t be surprised if she makes a leap to movies.

Amaal Mallik: The hottest young composing talent in Bollywood has shown that he really is the future of film music in India. The 29-year-old will carry on mixing up genres with musical platforms and don’t be surprised if he finally ventures into the west. Him being an accomplished singer and live performer are added bonuses to his burgeoning talent.

Geraldine Viswanathan: After a steady rise, the 25-year-old Australian actress made a huge Hollywood breakthrough in 2020 with acclaimed film The Broken Hearts Gallery. She has an exciting international cinema career ahead and that includes a lead voice-over in big budget 2021 animated movie Rumble. Look out for more announcements of big projects this year.

Mrunal Thakur: The dedicated actress has battled her way up the ladder to success with hard work and natural talent to deliver a winning performance. The 28-year-old will hit top gear with high-profile projects, including the hotly anticipated Bollywood remake of Jersey, powerful sports drama Toofan, and a stack of other big banner productions.


Zayn Malik: It may seem like the singing superstar has been around forever, but he is still only 28-year-old and has more to give, including a newly released album. One of the most recognisable faces worldwide generates headlines most stars can only dream of, and he will continue building his multi-million brand.

Naomi Scott: She may have followed up a blockbuster 2019 with a relatively quiet 2020, but make no mistake, the half-Indian British beauty is now a bankable Hollywood star and has multiple major projects on the way, including sci-fi comedy film Distant. The 27-year-old actress is also an accomplished singer and fast becoming an icon.

Manushi Chhillar: Everyone has been eagerly waiting for the former Miss World to step into Bollywood and she will do that this year with a starring role opposite Akshay Kumar in Prithviraj. Expect the 23-year-old to be flooded with offers when the movie finally releases and don’t be surprised if she looks at international projects.

Bilal Abbas Khan: He may have only made his acting debut in 2016, but the Pakistani actor has had a rapid rise since then and starred in a massive number of marvellous projects. The 27-year-old has positioned himself perfectly as the future of film and TV in his country. With more big film and TV projects on the way, he is one to look out for.

Charli XCX: The perfect pop princess has made all the right moves and is today one of the biggest music stars in the world. The half-Indian British singer, songwriter and musician has used her incredible all-round ability to create genuine musical masterpieces. The 28-year-old will see her global brand and empire grow even bigger in the coming years.

(Photo by Kush PR)

Armaan Malik: The crown prince of Indian music turned 2020 into a game-changing year for himself, which saw him release songs in multiple languages, on diverse platforms. Perhaps the most exciting was English songs, which showed there is more to the 25-year-old talent than Bollywood and solo Hindi pop releases. He has now set himself up for a big global push.

Aiman Khan: She may only be 22-year-old, but the talented actress is already the most followed Pakistani celebrity on Instagram. The small screen superstar has been lighting up television for nearly a decade and has the world at her feet right now. With no shortage of offers, she will pick projects carefully and build on her immense popularity.

Asim Riaz: The Indian model saw his popularity skyrocket in 2020 and today he enjoys a huge fanbase, which will propel him to further success. Having already clocked up huge numbers on YouTube with starring roles in music videos, the 27-year-old looks set to have a huge 2021 with acting and music projects that will send his fans into a frenzy.

Rupi Kaur: With four best-selling books to her credit already, the princess of poetry will continue building on her global success and see her important literary voice get louder. The 28-year-old Canadian has already crossed cultural barriers and age gaps with her writing, which will continue in ways no one expects.

Helly Shah: The 25-year-old has been taking on challenging lead roles ever since her teenage years and shown a powerful presence on Indian television in a wide array of winning drama serials. The fearless actress has become a strong role model for a young generation and a leap to films looks inevitable for her in the future.

Avan Jogia: The 29-year-old with a duel Canadian and British citizenship has gone from being a successful child star in Hollywood to becoming a respected actor. With more exciting projects on the way, he will continue mixing up film, TV and web series with activism work, which has included writing a book.

Dhvani Bhanushali: The young Indian singing sensation has been smashing records and is now the crown princess of Indian pop music. The 22-year-old has already delivered an impressive body of work, which has clocked up over billion views on YouTube already. She is now on the wish list of music producers and singers wanting to collaborate with her.

Ammy Virk: The rising Punjabi star has followed in the footsteps of big names like Gurdas Maan, Harbhajan Mann, Gippy Grewal and Diljit Dosanjh by making the smooth transition from singing success to acting in big movies. The multi-talented 28-year-old has an impressive discography and filmography, which will rapidly grow in the coming years.

Rhea Sharma: After a steady start to her career with a series of winning performances, the talented actress hit top gear with a stunning turn in Yeh Rishtey Hain Pyaar Ke and is today hugely in demand with producers. The exciting 25-year-old now has multiple paths open to her and endless possibilities.

Raba Khan: The Dhaka-based social media star, influencer, comedian and business entrepreneur is smashing open doors for Bangladeshi talent and subsequently, inspiring others to follow in her footsteps. The 22-year-old already has a massive number of achievements, but perhaps her biggest is that the world is now looking to Bangladesh in a way never seen before.

Guru Randhawa: The 29-year-old singing superstar has clocked up billions of views on YouTube and is today one of the biggest music stars in India. By balancing big collaborations with solo singles and film songs, he has established himself as a huge musical force. Expect more international duets and for him to cross new musical frontiers.

Anya Chalotra: The young actress showed off her versatility in an interesting array of roles before delivering a starmaking turn by playing a main lead in popular series The Witcher. With a second season of the Netflix drama on the way, the 24-year-old is already becoming the next breakout British star and will see more impressive accomplishments.

Shehnaaz Gill: The 26-year-old model, singer and TV personality had a game-changing 2020. Her soaring popularity combined with an all-round talent and likeability has set her up for huge things in the coming years. The multi-talented star will have the pick of projects in music, film, TV, and online space, as well as brand endorsements.

Hussain Manawer: The British poet and mental health campaigner has made a unique impact with his artistry. He has formed a deep connection with his words and found himself on huge platforms that had previously closed the doors for south Asians. The 29-year-old is blazing a trail for other exciting talents like him and will cross new frontiers, including doing more acting work.

Sajal Aly: The 27-year-old actress has had a boss-like presence on Pakistani television for over a decade and established herself as an A-list superstar. She will add to her already burgeoning list of world-class projects with more work in major film and TV productions, where she will be the centre of attention.

Priyanka Paul: Some may know her as the young lady who called out actress Kangana Ranaut on social media, but there is a lot more to this fearless artist than that. The 22-year-old has been creating stunning artwork since her teenage years and is adding a new perspective to the Indian art world with her cutting-edge brand.

Conrad Khan: The half-Pakistani British actor is quickly making a name for himself in international cinema. The 20-year-old followed up a supporting role in The Huntsman: Winter’s War with a star-making turn in acclaimed film County Lines, which has put him on the radar of big production houses and set him up for a huge career.

Eastern Eye

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