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Vivek Fernandes

They came, they saw, they conquered. The new kids on the block made quite a dashing impact this year. From models who turned actors to ad professional who tuned directors, 2001 saw many a first timer.

Fresh blood coursed through Bollywood veins in 2001.

Here's a look at those who left their mark in the year that was.


Arjun Rampal

Model turned actor Arjun Rampal had quite an eventful year. Three releases in the span of four months is not something every newcomer can boast of.

Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabbat was perhaps not the ideal launch vehicle with Arjun having to share screen space with the likes of Suniel Shetty and Aftab Shivdasani, but Arjun's formidable screen presence overshadowed the other two and a star was born. No, Hrithik Roshan here but PIAM did put Arjun on Bollywood's map.

Vashu Bhagnani's Deewanaapan and Ashok Mehta's Moksha, the actor's subsequent releases, turned out to be pretty ordinary. But again Arjun's potential was realised.

2002 sees Arjun team up with AB for Vipul Shah's Aankhen. He's also been signed for Rajiv Rai's Asambhav and Kundan Shah's Dil Hai Tumhara. The actor wife Mehr Jesia, a former model herself, is due to give birth to the couple's firstborn anytime now.

Here's wishing 2001 will bring with it much joy for this new kid on the block.


Gracy Singh

Her first film, Lagaan, which had her play the love interest of Aamir Khan, is off to the Oscars. That must count for something. Gracy Singh successfully (and quite gracefully, we might add) metamorphosed from Amanat, a daily soap opera to the coy silver screen.

She may have played overcautious after Lagaan but has now finally signed on two films. The first, A Telugu film, sees her opposite South superstar Nagarjuna. Gracy has also been roped in for a role in Anupam Sinha's upcoming film opposite Rakesh Bapat.

May all her dreams come true in 2002.


Tusshar Kapoor

It was an auspicious beginning for Tusshar Kapoor. Jitendra's little boy paired opposite Kareena Kapoor proved to be the surprise package of the year in the Satish Kaushik directed teen romance Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai.

Tusshar, who added an extra 's' to his name to ensure success in keeping with Numerology, must now thank his lucky stars. His future is looking bright with Kya Pyaar Karoge Mujhse with dad Jeetendra and Padmalaya's Koi Dil Ne Kaha.


Sandhali Sinha

Anubhav Sinha's Tum Bin was another surprise of the year. Pitted against the AB starrer Aks, Tum Bin managed to hold its own and even had a steadier run than the Rakesh Mehra flick.

Sandhali Sinha, the new find, save for the atrocious wardrobe and squeaky voice, turned in a fine performance as the bride-to-be who tries to cope with the loss of her beau.

Rumours of the actress' wedding plans began doing the rounds soon after the film's release but the actress quashed them all saying that her career was her only priority for the moment.


Priyanshu Chatterjee

Novice Priyanshu displayed the confidence of a veteran in Tum Bin. As the person who must deal with the fact that he was responsible for his friend's accidental death, Priyanshu appeared pretty convincing.

But just as he was getting noticed the strapping lad packed his bags and left for New York to pursue studies in acting. We hope 2002 will see him don on the greasepaint more often.


Bipasha Basu

Another model makes a successful foray into tinsel-town. Abbas-Mustan's thriller Ajnabee saw this dusky Bengali beauty play one of the four lead protagonists .

Her camera appeal thanks to her sensual screen aura, her poise and her delivery stood her in good stead as she won praise for her role. She rose above the others in mediocre Ajnabee.

2002 will see her pair up with real life beau Dino Morea (who debuted with Pyar Mein Kabhi Kabhi) for Vikram Bhatt's Raaz.