Rising stars Moses Kaul, Mihir Ahuja, Vagmita Singhs, Rajashree Singha, Anuv Jain, Tanya Maniktala, Zaeden, and Shanaya Makani spill the beans on everything from their creative journey, finding their place in the industry, and more.
Actor and music producer
Moses believes that his life doesn’t need a grand mission, neither is he inclined towards discovering it. “There is great calm in not knowing what you’re supposed to do, yet doing everything with equal gusto. I revel in approaching every endeavour with unwavering enthusiasm. This way, I find myself driven to explore a myriad of opportunities—doing as many things as I possibly can, to the best of my ability, without getting attached to anything.” Moses finds freedom in not being tied to a singular idea of who he should be. “It’s akin to water taking the shape of its container or a cat playfully hopping from one box to another—adapting and enjoying the journey as it unfolds.” Acknowledging his achievements, explains the Class actor, “would greatly diminish the idea of success in my head because I’ve just set up the scaffolding and bare bones of a much greater future that I want to build on.” Moses, for the most part, is uncertain of what success should feel or look like. “So, for now, what has changed is that I have access to do multiple things—that’s been my greatest achievement.” Moses has come to embrace apathy as a desirable trait. “While stoicism has its merits, I believe that with the power to influence the world around me comes the responsibility to feel, to connect, and to be vulnerable.” One step at a time, the multi-hyphenate aims to dismantle the walls he once built to protect himself...it’s a continuous effort that begins with self-love and empathy. While his path may seem unconventional, even selfish to some, it’s one he has chosen consciously.
Digital content creator and screenwriter
Vagmita discovered her love for performing very early on in life. “As a kid, I used to lock myself in the bathroom, creating my own world in front of the mirror for hours on end. I’d imagine my toys were real people and reenact my favourite movie scenes.” The sheer joy of entertaining, and holding the attention of an audience, was an innate part of her childhood. Over the years, the digital creator has navigated through multiple jobs and faced numerous failures. Yet one thing remained constant—her unwavering passion for bringing joy to people’s lives through entertainment. With time, Vagmita’s purpose has stayed the same, in fact, her conviction has only gotten stronger. “I have observed that the more popular one becomes, the easier it is to lose sight of why they started their journey. It is easy to get caught up in the allure of views, followers, and ever-changing numbers, but in the pursuit of popularity, something precious often gets lost—the essence of art, joy, and the core purpose of life.” The mental health advocate has finally come to realise that staying true to her authentic self and expressing it through her art is where she finds real happiness. “I’ve been fortunate to receive recognition, but it is staying grounded in who I am that truly matters.” Vagmita feels extremely proud of her journey, not just for her successes but also for conquering her battles with mental health. “I’ve learnt to silence the voices that used to whisper, ‘What will people say?’ I’ve shed the need to diminish myself just because someone in the comments found me annoying.” It is never about the numbers—Vagmita is all about making a positive impact through her art.
Born and brought up in the small town of Jamshedpur with big dreams—Mihir always had an innate passion for performing arts. “My parents often reminisce about how, as a child, I would watch baby commercials on TV and burst into tears, exclaiming, ‘I want to be there too!’.” However, the actor’s path to pursuing his dream was far from clear, as his family had no connections or leads in the entertainment industry. Five-year-old Mihir distinctly recalls watching Say Na Something To Anupam Uncle! on TV. “Anupam Kher’s impromptu interviews with kids fascinated me, and I desperately wanted to be a part of it. But sadly, nobody knew how to make that happen.” Back then, the film industry seemed like a fantasy for him. “Little did I know that destiny has incredible ways of making dreams come true. Twenty years later, I found myself working alongside Mr. Kher in a film, more so, under the banner of Yash Raj Films, one of India’s leading production houses.” For the young star, this surreal moment was a true testament to the belief that he was born to lead this path and fulfill his purpose. “With great power comes great responsibility,” says Mihir, who wholeheartedly embraces this philosophy in life. The actor’s purpose remains steadfast: to contribute to the world of cinema by portraying impactful characters on screen. “I am always hungry for more and I think that’s how one should be in order to stay alive and driven at all times.” While Mihir’s purpose has remained constant, one significant change has been the recognition he has received for his work.
For Rajashree discovering her purpose has been an evolving journey, intricately woven into her career as a model. “Initially, I believed that being a model was the ultimate goal to experience fame.” However, as she delved deeper into this world, her perspective shifted. “Once I became a model, I was convinced that I wanted to be great at what I do every day. It became apparent that what truly mattered to me was not just being seen and admired but also excelling in my craft.” The revelation came gradually as she began to understand her own expectations. “I realised that productivity was what resonated with me the most. The pursuit of success, I found, was meaningful only when it stemmed from a life filled with change and challenges that constantly push me out of my comfort zone.” Rajashree’s journey wasn’t always smooth sailing. “I was an introverted child, further burdened by relentless bullying and misunderstanding due to my unique appearance. I constantly felt lonely and uncomfortable being around people, fueled by the fear of hurtful comments about my body and facial features.” However, over time, the ambitious youngster has made remarkable strides. “I’ve transformed that fear into a profound sense of pride, learning to embrace and love the way I look. Today, I relish socialising, and cherish the opportunity to meet new people—that’s a true testament to my personal growth.”
Singer and songwriter
Ludhiana-raised singer and songwriter, Anuv’s purpose in life revolves around the pursuit of happiness and the desire to make a positive impact on those around him. “Through profound writing and my music, I aim to touch people’s lives and help them express their emotions and thoughts more eloquently.” The breakout musician hasn’t even released a full album yet...his singles have attracted a loyal fanbase and also put him on the map. As Anuv expands his artistic repertoire—as a musician, artist, and individual—he has come to realise the importance of happiness. “It’s not just a cliché; it’s a fundamental aspect of a fulfilling life. I’ve experienced moments when everything seemed perfect on paper, yet happiness remained elusive.” He explains that while his determination and work ethic remain unwavering, his focus has shifted towards finding true satisfaction and inner peace in whatever he does. Anuv believes that one of his proudest achievements would be conquering his fear of performing in front of large audiences. “The stage used to be a source of anxiety. With time and dedication, I’ve transformed it into a place of belonging.” Anuv, with his sweet disposition, soulful lyrics, and encaptivating voice, has now struck a chord with thousands of people across the country. As the indie artist begins to chart his own course, he understands that his purpose may expand at every stage. “Yet, doing things for the pursuit of happiness, contentment, and inner peace of mind remains constant.” While Anuv aims to look back to a life well-lived, cherishing the moments of impact and joy he has shared with others, the rising star continues to embrace the unknown journey that lies ahead.
After much contemplation and introspection, Tanya has finally come to the realisation about why she’s drawn to her profession, “I love doing what I do not just because of how it makes me feel, but rather the profound impact it can have on someone else, even a stranger on the other side of the world.” Through the medium of acting, Tanya discovered the incredible ability to evoke emotions in others, thus forging connections through the simplicity of shared feelings. However, this understanding didn’t come overnight, it was born from countless experiences and conversations that forced her to question everything she knew. Defining her purpose for Tanya was once an elusive quest. “I grappled with the question for years, but as time passed, my perception of success evolved. While material achievements still hold some significance, I have come to value inner contentment above everything else. I’ve realised that success is boundless, my ambitions will perpetually grow, and that’s the source of my motivation rather than distress.” Life and purpose, Tanya learns, extends beyond personal gratification, serving a greater role in the larger scheme of things. Yet, the actor is not free from the clutches of fear—she still remains a work in progress. “Some days, terror still gets the best of me, but I press on.” Despite the fears, she’s grateful as she’s on the path of self-discovery and constant growth.
Singer and songwriter
DJ-turned-singer, Sahil Sharma aka Zaeden has been brimming with curiosity, a constant desire to learn, and an unquenchable thirst to prove himself ever since he started. “Dance music has always held a special place in my heart, and when I embarked on my journey as a producer and DJ, it touched me in an indescribable way.” Writing and singing comes naturally to him, and that’s what eventually led him on a transformative path. “For the longest time, I believed my sole purpose was to express myself through music. However, it wasn’t until I began performing live shows that I had an epiphany—my true calling was to spread love and happiness through my art. Over time, as success came my way, I started contemplating my purpose from different angles and perspectives.” At the core, Zaeden’s purpose as an artist remains constant since day one—to utilise music as a powerful instrument for spreading love. While this hasn’t changed, the musician is now eager to explore diverse art forms and mediums to continue connecting and communicating with his audience in innovative ways. Embracing criticism hasn’t been easy for the musician who believes that he is still far from perfect. “When I perceive myself as somebody, criticism tends to affect me deeply. However, when I see myself as a regular human being, everything seems okay.” While the indie pop star’s ever-evolving path now leads him to explore fresh avenues for his purpose in life, his aspiration is rooted in maintaining a sense of humility, that allows him to continually evolve and grow as an artist.
Dance has been an inseparable part of Shanaya’s life since childhood. “As a kid, I eagerly attended numerous dance classes and dazzled the stage with my performances. It was a cherished hobby, one that resonated deeply with me.” As she delved further into this passion, the desire to pursue it professionally began to take shape. This decision, however, was no easy feat. “I wasn’t a natural-born dancer; I lacked flexibility and strength, and the dance industry was an uncharted territory for me. Despite these challenges, I couldn’t just let the opportunity slip away, so I took a leap of faith and embarked on professional training.” Six months into her training, the talented choreographer opened ‘BEAT’, her first dance studio. Three years later, she started her second studio. “The road was fraught with personal and business challenges, but giving up was never an option.” Shanaya’s love for dance only grew stronger with each obstacle. “It felt like I had discovered my true calling, BEAT became home to hundreds of dancers and when they all gathered, the energy was indescribable.” Just like that, walking into the studio, Shanaya found her true purpose—and she was certain that she’s born to do this. “Balancing artistic inspiration with practicality became a constant struggle.” Before Shanaya knew it, she was running a business while nurturing her art and fostering a community of artists who inspire one another. “I constantly want to do more for all the dancers out there—when you get so caught up in trying to achieve everything, you tend to lose purpose at times. Some days were tough, and I grappled with uncertainty, but I never lost sight of why I began this journey in the first place.” It took the dancer a lot to overcome the “fear of failure”, but once she did so, she never felt any better. “My whole life took a turn. Learning to navigate around my demons opened doors I had never imagined.” Although occasional hesitations still arise, they are no longer powerful enough to hold Shanaya back.
Styling by: Palak Valecha
Photographs by: Karan Sarnaik
On Moses Kaul: Shacket, Bisou, ₹3,399; straight jeans, Freakins, ₹1,899; The Abundance Ring, Papa Don’t Preach by Shubhika, ₹1,899; Svadhisthana Chakra Charm Necklace, Azga, ₹1,550; Panamic Dune Sneakers, Christian Louboutin, price on request
On Vagmita Singh: Birdsong Padded Shift Dress, Drawn, ₹7,990; tie-dye socks, Nor Black Nor White, ₹1,500; Loubishark Sneakers, Christian Louboutin, price on request
On Mihir Ahuja: Polo T-shirt, ₹17,000 and Double Heart Sweatshirt, ₹34,000, both Kenzo at The Collective; pastel pink trousers, Claraché, ₹3,990; Astroloubi Sneakers, Christian Louboutin, price on request; socks, Mihir’s own
On Rajashree Singha: Sada Bahar Dress, Little Things Studio, ₹14,000; Flared Pants in Blinding Hearts, Papa Don’t Preach by Shubhika, ₹34,000; Becky Slides, Melissa, ₹7,999; Heritage Spade Flower Huggies, Kate Spade, ₹4,820; Fez Necklace, Love Letter, ₹3,200; flower charm beaded necklace, ₹420, pastel acrylic rings, ₹370 each, Donut Ring, ₹290, marble band ring, ₹315, all Ineze
On Anuv Jain: Cool Cactus Jacket, NM Design Studio, ₹23,000; Nothing Compares 2U Shirt, Nor Black Nor White, ₹12,500; pants, ₹3,000 and beaded pendant necklace, ₹600, both H&M; Loubishark Sneakers, Christian Louboutin, price on request
On Tanya Maniktala: Handwoven recycled jacket and checkered silk schiffli lace pants, prices on request, both Péro
On Zaeden: Polo Bear Sweater, Polo Ralph Lauren at The Collective, ₹50,500; jacket, H&M, ₹5,999; pants, Zaeden’s own; lace-up sneakers, United Colors of Benetton, ₹5,999
On Shanaya Makani: Sweater, ₹3,499, trousers, ₹4,999, jacket, ₹6,999; all United Colors of Benetton; classic pearl necklace, Anaash, ₹4,999