The Word. Presents Who’s Creative Now List 2024 [Part 1]

A celebration of the coolest, freshest creative names of the year.

The Word. Magazine is pleased to present ‘Who’s Creative Now’ 2024…a celebration of the coolest, freshest creative names of the year. These are the ones to watch: actors, designers, creators, comedians, chefs, and more, who are standing out for their work in the creative field and that ‘je ne sais quoi’ spice that promises great success.

The Word. carefully selected these breakout stars, and each name on the list comes with impressive talent, individuality, and brilliant dreams. Add these creatives to your radar…you’ll be seeing a lot more of them in the coming months.

They are the ones who are creative now. 

They are the final Word.

Banita Sandhu

Banita Sandhu, Actor

A few weeks ago, actor Banita Sandhu made her debut in Season 3 of Bridgerton as Miss Malhotra, and the Internet hasn’t kept calm since. And while a role in the immensely popular period drama might certainly be considered a significant coup, this is hardly the 26-year-old’s first tryst with mainstream screen time—Banita began acting at the age of 11, has been seen in ‘Sardar Udham’ in 2021’ and ‘Adithya Varma’ in 2019, and is currently filming for an espionage action thriller, ‘G2’.

It is clear to see that Banita’s path is already lined with flashing lights. 

I would define style as personality,” says Banita, who has taken her global impact with a delightful ability to stay grounded in humour. Ask her whether she’d rather be considered ‘hot’ or ‘cold’, for instance, and she laughs, “I’d rather be neither…I want to be the perfect room temperature!” And who is the most stylish person she knows? “My boyfriend,” she admits.

A special mention must be made to Banita’s part in Canadian singer and rapper AP Dhillon’s music video, ‘With You’, which was released last year and immediately dominated Spotify charts. And the many, unrelated references made to Banita’s appeal. Filmmaker Shoojit Sircar compared her to “a beautiful poetry” and her co-star Vicky Kaushal [from Sardar Udham] described Banita’s eyes on-screen as: “they talk, they scream, they sing, they dance, it’s that beautiful.”

Banita Sandhu is wearing a dress by Sezane. Shoes and Jibbitz by Crocs.

Sahil Salathia

Sahil Salathia, Actor

There’s something about Sahil…his booming, contagious laugh, his intense acting on-screen, and his chameleon-like ability to move between fashion trends and eras.

The model-turned-actor made his debut with filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker in the series, Everest [2014-2015], and his roles in Panipat [2019] and Adhura [since 2023] garnered much appreciation. Not just in India, Sahil has been catching eyeballs overseas, too—earlier this year, Sahil was invited to attend the pre-Oscars party in LA, alongside other prominent South Asian talent, and made an impression on Kris Jenner, who lauded him for being “so fashion forward”. 

My mother has really influenced my style, but she always encouraged me to be absolutely authentic with my own, which is extremely important,” says actor Sahil Salathia, as he strikes a pose for The Word. x Crocs ‘Who’s Creative Now’ 2024…a celebration of cool, fresh creative names.

Sahil has been pushing boundaries with his androgynous, fashion-meets-art aesthetic, acting chops, and delightfully high energy. He is bold, forthright, and holds the kind of full-bodied laugh that fills a room. “My style is as honest as it gets. At this year’s New York Fashion Week, I paid my mother a tribute by wearing two of her saris as a cape, which Delhi-based designer Nafisa Rachel William customised for me,” he tells The Word. Magazine.

Sahil is wearing a blazer and shorts by Dhruv Kapoor, blouse by Aroka, and an earring worn as ear cuff by Simran Chhabra Jewels. Shoes and Jibbitz by Crocs.

Malavika Mohanan

Malavika Mohanan, Actor

Malavika Mohanan is here to traverse the landscape of Indian cinema, moving across regions and languages like its second skin. She first gained international attention for her performance in the thriller ‘Beyond the Clouds’ [2017], directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Majid Majidi. 

Accolades are a part of Malavika’s kitty, for she has been nominated for Best Debut at the Filmfare Awards and Best Actor (Critics) at the Star Screen Awards, along with much love from her audience across a number of commercially-successful Tamil films, from ‘Petta’ [2019] with superstar Rajnikanth to ‘Master’ [2021], which was the first Indian film to reach the first position in the global box office when it was released.

And the versatile actor will soon be making her Hindi debut with the film ‘Yudhra’, and is also filming her Telugu debut alongside actor Prabhas.

While shooting for The Word. ‘Who’s Creative Now’ 2024 List, Malavika shared her mantra to success: “Maintaining your sense of self and integrity in the face of professional milestones is what matters. Staying true to yourself, in the midst of success or failure, will remain with you throughout life.”

When it comes to personal style, Malavika finds inspiration in Indian textures, designs, and motifs. “Being a south Indian, I enjoy the visual palette of Kerala and Tamil Nadu…temple jewellery, kanjeevaram saris, shades like off-white and gold. I like creating a mix of the traditional with Western aesthetics,” she reveals.

Malavika is wearing a hand-painted dress by Polite Society, and ear crawlers by Amama. Shoes and Jibbitz by Crocs.

Zervaan Bunshah

Zervaan Bunshah, Comedian

Humour has a new name with Zervaan Bunshah, with his hilarious skits about personality quirks like the SoBo boy and Parsi matchmaker, among others. And then, there are his viral rants, like one about a flavour of chips that earned him a photo on its packaging. On a serious note, Zervaan has authored a book on Mahatma Gandhi, performed at sold-out shows, sang backing vocals, and more. 

Zervaan’s 184K-and-growing audience on Instagram is treated to daily snippets of his views on life and its subtleties, which many often choose not to speak about. But thats the thing about Zervaan’s witticisms—you can’t ignore the truth behind them. UUltimately, that is what makes his voice stronger in a world of doublespeak. 

As for style, Zervaan insists he has none of it, and that it has only been created and elevated by his girlfriend, whom refers to as ‘Dr Germany’. “My style has mainly been influenced by my girlfriend. Her name is Dr. Germany. She brought to my attention the lack of style that I had and has helped me with understanding how to match colours, patterns, and designs, and also how to follow the entire colour chart. She also taught me how to not wear loose-fitted pants and T-shirts. She brings out quite the confidence in one.”

Zervaan’s penchant for theatrics also got him some screen time in the award-winning series ‘Rocket Boys’ [2022 onwards], and has been on stage in productions like ‘My Fair Lady’, ‘Alice in Wonderland’, ‘Broadway and Beyond’, as well as experimental music performances at NCPA.

Zervaan in a jacket by Kanika Goyal Label, trousers by Rosani World, and pendant by Zariin Jewelry. Shoes and Jibbitz by Crocs.

Alizeh Agnihotri

Alizeh Agnihotri, Actor

“My debut film ‘Farrey’ [November 2023] was the best decision of my life,” actor Alizeh Agnihotri shares as she earns a title in The Word. Magazine’s ‘Who’s Creative Now’ 2024 List. “Even though the shoot and preparation were challenging, I enjoyed every second of the process, and would do it a million times over,” she states.

Alizeh’s performance as a gifted orphan in the teenage drama ‘Farrey’ garnered her immediate acclaim for her refreshing presence, and won her five debutant awards. Off camera, the 27-year-old is an image of coolness and composure. Don’t be fooled by first impressions, though, for Alizeh comes alive in front of the camera—a blaze of confidence and allure, backed by her acting prowess that proves she can hold her own in the film industry. 

As for her personal style, Alizeh finds fresh inspirations every day. IHer social media feed reveals a confident dresser, who’s not driven by hyper trends but, rather, comfort in her own skin. “I can’t name just one person who has influenced my style,” she shares, “I like to be open-minded with my creativity because you never know what and who can surprise you.”

In fact, she states that she’s rather be ‘cool’ than ‘hot’. On the set of the shoot for The Word. Magazine’s ‘Who’s Creative Now’ 2024 List, Alizeh created a bit of her stir with her incredible on-screen presence (“she has the best poses” a co-star chimed in), and the photographs are testament to this.

Alizeh is wearing a mesh dress and oversized blazer, by Clarache, ear cuffs by Tuula Jewellery, and rings by Zohra India. Shoes and Jibbitz by Crocs.

Zeyn Shaw

Zeyn Shaw, Actor

Following the success of the OTT series ‘Class’ and film ‘Farrey’, both in 2023, Delhi-born Zeyn Shaw has caught attention for his on-screen presence (and good looks). And for The Word. ‘Who’s Creative Now’ 2024 List, he showed up with charm and warmth (and a wicked sense of humour!). 

“An achievement I am most proud of is getting a foot in the industry,” Zeyn reveals. “One’s show being a success is what one dreams of, but you never really believe it will happen because of the nature of the industry. One goes through so much rejection, and that makes you question yourself, so when it actually happens, you definitely feel proud. I had done a lot of theatre in New York before, but I’d never been on camera until ‘Class’, so that was my first break.” As for the future, “there are a couple of films in the pipeline…I think it’s gonna be a good year.”

As for his personal style, Zeyn admits to not being too interested in it, despite his mom having been a fashion designer and his sister being a fashion designer currently. “My dad is super-duper fashion-forward, and while fashion hasn’t necessarily interested me, I’m learning to like it now because I it’s a part of my work,” Zeyn reveals. A great problem to have, we’d say. And it helps that his family has the biggest influence on his style, “because they’re super stylish people”. 

Zeyn is wearing an oversized jacket and pants, both by Kanika Goyal Label. Shoes and Jibbitz by Crocs.

Glorious Luna

Glorious Luna, Drag Queen

Mumbai-based Drag Queen Glorious Luna aka Suruj Rajkhowa (@glorious_luna) made history with the launch of Current Management in 2023, India’s first-ever talent agency for queer, non-binary, and trans people. “It is one of the things I am most proud of…the fact that we exclusively represent queer talents is unreal,” Glorious Luna shares.

They have also founded It Events, a carnival focusing on queer art and performance, and launching an app called Jungle later this year, which focuses on the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community.

“My style is kind of abstract… I’m inspired by many things, really,” shares Luna, who is synonymous with their glamourous personal style on-stage and on social media. “Among them are designer John Galliano, Lana Del Rey’s songs” they continue. But it’s. not just celebrities and creators that inspire them, the places they grew up in can be just as inspiring for them, as the moments that they have been bothered by. “I don’t follow trends,” they state emphatically.

Ask them about their greatest achivement, and they are quick to reply: “I am most proud of my queer family—House of Luna and Current Management that exclusively represents queer talent, and the fact that we represent them is unreal.”

The future looks bright for Glorious Luna, and there are interesting things are in Pipeline…an App called Jungle that focuses on the needs of queer, non-binary, trans people. “I have developed it with a German firm, and it should be out any time this year. I am also definitely looking to take Current Management overseas, to have an exchange between India and the global market.”

Glorious Luna is wearing a bodysuit by Rahul Mishra, and cuff by Outhouse Jewellery. Shoes and Jibbitz by Crocs.

Prateek Chauhan

Prateek Chauhan, Content Creator

Content creator Prateek Chauhan, who hails from a small town in Rajasthan, has been playing with art, fashion, and perspective, to create striking imagery. Prateek considers himself an “artist who is constantly striving to bring something fresh to the table”…which is exactly what he does.

“There’s no-one in particular who has influenced my personal style… Travelling to new places influences my style because it helps me experiment with new things,” Prateek demystifies his incredible aesthetics, that encourage his online audience to do a double take with their striking play of colour, camera angles, and delightful styling. 

In 2022, Prateek won four awards in two nights…a lucky streak for some, but tremendous hard work and patience for him. “It made me feel like I was doing something right. It feels amazing to be recognised and appreciated for my hard work!” he shares.

Prateek began his journey as an engineer, but decided to honour his deepest desire to pursue a career in fashion and styling, and became a full-time content creator. A new life opened its doors for Prateek, and he considers is “surreal that I get to work with my dream brands”.

Prateek’s driving force is to bring something fresh to the table, and to marry fashion with art when creating content. In fact, he believes it is this that sets him apart in the industry of content creation, for Prateek creates everything himself, from the ideation to execution.

Prateek is wearing a jacket by Rosani, trousers by Rishta by Arjun Saluja, and necklace by Swarovski. Shoes and Jibbitz by Crocs.

Srishti Guptaroy

Srishti Guptaroy, Illustrator

Illustrator Srishti Guptaroy has been addressing questions of gender and modern existentialism with her high-octane, pop art illustrations. Earlier this year, Srishti collaborated with Hermès to create installations and a digital visual identity featuring peacocks, elephants, and block-print motifs that celebrated India and the iconic French maison.

“I am an absolute, unapologetic, pop-culture girl,” Srishti tells The Word. “From Archie Comics to peak millennial shows like The OC and Gossip Girl, along with the Bollywood fashion fantasies of Karan Johar and Yash Raj, pop culture really shaped my adolescent fashion worldview. And that eventually led me here.”

In the middle of 2019, Srishti took a chance on herself and her dreams, and left a secure, corporate job to become a full-time illustrator. “Maybe it was the hot-headedness and slight delusion of youth, but that decision changed the trajectory of my life, gave me so many opportunities, and really allowed me to think about my life and career in a new way,” she recounts.

Currently, Srishti is in an exciting and dynamic phase of her career, where  she is am working on projects and with brands that she once could only dream of. “This year, I worked with the brilliant team of Hermès, a brand I didn’t even have the audacity to put on my bucket list,” she beams. “I am still working with Adobe as one of their key creators in the APAC region, which is an association I am incredibly proud of, it transforms lives. We are working on so many new AI initiatives, which is an energetic new space.” Srishti has also collaborated with the brand DailyObjects on another capsule collection, “which always opens my art to a new audience…merchandise that people use is always fun.”

For the illustrator, consciously trying to diversify her portfolio and undertaking projects that make her uncomfortable is what drives her. “As a creative, you are constantly learning and evolving,” she opines. “So, from large-scale murals to public installations to absolutely unexpected merchandise collections, get ready to see my art and design POV in new spaces and in new ways beyond just the digital landscape.”

Srishti has a strong and defined voice as an artist, and she’s pushing the boundaries of where it can be used.

Srishti is wearing a skirt and bomber jacket by Sonam Khetan, and earrings by Simran Chhabra Jewels. Shoes and Jibbitz by Crocs.

Divya Saini

Divya Saini, Founder of Bodements

Divya Saini is making reuse cool again with her vintage store Bodements in Mumbai and Paris, with hand-picked pieces from across the world. “Style is very intrinsic, it keeps on evolving. I don’t think my style is influenced by any one thing in particular. It is a cumulative result of the people I have met and places I have visited over the years,” Divya tells The Word.

Divya in a gown by Quod. Shoes and Jibbitz by Crocs.