Formula rules in the Hindi film industry. Or at least that’s what the perception about this particular genre of cinema is. Rarely does one witness anything out of sync here. And those who charter the roads less travelled are usually banished to the back burner. However, 2013 saw some instances which was not only promising (for the present) but also trend-setting (for the future). HitList zooms on some incidents and the Bollywood personalities behind them who facilitated such changes...
Reason: Since the advent of R100-crore club, it’s been the male actors (namely the Khans and Akshay Kumar) who have been hogging the limelight for registering themselves in again and again. For a change, this actress had four releases this year and all of them grossed over 100 crore in the country -- Race 2, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Chennai Express and Ram-Leela.
Reason: PC is perhaps the only active Bollywood actress who is keen on singing. After taking her acting prowess a notch up last year with Barfi!, she exhibited an interest in music by releasing her debut single In My City while collaborating with Jay Sean. She later released her second single Exotic which featured rapper Pitbull. 2013 saw her in two item numbers, one blockbuster and a forgettable film.
Reason: She had just one release in the year, Ghanchakkar, which failed miserably at the box-office. But something worth noting took place in Cannes a month before this film opened in the theatres. Vidya was a part of the grand jury at the celebrated film festival and rubbed shoulders with the likes of Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee and Nicole Kidman. An honourable feat for the 35-year-old National Award winner.
Reason: Dimple Kapadia recently pointed out that there’s a lack of covet-worthy roles when it comes to actors who have passed a certain age. And she’s certainly not mistaken. However, Rishi Kapoor proved to be an exception to this theory. Earning prominent roles, the veteran actor had five big releases in the year and all of them -- with the exception of Besharam -- earned him rave reviews.
Sushant Singh Rajput
Reason: Moving from small screen to big screen can be called a natural progression. But it’s generally a slow process too. And seldom does one come across a TV actor who is suddenly leaping into a bigger league. Something of that sort is happening with the Kai Po Che star. Just two-films-old, he’s presently working with acclaimed directors like Shekhar Kapur Rajkumar Hirani and Dibakar Banerjee.
Reason: Not very long ago, speculations were rife about Anil Kapoor being more interested in Hollywood than in Bollywood. That was then. As of now, he’s the protagonist as well as the producer of the most gripping television series (hopefully) in a long while. And for an actor who stayed away from the small screen while his contemporaries were making their foray on the tube, it’s encouraging.
Reason: Humour more than just sells. This fact was (once again) established by Kapil Sharma with his hugely popular comedy show. Attending it to promote their upcoming films has become sort of a pilgrimage for actors nowadays. In fact, Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar have been there twice. Given the spontaneity of the show, nobody appears to say no to it. Some even request to be a part of it.
Reason: It’s quite known that mainstream actors have a choc-a-bloc calendar with shooting for one film after another is a routine. Calling the current system an assembly line won’t be far-fetched. Much against this set up, Farhan accomplished something out-of-the-book by dedicating nearly two years for a single role in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. To his credit, the biopic did well at the box office too.
Reason: For the record, he remains the highest paid singer for a single song in Bollywood. Having faced his share of legal troubles for “vulgar” lyrics, the 29-year-old taciturn crooner is as popular as popularity gets -- largely in the metropolitan areas. Catchcy numbers like Lungi Dance and Punjabiyan Di Battery ensured him a consistent place on the chartbusters throughout the year.
Reason: She fought ovarian cancer, won and is now back at work. The buzz is Rajkumar Santoshi and Sanjay Leela Bhansali have reportedly offered her films now that she is keen to return to Bollywood. As of now, she is going through scripts and is keen to return with a meaningful role. Interestingly enough, Manisha prefers to call herself a cancer crusader -- not a cancer survivor.
Reasons: Independent films in our country travel across the globe on the film circuit but very few of them actually receive a proper Friday release. Anand Gandhi’s Ship of Theseus did. And a lot of the credit goes to the Dhobi Ghat director because she effectively funneled all the resources required to present the film.
Reasons: When Bombay Talkies released as a tribute to 100 years of cinema, hardly anybody was expecting this filmmaker to go beyond his comfort zone and come up with a shortie that highlighted repressed homosexuality. On the contrary, his ‘gay encounter at gunpoint’ question on his chat show sounds rather regressive in comparison.