A tough year for Bollywood
2022 will be remembered as one of the tough years for Bollywood when regional movie industries gave the B-town cut-throat competition nationally with even audiences giving major releases a miss and preferring to shift their allegiance to their new found love in South. With lack of hit movies and #boycott trends emerging as serious issues of concern, 2023 will remain a crucial year for Bollywood to reshape its future. Supriyo Hazra looks back
Alia Bhatt: 2022 will remain one memorable year for Alia Bhatt as she achieved several crucial benchmarks in her life which included her marriage with Ranbir Kapoor and subsequent motherhood. In April, Alia and Ranbir left their fans delighted when the loved couple of the industry finally agreed to tie the nuptial knot. Happy news was extended in the later half of the year as well when she gave birth to a baby girl.
Away from her personal life, Alia remained busy this year in the world of Bollywood as well. Infact, she remained one of the brightest spots in the industry where she delivered one impactful movie after another. Based on the real-life character of Gangubai Kathiawadi, Alia in the titular role excelled in the Sanjay Leela Bhansali directed movie. The film is a crucial release in a year when moviegoers rejected several Bollywood movies and the #boycott trend remained dominant in every month of the year.
After Gangubai Kathiawadi, Alia also made her Telugu debut this year with the superhit RRR from the stable of S. S. Rajamouli. Alia Bhatt also turned a producer this year when she collaborated with Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies to co-produce a dark comedy called Darlings. She also acted in the movie which was released on Netflix.
Alia finished the year with Brahmastra: Part One – Shiva. The film has been branded a success but controversially since many challenged the claims. It is said that it was while shooting for the movie that Alia and Ranbir were touched by Cupid’s arrow. The onscreen chemistry shared by the duo in the Ayan Mukherji-directed venture remained the talk of the town. Away from Bollywood she also reached the US to shoot her Hollywood debut ‘Heart Of Stone’. The movie will also feature actress Gal Gadot. It is scheduled to release on Netflix in 2023.
Ayushmann Khurrana: Once thought to be the biggest upcoming star in Bollywood after he delivered consecutive hits at the Box Office, Ayushmann’s golden run received a blow in 2022 when all his releases underperformed. He featured in three movies in 2022- Anek, Doctor G, and An Action Hero. Neither of the movies tasted success. We hope to see him come back strong in 2023.
Akshay Kumar: Not only Ayushmann, Bollywood’s ‘Mr. Dependable’ Akshay Kumar’s movies also underperformed at the Box Office in 2022. After starting the year with Bachchan Pandey, Akshay featured in Samrat Prithviraj, Raksha Bandhan, Cuttputlli, and Ram Setu but none of them created magic at the Box Office. All the movies were released on the big screen except Cuttputlli.
Aamir Khan: Mr. Perfectionist Aamir Khan finally made a Bollywood return with Laal Singh Chaddha but alas the film went away without living up to the hype created around the movie. The movie was a Bollywood remake of Hollywood classic Forrest Gump. However, Aamir Khan’s performance in the movie was not appreciated by fans and critics alike. The movie also featured Kareena Kapoor Khan. Aamir was also seen making a guest appearance in Kajol’s Salaam Venky.
Bipasha Basu: Bollywood diva Bipasha Basu gave some amazing news to her fans when she gave birth to her baby girl. Bipasha and her husband Karan Singh Grover named their daughter Devi Basu Singh Grover.
Deepika Padukone: Deepika remained in the news for the entire year with her performance in Gehraiyaan at the beginning and then ending with her supposedly “sizzling appearance” in ‘Besharam Rang’ song from Pathaan. The song, however, landed the film in trouble for featuring Deepika in a saffron bikini angering a section of Hindus with even a ruling BJP minister in Madhya Pradesh threatening to stall its release in the state. Deepika earned applause from fans and critics for playing an out-of-the-box character in Gehraiyaan. The movie, apart from the notable chemistry shared between Deepika and Sidhant Chaturvedi, will also be remembered for creating awareness about mental illness.
Hrithik Roshan: The actor appeared in one movie in 2023- Vikram Vedha. The movie put up an average performance at the Box Office and did not help Bollywood in a year when Southern movies once again gave it a tough competition. Vikram Vedha also featured Saif Ali Khan in the lead role.
Jacqueline Fernandez: The Sri Lankan beauty made headlines for the wrong reason this year due to her connection with conman Sukesh Chandrashekhar in a Rs 200 crore money laundering case. In the world of her works, Jacqueline had a forgettable 2022 when her movies Attack, Bachchan Paandey, and Ram Setu failed commercially. She will now be eagerly waiting for the release of her upcoming movie with Ranveer Singh titled Cirkus.
Ranbir Kapoor: As mentioned earlier, Ranbir Kapoor married Alia Bhatt in April this year. He also became a proud parent of a baby daughter when his wife Alia Bhatt gave birth to their child in November. On the work front, he was seen in two movies- Brahm?stra: Part One – Shiva and Shamshera. The latter is a big flop while the success of the former has been challenged too.
Ranveer Singh: Ranveer, who beautifully portrayed Kapil Dev in 2021 released movie 83, found himself in the middle of a controversy when he appeared in a nude photoshoot for a magazine. A case was filed against the talented Bollywood actor by an NGO which alleged that he hurt the sentiments of women. On the work front, Ranveer appeared in the movie Jayeshbhai Jordaar. The movie received mixed reviews from critics but failed to perform at the BO. He will soon be seen in Cirkus. This is going to be the last major release of the year.
Shah Rukh Khan: Shah Rukh Khan ended 2022 with a big ticket teaser of his upcoming movie Pathaan The Bollywood Badshah aims to deliver big in this action thriller which also features Deepika Padukone. Khan also released the first song of the film- Besharam Rang- on Dec 12, triggering a controversy over Deepika’s saffron bikini in the provocative song.
Shah Rukh Khan will also be seen in another film- Jawan. The first look poster of the movie surely left you waiting for its release. The movie is directed by Atlee.
Salman Khan: Superstar Salman Khan will be back on the big screen next year with two major releases Tiger 3 and Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan.
Varun Dhawan: Varun Dhawan gave Bollywood an impressive end to the year with the release of his movie Bhediya. Varun, along with Kriti Sanon and Abhishek Banerjee, won hearts with their performance in Dinesh Vijan’s horror-comedy. The movie received positive reviews from critics and audience alike. The film’s VFX was in the news. A top Hollywood studio (Moving Picture Company) was involved in the effects of the film where the protagonist Bhaskar finds himself changing after being bitten by a wolf in the forests of Arunachal Pradesh. “Jungle Book Meets Wolverine in Film Held Together by Its Cast” was how a review of the film was summed up.
Taapsee Pannu: Taapsee made appearances in OTT platform released movies as well as on big screens but despite mostly winning hearts of critics, they failed to make much impression on the audience at large. Her major releases in the year were Looop Lapeta, Shabaash Mithu, Dobaaraa, Tadka and Blurr.
Ajay Devgn: The star actor was back to rock the Box Office with Drishayam 2. The Ajay-Tabu starrer entered the 200-crore club and gave some positivity to the year when Bollywood struggled to deliver. However, his other major releases Runway 34, Thank God could not leave the audience satisfied.
Old is Gold:
Amitabh Bachchan: Amitabh Bachchan remained busy all the year around and he was seen in four releases in 2022 including the mega Brahm?stra: Part One – Shiva which also featured Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt. He also featured in Jhund, Runway 34, Goodbye and Uunchai. Uunchai was theatrically released on 11 November 2022, to positive reviews for its cast performances, direction, screenplay and cinematography.
Anupam Kher and The Kashmir File: Anupam Kher, who is considered as one the best performers in Bollywood, perhaps created one of the biggest magic of the year with the release of his movie The Kashmir Files. Based around the 1990s exodus of Kashmiri Hindus from Kashmir, the Vivek Agnihotri-directed hard-hitting drama emerged as the first major hit of the year. The movie also emerged as one of the most talked about films of the year. The film was an entry at the 53rd International Film Festival of India, held in Goa in November 2022. During the festival, Isreal filmmaker Nadav Lapid, who was one of the heads of the juries for international competition at the IFFI, triggered a controversy by calling it ‘vulgar and propaganda’.
Man of the Match:
Karthik Aaryan: Karthik Aaryan remained the biggest shining spot in Bollywood in 2023 when his performance earned praises from fans and critics and helped in establishing as one of the biggest names in the industry. Karthik gave Bollywood one of the few major hits of the year with Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2. Already hit by COVID-19 for two years and with the ‘boycott Bollywood’ trend going strong, Karthik took the responsibility of pulling back young audiences to the theatre with the movie. Bhool Bhulaiyaa not only remained a Box Office hit but also impressed fans at the OTT platforms. He also won hearts with his unconventional performance in his dark and spine-chilling thriller Freddy. The young actor will soon be seen in Satyaprem Ki Katha, Aashiqui 3, Shehzada and Kabir Khan’s untitled next.
Worth-mentioning actor of the year: Neena Gupta, who has come back in a big way in recent years, rocked throughout the year with her presence in several movies, including Uunchai and Goodbye with Big B. Her candid interviews and easy-going and gracefully chilled out, rather relatable lifestyle, as posted on social media platforms like her Instagram handle, gained traction.
Lata Mangeshkar: India was heartbroken when Lata Mangeshkar, the singing legend of the nation, passed away at a hospital in Mumbai. With her death, a glorious chapter in the history of the country came to an end but she will surely continue to live through her memorable songs forever.
KK: Singing sensation KK came down to Kolkata to perform in two college concerts. KK, suspected to have been feeling sick while performing in one of the shows, returned to his hotel where his condition reportedly deteriorated and was taken to a hospital where the medical authorities declared him dead. The arrangements at the overcrowded concert venue were blamed for his death.
Bappi Lahiri: Bappi Lahiri, the gold clad rockstar of Bollywood, who is known for composing several hit music in his career, died on Feb 16.
Raju Srivastav: Popular comedian Raju Srivastav left his fans in tears when he died on Sept 21 after undergoing treatment at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi for several weeks. The comedian was brought to the medical facility after complaining of chest pain and falling at the gym. (IBNS-TWF)