From Padmavati controversy to nepotism — here's what made news in Bollywood in 2017
2017 is almost over, and what a year it’s been for Bollywood!
2017 is almost over, and what a year it’s been for Bollywood! Personal scandals became prime-time fodder (cough*Kangana-Hrithik*cough), big films flopped, small ones ruled the roost and we all learnt a new word (nepotism).
Here are the moments, movies and movie stars who dominated the conversation all through this year.
The Raees-Kaabil Face Off
The year started with Hrithik Roshan and Shah Rukh Khan locking horns over the Republic Day weekend. Both the A-listers had films release on the same Friday. And, if there’s one thing we’ve learnt from previous box office clashes is that there will be fireworks. In the weeks leading up to the release of Hrithik’s revenge saga Kaabil and Shah Rukh’s gangster film Raees, both the leading men were very diplomatic on social media but things got ugly behind-the-scenes when it was revealed that distributors picked Raees over Kaabil with a 60-40 screen share.
It was meant to be a routine pit stop on the Rangoon press tour but then Kangana Ranaut has probably not done anything humdrum in her life, and she wasn’t going to start on her debut outing on Koffee With Karan. A mildly entertaining celebrity chat show ended up sparking debates on nepotism, bullying, privilege and feminism.
The beginning of Rajkummar Rao’s stupendous year
The National Award-winning actor played both a freedom fighter (Bose: Dead/Alive) and a terrorist (Omerta) this year. He was the everyman trapped in a high-rise in Mumbai (Trapped), the meek saree salesman who transforms into an obnoxious rangbaaz (Bareilly Ki Barfi) and, the election officer who plays by the rulebook (Newton). Add to this, Rajkummar was the quintessential Hindi film ‘hero’ in two romcoms – Behen Hogi Teri and Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana – and made a cameo appearance as a 324-year-old man in Raabta. It really has been an unusually busy year for the chameleonic actor.
A Large Larger-Than-Life Extravaganza
The story of two warring cousins – Baahubali (Prabhas) and Bhallal Dev (Rana Dagubatti) captured the imagination of the country like no other film this year. Baahubali was Google’s most searched term, Twitter’s number one trend and the most discussed subject on Facebook. Now that we finally know “Katappa ne Baahubali ko kyun maara” (Why did Katappa kill Baahubali?), maybe we can move on with our not-so-exciting lives.
Bill Gates’ Bollywood Debut
We had two films about men from Delhi who couldn’t speak English release on the same Friday in May. Only one of them, though, had the honour of being the launch vehicle for Microsoft founder Bill Gate. And, for that split second of hilarity, Mohit Suri’s Half Girlfriend will always be remembered.
Our Ladies in Hollywood
This was a big year for both Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone who made their Hollywood debuts with Baywatch and xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. Interestingly, there were multiple parallels between the two launches – both are franchise films that had the ladies kicking-ass alongside action movie heroes.
No more male gaze!
Director Alankrita Srivastava’s struggled for more than six months to get her story of four middle-class women, asserting their personal and sexual rights, to theatres. Lipstick Under My Burkha’s prolonged tussle with Pehlaj Nihalani led Cenral Board of Film Certification (CBFC) is every filmmaker’s nightmare come true. Once the film released, both critics and the audience rooted for Usha, Leela, Shirin, and Rehana as they circumvented the web of patriarchy.
Flops! Flops! Flops!
It’s no secret that 2017 hasn’t been a good year for Bollywood. Big names like Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Ranbir Kapoor and Vidya Balan all failed to bring in the audiences but what shocked the industrywallahs was when Teflon superstars like Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan couldn’t sell tickets. Tubelight and Jab Harry Met Sejal are among the biggest disappointments of this year.
Akshay ‘The Money Spinner’ Kumar
Unlike the Khans, Akshay Kumar has had a really good year. He delivered the first blockbuster of 2017 as the underdog lawyer Jagdishwar Mishra in Jolly LLB 2. In Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, he played a husband fighting societal prejudices and took on the sanitation crisis in India. Not only is Toilet one of the year’s biggest hits, it also found mention on Bill Gates’ ‘Inspiration List of 2017’. Not bad for a year’s work!
This was a big year for sequels and spin-offs in Bollywood. We saw the new installments of Jolly LLB, Golmaal, Commando, Fukrey, Sarkar and Baahubali. There was also Naam Shabana, a spin-off from the hit Akshay Kumar thriller Baby. Varun Dhawan delivered two blockbusters with Badrinath Ki Dulhania and Judwaa 2, which were reboots. And, Katrina Kaif-Salman Khan are back as Zoya and Tiger in Tiger Zinda Hai. Considering most of these films were among the few successful films of 2017, expect to see many more franchises in the future.
The Padmavati Fiasco
The controversy surrounding Padmavati made headlines all through 2017 but in the month preceding its original date of release (December 4th) the din reached fever pitch in November. There were death threats, stone pelting, bandhs and calls to boycott and even, ban the film. Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali even released a video saying that the film doesn’t depict anything that may hurt anyone’s sentiments but to no avail. For now, the period drama has been postponed and the furore seems to have died down.
Relationship Status: It’s Complicated
“Are they back together” is the question everyone is asking about Katrina Kaif and Salman Khan. And, they aren’t talking about the A-list actors sharing screen space once again after a five-year gap. The former couple is back with Tiger Zinda Hai and their sizzling chemistry on screen is palpable. Adding fuel to the rumours are the cozy pictures from the film’s promotions and behind-the-scenes. If only, they’d tell us.
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