Bollywood News 2014
It is no longer just about films and filmstar gossip. The routine of busting records may have been dutifully carried out as ever but Bollywood's year that was will go down as one when the hardnosed hack also pushed the envelope on what we have traditionally called film journalism. This was a year when media madness over the wedding of a superstar's sister and tacky journalism pertaining to the decolletage of a top heroine made bigger news than blockbuster movies scaling box-office highs. Bollywood watchers noted with amusement as B-Town glitterati made for essential participation in sporting events. It was a year when the way a film was promoted on television shows often seemed more interesting than the film itself. Of course, there were the more traditional shots at headline hogging, too. The Khans continued ruling the roost, the twist in that familiar scenario being Bollywood now has a sizeable contingent of GenNow stars who look to take on the aging lot any time soon.Among things that made us smile was the rising presence of heroinedominated flicks in the number of films released, notably reflected by Queen, Dedh Ishqiya, Mardaani, Revolver Rani, Daawat-e-Ishq, Mary Kom and Khoobsurat. Some of these worked, some did not, but the number of producers keen to invest in female-centric scripts only seems to be growing now. Happy news, too, that shoddy, gaudy fare such as Humshakals, Action Jackson and Entertainment arrived with a bang and left with a whimper. The dull show of these films despite riding mammoth budgets and big names proves the audience is clearly giving out a signal: cheap and jaded tricks in the name of 'entertainment' will no longer work. WHILE on tricks, the time-tested winner still continues to be the good old 'alleged affair' card.
Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif very much enjoyed the limelight doing not much else this year besides renting a penthouse together/ moving into the penthouse together/being spotted at various places together/ giving out hints of an impending wedding. While the duo's trademark is to "not talk about" their 'affair', Anushka Sharma resorted to diametrically opposite tactics by openly declaring her love for cricketer Virat Kohli. As long as it translates to column space in the press, who cares about tactics. In this era of heightened hardsell, stardom is all about staying in the news, not how you do it.
1) Khan power still matters
Salman Khan's Kick and Jai Ho plus Shah Rukh Khan's Happy New Year together generated nearly Rs 925 crore in business worldwide, and the trade expects Aamir Khan's PK to easily cross the `400 crore-mark. At a year short of 50, the Khan trio continues to drive Bollywood business with more assurance than other superstars.
2) GenNow is closing in
Till last year, the only young superstar deemed a serious contender to challenge the Khans was Ranbir Kapoor. Not anymore. Varun Dhawan with Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania (in pic), Sidharth Malhotra with Ek Villain and Arjun Kapoor with 2 States scored big in 2014. Among the girls, Deepika Padukone or Katrina Kaif will find Alia Bhatt, Shraddha Kapoor and Kriti Sanon are no glossover.
3) The hack gets more hardnosed
If snooping on Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif on their beach vacation last year in Spain was not enough, Indian film journalism hit a new low when the website of a leading daily tried garnering big hits by attaching a tacky caption to a picture of Deepika Padukone in a dress with plunging neckline. The media circus around Gauhar Khan's slapgate was no less sensational.
4) Game on for Bollywood
Whether it is football, kabaddi or tennis, if you don't have a Bollywood star on the pitch your game is not cool enough. Indian Super League football, Pro Kabaddi League and International Premier Tennis League became excuses to plug Bollywood celebs as much as Indian Premier League cricket has always been. From live performances to owning teams, Bollywood is game to get sporty.
5) Brainless is boring
Bollywood's master of the ribald Sajid Khan learnt it the hard way, but brainless is on its way out. Sajid's Humshakals, an alleged comedy of errors involving triple roles, will only be remembered (if at all) for Saif Ali Khan, Riteish Deshmukh and Ram Kapoor trying to outdo each other in cheap drag tricks. Ajay Devgn's Action Jackson and Akshay Kumar's Entertainment were other dumb fare that failed to find favour with viewers.
6) Relative merit shines on
Arpita Khan's queen-sized wedding was filmdom's event of the year, so what if the lady's sole claim to fame is being Salman Khan's adopted sister. Bollywood has always pushed 'relative merit' and the trait seemed blatant as the entire industry dutifully trooped in to wish Arpita on her big day. It's limelight guaranteed even if you are the niece of a top costume designer, as long as uncle dearest manages to pool in a couple of stars at your shaadi. Ask Rriddhi, Manish Malhotra's niece.
7) It's a woman's world too
The growing impact of heroineoriented films became only too evident in a year when Kangana Ranaut in Queen (below) and Revolver Rani, Madhuri Dixit (Dedh Ishqiya), Rani Mukerji (Mardaani), Parineeti Chopra (Hasee Toh Phasee; Daawat-e-Ishq), Priyanka Chopra (Mary Kom) and Sonam Kapoor (Khoobsurat) cracked Bollywood's chauvinistic code stronger than ever before. The number of producers keen to invest in femalecentric scripts seems to be rising now.
8) No news like love news
Ranbir Kapoor had no release this year, and the only buzz Katrina Kaif made as an actor was around October, when Bang Bang released. Yet, these two remain 2014's most covered stars in the media. Carefully monitored 'leaks' about their 'alleged affair' were universally lapped up. Anushka Sharma, who returns with PK after over a year, maxed out the formula too, painting the town red with cricketer Virat Kohli.
9)YO YO! Singh is King
From Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar to the rank newcomer cast of Yaariyan, they have all been lining up to feature Yo Yo Honey Singh on that special video number in their films. Yo Yo songs are stars unto themselves, and they also add a punch to album sales.
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CE (Alison L Sanchez)
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