Bollywood 2013: Star Spotting

As the year almost draws to a close, TWF correspondent Supriyo Hazra looks back how the leading stars of the dazzling B-town fared in the past 12 months.

Aamir Khan: Cine goers kept waiting till December for 'Mr. Perfect' to set the silver screen on fire with his 'Dhoom 3' as he turned to a 'bad man' for the movie. Released in regular 2D and Imax format, 'Dhoom 3' is the third installment of the popular Dhoom series. Coupled with Abshiek Bachchan, Uday Chopra, Katrina Kaif, Aamir kept his promises of producing one super hit for his fans every year.

Aditya Roy Kapur: The magician in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Guzaarish rose to fame in 2013 with Aashiqui 2, which became a box office blockbuster. Indian audience also loved him as Avi, Ranbir Kapoor's onscreen friend, in 'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani' which also rocked the box office.

Abhay Deol: Expecting something out of the box is something which one can always expect from Abhay Deol and the actor did not disappoint his fans in 2013 as he did justice to the character Jasjeet Singh Shergill in filmmaker Anand L. Rai's Raanjhanaa. Abhay's role was not much big but the impression he left on viewers as the young politician is strong.

Abhishek Bachchan: Abhsihek was back this year as tough cop Jai Dixit, chasing down yet another sinister villain, this time in the form of Sahir the clown thief, played by Aamir Khan, in Dhoom 3. Dixit surely charmed his fans once again and promised to deliver more thrilling performances in 2014.

Alia Bhatt: Her beauty and flamboyant acting had made Alia Bhatt the talk of the tinsel town since her debut in 'Student of the Year' last year. While she vanished from the silver screen this year trailer's of her upcoming movie 'Highway' are out. Alia will be back in director Imtiaz Ali's next venture in 2014.

Ajay Devgn: In Sajid Khan's official remake of the 1983 film 'Himmatwala' Ajay tried to recreate the charisma of dancing hero Jeetendra along with southern sensation Tamannaah but all his cheesy dialogues and 'he-man' fight sequences fell too short of impressing both critics and movie buffs. In his next venture, Ajay teamed up with Arjun Rampal, Amitabh Bachchan and Kareena Kapoor for 'Satyagraha' which did moderate business at the box office. He promises to entertain his fans once again as tough cop Bajirao Singham in 'Singham 2', the sequel to the 2011 super hit Singham, soon.

Akshay Kumar: Bollywood's original 'khiladi' Akshay Kumar's success graph this year was moderate, unlike other years when it usually touches the peak point. While his two films-Boss and 'Once Upon Ay Time In Mumbai Dobaara' bombed at the box office, his other film 'Special 26' was successful in entertaining fans.

Amitabh Bachchan: The same old sounds of the hooter, claps and some moment of excitement were back as Big B hosted the seventh season of popular TV show Kaun Banega Crorepati. On the silver screen, he was seen in Prakash Jha's 'Satyagraha' portraying the role of an idealistic man in the character named Dwarka Anand. In 2013, Bachchan also wrote another chapter in his glorious career which has spanned several decades as he made his Hollywood debut in 2013 with The Great Gatsby, in which he played a non-Indian Jewish character, Meyer Wolfsheim.

Anil Kapoor: While Bollywood's evergreen Mr. Dependable impressed Indian household with his small screen debut with the series '24'. 24 is an Indian television drama series based on the American series of the same name. Kapoor is playing the lead role in the series.

Arjun Rampal: One can say 2013 belonged to Arjun Rampal the actor as he is developing into a more matured actor with every passing year. With 'Inkaar' hitting the theatres at the beginning of the year, Rampal and Chitrangada Singh's on-screen chemistry and the poster of the movie grabbed too many eye balls. Arjun showed his brilliance in front of the camera in his later released films of the year which were 'Satyagraha' and 'D-Day'.

Bipasha Basu: Well, the Bong beauty and her love for horror films continued in 2013 as she was seen in Aatma, which also featured Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the lead role. The film failed to create much ripples at the box office. Basu was also seen performing a small role in Abbas-Mustan 's action-thriller 'Race 2'. The film was the first one to enter the worldwide Bollywood's 100 crore club in 2013.

Deepika Padukone: The crown of being the 'Miss 2013' in Bollywood galaxy surely went to the lanky beauty as she produced more hit movies than any other leading ladies in the industry this year. Far ahead of Katrina or Priyanka, Deepika positioned herself in the numero uno position this year. While the year commenced with her multi-starrer 'Race 2', which was the first one to enter the worldwide Bollywood's 100 crore club in 2013, she continued her dominance in the box office with multiple hits like 'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani ,'Chennai Express'and 'Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela'. All the films were declared super hits at the India box office. In fact, her Chennai Express and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani ranked among the highest-grossing Bollywood films of all time. Deepika's performance in all these movies garnered appreciations from both critics and her fans.

Dhanush: Southern superstar who was best known across India for his popular 'Kolaveri Di' number made his debut in Bollywood with Raanjhanaa.

Emraan Hashmi: Emraan loves doing horror films and 2013 was no exception as he started the year with Kannan Iyer's Ek Thi Daayan, which received mostly positive reviews from critics. However, his next venture with Vidya Balan, 'Ghanchakkar' might have played an average innings at the box office but the performance of both the actors were well received by critics and audience.

Farhaan Akhtar: A fit Farhan Akhtar raced hard as he portrayed one of the noted sports icons of India Milkha Singh in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag'. Impressing fans and getting mixed reviews from critics made the biopic do good business at the box office. The film had earned approximately Rs 8.50 crores on its first day.

Hrithik Roshan: The original super hero was back again in Krrish 3, the third in the Krrish series after 'Koi... Mil Gaya' (2003) and 'Krrish' (2006). The much-awaited movie of the year saw Roshan dawning Krrish masks to save the world from the hands of baddies. Kangana Ranaut's performances in the movie gained praises from both the critics and her fans. Filmmaker Rakesh Roshan's sci-fi movie made a roaring business in India and abroad and has gained Rs 244.92 crore till now. The superhero, however, is passing through a tumultuous phase of his life as Hrithik and his wife Sussanne announced to separate this year, ending their 17 year relationship. Hrithik also underwent a brain surgery earlier in 2013.

Imran Khan: Imran Khan romanced pretty begum Kareena Kapoor onscreen in the film Gori Tere Pyaar Mein. But their on-screen chemistry missed the spark to impress Indian audience and bombed at the box office. Imran's other movies of the year, including Once Upon Ay Time In Mumbai Dobaara!, where he sported a moustache, and Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola passed away without much ripples in the B-town paradigm. But Imran surely worked hard over his looks this year as he kept on experimenting with a moustache or a beard. It looks like he needs another 'Delhi Belly' to re-create his magic on Indian audience.

Irrfan Khan: When you feel like watching something experimental then you should always look out for Irrfan Khan's movies. The thinking actor kept his promises again with The Lunchbox. Revolving around a lunchbox, the story beautifully shaped the relationship shared by a man, who has been grieving since his wife died, and a woman (Nimrat Kaur) over her cooked foods and exchanged letters.

Jacqueline Feranandes: The pretty-faced Sri Lankan beauty took up a 'Gao Ke Gori' look for an item number in director Prabhu Deva's Ramaiya Vastavaiya, besides attempting to play the role of a perfect vamp in Race 2 this year. Surely, she has learnt to experiment, this time not only with her looks but with her acting.

John Abraham: In 2012, the macho actor made a heavy-weight debut as a producer with his 'Vicky Donor'. Teaming up once again with director Shoojit Sircar, John's next production dealt with the serious issue of Sri Lankan civil war and assassination of former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in their latest venture 'Madras Cafe'. John mesmerized his fans and critics as Major Vikram Singh, a character which rightfully gave him an opportunity to justify his acting prowess.

Karan Johar: The iconic filmmaker was back with the country's popular celebrity chat show 'Koffee with Karan' as he sits for an hour-long journey with stars, refreshing the audience with some light yet intricate chats, unveiling the other side of their favourite icons over a cup of coffee. The new session has already seen actor Salman Khan dropping a bomb by disclosing his virginity secrets.

Kareena Kapoor: A year after her marriage with Saif Ali Khan, Bebo was back in the industry busy experimenting with her roles in films like Satyagraha and then in Gori Tere Pyaar Mein. In 'Satyagraha', Kareena played the role of Yasmin Ahmed, a hard headed TV reporter whereas 'Gori Tere Pyaar Mein' showed her as Dia Sharma.

Katrina Kaif: In the battle for the numero uno position, Katrina, who was capturing it unopposed for the past couple of years, faced a stiff challenge from Deepika Padukone in 2013. Katrina was not much seen on the silver screen for most part of the year except as a fairy in Bombay Talkies. But her pretty face kept popping on the small screen across households in numerous advertisements until December when she was back with a bang in 'Dhoom 3' opposite Aamir Khan, completing the cycle of working with all the three Khans in B-town. Coupled with Aamir, some deadly stunts and eye-catching locations, Katrina's dhoomed at the box office as the film collected more than Rs35 crore on its opening day (December 20, 2013).

Kangana Ranaut : This powerhouse of talent may be missing out on bagging lead roles, but she nevertheless stuns with whatever performance she is offered or on ramp shows with her tremendous poise. So her role in Krrish 3 , though negative, got more praise from the audience and critics than that of Priyanka Chopra, the heroine of the movie. In a recent round table with other actresses on a TV channel, she in fact boldly said that she has stage fright and so would love to take up roles in not so promising films just for money than perform in shows or weddings. While she thus acted in a forgettable movie called Rajjo this year essaying a nautch girl, she is still trending with her Plain Jain looks in the upcoming release QUEEN directed by Vikas Bahl.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui: He is consistent and he is brilliant. Yes, one can describe Nawaz as few of the potential actors who have arrived in Bollywood in recent times whose performance will keep you glued to the screen. Away from the competition of 'packs', Nawazuddin knows the mantra of powerful performance which has created his own followers in these two years since his charismatic emergence in Kahaani last year. This year, he was seen in 'The Lunch Box', Aatmaand Bombay Talkies.

Priyanka Chopra: She is a singer, she is dancer and she is a good actor. Yes, if someone sits to write Piggy Chops resume then he will need to put all these qualities in it to properly express her talents. Away from the world of acting where she has already proved herself, Priyanka released her new album titled 'Exotic'. Though, it remained unimpressive to many of her fans but her moves with international rapper Pitbull for a music video in the album made her the talk of the town. Apart from singing, she featured in numerous item songs in films like Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela and Shootout at Wadala. She also starred opposite superhero Hrithik Roshan in Krrish 3' which made a huge profit at the box office. However, amid all these highs, Priyanka received a massive jolt in her personal life as her father Ashok Chopra passed away at a Mumbai hospital after losing his battle against cancer in June.

Ranbir Kapoor: It is tough to say whether it was a 'cool' or a 'hot' year for the Bollywood's leading man as gossips, success and failure followed him in every move he made in 2013. First came ''Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani' where he was seen pairing with ex-flame Deepika Padukone. The film also featured Aditya Roy Kapur and Kalki Koechlin. Bagged by positive reviews from critics and good response from audience, the Ayan Mukherjee directed film became the second highest grosser of the year. Friendship, love, Ranbir-Deepika pairing and Madhuri Dixit's item number-'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani' had all the tarka to cook a sumptuous Bollywood masala curry. Adding more feathers to the crown, the film became the seventh highest grossing Bollywood films in overseas markets. Ranbir, however, failed to live up to the expectations in his next release of the year Besharam which bombarded at the box office. The film saw the Kapoor family-Rishi Kapoor, Nitu Kapoor and Ranbir- teaming up for the first time. In his personal life too, Ranbir and his growing friendship with Bollywood heart-throb Katrina Kaif remained the talk of the town. Few pictures, featuring Ranbir and Kaif holidaying in Ibiza, triggered speculations over the formation of the new 'star couple' of B-town. Both the stars have so far negated all such claims though Kareena Kapoor spilled a few beans in the chat show with Karan Johar.

Rani Mukerji: Mostly remained away from the silver screen, Rani was seen only in one movie-Bombay Talkies- this year.

Saif Ali Khan: Away from his love and romantic roles, Saif was seen flashing guns and hitting baddies in all the films this year. Starting from 'Race 2' to 'Bullet Raja', Saif never stepped into the show of romance which has brought him success of late. With a blonde hairs and a Russian-English accent, he made people laugh out their lungs in theatres as he played the role of a Russian mafia lord called Boris in the country's first zombie movie Go Goa Gone. Saif truly knows how to entertain his fans.

Salman Khan: Bollywood's 'Tiger' Khan kept featuring in newspapers across the country for all the wrong reasons. His long standing cases of the Black buck poaching and the hit and run case kept him busy near the court room with his fans patiently waiting for the verdict in both the instances. It was Eid and suddenly one evening the channels flashed Salman embracing friend-turned-foe Shah Rukh Khan in an Iftar party hosted by Congress leader and Bandra legislator Baba Siddique. While the world hoped an end to the film industry's most talked about feud, the stars clarified it was just a goodwill gesture. Salman dropped another bomb in popular TV show Koffee with Karan as he declared that he was still a 'virgin'. Is anyone believing?

Sanjay Dutt: Shocking his fans and nearly putting an end to his successful career, Bollywood actor and 1993 Mumbai serial blast case convict Sanjay Dutt returned to jail this year. The Supreme Court in July this year had rejected Dutt's curative petition on his punishment. He had to surrender after the Supreme Court ruled out any extension of surrender time to him in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case. On May 10, giving a blow to Dutt, the Supreme Court rejected his plea that sought review of its March 21 decision where he was convicted. The Supreme Court on Mar 21 announced its verdict on Dutt for illegal arms possession during the Mumbai bombings that had killed 257 people in 1993 in the nation's financial hub. He is currently out of jail on a 30-day parole granted on grounds of his wife Maanyata's illness. In his professional world too Sanjay met failure as all his three films released this year namely Policegiri, Zila Ghaziabad and Zanjeer did not perform well at the box office.

Shah Rukh Khan: Shah Rukh Khan proved once again that he is still the badshah of Bollywood as his Chennai Express rocked new records at the box office by becoming the fastest film to enter the 100 crore club in just 4 days since its release. Rohit Shetty's typical masala entertainer is already the highest-grossing Bollywood film of 2013 at present, with Aamir Khan's Dhoom 3 competing hard to touch the numero uno position . Shah Rukh also grabbed eye balls by hugging former buddy Salman Khan during an Iftar party this year but before all could predict an end to their animosity, it was clarified that the embracing was just a goodwill gesture. His Indian Premier League (IPL) team Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) failed in the popular T20 league and lost its crown to Mumbai Indians.

Shahid Kapoor: Once considered as the next big thing in Bollywood, Shahid Kapoor's poor run and hard luck continues as both his films-R...Rajkumar and Phata Poster Nikla Hero did not draw much audience in theatres.

Sonam Kapoor: After an unimpressive 2012, Sonam delivered well this year with her strong performances in Raanjhanaa and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.

Sunny Leone: Away from the industry she belonged, adult film actress Sunny Leone has been followed by media wherever she went in 2013. With her launch in Bollywood in 2012, the 'Jism 2' actress remained a busy lady in the tinsel town this year by bagging more projects. Her Jackpot might have failed but she got the perfect opportunity to work with veteran actor Nasiruddin Shah in the movie, truly an achievement. She will also be seen in horror flick Ragini MMS 2 next year.

Vidya Balan: She will be seen sharing the screen with Farhan Akhtar next year but this year Bollywood's Mrs dependable did not find that perfect ball to hit a sixer as her Ghanchakkar did not create any chakkar at the box office.

Hits, without stars:

2013 saw Bollywood delivering several films out of its colourful box of dreams which featured no superstar but they created ripples at the box office. Few names are mentioned below:

Kai Po Che: The film featured no big stars but its story on friendship, politics and religion impressed Indian audience. A big screen adaptation of writer Chetan Bhagat's 'The 3 Mistakes of My Life' novel, the film featured actors Sushant Singh Rajput, Amit Sadh Rajkumar Rao as three friends.

Ship Of Theseus: Directed by Anand Gandhi, the film received positive reviews from both Indian press and critics.

Fukrey: Produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani, the film directed by Mrighdeep Singh Lamba tasted success on the basis of good performance by some little known actors like Pulkit Samrat, Richa Chaddha, Ali Fazal and Vishakha Singh.

Aashiqui 2: A sequel of 'Aashiqui', this film, featuring Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor, turned out to be one of the most successful movies of the year. The soundtrack to the film became very popular after its release and most of them topped the charts.

Rest In Peace:

Manna Dey: Legendary singer Manna Dey, who had entertained music lovers with his mellifluous voice over decades, passed away in October. He was 94. He was suffering from respiratory illness and renal failure and was in and out of the hospital for several months. Born on May 1, 1919, Dey in Calcutta as Prabodh Chandra Dey. His nick name was Manna.

He made his debut as a playback singer in the film Tamanna in 1942, and recorded more than 4000 songs in different languages including Hindi, Bengali and Assamese.

The Indian government had honoured him with the Padma Shri, the Padma Bhushan and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award.

His popular songs include 'Zindagi Kaise Hai Paheli', 'Ami Je jalsaghare', 'Hoyto Tomari Jonyo' and 'Coffee Houser Shei adda ta aj ar nei'.

Pran: Bollywood actor Pran, who strode the film industry like a colossus for decades essaying roles of mostly villains in the silver screen whom generations of cine goers would love to hate, died in July. He was 93. Pran or Pran Kishan Sikand was conferred the highest film honour of India, Dadasaheb Phalke Award, for his lifetime achievement this year at his home since he was ailing, while throughout his acting career he received many accolades, including several Filmfare awards. The veteran actor has given sterling performances in many films along with superstars like Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor in 1950s, 60s and 70s besides those with Amitabh Bachchan. Pran's performances have received acclaim in films like Azaad, Madhumati, Devdas, Dil Diya Dard Liya, Ram Aur Shyam, Aadmi, Ziddi, Munimji, Amar Deep, Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai, Aah, Chori Chori, Jagte Raho, Chhalia, Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai, Zanjeer etc. The list is long.

Shamshad Begum: Indian singing legend Shamshad Begum, whose melodious voice had enchanted music lovers for decades, passed away at her residence in Mumbai in April from age related ailments. She was 94.

Rituparno Ghosh:

Shocking his fans and leaving millions of his admirers in tears, iconic filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh died at his Kolkata residence in sleep in May. Ghosh made films not only in Bengali, but also in Hindi and English and all top Indian actors from Amitabh Bachchan to Sharmila Tagore, Rakhee, Ajay Devgn, Kiron Kher and Aishwarya Rai considered themselves lucky to be working with him. He got National film award for Best Director for his Bengali film "Abohoman". His last released film was Chitrangada where he also acted essaying the role of a gay dancer. Ghosh was also a gay icon who lived his life in his own terms in recent years, often dressing boldly to boast his effeminate bearing.

--IBNS (Posted on 26-12-2013)

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