This was a year of content-driven cinema, new age actors and surprises for the film industry. Big banner films failed to make a mark, while simple films with good content went on to become massive hits
Year 2018 will go down in history as the year the Khans (Shah Rukh, Aamir and Salman) finally got nudged out by two ‘K’s and an ‘R’ —Ayushmann Khurrana, Vicky Kaushal and Rajkummar Rao — who ruled the box office. With many more such changing trends, films this year hinted towards a positive shift that might change the entire map of the industry sooner or later. Let’s take a look at some of the best, the worst and the most memorable films and performances this year.
Surprise of the year: Stree
Little did anyone know that Amir Kaushik’s comedy horror film (a genre which remains quite unexplored in Bollywood) Stree, starring Rajkummar Rao and Shraddha Kapoor would become one of the biggest hits of the year. More than anything, it uses satire to convey its inherent message and that’s where its magic lies! It entered the 100-crore club (collecting Rs 129.90 crore at the box-office) and that again came as a huge surprise. Till now, a mid-size film devoid of a ‘Bollywood biggie’ grossing more than Rs 100 crore was an uncommon phenomenon. That too, a film that took a quirky take on a popular folktale — with some subtle jabs at the prevailing patriarchal system.
Hit of the year: Andhadhun
Directed by Sriram Raghavan, Andhadhun is a murder mystery which stars Ayushmann Khurrana, Radhika Apte and Tabu. It received positive reviews from audience, as well as critics. The IMDB rating of the film is 9! Moreover, not only did this film go on to become one of the highest grossers, but it also topped the annual survey conducted by movie database site IMDB’s India chapter, thus becoming the top Indian movie of 2018. Recently, it had its premiere in Netflix. So those who missed it, can now give it a watch!
Overhyped film of the year: Sanju
Rajkumar Hirani’s Sanjay Dutt biopic, the much-awaited film of the year, was heavily criticised by both audience and critics for trying to glorify Dutt and portraying him as the ‘victim of circumstances’. The filmmaker himself admitted in an event that he added scenes to create sympathy for his protagonist. He said, “Because I wanted to do a true story, I didn’t create any empathy towards him. I said let’s not create empathy and show (him) as he is. But later I understood that he is our hero, we need some empathy for him.” Though, the film made more than Rs 300 crore at the box office, it could be because of the phenomenal performance by Ranbir Kapoor and because the audience has faith in Rajkumar Hirani.
Disappointment of the year: Thugs of Hindostan
One of the Hindi film industry’s costliest ventures, made at a humongous cost of Rs 300 crore, failed at the box office. The film has superstars Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan and Katrina Kaif and is directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya. Trade analyst Taran Adarsh tweeted that Thugs of Hindostan’s lifetime overseas business is lower than Badhaai Ho’s. He wrote, “This is a SHOCKER… #ThugsOfHindostan may be the most expensive Hindi film, with Aamir Khan enjoying an enviable following in international markets, but its *lifetime biz* in #USA + #Canada and #Australia will be lower than #BadhaaiHo… Content wins and how! #TOH”. Amir Khan even apologised to the audience. On the other hand, Katrina Kaif said she’s hurt after the film’s failure. According to a report in Mid-day, theatre owners even demanded compensation from the makers. Disappointing indeed!
Controversial film of the year: Padmaavat
Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s grand venture, starring Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor, made headlines owing to the tiff between Karni Sena and the makers of the film. From attacking the filmmaker, vandalising the film set to burning effigies of Padukone and Bhansali — things took an ugly turn. In the end, the change in name (initially it was to be named Padmavati) puts an end to all of it. The film, however, did not turn out as expected. But Ranveer Singh (who portrayed Khilji) delivered a phenomenal performance, and made it a film worth watching.
Underdog of the year: Tumbbad
Filmmaker Rahi Anil Barve’s and Adesh Prasad’s Tumbbad, a fantasy horror, starring Sohum Shah (a gem who was yet to be truly discovered by the industry) came to the limelight a little later than it was released (the fact that it had a lesser known protagonist might have been the reason behind why audience overlooked it initially). The film, which portrays the cycle of greed, is considered as one of the most visually stunning films of Bollywood till date. It took almost six years to be made! It was premiered in the critic’s week section of the 75th Venice Film Festival — becoming the first Indian film to get such an honour. Makers of the film are planning a sequel.
Regional best of the year: Village Rockstars
Assamese film Village Rockstars, directed by filmmaker Rima Das, was India’s official entry for the Oscars 2019. Sadly, it failed to make it to the final round but it is not going to lessen the honour the film received. It won four National Awards, including the award for Best Feature Film this year. The film is about a young village girl in northeast,who wants to start her own rock band. It also got several international awards, and what sets it apart from the other films is that it witnesses the triumph of small independent film in a big way – a first of its kind!
Debut of the year: Ishaan Khatter
Bollywood superstar Shahid Kapoor’s brother Ishaan Khatter made his debut this year with renowned Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi’s Beyond the Clouds. The film is about a young drug dealer in Mumbai and how he becomes the victim of circumstances. Though, the film did not do well, but his performance was praised widely. He ventured into mainstream films with Dhadak – the remake of popular Marathi film Sairat, and there too he delivered a phenomenal performance. Besides acting, he is also a great dancer – a quality he shares with his brother Shahid! He is often linked up with his Shadak co-actor Jhanvi Kapoor. Not to forget – his boyish charm has already got him a huge fan following and is often considered ‘the next big thing’ of Bollywood.
Bollywood breaking taboos:
This year was also a year of breaking taboos. Films like Akshay Kumar starrer Padman — created awareness about menstrual hygiene — addressing a taboo topic openly. It was a biopic of Arunachalam Muruganantham —an entrepreneur from Coimbatore — who made cost-effective sanitary napkins. Then there was Ayushmann Khurrana starrer Badhaai Ho — which talked about sex between an older couple — and how society reacts to it as if it’s a sin. The film also witnessed phenomenal performances by veteran actors Neena Gupta and Gajraj Rao.
Biopics brings no magic:
For many years, Bollywood has been acing biopics — from MS Dhoni, Milkha Singh to Mary Kom. But strangely, this year also a number of biopics were released —Manto, Sanju, Omerta, Gold, Soorma — but none could make an impact.
Show stealers of the year:
This year, Ayushmann Khurrana —with his films like Badhaai Ho and Andhadhun — went on to steal all the limelight. Also, Rajkummar Rao and Ranveer Singh delivered flawless performances in Stree and Padmaavat respectively. Then, there was Alia Bhat — whose performance in Raazi was phenomenal. And even Radhika Apte — who is often considered as the ‘Netflix girl’ — delivered great performances in her series Lust Stories, Sacred Games, Ghoul and in films like Andhadhun and Padman.