If the Mayans were to be believed then the world was supposed to end this year. Outrageous as it may sound, the thought couldn’t scare Bollywood for what could possibly be more outrageous! The world might not have come to an end but the old order to things did change for Bollywood. Additionally, there was a lot new in terms of not just faces but also stories, and more importantly attitude across the entire spectrum.
2012 is the year where the 100 crore box-office collection mark almost became a norm for the big releases. For the first time seven films (Ek Tha Tiger, Rowdy Rathore, Agneepath, Housefull 2, Barfi!, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, and Bol Bachchan) collected over 100 crores in the domestic market. But the good thing is that in spite of such a record setting feat, 2012 might just be recalled more for films like Paan Singh Tomar, Kahaani, and Vicky Donor.
A mix of commercial as well as critical success, these three films broke a lot of myths such as heroine-oriented films, biopics that don’t feature stars and mature comedies being risky projects. Sujoy Ghosh’s sequel to Kahaani featuring Vidya Balan is already in the works and Ayushman Khurana’s performance in Vicky Donor has been one of the best things to happen to commercial Hindi cinema for a while. As far as performances went then the year clearly belonged to Nawazuddin Siddiqui who not had two of his films (Gangs of Wasseypur, Miss Lovely) screened at the Cannes Film Festival but also pitched in a riveting performance as Timur in Talaash. Similarly, Siddique’s costar from Gangs of Wasseypur Huma Qureshi too lapped up rave reviews but the one superlative performance of the year was Sridevi’s English Vinglish. Returning to the silver screen after almost 15 years, Sridevi did what she’s best at – setting the screen on fire and proving that there’s nothing like old gold.
The biggest contribution 2012 made was in in clearing a little of the predicament that many production houses found themselves in about a cinema where the big budget event films and the middle of the path cinema could happily co-exist. Often the success of smaller films like Kahaani or Vicky Donor would make them scurry around the directors who made them and give them a carte blance for the future. Sujoy Ghosh suffered when the success of Jhankar Beats got him Alladin but he seems to have understood what he’s best at, and hopefully this time around the second-half would be different.
On a sadder note, the year saw the death of Hindi cinema’s first bona fide superstar Rajesh Khanna and Yash Chopra, a filmmaker who perhaps redefined Hindi films on more occasion than anyone else in living memory. In spite of all the change and freshness and what have you, the success of the tried and tested especially the fact that the more regressive a film seemed the greater money it made will ensure that nothing changes in real terms.
If we know one thing about Bollywood is that the more things change the more they remain the same. So, if this year we saw a Rowdy Rathore, 2013 promises to unleash the remake of Himmatwala and who knows which oldie would Team Golmaal rehash this time around. The success of the comparatively smaller films such as Paan Singh Tomar, Kahaani and Vicky Donor has been more than a silver lining and will no doubt inspire a few more in similar lines. This fight of the two opposing schools of Hindi cinema is what makes it interesting, and hopefully 2013 will give us more to cheer.
Born a cinephile and a close observer of society, the author is an award-winning documentary filmmaker/writer. He is a regular contributor to leading Indian publications and is currently working on his first book. Find out more about him here.
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