Weddings, debuts, deaths: A to Z of Bollywood that made headlines in 2018
Actress Sridevi passed away on February 24 in Dubai.
- Meena Kumari, FIFA WC, Winter Solstice: A throwback to the best Google doodles of 2018
- Sunil Chhetri looks at social media in a new light, after 2018's famous football tweet
- Isha-Anand tie the knot: Mukesh, Anil Ambani greet guests; Pranab Mukherjee, Big B, Hillary Clinton at 'Antilia'
- #MeToo: Sexual harassment scored around 50 mn Google search traffic since movement began
The movers and the shakers, the desis and the pardesis, the shaadis and the babies, the hits and the misses that made headlines in 2018
A FOR ALIA
Lil’ Ms Bhatt grabbed eyeballs when she sashayed into Sonam Kapoor and Anand Ahuja’s wedding reception with Ranbir Kapoor confirming that they’re officially a couple. But when talk turned to an early wedding for the 25-year-old actress and the 36-year-old actor, Alia gunned into the Rs 100 crore-club with Junglee Pictures and Dharma Production’s cross-border spy thriller, 'Raazi'. She’s also quietly wrapped up 'Gully Boy' and signed up for papa Mahesh’s comeback directorial, 'Sadak 2'. So, for now its only picture perfect moments for these two.
B FOR BABIES
Six months after they tied the knot, Mehr was born to Neha Dhupia and Angad Bedi. It’s a girl, Nurvi, for Neil Nitin Mukesh and Rukmini too, and a son, Zain, for Shahid Kapoor and Mira. Mohit Suri and Abhishek Kapoor became papas again, sons for both. It was Baby No. 1 for Rohit and Jaanvi Dhawan and Baby No. 3 for Rambha as well as Rajpal Yadav. Sunny Leone and Daniel Weber adopted two boys, Asher and Noah, and Sakshi Tanwar a nine-month-old girl, Dityaa. Lisa Ray and Jason Dehni welcomed twins, Sufi and Soleil, and Shreyas and Deepti Talpade a daughter via surrogacy.
C FOR CANCER
In June, Irrfan Khan announced on the social media that he’s been diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumour. A month later, Sonali Bendre flew off to New York to be treated for high grade cancer that had metastised. Nafisa Ali and Rishi Kapoor were also felled by the Big C. The latter is also in the Big Apple, hoping to win this battle like Manisha Koirala whose book, Healed, on how she survived cancer, has entered the book stores.
D FOR DEEPVEER
They began the year battling for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s mired-incontroversy period drama and by the year-end, as the joke went, Alauddin Khilji bagged Padmavat for life. Their two weddings and three receptions stretched over two weeks, starting in Italy’s Lake Como and ending in India’s film capital. Just before the curtains came down on the year Ranveer Singh was back on the screen as Sangram Bhalerao in Rohit Shetty’s cop drama, 'Simmba', while his better half is gearing up for Chhapaak, based on the story of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal which she is co-producing with director Meghna Gulzar. There’s no stopping DeeVeer...
E FOR ENDINGS
The biggest shocker: 54-year-old Sridevi found dead in a bathtub in a Dubai Hotel on February 24. We also lost veterans, Nargis Rabadi aka Shammi Aunty, Arjun Hingorani who’d launched Dharmendra, and Ava Mukherjee, SRK’s grandmother in Devdas. Arjun Shrivallabh Vyas, Sarfarosh and Lagaan actor, bid adieu on January 7, 22 days later, Tom Alter, succumbed to skin cancer. Race 3 actor, Narendra Jha, passed away after a heart attack.
F FOR FOREIGN CONNECTIONS
Christian Bale was in India to promote a new show, Christopher Nolan for an IMAX screening of Interstellar and Chuck Russel to direct Junglee Pictures’ Hindi film Junglee. Will Smith shot for a song for SOTY2 with Tiger Shroff, Tara Sutaria and Ananya Panday and producer Lawrence Kasanoff flew down for talks with Tiger for a Hollywood film. Randeep Hooda filmed for a series with Chris Hemsworth and Nick Jonas starred in a Big Fat Indian wedding. His baraatis included brother Joe Jonas and ' Game of Thrones' star Sophie Turner.
G FOR GOING DIGITAL
Hoardings for web series now are bigger than that of films and the audience spans across almost 200 countries and is available 24x7 at the flick of a button. Content is engaging, production values top-of-theline and the shows are rolling fast. Not surprisingly, B-town’s big names are ready to bite the bait, so are the filmmakers.
H FOR HITS & MISSES
Small was big as 'Badhaai Ho', 'Raazi', 'Stree', 'Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety' and 'Baaghi 2' broke into the Rs 100-crore club while the almost Rs 100-crore budgeted biggies like Race 3, 'Thugs of Hindostan' and 'Namaste England' bit the dust. Controvery-ridden 'Padmaavat' and 'Parmanu' got the thumbs up, Rajinikanth proved he’s still the box-office Thalaiva with '2.0' but it was no-no for Kamal Haasan’s 'Viswaroopam 2' and 'Yamala Pagla Deewana Phir Se'. Ajay Devgn managed to ‘Raid’ the coffers, Akshay struck 'Gold', Varun Dhawan stitched a hit with 'Sui Dhaga' and Ayushmann Khurrana made music with 'AndhaDhun'.
I FOR INNOVATION
A story with a twist was what drove the box-office rather than stars and formulae. The pregnancy of a 40-plus mother-of-two brought ‘good news’ for 'Badhaai Ho' makers while the blind pianist of 'AndhaDhun' made the cash counters jingle. A girl gang speaking openly about all things taboo made 'Veere Di Wedding' memorable, while a 102-year-old dad brought cheer to his producers. Varun Dhawan’s October melted hearts from the sick bed, Akshay Kumar’s Padman made ‘periods’ drawing room conversation topics and Rajkummar Rao stitched horror and comedy together to make 'Stree' a bestseller.
J FOR JOKES APART
Jim Sarbh’s ‘rape’ joke made Kangana Ranaut laugh but not everyone found it funny. On 'The Great Indian Laughter Challenge'. Akshay Kumar told Mallika Dua, “Aap bell bajao, main aapko bajata hoon”, no one was amused, least of all her father Vinod Dua. A petition seeking an FIR against Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Shilpa Shetty and others was filed in the Delhi High Court after Bhai made a casteist joke on a reality show while promoting 'Tiger Zinda Hai'. Sidharth Malhotra while mouthing Salman’s Race 3 dialogue on another show said Bhojpuri gives a 'latrine kind’ and was slammed by Neetu Chandra. A Supreme Court lawyer filed a complaint against Papon when a video of the singer kissing a minor participant on a reality show went viral. After the outrage, he apologised. The girl defended him, saying he kissed her like he’d kiss his own child.
K FOR KAPIL SHARMA
Kapil Sharma began the year on an all-time low, grabbing headlines following his war of words with journalist Vicky Lalwani before he went into rehab in Bangalore. Just when it looked like everything was unravelling for Kapil, Ginni Chatrath, whom he’d met in Jalandhar when she was 19 and he was 24, re-entered his life and surrendered herself to his well-being. On December 12, the couple tied the knot and on December 29, The Kapil Sharma Show will be back on air. Now, it remains to be seen if the Bad Boy of the Small Screen has settled down for good.
Little Mirza-Malik, Royal Baby No.3 & Other Celebrity Newborns Of 2018
It's Raining Babies
L FOR LOVE, ACTUALLY
Ranbir-Alia and Varun Dhawan-Natasha Dalal were not the only couples making public appearances together. Farhan Akhtar and Arjun Rampal got over the end of their marriages to find new partners in singer-actress Shibani Dandekar and South African model-actress Gabriella Demetriades respectively. After years-of-playing hideand-seek, a newly-divorced Malaika Arora and long-time beau Arjun Kapoor are now singing, “Khullam Khulla Pyaar Karenge...” Maliaka’s ex-husband, Arbaaz Khan, has also found love again in model-actress Giorgia Andriani and buzz is, so has Sushant Singh Rajput’s former partner, Ankita Lokhande, with bizman Vicky Jain.
M FOR #METOO
Tanushree Dutta returned after a decade in hibernation with sexual harrassment allegations against Nana Patekar during the shoot of 'Horn OK Please', sparking off the #MeToo movement in India. The actor was subsequently replace by Rana Daggubati in 'Housefull 4' and it’s director, Sajid Khan, also dropped out following similar charges. Farhad Samji has taken over Housefull and Sajid has been banned from working in films for a year. Writer-filmmaker Vinta Nanda accused ‘sanskari’ Alok Nath of rape as many other women called out big names in other fields.
N FOR NEWBIES
Sridevi and Boney Kapoor’s daughter, Janhvi, debuted opposite Shahid Kapoor’s brother, Ishaan Khattar, in 'Dhadak'. Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh’s daughter, Sara Ali Khan, trekked up to Kedarnath, before going “Annkh Mare”with Ranveer Singh in Simmba. The late Vinod Mehra’s son, Rohan, moved from banking to Baazaar and Mammootty’s son, Dulquer Salmaan, drove into B-wood with Karwaan. It was Love-Yatri during Navratri for Salman’s brother-in-law Aayush Sharma. 'Satyamev Jayate' brought in Neha Sharma’s sister, Aisha. Naagin Mouni Roy struck Gold and it was October in April for Banita Sandhu.
O FOR ONCE MORE
Rajinikanth brought Robot back and the overwhelming response to '2.0' means '3.0' will return too. The third instalment of the Baaghi franchise has just been announced after the superhit Part 2 but 'Hate Story 4' seems to have run out of steam. Salman Khan’s Bhojpuri accent couldn’t keep the Race going. The makers of the 'Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster' and 'Yamla Pagla Deewana' franchise will also think four times before making a comeback. Ektaa Kapoor rebooted 'Kasautiii Zindagii Kay' with a new cast, 'Dus Ka Dum 'returned after almost dus saal and 'Naagin' continues to make hissstory.
P FOR PAHLAJ TO PRIYANKA
Former CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani moved the Bombay High Court against the 20 cuts and U/A certificate suggested by the censor board for his upcoming production, 'Rangeela Raja', claiming it was their way of getting back at him for being “very strict” during his tenure. While the HC refused to hear his plea on an urgent basis, the film was eventually passed by FCAT with three cuts.
Priyanka Chopra dropped out of Salman Khan’s period drama Bharat, as the film’s director Ali Abbas Zafar quipped, “in the nick of time”, claiming she had signed a big international project. A few months later, the Desi Girl, brought American singer-songwriter Nick Jonas home to Bharat as her “husband”.
Q FOR QUEENS
The year began with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Rani Padmavat waging a prolonged censor war and disruptions across the country to storm the theatres to a rousing reception. The year ended with the Queen of Jhansi, Manikarnika, sounding the battle cry, it’s heroine Kangana Ranaut even taking over the reins of direction from Krrish who left midway to helm the NTR biopic, to power the film to a Republic Day release. Har Har Mahadev!
R FOR REAL TO REAL
Alia Bhatt’s Sehmat in 'Raazi' was based on a real spy married to a Pakistani officer before the 1971 war. While her story is for real her name wasn’t Sehmat. Some secrets are best left undisturbed. Rajkummar Rao lived the role of Brit terrorist Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh in 'Omerta'. Akshay Kumar’s 'Gold' was loosely based on independent India’s first hockey win in the 1948 Olympics and 'Soorma' recreated ex-hockey captain Sandeep Singh’s return to the field.
S FOR SANJU
While on biopics, Rajkumar Hirani’s 'Sanju' will resonate long after 2018 is a memory, both on box-office charts and in public memory. Ranbir Kapoor made for a convincing Sanjay Dutt and despite grouses of a whitewash, the film was the year’s highest grosser, the first since 2006 not to feature a Khan.
T FOR THUGS AND TROLLS
The social media cut the Big B down to size, telling him it wasn’t cool to burst crackers during Diwali and Disha Patani for teaming her ghagra with a sports bra to promote her brand. Malaika Arora drew frowns for celebrating Thanksgiving, that too in advance, and Janhvi Kapoor her birthday 10 days after mom Sridevi’s demise. It got more ludicrous with Aishwarya Rai trolled for kissing daughter Aradhya and Radhika Apte for wearing a bikini on a Goa beach. Not everyone laughed it off. Esha Gupta showed the finger while Rhea Chakraborty reacted to a pic of Mahesh Bhatt and her by quoting a line from the Amar Prem song, “Kuch To Log Kahenge”.
There were no dhamaka for Aamir Khan this Diwali. Clearly out of his ‘Deppths’ in a Jack Sparrow avatar, even with Big B, Fatima Shaikh and Katrina Kaif on board, his 'Thugs Of Hindostan' sank. A Twitterati’s verdict: Ok. I see the following:
1. A taller Blackbeard
2. A mute Angelica
3. A desi Jack Sparrow So, we basically have POTC4. Ouch!
U FOR UNLAWFUL
Prernaa Arora began 2018 as one of B-town’s A-list producers and ended it being arrested by the Economic Offences Wing for alleged involvement in a fraud. Her banner, KriRaj Enteratianment, had produced films like 'Rustom', 'Toilet Ek Prem Katha', 'Pad Man' and 'Pari'. The honeymoon ended after she accused Abhishek Kapoor, her Kedarnath director, of wasting resources and he countered the claim with an allegation of non-payment of dues. Then, John Abraham, her co-producer on 'Parmanu': The Story of Pokhran, dragged her to court on three criminal charges of cheating, breach of trust, defamation and offences committed under the IT act. That was the begin of the end for Prernaa who lost both films, along with 'Batti Gul Meter Chalu', and was embroiled in countless legal suits and controversies galore.
V FOR VIRAL VARRIER
Eighteen-year-old Priya Varrier who broke the internet with a 10-second YouTube clip of a song, “Manikya Malaraya Poovi”, from her Malayalam film 'Oru Adaar Love' was the most searched Indian celebrity on Google this year. She even caught the eye of Bollywood veteran Rishi Kapoor who predicted instant stardom for her. Buzz was, she’d been offered 'Simmba' opposite Ranveer Singh. That remained just a rumour but it’s only a matter of time before the ‘wink girl’ reaches Bollywood.
W FOR WEDDINGS
The marry-go-round was spinning crazily as couples jumped on board for a matrimonial spin. While Sonam Kapoor-Anand Ahuja, Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra-Nick Jonas stretched the revelry over days, Himesh Reshammiya-Sonia Kapoor, Neha Dhupia-Angad Bedi and Sumeet Vyas- Ekta Kaul got knotty away from the spotlight. An interesting trend this year was of two weddings to keep both families happy along the ceremonial route. Nickyanka and Raghu Ram both had a white wedding and the traditional pheras, while for DeepVeer it was a North-South fusion.
X FOR XTREME MEASURES
When winners of the 65 th National Film Awards learnt that President Ram Nath Kovind would present awards in only 11 categories out of 140 awards, over 60 awardees wrote him an open letter in protest. The ceremony continued as scheduled with then I & B Minister Smriti Irani, Minister of State, I & B Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, and Secretary, I & B Narendra Kumar Sinha presenting the rest. Over 50 winners stayed away.
Y FOR YESTERDAY’S RING TUNES
Call them recreations or remixes, the fact is Bollywood loves serving old wine in a new bottle. This year, we had Arshad Warsi’s “Aankh Maare” (Tere Mere Sapne) and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s “Tere Bin” repackaged for 'Simmba'. Jacqueline Fernandes went “Ek Do Teen” for 'Baaghi 2' and while she looked lovely, she was no match for Mohini from 'Tezaab'. However, Nora Fatehi’s hip-swinging act in “Dilbar” was on par with Sushmita Sen’s sexy moves. Interestingly, both 'Stree' and 'Sirf Tum' were special appearances. Old is gold is a maxim our dream merchants believe in.
Z FOR ZERO
Aanand L Rai cut SRK down to size and packed him off to Mars. The reactions were reminiscent of those to Amitabh Bachchan’s voice change in 'Agnipath' and the duo didn’t add too many zeroes to their kitty. Guess some stars are best left King-sized!