From the thundering PK, to box-office results that were pheekay-pheekay, from Big B’s motions to small films that broke notions, from SRK calling Salman dost, to Ranveer-Arjun’s Roast, a curtain call for 2015.
Aamir v/s The Rest Of The World:
Boy, does Aamir Khan love it when things come full circle. He began 2015 by questioning people’s religious beliefs in PK, and ended the year with his remarks on intolerance, antagonising religious fanatics. Then, he called the controversial AIB Roast obscene. All in all, Khan was in a soup throughout the year, and not the kind that’s good for your soul.
Bajirao Mastani v/s Dilwale:
In 2007, Deepika and SRK (Om Shanti Om) had battled Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Saawariya) at the box office. Cut to 2015, Deepika switched to Team SLB (with Bajirao Mastani) and went up against SRK (Dilwale). And the clash was more fierce this time. But, going by initial figures, SRK, who had won round one, seems to have emerged victorious again, never mind which is the better film.
Anushka Sharma v/s Cricket Fans:
When Virat Kohli failed to perform on the field, cricket fans blamed his girlfriend, Anushka. She shut them up by delivering two back-to-back hits (NH10, Dil Dhadakne Do) and asked how he wasn’t affecting her performance in return! #YouGoGirl
Take a hit
So many films raised our expectations, only to fizzle out within days of their release. Hawaizaada, which looked like a Hugo-esque tale about the first Indian airplane, ended up crash-landing. Shaandaar’s trio of Shahid-Alia-Vikas Bahl had everyone buzzing with excitement but eventually, *raita phail gaya*.
Hamari Adhuri Kahaani was Vidya’s last chance at redemption, but she kissed it (along with Emraan Hashmi and Rajkumar Rao) goodbye. And the criticism around Bombay Velvet got so ugly, that people were more interested in pulling down Ranbir, Anushka, Anurag Kashyap and Karan Johar individually, instead of the film.
2015 was also a year of great paradoxes. On one hand, there was the Salman Khan starrer Bajrangi Bhaijaan, which had as much logic as laughs, and on the other, was indie sensation, Masaan, that released a week after Bajrangi Bhaijaan, and still managed to stay in theaters for over six weeks!
Varun Dhawan, who usually plays the same enthu-cutlet, went diabolical in Badlapur and Karan Johar’s acting stint turned out to be one of the better parts of Bombay Velvet.
While the biggies were sent back to the pavilion prematurely, the smaller films had a field day. NH10 became a runaway hit in spite of the blood and gore.
The festival circuit film, Court, got a wider audience, and was sent to the Oscars. Talvar marked the return of Vishal Bhardwaj to grade-A screenwriting, and Drishyam marked the return of Ajay Devgn to cringe-free, intense, no-nonsense cinema.
’90s made a comeback
2015 had a lot of room for ’90s nostalgia. In the beginning of the year, we got Dum Laga Ke Haisha with Anu Malik compositions and Kumar Sanu songs. Then, Sooraj Barjatya went back to his sanskari-style storytelling with Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (no antakshri this time, thank God!), and finally, SRK-Kajol gave us max DDLJ-déjà vu by co-starring in Dilwale. Heck, we even got to hear a genuinely good Alka Yagnik song (Agar Tum Saath Ho from Tamasha) after ages!
Most valued players
We’re calling it: Deepika Padukone is everything that Bollywood desperately needed. She started the year with Piku, and between toilet humour, port-a-potties, road trips and emotional constipation, had us flushing and blushing in our seats. She then played the strong-willed Tara in Tamasha (we can watch Heer Toh Badi Sad Hai on loop), and wrapped up the year with her stunning portrayal of Mastani in Bajirao Mastani.
Irrfan Khan not only held his own in front of Amitabh Bachchan in Piku, and made us proud by appearing in Jurassic World, but also made that hilarious Party Song video with AIB. As a bonus, he made the gritty Talvar even more intense. (We forgive you for Jazbaa. Ho jaata hai kabhi kabhi!)
And lastly, the incredible Sanjay Mishra — overlooked for years and suddenly rediscovered. Mishra won a critics’ award for Best Actor for Ankhon Dekhi, had a Cannes film (Masaan) and then appeared in blockbusters like Dum Laga Ke Haisha, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo and Dilwale – all in one year. Need more proof?
Hits and misses
Here are the people who gave us something to be cheerful about, but also balanced it with something nasty
Kangana Ranaut: 10 on 10 for Tanu Weds Manu Returns. And we’re taking away eight of those ten points for Katti Batti.
Ranbir Kapoor: If somebody is making you do movies like Roy and Besharam, blink twice and we’ll come rescue you. Because Tamasha has restored our faith in you.
Akshay Kumar: Take all the awards for Baby. And then return them as punishment for Singh Is Bliing and Gabbar Is Back.
Dibakar Banerjee: You gave us Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!, which was a case we’d rather not solve. But you also produced Titli, a bizarre combination of hard-hitting and hilarious.
Classics got rebooted, sequels were massive and a big teen-fantasy franchise said goodbye. Here’s what Hollywood had to offer in 2015
Voices in our heads
Pixar’s Inside Out is probably the year’s best-told story. It had everyone reaching out for the tissues and dealt with some really adult themes (depression and adjustment). Featuring the voices of Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling and Phyllis Smith, among others, it is sure to sweep trophies this awards season.
Spies and superheroes
Spectre might have opened to great collections, but the movie failed to impress critics. Our favourite 2015 spy movie, however, was Melissa McCarthy’s Spy, where apni Nargis Fakhri also makes a cameo. It was a slow year for superheroes; only Marvel’s Avengers assembled for Age Of Ultron, followed by a rather lukewarm Ant-Man. Then there were Sandra Bullock and Jon Hamm playing supervillains in Minions.
Three reboots, three sequels
Three reboots of old franchises made big news. First there was the Jurassic Park reboot, Jurassic World, that unleashed fiercer dinosaurs on the world. Then, there was Mad Max: Fury Road, the completely psychotic joyride that found instant success. Charlize Theron’s character in the film, Imperator Furiosa, became somewhat of a modern feminist touchstone and even earned her own separate film. And finally, the phenomenon, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We’ll visit this one next year.
High on sci-fi
2015 saw over two dozen sci-fi films. But the two that stood out were Ex Machina, with a gripping, original story, and The Martian – Ridley Scott’s thriller that has been nominated for the Golden Globes in the Best Comedy category. Go figure! Go figure!
From HT Brunch, December 27
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