How The Decade Has Treated These Actors
A year can make a lot of difference to one's existence or career. Imagine what 10 can do!
An eventful decade just came to an end conjuring a plethora of memories, accomplishments, disappointment and failure. Like in any sphere of life, showbiz, too, experienced its share of highs and lows.
The leading man was no exception. Even as the cutthroat world of Hindi cinema continued to challenge the biggest and the best, it could hardly dissuade new blood from giving it their best shot.
And so while Khans took turns to rule the roost and the Big B is as adored as ever, youngsters like Ranbir Kapoor, Imran Khan and Neil Nitin Mukesh are steadily on the upswing.
As part of our end-of-the-decade special, let's examine how the last decade treated these top 10 actors of Bollywood:
The first few years were ridden in controversy due to his many escapades with the law and turbulent relationships earning him the title of Controversy's child.
On the movie scene, his only hits turned out to be musical chick flicks like Har Dil Jo Pyaar Karega (2000) and Chori Chori Chupke Chupke (2001) co-starring Rani Mukerji and Preity Zinta.
Breakthrough came in the form of Tere Naam (2003), a remake of the Tamil hit, Sethu and an extra special appearance in Ravi Chopra's Baghban (2003).
As per his working style, he made multiple films a year out of which one or two inevitably turned out to one of the year's biggest money spinners. And so for every turkey like Kyon Ki, Main Aur Mrs Khanna, Yuvraaj, Saawariya, Veer and Marigold, he compensated with a big hit like Mujhse Shaadi Karoge (2004), No Entry (2005) and Partner (2007).
Ending the decade with a (Da) bang, Salman dished out blockbusters like Wanted (2009) and Dabangg (2010), entering a whole new phase of superstar.
Image: Salman Khan
What a busy decade!
If on one hand, he was the recipient of every conceivable award and recognition, on the other, he was goaded by scathing attacks, political criticism and health issues.
After several dismal attempts to woo his fans back since his comeback in 1998, Amitabh Bachchan got it right playing the dignified and moralistic patriarch in films like Mohabbatein (2000), Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001), Ek Rishtaa (2001) and Baghban (2003).
Of course, the angry young man didn't just vanish and presented itself in edgier, exciting avatars through films like Aks (2001), Aankhen (2002), Kaante (2002), Boom (2003) and Khakee (2004). There's no denying how big a part his contribution as the articulate and elegant host of Kaun Banega Crorepati on small screen had to play.
Not restricting himself as an actor at any point, AB further explored his potential to an enthralling effect through his work in Black (2005), Sarkar (2005), Eklavya (2007), Cheeni Kum (2007), The Last Lear (2007) and Paa (2009). Both Black and Paa earned him numerous accolades and a National award trophy.
Image: Amitabh Bachchan
The decade kickstarted on a rather 'ugh' note for Bollywood's most notable perfectionist with Dharmesh Darshan's utterly forgettable Mela (2000). Fortunately, he straightened up his act by setting up an eponymous production company and green signaling Ashutosh Gowariker's Lagaan (2001).
The period drama involving cricket and patriotism turned out to be a life-changing film in everyone's lives after it bagged the much coveted Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film. Though it lost, Lagaan made Aamir extremely cautious about the projects he wanted to associate himself with in future.
On the personal front, his 15-year-old marriage to Reena Datta ended, post which he tied the knot to Kiran Rao (who's now ready with her directorial debut, Dhobi Ghat).
After a delectable Dil Chahta Hai (2001) and four-year gap, Aamir resurfaced with the dissatisfactory Mangal Pandey (2005) but more than made up for it with consistently mammoth hits like Rang De Basanti (2006), Fanaa (2006), Taare Zameen Par (2007), Ghajini (2008) and the baap of all the biggest grossers, 3 Idiots (2009).
If TZP proved his efficiency behind the camera, the rest simply reiterated his reputation as one of the most bankable and business savvy stars in the business.
Image: Aamir Khan
It was a year of ups and downs. He got divorced to Rhea Pillai. He remarried Manyata Dutt and became daddy to twins.
The verdict on his past tryst with law announced that the Mumbai Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act court found him guilty of possessing illegal weapons but acknowledged he was not a terrorist.
As far as movies go, Dutt rocked the scene with his intense performance in Mission Kashmir (2000), coarse ruffian in Kaante (2002), vigilant cop in Dus (2005) despite more than a dozen of good, bad, ugly roles to contend with. But the one role that made an ever-lasting mark was his lovable crook, Munnabhai.
If Rajkumar Hirani's Munnabhai MBBS (2003) employed his winning smile and enduring vulnerability to create an iconic character laden with jadoo ki jhappis and irresistible gyaan, Lage Raho Munnabhai (2006) conveyed the virtue of goodness and Gandhigiri on a bigger and better scale.
Image: Sanjay Dutt
Shah Rukh Khan
He entered the decade as the superstar riding high on adulation and acclaim. 2000 saw him romance Aishwarya Rai in Mohabbatein as well as banter her as the twin brother of Josh. He turned producer with the poorly-received Asoka (2001), which everyone felt was much too dictated by the Khan's aura to be taken seriously as a biopic.
The actor resumed his lover boy ways for all seasons and eras with Karan Johar's K3G (2001) and Sanjay Leela Bhansali's resplendent adaptation of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's Devdas (2002). In 2003, he played a squabbling hubby to Rani Mukerji in Chalte Chalte and dying young man in love with Preity Zinta in Kal Ho Naa Ho. Both the films hit box office jackpot.
More power to SRK followed with 2004's Main Hoon Na, Veer-Zara and Swades. One showcased the superstar, the other channeled the trademark romantic and the third one earned him many more fans for his restrained, inspiring realism.
In 2006, Shah Rukh slipped into AB's shoes to play the title role of Don in Farhan Akhtar's remake of the 1978 original. While purists fumed, fans ensured it's a hit.
Continuing in the vein of Swades, 2007 witnessed SRK in of his most gritty, convincing performances yet as the determined coach of a faltering all-girls Hockey team in Chak De! India. Same year, he flaunted his six-packs in home-production, Om Shanti Om, a very, very big hit.
Despite the expectations and SRK's efforts to step out of his comfort zone, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008) or My Name is Khan (2010) didn't quite possess that extra magic.
Image: Shah Rukh Khan
Hrithik Roshan and Abhishek Bachchan
The millennium boys Hrithik Roshan and Abhishek Bachchan began their innings with conspicuously dissimilar films.
If Rakesh Roshan's Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai was out and out masala, J P Dutta's Refugee strived to recreate the earthy essence of Border.
KNPH was an instant success and turned Hrithik into an overnight A-lister competing with the likes of SRK. Refugee was not and Abhishek had to get over a series of failures before he could advance to the next level.
Meanwhile, Hrithik faced a lot of flak for his choice of films and performances (Yaadein, Aap Mujhe Ache Lagne Lage, Na Tum Jaano Na Hum, Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon) post-K3G.
Adopting Aamir's one-film-at-a-time policy, Hrithik shut up his detractors with a compelling, award-winning performance in 2003's alien caper, Koi... Mil Gaya and followed it up with a fun superhero act in Krrish (2006) doubling his fan-following among the kids.
His sleek con guy, same year, in Dhoom 2 and sizzling chemistry with Aishwarya proved that sometimes stars do matter. They can make an utterly ghastly movie an endurable experience. Bettering himself with every passing film, Hrithik sparkled as the regal figure of Jodhaa Akbar (2008), a narcissistic actor in the brilliantly penned cameo of Luck By Chance (2009) and euthanasia craving-quadriplegic in last year's Guzaarish.
Abhishek, finally, found his calling playing unconventional characters. His work in Mani Ratnam's movies, Yuva and Guru in particular, earned him recognition as an actor to watch out for.
Box office success followed with Dhoom, Bunty Aur Babli, Dus, Sarkar, Bluffmaster and KANK. 2007 onwards, however, Bachchan Jr, with the exception of Paa and Dostana, hasn't delivered anything to rave about. The decade ended on a rather lousy note with both his much-anticipated releases Raavan and Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey turning out to be critical and box office washouts.
Image: Hrithik Roshan and Abhishek Bachchan
Saif Ali Khan
When the decade began, Saif Ali Khan was more or less dismissed as just another star kid. He earned some credibility playing a grey character in Kundan Shah's Kya Kehna.
But it was his comic efficiency as the gullible Sameer in Dil Chahta Hai (2001) that turned the tide for this Khan. Even so, he continued to play the second lead to Hrithik Roshan and Madhavan in love triangles like Na Tum Jaano Na Hum (2002) and Rehna Hai Terre Dil Mein (2001).
Playing the same against SRK in Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003) worked out better. The duo's droll chemistry and Kantaben jokes got him more notice and a chance to play solo heroes in Ek Hasina Thi (2004), Hum Tum (2004), Parineeta (2005) and Salaam Namaste (2005).
The biggest ever break came from playing a desi Iago in Vishal Bhardwaj's retelling of Shakespeare's Othello. His startling departure from a sophisticated city guy to a dark, scruffy lout Langda Tyagi in Omkara had everyone applaud in unison.
With a conscious effort to deliver better, even in shoddy movies like Race (2008) and Kurbaan (2009), Saif, now a producer with the successful Love Aaj Kal (2009), appears much more secure as an actor. Too bad for the star, his personal life -- dating Kareena Kapoor -- has taken precedence over his professional one.
Image: Saif Ali Khan
He's been around forever. And yet, this decade is going simply too special for words.
2000 opened on a promising note with Rajkumar Santoshi's critically lauded, Pukar. It earned him a hotly-debated National award. For the next few years, Anil Kapoor religiously doled out one standard potboiler after another despite Shankar's Nayak failing to make that all-important impact.
Mid-decade, Kapoor got a reprieve with the thunderous response to No Entry at the box office. His work in My Wife's Murder got thumbs up too.
Cashing in on the Bazmee-comedy formula, Kapoor hopped aboard Welcome (2007). Good move, again.
His stint as a producer proved particularly noteworthy following the response to Gandhi, My Father. But the content of Shortkut-The Con Is On and No Problem has seriously led a question mark to his capabilities as a producer.
Now for the good part: for one, daughter Sonam made a gleaming debut in the world of films and is counted among of the most promising stars on the block. Other daughter Rhea aims to realise her potential as a producer despite the not-so-encouraging response to their home-production Aisha.
Playing the nasty host in Danny Boyle's multi-Oscar winning Slumdog Millionaire was one of the greatest highs of AK's thriving career leading to a substantial role in the season 8 of the hugely-popular American Television series, 24.
Anil Kapoor has also bagged a role in the Tom Cruise-starrer Mission Impossible 4.
Image: Anil Kapoor
A momentous decade for Akshay Kumar, it proved he can act and is here for the long haul.
Shedding the 'Khiladi' epithet, Akki proved there's more to him than being an action hero with his cunning man comedy in Priyadarshan's most loved Hindi film, Hera Pheri, a sensitive husband in Dharmesh Darshan's Dhadkan and a conniving fraud in Ajnabee.
Though inconsistent with his movies, which range from awesome to absurd, he's a dependable figure at the box office. That explains the success of otherwise silly fare like Awaara Paagal Deewana, Andaaz, Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, Aitraaz, Waqt and Garam Masala.
In 2006, he was paired opposite Katrina Kaif in Humko Deewana Kar Gaye marking the beginning of a prosperous collaboration powered by hits like Namastey London, Welcome and Singh is Kinng. Speaking of hits, there's Bhool Bhulaiyaa and Heyy Babyy too. 2006, 2007 and 2008 shaped up fabulously for this gummy grinner. Even a brief cameo in Om Shanti Om was heralded as one of the highlights of the movie.The law of averages finally caught up with the actor eventually with majorly panned movies like Chandni Chowk to China, 8 X10 Tasveer, Kambakth Ishq, Blue, Dan Dana Dan, Housefull, Action Replayy, Khatta Meetha and Tees Maar Khan.
Image: Akshay Kumar
The dynamics of Ajay Devgn's career remain unchanged. He's steady and constantly delivers. The only new thing about Devgn in this decade was his name. He dropped the 'a' in his surname.
The decade began on an inauspicious note with the forgettable Deewane and losing proposition Raju Chacha, the latter a home production. His small but striking appearance as the charismatic Bulwa in Rajkumar Santoshi's Lajja (2001) redeemed Devgn to an extent. However, it was his portrayal of a noted underworld don in Ram Gopal Varma's Company that worked his brooding, intense demeanor to his advantage.
Santoshi's partnership with Devgn in The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002) turned to be a turning point in the actor's career. His soulful, inspiring performance stood out among a crowd of Bhagat Singh films at that time and fetched him a well-deserved National award too.
Box office welcomed him with open arms as he played an obsessive character in Deewangee, nervous husband of a possessed wife in Bhoot and no-nonsense cop in Gangaajal.
In 2004, Devgn experimented with offbeat fare like Raincoat as well as led the star-studded cast of Mani Ratnam's hugely hyped Yuva. Audience, however, preferred his glorious spooky avatar in Kaal over his earnestness playing a mentally challenged character in Main Aisa Hi Hoon.
That hasn't discouraged Devgn from multi-tasking between a Golmaal, Rajneeti and Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai. All in the span of one year.
Image: Ajay Devgn