Every year in Bollywood brings its share of good and bad.
2019 did too.
Sukanya Verma lists what we learned.
Everybody lusts after Hrithik Roshan!
The country is united in its lust for Hrithik Roshan in War.
Enough is said about his Greek God good looks, but the smouldering intensity and full-blown swagger he embodies as a silver fox special agent of the Yash Raj potboiler is what separates the men from the boys.
Kabir Singh sees Shahid Kapoor's obnoxious behaviour towards his ladylove as indescribable passion. But it reeks of misogyny, just like its troubling Telugu source Arjun Reddy.
Both garnered overwhelming response at the box office.
What's more nauseating is its director Sandeep Reddy Vanga's response to the criticism -- 'If you don't have the liberty of slapping each other, then I don't see anything there.'
Ajay Devgn's ex-wife Tabu and current girlfriend Rakul Preet Singh demean each other using car metaphors in De De Pyaar De. Of course, it did well.
Kartik Aaryan's offensive monologue in Pati Patni Aur Woh may have toned down some its distasteful content following a severe backlash, but its sexist tone stays put.
Upshot? It's a hit!
Bollywood's dark side
Bollywood has a history of darkening an actor's complexion whenever it wishes to highlight their disadvantageous background.
You caught that about Ranveer Singh's Dharavi origins in Gully Boy and Hrithik Roshan's impoverished tutor in Super 30.
But nothing beats the distractingly overboard makeup of Bhumi Pednekar's blackface in Bala.
It's so undue and completely contradicts the point her character is striving to make.
The josh is high for chest-thumping nationalism
Uri, Kesari, Manikarnika, Panipat, Mission Mangal -- Bollywood's enthusiasm for colouring historicals, war dramas and rocket launches in saffron politics hit an all-time high this year.
...and dodgy biopics
Ditto for biopics of controversial or still alive and active political figures in movies like Thackeray, PM Narendra Modi and The Accidental Prime Minister that said more about the propaganda than the person.
Small town is officially a genre
Pick a small town -- Lucknow, Kanpur, Mathura, Amritsar, Bhopal, Gwalior.
Toss in a boisterous joint family, a awkward guy, a spunky girl, some taboo, some rebellion and a shame speech at the end of it all and what have we?
A flurry of small-town lives on reel -- Luka Chuppi, Dream Girl, Motichoor Chakhnachoor, Pati Patni Aur Woh, Bala, Khandani Shafakhana, Jabariya Jodi... you get the drift.
Big does not always guarantee better!
Look at all the effort, money, stars, big set pieces gone in to make hyped-up fare like Kalank and Saaho.
But in the absence of good writing, it all comes crashing like a house of cards.
That Twitter terror called Rangoli
Kangana Ranaut's sister and manager Rangoli Chandel is not one to mince words.
In 2019, her Twitter account worked round the clock as she shot a volley of angry words or took a swipe at everybody from media to her sister's contemporaries over anything and everything.
Hindustan is ready for asli hip-hop!
Rapper duo Naezy and Divine's real-life ascension not only inspired Gully Boy's rags-to-riches tale but also its captivating hip-hop-heavy soundtrack that took the nation by storm.
Kya bolrelai public? Boht hard! Boht hard!
Remixes are taking over
And yet the music scene could not be more lamentable.
An entire generation will grow up thinking Bollywood's atrocious remixes are the real deal. This year had so many, it's hard to keep up.
Let's see, there's Yeh Jawani (Student of the Year 2) Shaher Ki Ladki (Khandani Shafakhana), Ankhiyon Se Goli Maare (Pati Patni Aur Woh), Pyaar Do Pyaar Lo and Haiyo Ho (Marjaawan), Tum Par Hum Hain Atke and Tera Bimar Mera Dil (Pagalpanti), Poster Lagwa Do (Luka Chuppi), Paisa Yeh Paisa and Mungda (Total Dhamaal), O Saki Saki (Batla House).
Baldness is a real concern among people today.
How it can damage one's self-esteem when confronted by society's shaming impulses is a subject that excited Bollywood filmmakers on more than one occasion in 2019.
Films like Bala, Gone Kesh and Ujda Chaman explored the premise with varying degree of success.
Ayushmann Khurana is unstoppable!
The last two years are no fluke. Audiences just cannot have enough of Ayushmann Khurrana.
All his three releases -- Article 15, Dream Girl and Bala hit the box office jackpot, received critical acclaim and reaffirmed his talent for choosing unique scripts and unusual roles.
May his 2020 fare even better.
Sukanya Verma is the Principal Movie Reviewer for Rediff.com.
One of the most perceptive observers of Hindi cinema, Sukanya has a dazzling portfolio of features that have engaged Rediff.com readers for 20 years.
You can read her features at https://realtime.rediff.com/news/-sukanya-verma
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