Boycott trends, box office bombs, besharam trolls.
It was a turbulent year for Bollywood as naysayers and haters got busy writing off the Hindi film industry.
But if one chooses to see the glass half full, there are quite a few silver linings too.
As 2022 readies to bid adieu, Sukanya Verma raises a toast to the 10 high points of the year.
Deepika Padukone: Face of India
From jury duties at Cannes to unveiling the FIFA World Cup at the final to brand ambassador of luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Cartier to receiving honours at the TIME 100 Impact Awards, Deepika's worldwide fame had proud desis like Malaika Arora exclaiming 'eternal trendsetter' while sharing pictures of the star's endorsements at international airports on social media.
Some folks can focus on the colour of her bikini in Pathaan, but we agree with Malla, wardrobe choice at the Lusail stadium notwithstanding.
Kapil Sharma gets serious
There's more to Kapil Sharma than pedestrian jokes. His surprisingly self-deprecating wit and personal admissions on the Netflix special Kapil Sharma: I'm Not Done Yet revealed the human behind the humourist.
Even so, nobody could have envisioned the garrulous comedian in the part of a food delivery guy under tremendous financial duress until he bowled critics over with his realistic performance in Zwigato.
Directed by Nandita Das, the drama has won rave reviews for Sharma's surprise package at the Toronto Film Festival and International Film Festival of Kerala.
It's as fellow Rediff contributor Aseem Chhabra noted, 'Kapil Sharma is a revelation in Zwigato, playing a quiet, brooding character, far removed from his popular, but loud comedy shows. There is a real actor in him that no one had explored.'
Bollywood VFX comes of age
Alright, so there's still miles to go before anyone can sleep, but this year, Bollywood made movies about superheroes and werewolves without embarrassing itself.
The flaming spectacle of Brahmastra: Part One-Shiva was splendorous to behold and Bhediya's assaulting beast led to moments of authentic scare.
Countdown for SRK
Waiting for Shah Rukh Khan to come out with a new movie since 2018's Zero has become a public pastime.
But 2022 is when things got truly nail-biting when every passing cameo (Brahmastra, Laal Singh Chaddha, Rocketry: The Nambi Effect) had the nation heaving a collective sigh while relating to Kamala Khan's fangirl moment -- There is no such thing as a bad Shah Rukh Khan movie -- in Ms Marvel, hoping to get their question answered every time he spared 15 minutes for his popular #AskSRK Twitter sessions or lapping teasers and titbits of his next, Pathaan, Dunki and Jawan.
2023 will be the year of the SRK fan.
Accolades, awards, acclaim for All That Breathes
Winner at prestigious film festivals like Sundance, Cannes, BFI and recipient of rave reviews by the likes of The Guardian, The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, which called it the most beautifully realised documentary in recent memory, Delhi film-maker Shaunak Sen gave Indian cinephiles tons to feel hyped up about with his potent documentary about two brothers committed to saving black kites under threat from the capital city's unbearably contaminated air.
Don't be surprised if you catch Sen delivering a triumphant Oscar speech in March.
Just look at Shefali Shah's body of work in 2022 -- a cop working round-the-clock to nab a murderous gang in Delhi Crime, a morally ambiguous doctor in Human, a home cook standing by her daughter through a toxic marriage in Darlings, a wronged domestic help oblivious that her employer is responsible for her daughter's accident in Jalsa and a no-nonsense head of the gynaecology department exasperated by her inept intern in Doctor G.
With every consecutive role, the actress hit the ball out of the park.
Six projects, six characters yet no overlapping, no overkill.
What a star.
RRR's world domination
Until RRR, which raked in a massive number in its Hindi dubbed avatar as well, everybody thought only poverty porn or underdog period dramas could impress an overseas audience.
But S S Rajamouli's massy crowd-pleaser, boasting of dance moves so flawless even CGI would fail, has gone well beyond its domestic reign to unleash unprecedent mania among the phoren press and public.
RRR is already on numerous critics' annual Best Films list, has nabbed multiple Golden Globe nominations and may well be on its way to conquer the Oscars despite the Film Federation of India picking a lesser-known Gujarati film over 'bigger than Ben-Hur' as India's entry for Best International Feature Film.
Tabu's Midas touch
Kartik Aaryan can go about town staking claim to Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2's superhit fervour.
Ajay Devgn can bask in Drishyam 2's blockbuster box office.
But, really, it is Tabu's indisputable talent and golden presence that drove these mediocre movies to that degree of success.
Amitabh Bachchan: 80 and not out
Coaching a motley bunch of slum kids to play competitive football in Jhund, schooling a reckless pilot's decision to emergency land in Runway 34, head of a superhero cult and wielder of prabhastra in Brahmastra, bereaved husband and disheartened father in Goodbye, a hack job author discovering himself on an Everest trek in Uunchai, the beloved host of a beloved quiz show returning for Kaun Banega Crorepati's 14th season and the iconic subject of a retrospective giving young fans a one-of-a-kind opportunity to understand his appeal on big screen, the actor turned 80 in style by letting his work speak for his stardom.
Alia Bhatt: Woman on Top
She came, she saw, she conquered. And she's still three months away from turning 30.
2022 was a year of dreams for this dazzler. Shakti, check. Sampati, check. Sadbuddhi, check.
It all began when Alia proved an overwhelming number of sceptics wrong by rocking the show singlehandedly as a sex worker-turned-social activist in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Gangubai Kathiawadi. She accomplished the unheard: she overshadowed Bhansali.
Next, she delivered another ace as a victim of domestic violence thrust towards retribution in Darlings, which marked her beginning as a discerning producer as well.
Her radiant presence in money spinners and Oscar hopefuls like Brahmastra and RRR made the taste of success all the more sweeter.
Personal life, too, never looked better. She wed the love of her life against the intimate setting of their balcony. The duo welcome their firstborn, Raha.
2023 is yet to kick in, but Alia already has Karan Johar's Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani and Hollywood debut Heart of Stone lined up for release.