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This article was first published 4 years ago  » Movies » LOOKING BACK: A Decade in Bollywood

LOOKING BACK: A Decade in Bollywood

Last updated on: December 30, 2019 13:57 IST
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Sukanya Verma looks back at the decade gone by, in the movies.

Another decade comes to an end.

Before we set foot into 2020, it's time to retrospect, remember, regret and relish all the memories that made it such a memorable ride for better or worse.

Time to draw lists too.

But since there's already a surfeit of those during year ends, I thought I'd do my bit to reduce the overkill by compiling, um, another list.

Except instead of the usual best films, actors, scenes, blah blah of the decade, I decided I'll share my impressions of all that stood out in the decade.

This is not some comprehensive, academic list, but a fond adieu to the decade that was.


Album of the decade: Rockstar

All good things should begin with music.

And so, composer A R Rahman and lyricist Irshad Kamil's breathtaking soundtrack in 2011's Rockstar gets my vote for the most consummate music of this decade.

It has songs that make you feel alive again, songs that express all your pent-up emotions for you, songs that make you fall in love again, songs that haunt and hurt, songs that throw you in a spiritual trance -- excellent stuff, this.


Fab 15 of the decade

Vidya Balan: The lady is unstoppable in her quest for entertainment, entertainment, entertainment.

Shahid Kapoor: The rom-com cutie discovered his chutzpah and how!

Rajkummar Rao: The man leaves an impression even in trash like Raabta.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui: He's pretty much earned the right to say Kabhi kabhi lagta hai apun hi bhagwan hai.

Kangana Ranaut: Love her, loathe her, you can't ignore her.

Ranbir Kapoor: A resume befitting the Kapoor legacy.

Irrfan Khan: The decade saw him spearhead stories like a boss.

Ranveer Singh: An all-rounder, no wonder he's playing Kapil Dev next.

Alia Bhatt: At 26, she's already a veteran.

Manoj Bajpayee: Always a solid figure growing in strength too.

Ayushmann Khurrana: A solid new addition in the AK (Ashok Kumar, Amjad Khan, Anil Kapoor, Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar) hall of fame.

Sushant Singh Rajput: Dhoni or Daku, Sushant hits it out of the park.

Anushka Sharma: She took the one less travelled.

Deepika Padukone: Dreamy girl has soul, spunk and substance too.

Bhumi Pednekar: All dum, this one!


Injustice of the decade: Fawad-less Bollywood

To be deprived of Fawad Khan's gorgeous face and brilliant talent in Hindi cinema after such a memorable turn in Khoobsurat, Kapoor & Sons and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Hai owing to India-Pakistan's spiteful politics is easily one of the greatest wrongs of this decade.


Question of the decade: Why did Katappa kill Baahubali?

Baahubali's first installment and phenomenal success left the nation in a tizzy as they collectively wondered about S S Rajamouli's rousing cliffhanger: Katappa ne Baahubali ko kyon maara?

As I mentioned in my review of its second part, Katappa's motives prompted inventive fan theories -- a rare distinction for Indian movies.


Entertainer of the decade: Ranveer Singh

Govinda's mirth, Salman Khan's swagger, Anil Kapoor's coolth, Shah Rukh Khan's intensity, Akshay Kumar's vigour, Ranveer Singh has constructively internalised his love for his favourites into his undisputed stardom.

It's evident in the wholehearted manner he throws himself into a role.

But there's a quieter side too, so far only visible to Zoya Akhtar's keen eyes that proves there's more to him than energy.

Bittoo, Bajirao, Simmba, Murad or Atmanand Nandu Tripathi, lest we forget, tere bhai jaisa koi hardich nahi hai.


Trailblazer of the decade: Ayushmann Khurrana

Sperm, sex, everything the man touches turn gold.

Vicky Donor, Andhadhun, Article 15, Badhaai Ho, Bala, Dream Girl -- in cleverly and cautiously choosing his movies that could not be more unconventional and different from one another, the actor has become a genre by himself.


Khan of the decade

Sure, Saif Ali Khan had a ball doing his thing this decade and more power to him, but the stakes were never too high.

Aamir Khan's passion remains unchanged, but an element of sermonising has creeped into his craft.

Box office wise, Salman Khan still rules the roost.

He had the biggest hits, but by starring in second-rate rehashes of popular characters like Chulbul Pandey and Tiger, he completely dumbed down his own legacy.

Shah Rukh Khan tried more than he succeeded, but in the long run that's what we'll remember, his efforts to evolve, experiment and change.

It's this same reckless approach to stardom that made him our darling in the first place.


Turnaround of the decade: Priyanka Chopra Jonas

International assignments, red carpets, magazine covers, acclaimed roles, world domination, fairy tale wedding to Nick Jonas, Priyanka Chopra Jonas totally turned the tide in her favour this decade.


Newcomer of the decade

It took Aamir Khan a series of bad films early on to figure out his heart lies in adventure.

Bhumi Pednekar demonstrated this insight right from her debut, Dum Laga Ke Haisha.

Bhumi's eagerness to transform into her character, especially in physical terms, may not always find favour, but her talent is unquestioned.


Directorial debuts of the decade

Film-makers Vikramaditya Motwane (Udaan, Lootera, Trapped), Abhishek Chaubey (Ishqiya, Dedh Ishqiya, Udta Punjab, Sonchiriya), Shakun Batra (Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, Kapoor & Sons), Gauri Shinde (English Vinglish, Dear Zindagi), Nitesh Tiwari (Chillar Party, Dangal, Chhichhore) made their first films in this decade and followed it with more impressive and self-assured work.


Word of the decade: Nepotism

Kangana Ranaut accused Karan Johar of it during his celebrity chat show, Koffee With Karan.

Whether you believe star kids have it easier than outsiders or not, the debate hasn't lost steam since.


Obsession of the decade: Taimur Ali Khan

Photograph: Pradeep Bandekar

The sun cannot set until the paparazzi hounds little Tim Tim or his cute mug splashed in media.

It all started in 2016 after Kareena and Saif welcomed their bonny boy into the world.

From the crazy uproar over his name to the nation's bizarre fixation over his pictures, the obsession continues.


Movement of the decade: #MeToo

Photograph: Pradeep Bandekar

Actress Tanushree Dutta's allegations over Nana Patekar's sexual misconduct during the filming of Horn 'Ok' Pleassss kickstarted India's #MeToo movement echoing the universal feeling of women to feel safe on work and set.

Many more names, including film-makers Vikas Bahl, Rajkumar Hirani and Sajid Khan have cropped up since.

A few got dropped out of projects, but justice remains a far-off dream.


Love me, hate me, cannot ignore me celebrity of the decade: Kangana Ranaut

You'll find entire lists on Kangana's controversies, her sister and manager Rangoli's aggressive tweets.

You'll also find lists on how she inspires us, her best performances.

It's a complicated celebrity-audience relationship, but there's simply no ignoring Kangana's strange allure.


Surprise package of the decade

Deepika Padukone made a sparkling debut in Om Shanti Om and then... nothing.

Until Cocktail came out in 2012 and showed us a new, improved, wonderful fulfilment of the promise she made in her debut movie.

With films like Piku, Chennai Express, Tamasha, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Goliyon Ki Raas Leela-Ram Leela, Bajirao Mastani, Finding Fanny, Padmaavat, Deepika just gets better and luminous.


Comeback of the decade

It's still impossible to believe Sridevi is no longer among us.

But her work on screen makes her immortal and I'd rather focus on that.

Her return to screen in English Vinglish followed by Mom just proved no matter how long one's absence, when you're as good as Sridevi, it's worth every second.


Kiss of the decade: Band Baaja Baarat

No point in kill and tell, judge it for yourself.


Dancing queen of the decade: Katrina Kaif

From Sheila ki Jawani to Kaala Chashma, Katrina danced her way through the decade.

With those killer legs and abs, it was pretty much a walk in the park.


Dialogue of the decade: Tumse na ho payega

I thought of Sonakshi Sinha's Thappad in Dabangg, Vidya Balan's secret to success in The Dirty Picture, Nawazuddin Siddiqui's badla vows in Gangs of Wasseypur, but Tigmanshu Dhulia coolly telling off his son, 'Tumse na ho payega' is exactly the kind of emotion and line that goes viral.

All those gazillion memes in cyber are proof of it.


Red carpet moment of the decade: Ash in Cannes

Photograph: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Cannes and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan are synonymous with one another.

You may not recall who won the last Palme d'Or, but Ash rocking the red carpet in a gold Roberto Cavalli in 2014 is the va va voom memory of this decade.

Sukanya Verma is the Principal Movie Reviewer for
She can be contacted at

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