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RECAP 2023: Here's What We Learnt

December 28, 2023 09:44 IST

2023 witnessed a one-of-a-kind phenomenon called Barbenheimer.

RRR won an Oscar.

Twitter became X.

India *almost* won the Cricket World Cup.

The world lost a dear Friend.

Alia Bhatt wore her wedding sari to receive her National award and repeating clothes became the coolest thing ever.

One heard 'Who's Orry?' more than Akshay Kumar has uttered 'Aye Nandu' in his lifetime.

Pandemic petered out (or has it?) and people thronged theatres with a vengeance to prove all those writing off Bollywood -- picture abhi baaqi hai mere dost.

On that note, Sukanya Verma recaps everything we learned this year in showbiz.


Year of the SRKians

As predicted by yours truly, 2023 belonged to Shah Rukh Khan and his gazillion fans.

King Khan returned from self-imposed exile to rule the box office and make the boycott gang bite dust, one blockbuster at a time, delivering three big releases: Pathaan, Jawan and Dunki.

2023 was a home run for the superstar, no question.

One can only hope the pursuit for bigger neither burdens nor burns him out. Achieving such glorious feats every single year may not always be possible but, oh, what a time to be alive for the SRK fan.


Aditya Chopra exists!

For those who had their doubts, Aditya Chopra is, indeed, flesh and blood.

Famously shy of speaking to the press or showing his face in public, the filmmaker and Yash Raj Films honcho, FINALLY, agreed to speak in length for a Netflix documentary -- The Romantics celebrating his father'S legacy and the Yash Raj banner in its 50th year.


Successful Parivar, Sukhi Parivar

2023 was kind to film families.

The Deols did admirably well, be it Dharmendra's adorable turn as a senior citizen romantic in Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani planting a kiss on Shabana Azmi, Sunny Deol's return to form following Gadar 2's historical box office after decades of no show, Bobby Deol's beastly portrayal in the crime drama Animal, stealing the show in a handful scenes or Abhay Deol's portrayal of a parent fighting for justice in Trial by Fire.

Both husband-wife jodiS of Deepika Padukone (Pathaan, Jawan)-Ranveer Singh (Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani) and Ranbir Kapoor (Tu Jhoothi Main Makkar, Animal)-Alia Bhatt (Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani) had a great day at work.

Ditto for Katrina Kaif (Tiger 3) and Vicky Kaushal (Sam Bahadur, Zara Hatke Zara Bachke).


All publicity is good publicity

Alright, so we've known this forever, but 2023 went in overdrive mode to make its point.

Controversies kicked off after right-wingers objected to Deepika Padukone cavorting in an orange swimsuit while crooning Besharam Rang in Pathaan.

You'd think an Adipurush would be more up their alley until its embarrassing VFX and offensive dialogues.

Propaganda peddling fare like The Kerala Story, what with its questionable claims, got written about and against in equal measure.

Social media smart alecs went berserk dissecting every single frame of Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt's chemistry in Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani even before its release only to eat their words after Karan Johar's woke love story came out and silenced its detractors for good.

Animal's blood thirsty take on daddy issues, bolstered by its maker Sandeep Reddy Vanga's rabble-rouser tendencies, attracted exactly the kind of negative attention he seems to thrive on.

At the end of the day, everything is noise and only the one of the cash registers ringing is all that matters.


So beautiful, so elegant, just looking like a wow...

What's more sexy? Sari or swimsuit? Why choose when you can have it all? Two of the most stylish sights we saw in Bollywood's fashion files this year featured both.

Alia Bhatt's ombre sari revolution and sexy styling in Rocky Aur Rani highlighted its timeless allure to popular effect.

Always on top of the glamour spectrum, Deepika's smouldering swimsuit wardrobe in Pathaan captured the A to Z of hawt.


Bollywood's drowning in daddy issues

'Beta se baat karne se pehle baap se baat kar', warned SRK Sr to a goon trying to hurt SRK Jr in Jawan.

Sunny Deol screamed his lungs out at all of Pakistan in a mission to rescue his son in Gadar 2.

Ranbir Kapoor lost his marbles proving his love to his emotionally unavailable dad in Animal.

Three generations of strained relations coloured the father-son ties in Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani.

A father took up law seeking justice for his teenage son in OMG 2.

Father-son stories formed a recurring motif in many of this year's dramas.


Poster boy of Patriarchy

Killing-two-birds-with-one-stone over back-to-back work under Luv Ranjan and Sandeep Reddy Vanga, both big advocates of misogyny and toxic masculinity, Ranbir Kapoor finds himself in a rather unique position if also far from ideal, tied for first place as poster boy of patriarchy and role model of the red flag universe.


It's the '90s all over again!

Hits in a row for Shah Rukh Khan, a moment of Karan Arjun style reunion between him and Salman Khan in Pathaan and Tiger 3, Sunny Deol shattering box office collections like the good old days, Jackie Shroff and Khalnayak co-star Neena Gupta living it up in Mast Mast Rehne Ka, their co-stars Sanjay Dutt (Jawan) and Anil Kapoor (Animal) staying relevant in the biggest hits of the year while India lost to Australia yet again in the finals of cricket world cup -- '90s déja vu hit hard and how.


Old Kids on the Block

The senior brigade of Bollywood actors put up a solid show in 2023.

Dharmendra, Jaya Bachchan and Shabana Azmi's rollicking contribution as the dramatic oldies in Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani's sprawling cast, Zeenat Aman's super eloquent, super personal Instagram debut, Rekha's dazzling Vogue Arabia cover, Sharmila Tagore's gay role in Gulmohar, Amitabh Bachchan's quiz master in Kaun Banega Crorepati going strong as ever in its 15th season. Boots on is the way to be.


There's a brand new blue-eyed Kapoor in town!

Cry hoarse about The Archies all you will, Bollywood's excitement for star kids is not dying anytime soon.

If the curiosity around Ranbir and Alia's blue-eyed moppet Raha and the conversation it generated about whom she resembles the most (great grandpa Raj, grandfather Rishi or buas Karisma and Kareena?) following her paparazzi debut on Christmas, is any indication -- nepotism be damned, it's only a matter of time until a new crop of Kapoors and Khans pops up and take the industry by storm.