We are comfor-tably past the half-yearly mark. And it’s as good a time as any to throw a more-than-a-sideways glance at Bollywood’s top game-changers of 2017 (so far). Some of the names you are about to read will astonish you, a few will confound or comfort you, a few still may amuse you (hint: a controversial child), some may raise the temperature of Twitterati liberals (hint: a controversy’s child), a handful among them may be usual suspects but certainly, taken together, they will tell you how Hindi cinema and its stars are challenging the stereotypes in their sometimes quiet, sometimes vocal ways.
Curated from Masala.com
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the most influential persons of the year who have helped shape news – warts and all.
Poster Boy of Patriotism Meets Mrs Funnybones: Twinkle Khanna & Akshay Kumar
Twinkle’s turnaround from a no-show Film actor to a writer-columnist with comic flair has been surprising and unprecedented. Her salty take on everything, from potshots at the Khans to motherhood, has made her T’own’s resident circus clown, a Shakespearean jester whose blunt tongue teases and offends, with equal force. At the Vogue Beauty Awards, Akshay read out from a ‘thank-you’ speech written by his wife. His remarks were met with loud cheers: “They say that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder but I say beauty is whoever let you hold her.” Khiladi Kumar could well be talking about his recent hits in which he was invariably paired with nubile beauties! 2016 unquestionably belonged to Akshay with blockbusters like Airlift, Housefull 3 and Rustom. He opened 2017 with equal success. Jolly LLB 2 and Toilet – Ek Prem Katha were money-spinners. Wonder how Twinkle, with her mocking cynicism towards all things commercial and conventional, makes for such a dream team with Akshay who’s anything but a mould-breaker. Opposites do attract, after all?
Scourge of Nepotism: Kangana Ranaut
A rank outsider, Kangana Ranaut makes news more for her explosive off-screen jibes than her box-office exploits. She first sent Hrithik Roshan reeling for what the Indian media touted “an affair gone wrong.” Then, she took the mickey out of big daddies Saif Ali Khan and Karan Johar who chanted “nepotism rocks” at IIFA 2017 in New York. Hardly a pushover, the Queen hit back, “Are you implying that artistic skills, hard work, experience, concentration spans, enthusiasm, eagerness, discipline and love, can be inherited through family genes? If your point was true, I would be a farmer back home.” Even if the Rangoon star were a farmer, rest assured she would take the bull by the horns.
A Controversial Child: Taimur Ali Khan
Born famous, Saifeena’s royal toddler was trending even before he could take baby steps into the world. The choice of Baby Taimur’s name, which some detractors mistook for the Mongolian conqueror Timur, led distraught daddy Saif Ali Khan to even consider renaming the Pataudi heir. Reminds us of another Kapoor. The day Ranbir Kapoor was born, his grandfather, the legendary Raj Kapoor, received a proud telegram from a Punjabi distributor congratulating him for having “another hero” in the family. There’s still time to welcome Baby Taimur into Bollywood, though.
Cinematic Goddess: Sridevi
Sridevi, who turned 54 this August, does fewer films now but the ones she opts for, like the recent MOM are designed purely for her. That’s as good an ode to female superstardom as it can get in male-driven Bollywood. Sridevi can still set a million hearts aflutter. It’s difficult to imagine a better description of the actress than what Salman Khan said recently, “She is bigger than all the Khans.” In her 300th film appearance, she powered MOM with her silent grace. “God can’t be everywhere,” says a helpless Sridevi in the film. “That’s why He created a mother,” pipes in her ally Nawazuddin Siddiqui. In pre-release interviews, Siddiqui was right on mark when he called Sridevi our most striking cinema Goddess.
Her Mom’s Daughter: Konkona Sen Sharma
Audiences raised on a healthy diet of indie hits were always dazzled by Konkona’s natural talent. After all, the star of such fine films as Mr and Mrs Iyer, Life In A Metro and the recent Lipstick Under My Burkha is known for her artistic integrity and her melt-into-the-character performances. Her Bengali output is said to be even better. But who knew Konkona would turn out to be very much her mother, the famed Aparna Sen’s daughter? Her directorial debut A Death in the Gunj is a subtle film about family secrets haunted by something dark and sinister. Its European sensibility confirms her as a talent waiting to crossover.
A Single Father: Karan Johar
At 45, he has played godfather to tyros with famous surnames. But earlier this year, something changed in Karan Johar’s life. He became daddy to twins, Roohi and Yash. Opting for surrogacy, Johar remarked that to be a father was his “lifelong dream.” Talking to Hindustan Times, the director said, “My life has changed since Roohi and Yash arrived. This is my biggest blockbuster.” For a man whose K3G reminded India of “It’s all about loving your family”, the circle of life seems complete.
Feature image source: Youtube.com