Boy oh boy, 2015 was wild. In terms of celebrity news, this year was the gift that keeps on giving. From breakups to make-ups, from flings to feuds, from selfies and dubsmashes to tweets and…well, you get the idea. Bollywood covered the gamut of human interaction, and we the audience had a first-row seat to watch all the drama unfold.
Let’s take a look back at some of the biggest ways Bollywood delivered the goods in 2015!
What would the film industry be without a heavy dose of drama? After all, there’s got to be something keeping all those issues of Stardust flying off the shelves! While stars have certainly become more media savvy in the past few years, it seems no amount of PR training can keep them from putting their foot in their mouth–or wanting to put their fist down someone else’s throat. But physical fighting is so passé; these days, stars stick to waging a war of words.
Kangana Ranaut, for example, certainly wasn’t shy when she took on Deepika Padukone. It all began last awards season, when Deepika dedicated an award she had won to Kangana, and Kangana cheekily questioned why Deepika hadn’t bothered to express her appreciation in person. Their equation, it seems, went downhill from there, with Kangana throwing jibes left, right, and center at Miss Padukone. She termed their relationship ‘katti’ during the ‘Katti Batti’ press tour, and all but openly accused Deepika of trying to steal her roles and spread rumors about her behind her back. And Kangana is just the latest in a line of female colleagues Deepika seems to have ticked off: in the past, Katrina, Anushka, and Sonam have all thrown shade at DP.
But it wasn’t just the girls getting ‘katti’ with each other. Word has it that even Salman and Aamir had a falling out at a recent party, and with both of them coming out with wrestling films in 2016, we could see their friendship go kaput entirely!
In an industry that runs on nepotism, every time the stork arrives feels a bit like a royal birth. Who are the celebrity babies who will rule the industry in a couple decades? Rani Mukerji and Yash Raj Films scion Aditya Chopra welcomed daughter Adira on December 9. Nawazuddin Siddiqui celebrated his 41st birthday this year by meeting his newborn son, Yaani (also born on May 19!). Vivek Oberoi and wife Priyanka added baby no. 2 to their family with the birth of their daughter, Ameyaa Nirvana. And Ali Zafar, Mohit Suri, and Omi Vaidya all welcomed new additions to their families this year. What cuter gifts could we ask for?!
I know what you’re thinking: how can a flop be a good thing? On a micro level, it’s not (especially if you’re an investor). But take a look at the bigger picture.
Alia Bhatt gave the first flop of her career with ‘Shaandaar’. Kangana went from a career high with ‘Queen’ to a steep low with ‘Katti Batti’. Even Deepika couldn’t propel ‘Tamasha’ into the hit zone. And the less said about ‘Bombay Velvet’–one of the biggest money pits in Bollywood history–the better. The truth is that no film is a sure thing, and in an industry dominated by stars who are often told they can do no wrong, failure is what keeps everyone on their toes. Flops keep you humble, and if anyone is in desperate need of humility, it’s rich, beautiful movie stars. At the end of the day, failure makes you better. It forces you to work harder and to listen to criticism. Failure is a temporary state that can spur permanent changes. And isn’t that what we all want? For Bollywood to produce better content, and to show more respect for its audience? So thank you, Flops of 2015, for forcing everyone to give a little more thought to the projects they pour millions of dollars into…or at least we hope so!
2014 was the year that women truly arrived in mainstream cinema, but 2015 was the year they conquered. For decades, Hindi film heroines have been treated as little more than pretty, shallow decorations to adorn testosterone-driven films with. But from Aishwarya to Anushka, Deepika to Kalki, and Sonam to Richa, actresses are telling their own stories, both onscreen and off. Whether they identify as feminists or not, their words and actions ARE feminist, and their successes benefit all the women in the film industry. The topics covered by women-centric films this year are too broad to discuss individually, but what the audience can take away is that women can be old or young, rich or poor, fair or dusky, able-bodied or disabled, straight or queer, and they all deserve onscreen representation.
And social activism doesn’t stop when the movie ends! Today, actresses are not afraid to talk about the massive pay discrepancies between themselves and their male counterparts. They’re not afraid to confront unrealistic beauty standards head on. They’re not afraid to be imperfect, or vulnerable, or opinionated. And their actions today will slowly but surely help change things for women in the future. 2015 has proven that actresses have a platform, and it’s about time they started using it. Keep kicking ass, ladies!
As they say, every new year is a fresh start. This year, we witnessed quite a few rivalries end in hugs, tears, and photo ops. The most news-worthy reunion of 2015 was without a doubt the one between Salman Khan and Shahrukh Khan. The two had hugged it out on a couple of occasions since Baba Siddique’s Iftaar party in 2014, but this is the year their bromance truly kicked into high gear. It was SRK who unveiled the first look of Salman’s ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’; Salman reciprocated by inviting Shahrukh to the set of Big Boss to promote ‘Dilwale’. With ‘Sultan’ and ‘Raees’ slated to release on the same date next year, who knows how long this peace will last, but it’s certainly been entertaining to watch thusfar!
SRK and Salman weren’t the only two 90’s stars to reunite this year, though. Shilpa Shetty and her husband Raj Kundra joined hands with Shilpa’s ex Akshay Kumar to create their own home shopping channel; Shilpa also reconciled with another of Akshay’s exes, Raveena Tandon, by happily posing with her for a selfie at Aaradhya Bachchan’s birthday party; Deepika Padukone was clicked kissing boyfriend Ranveer Singh’s ex Anushka Sharma on the cheek; and even Aishwarya Rai and Sushmita Sen were clicked with their arms around each other, a full 20 years after the two beauty queens last posed together! Are celebrity feuds fun? Of course! But the making up is far more heartwarming.
2015 was the year Priyanka Chopra arrived on the world stage. Bollywood stars have been lauded for their beauty and crazy fan following for decades, and every year Aishwarya, Sonam, and now Katrina have made their presence felt at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. But Priyanka became the first Bollywood star to truly break out in the international market by headlining the ABC drama ‘Quantico’. It takes a lot of guts to leave superstardom behind and invest your time and talent in a new industry, but PC pulled it off, and with ‘Quantico’ scoring high ratings, it looks like she’s on her way to becoming a bonafide Hollywood star.
Priyanka’s not alone in making the jump to Hollywood. Deepika Padukone recently signed on for the third ‘xXx’ film opposite Vin Diesel; Irrfan Khan played a key role in the summer blockbuster ‘Jurassic World’ and shot for the Ron Howard film ‘Inferno’; and Nimrat Kaur scored a recurring role on the hugely popular television series ‘Homeland’. Asians, and specifically South Asians, have long been excluded from Western pop culture. But the world is changing, and our Bollywood stars are doing their part to help it along!
Every year, a new Bollywood celeb seems to find themselves in hot water. This year, however, it was as if the whole industry stepped in it!
2015 started off with a bang when footage of All India Bakchod’s Comedy Roast of Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor went viral on the internet. Like all comedy roasts, it was wildly and purposely offensive. But the film industry has never been known for its ability to laugh at itself, so everyone from Aamir Khan to Sanjay Leela Bhansali got their panties in a twist over the abusive content. Things really started heating up when police complaints were registered against everyone involved in the show and several Christian organizations demanded an apology. It seems India just isn’t ready for comedy roasts!
March brought controversy down upon Queen Bee Deepika Padukone after the actress attempted to flex her feminist muscles in Vogue’s well-intentioned but bizarre ‘My Choice’ video. Though the video advocated for female sexual liberation, several lines were misinterpreted as condoning infidelity, and the moral brigade came out with pitchforks raised. It didn’t help, of course, that Deepika had nothing to say in her own defense. And thus the ‘My Choice’ video, which was supposed to be a tool of empowerment, became a national joke.
And just when we thought 2015 was done delivering scandals, Aamir Khan stuck his foot in his mouth when, in the middle of a national debate over whether or not India is an intolerant country, he casually mentioned a conversation he had had with wife Kiran Rao where they discussed moving outside of India because of growing social unrest. Hell hath no fury like a nation scorned! In a reaction so predictable it was almost comical, Aamir became a verbal punching bag for nationalists all over the country. Because clearly, the best way to respond to criticism that you’re intolerant…is to respond intolerantly!
A million hearts broke when Shahid Kapoor tied the knot with Delhi college girl Mira Rajput on July 7. After two high profile relationships with Kareena Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra, fans were taken by surprise when Shahid opted for a non-filmi wife. But by the time festivities were in full swing and all of Bollywood had turned out in their designer duds, the public was thrilled. After all, there’s nothing quite like a big fat Bollywood wedding!
Shahid was one of many stars who got hitched this year. Saif’s lil sis Soha Ali Khan married actor Kunal Khemu in a small ceremony in January, while actress Minissha Lamba quietly wed longtime boyfriend Ryan Tham. Designer Masaba Gupta, television star Drashti Dhami, songstress Shreya Ghoshal, and actor Kunal Kapoor all tied the knot in 2015, as well. Phew! That’s a lot of wedding gifts to purchase!
To some people, Dubsmashes are a gift. To others, they’re the social media equivalent of the plague. But no matter how you feel about them, there’s no doubting that the Dubsmash craze took Bollywood by storm in 2015. For those of you who don’t know (perhaps you’ve spent this year camping out under a rock), Dubsmash is a mobile app that allows users to lip sync over famous audio clips from music, film, and television. Tech-savvy stars used the trend to market their products, with various celebrities doing Dubsmashes of songs and dialogues to help promote their friends’ upcoming films. It turned into an interesting bartering system: “I’ll Dubsmash for you this month, if you Dubsmash for me next month.” But hey, at least the stars were having fun and interacting with each other!
Last but not least, 2015 delivered unto cinema lovers the most precious gift of all: good films!
Celebrity culture is fun, but in the end, there’s no substitute for a great movie. This year, Bollywood proved that it’s growing by leaps and bounds. No matter what genre you’re into, from action to romance to horror, there was a place for you in the cinema hall. Some of us were taken in by the historical opulence of ‘Bajirao Mastani’, while others reveled in the 90’s-esque melodrama of ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’. Hard-hitting films like ‘Talvar’ and ‘NH10’ found their audiences, and ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ sent a social message to the masses. The biggest takeaway from 2015 is that as audience members, we no longer have to settle for mediocrity from the film industry. Bollywood is chock full of talent, and when you step back and let that talent do its work, magic happens. And isn’t that what we go to the movies for in the first place?