Bollywood 2023: That Was The Year That Was

Bollywood 2023


IBNS: 2023 will be remembered as a year when Bollywood slowly tried to revive and reshape its future by banking on the shoulders of major superstars, especially after a gloomy 2022 when #BoycottBollywood trended and several prospective movies bombed at the Box Office. The year also marked the emergence of matinee idol Shah Rukh Khan with two major hits after a long four-year pause. IBNS-TWF correspondent Supriyo Hazra navigates each month the graph of newsmakers of the year.

Shah Rukh Khan: There is a lull before a storm lashes the shore forcefully. Shah Rukh Khan set the Box Office on fire with two mega releases after a break of several years-Pathaan and then Jawan. Both films shattered records and recreated the magic in the hearts of the audience that was missing during Khan’s four-year sabbatical. Away from his iconic romantic hero image, Khan experimented as an action star in both the movies and ‘kayanat’ ensured he could successfully flow along the tide of success with a bang. He redefined action in his way just like he had once taught India how to romance and love.

No, he did not stop at that.  His third movie of the year Dunki is hitting the big screen. Directed by Raj Kumar Hirani, the film is already attracting the attention of his fans.

Shah Rukh Khan also played a small cameo as Pathaan in Salman Khan’s mega Diwali release Tiger 3. With both the stars coming together, film lovers witnessed a cracker for which they had been waiting for several years. Salman had also made a surprise entry in Pathaan leaving his fans ecstatic.

Akshay Kumar: Khiladi Akshay Kumar kept his promise of delivering at least one major hit a year and this time it was OMG 2 which pulled his fans to the theatre. A strong storyline that made people rethink the need to talk freely about sex education and include it in the school syllabus, coupled with Akshay Kumar’s performance as Lord Shiva’s messenger, was strong enough to make a major mark at the Box Office. Apart from OMG2, directed by Amit Rai, Kumar was seen in Selfiee and  Mission Raniganj.

Salman Khan: Salman Khan knows how to set big screens on fire. Well, literally. Salman’s fans burned crackers and left fellow audiences running for safety in a theatre to celebrate the release of Tiger 3 on Diwali Sunday. After several videos of the incident, Salman himself tweeted and urged fans not to perform such acts. The movie lived up to the expectations and Tiger 3 was a hit. Salman Khan, teaming up with Emraan Hashmi and Katrina Kaif and of course a dollop of Shah Rukh Khan, gifted his fans with a complete Diwali entertainer.

Katrina Kaif: Bollywood beauty had a slow 2022 when her Phone Bhoot could not create magic at the Box Office. She joined the young star cast of Ishaan Khattar, and Siddhant Chaturvedi for the horror comedy. However, she decided to change the direction of her fate once again in 2023 when she was back as spy Zoya in Tiger 3. She performed in some high-flying action scenes in the movie, competing perfectly with her superstar Bollywood colleague Salman Khan in this mega release of the year. However, it was her sizzling towel fight scene in a Hammam opposite Hollywood stuntwoman Michelle Lee which grabbed headlines since the trailer of Tiger 3 hit social media ahead of the release of the movie.

Kriti Sanon: Kriti Sanon added a special feather to the successful crown when she won her first National Award in the category of Best Actress for her performance in Mimi at the 69th National Film Awards ceremony.

Kriti had three releases this year-Shehzada, Adipurush and Ganapath. Ganpath saw her team up with Heropanti costar Tiger Shroff while she starred opposite southern sensation Prabhas in Adipurush and the Bollywood charmer Kartik Aaryan in Shehzada.

Kiara Advani: Ending all speculations, Kiara Advani and Sidharth Malhotra tied the nuptial knot on February 7. Since then, the couple have posted several images online where they could be seen delightfully enjoying special events like Diwali and Karva Chauth. On the work front, Kiara and  Kartik Aaryan won hearts with their Box Office success story- Satyaprem Ki Katha.

Deepika Padukone: Deepika Padukone will surely tick 2023 as one of the most memorable years in her life  after she became the first and only celebrity from India to be the presenter at the Oscars. Apart from her mega debut at Oscars, Deepika tagged with her first Bollywood hero Shah Rukh Khan to create Box Office sensations Pathaan and then Jawan. Her performance as spy Dr. Rubina “Rubai” Mohsin in Pathaan earned appreciation from critics and fans. She returned as Aishwarya Rathore in Jawan and this time her extended cameo successfully won hearts and the movies not only marked Khan’s return to the big screen but also ensured film lovers went back to cinema halls after months of Bollywood’s unimpressive run with major duds. We can, hence, safely say Deepika remained Bollywood’s reigning queen in 2023.

Alia Bhatt: Alia Bhatt became a mother last year and this year she added one more glory to her crown by making her Hollywood debut with the film Heart of Stone. She made her first international debut in a movie which also featured Wonder Woman Gal Gadot. In Bollywood, Alia and Ranveer Singh teamed up for their perfect masala entertainer Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani. Karan Johar’s directorial venture scored high and tasted success at the Box Office.

Ranveer Singh: The word versatile perhaps suits best while describing Ranveer Singh who teamed up with gorgeous Alia Bhatt to deliver a perfect spicy Bollywood entertainer Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani. Ranveer shined as a rapper in ‘Gully Boys’ and then played the character of Kapil Dev perfectly in 83 and this time he was redefining in his own way the art of playing a romantic hero in the 2023 Karan Johar mega release.

Ranbir Kapoor: The previous year when Bollywood movies were failing to make a strong mark, Ranbir Kapoor remained a bright spot with his 2022-released Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva delivering at the Box Office. This year, he was seen twice – in Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar and the sensational and controversial Animal. With the mega success of Animal, a film accused of promoting misogyny, violence and infidelity,  Ranbir is back in the reckoning.

Sara Ali Khan: Sara Ali Khan started the year with her appearance in Gaslight in March which featured Vikrant Massey and Chitrangada Singh. Her second Bollywood release- Zara Hatke Zara Bachke- with its simple storyline and strong acting performance, touched the hearts of the Indian audience. The movie featured Bollywood’s thinking actor Vicky Kaushal and left a noticeable mark at the Box Office.

Vicky Kaushal: Vicky Kaushal remains one consistent performer with his versatile acting and multiple releases. He delivered a Box Office hit with Zara Hatke Zara Bachke  opposite Sara Ali Khan.  Though his next release The Great Indian Family bombed badly, Vicky made a sensational comeback with his next release Sam Bahadur, a biopic and war drama film directed by Meghna Gulzar on the life of India’s first field marshal, Sam Manekshaw.  He will also be seen in Shah Rukh Khan’s December release Dunki.

Prabhas: Southern sensation and India’s Baahubali Prabhas will surely like to forget 2023 after his mega release Adipurush turned out to be the biggest letdown of the year. Despite fans expecting to witness a cinematic thriller in this adaptation of the epic, the Om Raut movie mostly drew criticisms from critics and movie lovers. Budgeted at Rs 500 crore, the movie was a box-office failure.

Man of the Match:

Sunny Deol: While the year belonged to Shah Rukh Khan with two major hits, his Darr colleague Sunny Deol returned to the silver screen with an equally eventful comeback in Gadar 2. Released on Independence Day weekend, Gadar 2 soon topped the Box Office chart and turned out to be the third highest-grossing Indian film of 2023. A sequel to Gadar: Ek Prem Katha (2001), the movie proved that Sunny Deol, playing the role of quintessential Tara Singh, and his all-out fight for his country against arch-rival Pakistan, can still draw the audience to the theatre.

This couple won all hearts

He is not a big ticket star but actor Randeep Hooda and his wife, model Lin Laishram, who hails from Manipur, won the heart this year with images of their traditional Manipuri wedding. In the pictures they shared on social media, the couple can be seen dressed in gorgeous, traditional Manipuri outfits during the wedding. Randeep Hooda is spotted in a white kurta while bride Lin can be seen wearing gold jewellery with her wedding attire. The photos give glimpses of the couple’s jaimala among other rituals. “From today, we are One,” read Randeep Hooda’s caption on social media.

Character Kings:

Pankaj Tripathi: Pankaj Tripathi is one name that needs special mention for his impactful performance in movies and OTT releases in recent years. This year, he played a pivotal role in Akshay Kumar’s OMG2, which emerged as a box-office success and his talent was also appreciated for his role in the OTT film Kadak Singh.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui: A versatile genius, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, showed his potential to give life to any character he plays was once again proved with his 2023 released movie Haddi.   

Manoj Bajpayee: The actor has been leaving cine buffs amazed with his acting skills since the 1990s and in 2023 he added more feathers to his cap by portraying a strong character in the OTT release Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai. His theatrically released movie Joram also left the audience moved and won huge critical acclaim.

Yami Gautam: Yami Gautam has proved her brilliance in front of the camera in multiple movies since she began her Bollywood journey with Vicky Donor in 2012. In 2023, Yami hit the target with her OTT release Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga. The movie reportedly emerged as one of the most-watched Indian content films on Netflix. He also played a key character in OMG2.

And the award goes to …

Waheeda Rahman:  Bollywood icon Waheeda Rehman was conferred the Dadasaheb Phalke Lifetime Achievement Award in 2023. From playing a sex worker in Pyaasa to the rebellious Rosie in Guide, Rahman had essayed roles that were unconventional and ahead of her time. Rehman made her acting debut with the Telugu film Rojulu Marayi (1955). She has featured in many films among which notables are Pyaasa (1957), Guide (1965), Khamoshi (1969), Phagun (1973), Kabhi Kabhie (1976), Chandni (1989), Lamhe (1991), Rang De Basanti (2006), and Delhi 6 (2009).

Final Exit:

Satish Kaushik: Actor-filmmaker Satish Kaushik, who worked in several hit Bollywood movies including Mr. India, died after suffering a heart attack.

Gufi Paintal: The actor, who will be best remembered for his performance as Shakuni in B.R Chopra’s Mahabharat in 1988, died this year at the age of 78.

Junior Mahmood: Actor Junior Mahmood, whose versatile acting in Caravan, Haathi Mere Saathi and Mera Naam Joker had made him popular in 1960s and 1970s, died after losing his battle against cancer in December. He was 67.

Sanjay Gadhvi: Dhoom director Sanjay Gadhvi died after reportedly suffering from a heart attack at the age of 57.

(Photo credits: Shah Rukh Khan X page, Akshay Kumar Instagram page, YRF Films, YRF X page, Kriti Sanon Instagram page, Kiara Advani Instagram page , Deepika Padukone Instagram page, Sara Ali Khan Instagram page, Prabhas Instagram page, Wallpaper Cave, Randeep Hooda social media, IBNS Files.)