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Bollywood Game-Changers 2018

Subhash K . Jha

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Ayushmann Khurrana at the unveiling of MansWorld April 2018 Cover wearing Benetton

It’s not just about delivering the  hits. It’s also about using the power that those hits give you to generate a change  in the the audiences’ gaze as it falls on that hoary silver screen. Here’s saluting the ones who made a difference this  year.

1.     Ayushmann Khurrana:  With two  back-to-back hits Andha  Dhun and  BadhaaiHo   in 2018 Ayushmann  proved  himself  an incredibly astute selector. Rather than aim  for superstardom he aims to form a deep connect with India’s  workingclass.  He  doesn’t sell dreams. He creates spaces on screen where dreams get abreathingspace.With a refreshing lack of vanity—the real hero  of the Badhaai Howas Gajraj Rao—and a solid grip over  the pulse  of the middleclass Ayushmann has proven he’s here for  the  long haul.

2.     John Abraham:  We  had almost forgotten his star-rating when suddenly, out  of the blue he  surprised  us with a well-intended  true-life story in Parmanu. No one expected  anything major from  Parmanu.  It went on to  become a  success proving the naysayers wrong.  John compounded  the Parmanu  success with SatyamevJayate, a  kitschy blood-and-fists masala product that proved he can do the main-scream equally well. Now in 2019 he is exploring the mainstream-reality space  again.Interesting where John goes from  here.

3.Radhika Apte: During 2018 she was seen here dare  everywhere.  Daringly  prolific  she hopped  skipped  and  frolicked  through  the big screen(Padman, Bazaar)) and small(Scared Games, Ghoul) without skipping  a beat.  Forever  breaking the  glass ceiling  , overwork only makes Apte  more apt  at her  craft.     

4.     Rajkummar Rao: From the  scarily argumentative sociopathic terror  kingpin  inOmerta to  the silly satirical spook  spree in Stree, Rajkummar Rao is an  actor not afraid to let his guards down  and look utterly idiotic  on screen. The more un-heroic the  more he enjoys it.We like.

5.     Tapsee Pannu: An actress who doesn’t mind taking risks, no matter how steep. This year she  was  a  hockey player  in Soorma who  gives  it all  up for love, and then she was a sexually unabashed creature  of  selfsatisfaction on Manmarziyan. Here  is  a rare actress who isn’t obsessed  with  looking  correct on screen. She blends  into  everu character and  defies the  rules  of  objectification by which Hindi  film heroines are supposed to  work. Bravo

6.     Alia Bhatt:  While  Deepika Padukone could do nothing to take her superstardomahead with Padmaavat, Alia Bhatt continues to  display a  startling enterprising spirit. She was seen in  just one film this year. Raazi featured her  in the difficult role of an Indian  spy who marries a Pakistani to infiltrate  defence secrets. Alia made  it look not only believable but also admirable. She will next be seen  playing a rapper inZoya Akhtar’s Gully Boyz. Game changer? Hell,yes!

7.     Sonam Kapoor Ahuja:  Padman, Veere Di Wedding and marriage all during one year.Sonam disproves  the  long-standing myth that chic beauties are shallow frivolous creatures.In spite of being Bollywood’s inhouse fashionista Sonam has achieved  everything there  is to achieve without falling back on her father’s name .In 2019 she will be seen  with her dad Anil  Kapoor for  the  first time on screen.Please note, only after she  has made her place in the industry. Nepotism be damned.

8. Saif Ali Khan: While the  three Khan superstars(and we don’t need to name and shame  them)  delivered duds  the fourth Khan star(and we  don’t mean  Taimur  but his father) quietly made  a big impact with his  Netflix series  Sacred Games. Saif was also excellent as a Gujarati  stockbroker  in Bazaar and as a man who thinks he is dying in the dark underrated  comedy Kalakandi.  Saif  doesn’t play  it safe at all,and that’s what makes  him a game changer, sacred or otherwise.

9.Yash: The  Kannada superstar has conquered  the  Hindi belt with  his dubbed version  of  KGF  .  North  Indian audiences  are  clapping cheering  whistling  at the  antics  of  an  actor whom they  didn’t know  until a week ago.  Now we  hear  Yash’s earlier Kannnada films are ready to be   dubbed into Hindi. Game changer  indeed.

10. Ranveer Singh: Finally  the  actor with the  boundless energy started his year with  a blockbuster Padmaavat and  has now  ended the year with  a blockbuster Simmba.  With  DeepikaPadukone  as his wife   now, Ranveer’s career has only only one way to go. Up.

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