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.