A few more days, and it'll be 2020, and howsoever, poetic it may sound....it is not. Come to think of it, 90s is now a 20-year-old phenomenon, and the era's kids are no more kids. They can still boast of having watched the first ever episode of 'Koffee With Karan' or that of 'Kaun Banega Crorepati', but will they be ever able to vouch for a film industry that's devoid of nepotism? Or say, formulaic movies?
There's still hope for future babies. Because the past decade was surely not that lucky... We had nepotism, remixes, and remakes stinking the entire industry. But we also saw the emergence of new genres and some path-breaking technology to encourage us to end 2019 on a fairly good note.
And as we embrace 2020 with open arms, just what Shah Rukh Khan pulled off on his heroines in the 90s, we list our takeaways from the past decade -- 2010-2019 (in no proper order).
Zero) Samay ka pher
You get the wordplay?
This was a decade that proved the age-old saying that translates to 'time is the biggest master'. With his open arms, and a superlatively romantic oeuvre, Shah Rukh Khan ruled the 90s. He graduated to do content-driven movies in the early 2000s, but when it came to 2010-19, the outsider-who-broke-all-records lost his Midas touch.
The decade started with 'My Name Is Khan', a Karan Johar directorial, earning SRK critical praise. But as the decade moved to its later half, his film choices let him down.
If 'Raees', a 2017 release, worsened his prospects, Aanand L Rai's 'Zero' was the final nail in the coffin. Not only was the movie widely panned for its below-par script, the audience hated to see SRK in the role of a dwarf.
The 'samay ka pher' brought SRK to a point when he took a sabbatical in 2019, and preferred to spend time with his family. But despite this, he bagged the sixth position on the Forbes Celebrity 100 List.
His fans, however, are still awaiting the announcement of his next -- with open arms, and a glint in the eye. 'Apna Time Aayega'?
The takeaway: You cannot beat "time". But 'apna time aayega...'
1) Ayushmann Khurrana -- tumhaara kya bigaadega zamaana?
It all began with 'Vicky Donor' in 2012, when a 'Roadie'-turned-VJ marked an unusual debut in Bollywood. It was unusual -- primarily because a debutant was working with Shoojit Sircar on a movie that spoke about sperm donation. Like whaattttt!?
But this slice-of-life movie managed to woo the cinegoers and how!
People went crazy over this rustic guy who could ace the role of the Delhi guy. And sing like a dream. But well-begun is just half done.
Ayushmann Khurrana had to see three failures before he could further weave his charm and magic on the audience. In 2015, he did 'Dum Laga Ke Haisha', and there has since been no looking back for this multi-talented man.
Picture this. 'Bareilly Ki Barfi', 'Shubh Mangal Savdhaan', 'Andhadhun', 'Badhai Ho', 'Article 15', 'Dreamgirl' and 'Bala' -- all were superhits, and in terms of both - audience's love and critical acclaim.
'Andhadhun' and 'Article 15' stand out among these -- simply because of the sheer brilliance of Ayushmann Khurrana. He was raw, real and rough in both, and won accolades for both.
'Dreamgirl' also stands out -- because of going on to rake in moolah at the Box Office despite its problematic script. And why not?! It was an Ayushmann Khurrana-movie, a kind nobody had even thought of until 2015. But this multi-talented actor, an outsider, did the unthinkable.
His choice of scripts has now snowballed into a new style of movies altogether -- The Ayushmann Khurrana Genre - the guarantee of something different in an industry that likes to follow set standards and formulae for success.
The Ayushmann Khurrana Genre is one of pure family entertainers and blockbusters -- even if it means having to jhelofy something of the standard of 'Dreamgirl'. You can, because you have fallen in love with Ayushmann Khurrana. Abb inki movies ka kya bigaadega zamaana?!
Also, he writes poetry. Brawn and brain! Wowza!
पाओं ज़मीन पर रखे मेरे, रूह कभी ना मग़रूर थी;— Ayushmann Khurrana (@ayushmannk) December 8, 2019
परवाज़ ऐसी दी मुझे, जो मेरे तख़य्युल से भी दूर थी।
Paaon zameen par rakhe mere, rooh kabhi na maghroor thi;
Parvaaz aisi dee mujhe, jo mere takhayyul se bhi duur thi.
Takhayyul = imagination pic.twitter.com/HNGeCWpF3r
The takeaway: AK rules! p.s. Have you heard him sing?
Disclaimer: If you are Karan Johar, you should not read this. If you are not, you will. Actually, KJo also will. Because he loves it.
And we don't say it... Everybody else does. He himself too.
Kangana Ranaut was the first person from the industry to ask KJo the damned question on his own turf (read: his chat show 'Koffee With Karan'). But what did we get?
No, not an answer.
Kangana did not make an appearance ever again on the couch.
But all things said and done. Nepotism is not just the entitlement of the film industry. My parents are doctors, and I was expected to be a doctor. And much to my father's chagrin, I am writing this gyaan.
A certain political party in India is spiralling downward into a pit because of nepotism.
So let's face it: nepotism isn't just restricted to Bollywood. It's an Indian custom, a thing.
And by that measure, we are so not anti-nationals. We follow the Indian-ness to the 'T'. We drool over Taimur, bear Harshvardhan, Sonam and Arjun Kapoor in movies, and tag Suhana Khan, Ananya Panday and Shanaya Kapoor as 'future divas of Bollywood' for unknown reasons.
And by the bye, rumour has it that Suhana Khan, Aryan Khan, Ibrahim Ali Khan, Khushi Kapoor, Ahan Shetty, Taimur Ali Khan, and Aaradhya Bachchan will also soon be launched.
The takeaway: Nepotism ki jai! It is here to stay!
3) Aila! Nepotism 2.0
Having dramatically blamed nepotism for all the crap Bollywood is doling out, we cannot help but rule out a few blessings in disguise the proposition has served us with.
One of them is Aila! Alia Bhatt. She started slow with 'Student of the Year', but Imtiaz Ali, the showman, gave her 'Highway'. She proved she had Mahesh Bhatt's genes in her with her stellar act. And with 'Udta Punjab', and 'Raazi' in the same decade, Alia has got her name registered in history. What a beautifully brilliant actress! Thank god for nepotism!
The Almighty also blessed us with Varun Dhawan and Sara Ali Khan in this decade.
'Badlapur' was a gem -- much of whose credit to Sriram Raghavan, but boy! was Varun Dhawan brilliant or what!? An exceptional dancer, a committed professional and above all, a master of his craft, Varun Dhawan is one of nepotism's biggest blessings.
Talking of blessings, Sara Ali Khan is on a different level. More than her films, her down-to-earth demeanour, her intelligence, and her charm have made headlines. Come to think of it, which budding actress announces on national television that she has a crush on a fellow actor? Well, she did.
And guess what, SarTik floored the internet. And we love them together.
The takeaway: Thank God for nepotism!
4) Ranveer Singh, tum khaatey kya ho?
We met him at the start of the decade, and gradually, but steadily, fell in love with his energy. He serenaded the most beautiful girl in the business, and got her to marry him when she was at the peak of her career. Because, love.
And who can make this happen? Only Ranveer Singh Bhavnani.
'Bread pakode ki kasam', kya banda hai yaar!? Ranveer Singh carries off the most outlandish, outrageous attire with utmost ease. And he can crack you up with his one-liners.
And to top it, he can do a 'Goliyon ki Rasleela: Ramleela', a 'Bajirao Mastani', a 'Padmavat', a 'Lootera', and a 'Gully Boy' -- all in a decade's time.
The icing on this giant cake is his palpable energy. Bhai, what do you usually have for breakfast? And lunch? And dinner? Basically, khaatey kya ho? Itni energy laatey kahaan se ho? How do you do it?
Now, can we blame Deepika Padukone if she fell for his charm? Who wouldn't fall for such a goofball?
The takeaway: We are desperately waiting for '83.
5) Misogyny? #MeToo? Woh kya hota hai?
Bollywood, why you do this? It was after such a long time, and after such a long struggle that we opened up to something called the 'possibility of sexual harassment at the workplace', and you ruined it, bro.
There was a horde of male celebrities that came under the radar of the #MeToo movement in India -- a campaign that had already shown drastic results in Hollywood, damaging and destroying careers.
But this is Bollywood -- an Indian entity. Toh Alok Nath is still doing movies, Anu Malik "had to step down as a reality show judge" (but you never know; he can be back the next season), Vikas Bahl was credited as 'Super 30' director, Nana Patekar is still reverred, and Sajid Khan is still attending parties. And why? Because in some cases, the women took their words back, and in others, nobody paid attention.
In both scenarios, who suffered? Womanhood, I say.
But wait. Don't term me a "Feminazi". I did not slam 'Kabir Singh', or 'Pyaar Ka Punchnama'. Kyun karoon? Movies hi toh hain.
So what if the former glorifies toxicity in relationships, and the latter stamps women as nasty, shrewd gold-diggers? These are just movies. And more than half of the country believes so...
Largely speaking, barring a few sequences, 'Kabir Singh' is not so problematic. It chronicles the journey of a surgeon, who embarks on a journey of self-destruction. And Devdaas also did so... Hmmm! Toh problem India mein hi hai. Na?
So why blaming the 'Pyaar Ka Punchnama' franchise too? Kartik Aaryan derived his entire stardom from that one monologue only. Na?
The takeaway: Toxic masculinity? Woh kya hota hai?
6) Let's gold plate everything
Old is gold. And we are Bappi Lahiri fans. So we'll be golden. And how can we do that? Gold-plating.
Don't be confused. This gyaan is as real it can get. When you getting gold, why go for 'taamba'? Just gold-plate. Remix and remake.
You cannot make new music. Remix the old songs.
You cannot write original scripts. Remake the old classics.
Recycle and reuse -- that was the unsaid rule that stank the entire decade.
Abb main kya kahoon? Amitabh Bachchan's 'Don' was remade; Amol Palekar's 'Gol Maal' was an inpiration to 'Bol Bachchan'; and 'Pati Patni Aur Woh' was brought back from the dead.
And when there's a remake, can remixes be far behind?
'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani' was ruined, so was 'Ankhiyon Se Goli Maare' and so was 'Aankh Maare'.
Another trend that remained in vogue throughout the decade was generating sequels to every movie. Salman Khan's 'Dabangg' released in 2010. And has had two sequels already. 'Housefull' has had four movies in the franchise till now.
But do they add any value to the system? Ati har cheez ki buri hoti hai. Or not?
The takeaway: Did we sign on for this?
7) Vishal Dadlani/Amit Trivedi/Arijit Singh
But all is not that bad with the film industry. There were some discoveries too. And of real people, real talent.
Arijit Singh, a contestant who ended up on the sixth position on a reality show, saw an exponential rise in his graph and popularity in the past decade. I don't think there is any movie music album that doesn't have a song sung by him. He is omnipotent.
And so is Vishal Dadlani. Be it 'Malhaari', 'Jee Le Zaraa', or 'Shaitan Ka Saala', Vishal is a 'joker' -- he fits in every track and every music album. And his presence on 'Indian Idol' as a judge, and on Twitter as a radical leader, are just an addition to his charm.
Talking of real music, is there anything Amit Trivedi cannot do? From 'Sasural Genda Phool' and 'Pashmina' to 'Shaam Shaandaar' to 'Dariya', Amit Trivedi has almost single-handedly changed the face of Indian music.
The takeaway: When you getting 'gold', why go for 'gold-plating'?
Pehle main bahot dukhi rahti thhi. Phir maine India mein comedy dekhi...aur main aur dukhi ho gayi.
But thank Kapil Sharma for the little sparks he shows every now and then. You like him or not, he has his own brand of comedy that sometimes goes to the limits of body-shaming, but often ends up making you laugh.
The Amritsar guy catapulted into stardom when he won a reality show. And through many personal and professional controversies, he made his way to the top of the Indian comedy scene.
And so did Krushna Abhishek. What a performer! He has his own issues with his 'mama' Govinda (who by the bye doesn't speak with him anymore), but has nonchalantly used his name only to reach where he is today. His dancing skills add to his comic timing, and we love when he becomes 'Sapna' on Kapil's show.
Talking of Kapil's show, Sunil Grover was a regular feature as Mashhoor Gulati and Gutthi, until the huge feud broke out between them. Grover started off with minor roles in movies, and with his comic abilities moved on to bigger scales. We still miss him on Kapil's show, but guess, he is doing good for himself outside too.
The takeway: Laughter is the best medicine.
9) Zoya Akhtar
She is a product of nepotism, but if the proposition gives Zoya Akhtar to the world, thank God for it.
She started with 'Luck by Chance', but broke through in this decade with 'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara'. Many would call her out for making a film about a bachelor trip to Spain with three overtly rich guys. Abb itna paisa kahaan hai sabke paas?
But that apart, her attention to detail in ZNMD, and 'Dil Dhadakne Do' for that matter, was exemplary. The characters in Zoya's movies are so painstakingly written that they cease to remain just that; they become a part of your own world.
Think of ZNMD's Arjun, or Laila, or Imran, or DDD's Kabir and Ayesha...you tend to attach one of your own insecurities, or complexes to them. Her talent doubles when she teams up with Reema Kagti.
So when they make a 'Gully Boy' together, they make sure it races to the Oscars -- besides giving India a bomb of a movie.
And when they venture into the digital space, they make something as beautiful as 'Made In Heaven'.
The takeaway: Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao....Beti se films banwao.
10) Netflix has no chill
The decade saw the emergence of one of the biggest forces of mass communication -- the web series space. And along with it came myriad streaming channels.
At the end of 2019, you are sure of one thing -- you won't ever get bored. There's 'Sacred Games', 'Inside Edge', 'Made In Heaven', 'Mirzapur' and 'Kota Factory' among others. The list sees so sign of an end.
And every movie, within a few months of its release, is present on a streaming channel.
The web series space, besides giving a permanent way of entertainment, has brought back exemplary, but forgotten, actors back in the game. Saif Ali Khan, Richa Chadha, Pankaj Tripathi, Ali Fazal, Shobhita Dhulipala, Arjun Mathur, Sayani Gupta, Kriti Kulhari, and others have been phenomenal in the work they have been doing on our smart TV/laptop screens.
The takeaway: The more the merrier.