Love stories over action formulae, not-so-happy endings and realistic tales from urban India. These were some of the trends that dominated Bollywood in 2013. And then there were a few others which not only moulded Indian cinema of the past year but promised to change its course in the future. Be it the support that independent films found in mainstream Bollywood, the acceptance and recognition of new talent in all aspects of filmmaking or the films that set the new benchmark of box-office records. The nominations of Kamala Pasand 20th Annual Life OK Screen Awards reflect these defining trends. TALK takes a closer look at the nominees to list them out.
Expanding on genres
Love stories were the flavour of the season in 2013, with films such as Raanjhanaa, Lootera and Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela achieving both acclaim and box-office numbers. However, some filmmakers decided to step out of this comfort zone and introduced Indian audience to genres that Bollywood has never explored before. Take, for instance, choreographer-director Remo D’Souza’s ABCD: Any Body Can Dance. A dance-based film with Prabhudheva in lead and dance reality show stars in other key roles, ABCD inspired many to experiment. Then, actor-producer Saif Ali Khan, under his banner Illuminati Films, backed director duo Raj Nidimoru-Krishna DK’s hilarious zombie film, Go Goa Gone. A far cry from the Ramsays’ zombie themes, this one was smart, thrilling and peppered with ROFL dialogues, which have won actor Kunal Kemmu a nomination under the Best Dialogue category. “Apprehensive of what we were attempting, many said that they’d heard of ghosts and spirits, but zombies were an unknown concept. We paid homage to them and included many such statements as dialogues in the film,” says Kemmu.
The mighty step in
Strong and unique storylines, tight scripts and flawless performances endeared films such as The Lunchbox, Ship of Theseus (SoT) and Shahid to the audience. Such films, made by little-known directors and with no stars to boast of, rarely have money to spend on marketing owing to the shoe-string budgets and have had a long-standing tradition of only touring the festival circuit. But help came from unexpected quarters in 2013. Kiran Rao stepped in to “present” SoT and managed to find a distributor for the film in Disney UTV, which later went on to release The Lunchbox and Shahid. “One of the big challenges of non-mainstream cinema is that it will always be niche and fight for space, and might end up a losing the battle. It is for people like us who have goodwill and credibility to push the kind of art we like,” Rao had said in an earlier interview. Taking cue, Karan Johar backed The Lunchbox while Aamir Khan lent support to Hansal Mehta’s biopic of the slain lawyer Shahid Azmi.
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The big leap
Aamir’s success had made Rajeev Khandelwal the inspiration for many a television actors looking to work in movies. While the actor’s career has since witnessed a slump, it did not deter the hopefuls. Thankfully so. One of the brightest and most promising acting talents to emerge in 2013 in the Hindi film industry is Sushant Singh Rajput, who first made his mark with Zee’s Pavitra Rishta. “Television can get limiting at times whereas cinema allows you to play many characters, which is the medium’s biggest draw,” says Rajput, who made his big screen debut with Kai Po Che!, which won him a Best Actor nomination. Other television actors to make splash are Amit Sadh, who is nominated in the Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Male) category for the same film as Rajput, and Manish Paul, whose titular character in Mickey Virus has him as a nominee in the Most Promising Newcomer (Male) list.
The 100-Crore Club is passe
The second film by a young filmmaker with two superstars-in-the-making showed the industry that Rs 100 crore at box-office can be an underachievement. Ayan Mukerji’s Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani with Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor became the first film in 2013 to collect Rs 200 crore. Chennai Express, Krrish 3 and Dhoom 3 followed it to the Rs 200-Crore Club. “Apart from offering entertainment, it’s important that the film also connects with the audience. Only then can it attract such viewership,” says Mukerji of what can help a film make that mark.
Talent in demand
He was laughed at for his unconventional looks and written off by many well before he made his acting debut in an industry dominated by fair-complexioned men with six pack abs. But Dhanush not only won acclaim for his role as an endearing stalker-lover in Raanjhanaa but has managed to bag the Best Actor (Male) nomination for it too. Going by the nominations, 2013 saw many first-timers make their mark in the industry, such as Nimrat Kaur for Best Actor (Female) (The Lunchbox), Varun Sharma for Best Actor in a Comic Role (Fukrey), Neeraj Kabi for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Male) (SoT) and Pankaj Kumar for Best Cinematography in (SoT). “I’ve worked in theatre for years but resisted films because it didn’t take actors seriously until recently,” said Kabi.