HOPES, STUNNING SECRETS AND INTERESTING FACTS WE LEARNED ABOUT 50 HINDI CINEMA STARS IN 2020
by ASJAD NAZIR
2020 may have cut the wings of Bollywood, but there were still plenty of revelations that flew across the cinematic sky, which enabled us to learn more about the film fraternity.
Eastern Eye was right there to catch all that new knowledge, including through interviews with everyone, from exciting newcomers to established stars. So, to finish the year, here are the things we learned about 50 stars within Hindi cinema.
1. The Rekha classic Umrao Jaan made the biggest impact on Chitrangada Singh growing up and her dream role is to play a similar courtesan like character. She said: “I think they were very strong women, very modern, the feminist of that time.”
2. Kareena Kapoor Khan really wants to act in a thriller and has been telling producers to find an interesting story in that genre.
3. Kajol didn’t watch her mother Tanuja’s films growing up, but has now started appreciating her work, with Shonar Pahar (2018) and Pitraroon (2013) being favourites. She said: “What amazing performances she has given in both films.”
4. Newcomer Siddhant Chaturvedi is an avid writer and maintains a diary for each character he plays. He said: “As soon as I say yes to a film, the next day I start writing about my character.”
5. Legendary actor Anil Kapoor thinks Mashaal was a big turning point in his career. Two characters he would love to revisit would be Mr India and Nayak.
6. Newcomer Radhika Madan, who was seen in Angrezi Medium, has one dream role and that would be to play a character like Joker.
7. Acclaimed actress Yami Gautam’s cinema hero is Meryl Streep and she loves her confidence. “She has set an admirable example for herself and millions of girls globally. She is a great actor, but the way she carries herself is commendable,” said Yami.
8. Top Bollywood singer Neha Kakkar would love to collaborate with Justin Bieber or Zayn Malik.
9. For a long time Shilpa Shetty’s dream role was to play a courtesan, but today it is to do a hard-core action-oriented film. She said: “I think we’ve come of age, and people and audiences are ready to see women don powerful roles.”
10. Karan Singh Grover is an accomplished painter and his artistic hero is Banksy. He said: “There’s so much to his work and it’s not just plain and basic art. It has a message. His art is inspiring and encouraging for many people.”
11. Kunal Khemu’s acting heroes are Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Amitabh Bachchan and Kamal Haasan, but he has also been positively impacted by Steve Carrel, Jim Carey, Heath Ledger’s portrayal of Joker in The Dark Knight as well as Joaquin Phoenix in Joker.
12. Newcomer Aditya Rawal was inspired to become an actor after seeing his legendary father Paresh Rawal on stage. He said: “For me, one of the most important moments was when I saw my father perform in the theatre play Khel, which was based on the play Sleuth alongside Mr Naseeruddin Shah.”
13. Celina Jaitley had a battle with depression after losing both parents and her baby. She was able to cope by not completely withdrawing and said: “Seeking help for depression is most important because the mind is the master of everything that is connected with you in your life.”
14. Esha Gupta would love to play legendary Indian athlete PT Usha in a biopic. “She is one of the greatest athletes our country has seen. A lot of women in our country look up to her,” said Esha.
15. Sonu Sood won hearts in 2020 with his amazing good deeds and would love to play a superhero in a movie one day.
16. Rising star Saiyami Kher would love to work with actors Amitabh Bachchan, George Clooney and Ryan Gosling. She said: “I have been a big fan of all three and would just like to share screen space with them and learn how they are so effortless on screen. I would like to chat with them about their films and process.”
17. Aditi Rao Hydari is inspired by passion and intention. She said: “I feel if your intent is pure, honest and clean, there is nothing that can stop you. There is a kind of fearlessness within you. I think that passion and intention is what really inspires me to be the best version of myself.”
18. Tiger Shroff thinks Hrithik Roshan is number one in dance and Akshay Kumar is the greatest when it comes to fitness.
19. Bipasha Basu started gardening during lockdown and reconnected with cooking in a big way. She said: “My love for food was always evident, but I never knew that I would like to cook so much. I’m pretty much a very good chef and baker, so am enjoying that.”
20. Artists who dominate the personal play list of rising Bollywood music star Amaal Mallik are Madan Mohan, Alan Silvestri, Hans Zimmer, James Horner, Porcupine Tree, Imogen Heep, Seal, Rd Burman, Pritam and AR Rahman.
21. Rising star Rakul Preet Singh turned vegan and said it is one of the best decisions she ever took.
22. For newcomer Ananya Panday her dream roles are attempting genres she hasn’t done before. She said: “I want to step into a genre I haven’t explored such as horror, an out-and-out comedy or an action film. The list is endless!”
23. Beauty queen turned actress Jacqueline Fernandez recently revealed that she was asked to change her name and nose at the beginning of her Bollywood career, but refused.
24. In-demand actor Vikrant Massey has a number of dream roles he would love to play, including Michael Corleone from The Godfather, Langda Tyagi from Omkara, or Robert De Niro’s part from Taxi Driver and Bhuvan from Lagaan. He said: “These are immortal parts that are etched in our archival memory forever.”
25. Actress and singer Shruti Haasan admitted to having plastic surgery, but said that she doesn’t promote it.
26. Character actor Vijay Varma’s hero is Al Pacino. He said: “Everything he does is so full of surprises and intensity and finesse. He’s the ultimate actor.”
27. Actress Juhi Chawla was stuck in London when the Covid-19 lockdown happened and needed help from the Indian High Commission to get back to Mumbai safely.
28. Oscar winning music director AR Rahman said that he was doing a lot less work in Bollywood because there was a gang spreading false rumours about him.
29. Ayushmann Khurrana revealed a casting director once promised a role in exchange for him exposing himself and he refused.
30. Fatima Sana Shaikh revealed she was dropped from a number of films she had signed after her second film Thugs Of Hindostan flopped at the box office and thought her career was over.
31. Amitabh Bachchan initially didn’t want to host his now iconic Kaun Banega Crorepati TV quiz show when it was first offered to him 20 years ago. He only agreed after he was flown over to the UK to watch the taping of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and said yes on the return flight.
32. Varun Dhawan unsuccessfully auditioned for Hollywood film Life of Pi and independent Indian film Dhobi Ghat before finally making his debut in Student Of The Year.
33. Actor Aftab Shivdasani admires director Rajkumar Hirani and has a long-standing dream to work with him.
34. Shah Rukh has been doing a lot of cooking for the whole family during quarantine and really enjoys his newfound culinary passion.
35. Alia Bhatt is a fan of pan-Indian superstar Prabhas and thought his screen presence in the Baahubali series was awesome. She said: “I became his die-hard fan after watching Baahubali.”
36. Hrithik Roshan loves to spend money on luxury watches and has a big collection of them.
37. Deepika Padukone is a diehard Leonardo Di-Caprio fan and had posters of him on her wall as a youngster, which she kissed before going to sleep.
38. Anushka Sharma really likes watching sports documentaries and found The Last Dance, which was about basketball legend Michael Jordan, and the Chicago Bulls really interesting. Other shows she enjoyed include Caliphate, Succession, Fleabag and Marvellous Mrs Maisel.
39. Sonam Kapoor can only cook vegetarian food. She cooks Sindhi food the best and loves South Indian food.
40. Dimple Kapadia had to audition for her role in high-profile Hollywood blockbuster Tenet and was convinced she wouldn’t get a part in it, but is very grateful she did.
41. Taapsee Paanu really wants to work with director Mani Ratnam someday. Her dream role would be in X-Men or The Avengers franchise.
42. Kiara Advani revealed her fitness routine involved eating correctly, sleeping well and dedicating an hour a day to some form of physical activity, which included mixing it up between dance, yoga, boxing, functional training and pilates.
43. Ishaan Khattar won acclaim for his role in TV drama A Suitable Boy. Other literary characters he would love to play include Sherlock Holmes, Joker and Michael Corleone from The Godfather.
44. According to Bobby Deol, he was the first choice to play the lead role in blockbuster hit Jab We Met, but was replaced by Shahid Kapoor at the insistence of Kareena Kapoor.
45. Exercises Priyanka Chopra prefers the most is running, spin classes and yoga.
46. Manoj Bajpayee struggled for four years before he got a part in a TV series and was paid just `1,500 per episode. Then after a few very minor film roles, he got his first big break in Satya (1998).
47. There were reports Akshay Kumar claimed to drink cow urine regularly for health purposes.
48. Saif Ali Khan doesn’t believe in Bollywood award ceremonies and feels under-handed manipulation happens, which has resulted in him losing out in the past after being promised an honour.
49. Emraan Hashmi had to put on a lot of extra weight before he felt comfortable doing a scene with muscular star John Abraham in forthcoming film Mumbai Saga.
50. Looks are not the first thing Sara Ali Khan notices in a guy and is attracted to a personality. She likes a guy with a good sense of humour and someone who is comfortable in their own skin.
The good, bad and unexpected
IT HAS been another rollercoaster year for Hindi cinema and with the pandemic, there have been plenty of unexpected twists. Here is a look back at celebrities who had good and bad months in 2020.
Good: Ajay Devgn scored the first Bollywood blockbuster of 2020 with his home production Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior, which clocked up big numbers at the box office and due to the pandemic will finish as the highest grosser of the year.
Bad: Musician Himesh Reshammiya added to his many box office disasters as an actor with his flop film Happy Hardy and Heer.
February Good: Taapsee Pannu plays the lead role in the year’s finest Bollywood film Thappad. The successful film and her performance both received praise right across the board.
Bad: TV superstar Hina Khan made a terrible big screen debut with flop film Hacked, which received negative reviews and performed poorly at the box office.
March Good: Hrithik Roshan took his first steps towards Hollywood by signing up with a major talent agency in Los Angeles.
Bad: Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor was roundly condemned for not quarantining after arriving in India and going out partying while being infected with Covid-19, which subsequently endangered many others.
Good: Randeep Hooda delivers a winning performance in successful Netflix film Extraction and sets himself up for more Hollywood films.
Bad: Actor Sidharth Malhotra continues his downward career slide with an appearance in awful music video Masakali 2.0, which was slammed by everyone.
Good: Anushka Sharma has another big win with her home production Pataal Lok. The crime thriller web series was widely praised and resulted in another win for her as a producer.
Bad: Jacqueline Fernandez played the title role in terrible release Mrs Serial Killer, which was widely slammed and is one of the worst films of 2020. The disastrous film added to her long list of duds.
Good: Talented actress Saiyami Kher continued her impressive rise with an acclaimed central performance in Netflix film Choked. She quickly followed up this success weeks later with a strong turn in web series Breathe: Into The Shadows.
Bad: Actress Sonam Kapoor was widely condemned for an insensitive Father’s Day tweet, suggesting it was her karma being born into privilege, which was interpreted by many as it being karmic for those born into poverty. Weeks later, she would then allegedly break the UK quarantine rules.
July Good: It was a triple delight for Amit Sadh in July as he delivered winning performances in web series Breathe: Into The Shadows, along with the movies Shakuntala Devi and Yaara, which showed why he is an immense talent.
Bad: The tragic death of Sushant Singh Rajput in June led to a huge backlash against Bollywood, and Karan Johar received some of the most major abuse. By July, he had left social media and blocked any replies to his posts, and was left devastated.
Good: Vidyut Jammwal followed up Yaara on July 30 with successful August release Khuda Haafiz, which confirmed his reputation as one of Bollywood’s best action heroes. He was widely praised for the successful streaming release of the film.
Bad: Mahesh Bhatt made a disastrous return to directing after two decades with epic flop Sadak 2. Everything that could possibly go wrong with the movie did, from terrible reviews to its trailer clocking up some record-breaking You Tube dislikes.
Good: Ayushmann Khurrana received his biggest international recognition as the only Indian celebrity to be named in Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in the world.
Bad: Bollywood queen Deepika Padukone had the worst month of her career when she, along with other leading ladies, was interviewed by the Narcotics Control Bureau of India in connection with a drugs case.
Good: Nawazuddin Siddiqui continued his strong relationship with streaming site Netflix with a starring role in highly acclaimed film Serious Men and received praise for his performance in the film.
Bad: Ananya Panday had the first big film disaster of her career with Khaali Peeli, which was rejected by critics and audiences alike. It had earlier become the second most disliked film trailer in YouTube history.
Good: In-demand actor Rajkummar Rao had two back-toback Diwali releases with Ludo and Chhalaang. The versatile actor received praise for playing two contrasting characters in well-received films.
Bad: From the title having to be changed to hiding the likes/dislikes on YouTube, Akshay Kumar received a lot of negativity for his Diwali release Laxmii. Despite being a remake of a hit film, the spooky comedy-drama received a tidal wave of negativity and abuse.
December Good: Sonu Sood has been heroic throughout lockdown and was named Asian celebrity of the year for his immense philanthropic work, beating off the biggest stars from around the world.
Bad: Actor Sanjay Dutt followed up the year’s biggest Bollywood disaster Sadak 2, with awful film Torbaaz. The straight-to-streaming site release received bad reviews and added to his growing list of failures.