Asian stars, shows and trends likely to be hits or fall flat this year
By: ASJAD NAZIR
LIKE every year, 2023 will likely be a rollercoaster ride for the entertainment industry, filled with highs, lows, excitement and unexpected twists.
There will be artistic excellence, celebrity surprises, path-breaking moments, bad times, things that shouldn’t happen and so much more.
With that in mind, Eastern Eye looked ahead to the next 12 months to select potential heroes and zeroes to keep an eye on in 2023.
1. Shah Rukh Khan: After a long break as a leading man, the globally popular Bollywood star will strike back with three blockbusters. His films Pathaan, Jawan and Dunki are sure to make it a very special year for an actor who has been missed by fans around the world. Also look out for an impactful cameo from him in action entertainer Tiger 3.
2. UK comedy scene: More British Asian stand-up comedians than ever have made the live scene incredibly exciting. There will be plenty of shows headlined by talented performers throughout the year. Some of the many names to look out for include Paul Chowdhry, Sukh Ojla, Tez Ilyas, Paul Sinha, Ahir Shah, Guz Khan, Tej Dhutia, Farhan Solo, Raj Poojara, Sindhu Vee, and Nish Kumar.
3. Shreya Ghoshal: The long-reigning singing queen of Indian music has been on a different level to everyone else and will continue to rule in 2023. Whether it is hit songs in different languages and genres or performing to packed arenas, she will be casting a spell on music fans this year.
4. Dev Patel: The British actor will likely do what no one has been able to – deliver the first credible Indian superhero with his film Monkeyman. He has written, directed and produced the game-changing action adventure, alongside starring in it. The Hollywood star also has other films like The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, where he is part of a huge cast.
5. Charli XCX: The prolific pop superstar has been like an unstoppable train in recent years and that musical momentum will continue to power on this year. So expect plenty of new music, live performances, stunning social media posts and lots of surprises from the singer-songwriter.
6. Sajal Ali: The talented actress will make her international film debut with What’s Love Got To Do With It, and will mix this up with winning film and TV projects in Pakistan. Don’t be surprised if she lands Hollywood projects and becomes a global star for her country.
7. Armaan Malik: The massively popular singing star will continue combining commercial Indian songs with boundary-breaking work, like his English-language releases. By bravely venturing into new musical territory, he will blaze a trail for other young artists to follow and expand Indian musical horizons.
8. Rashmika Mandanna: A huge year for the actress will see her become a big pan-Indian star. She stars opposite Vijay in Tamil blockbuster Varisu and has another sure-fire winner with hotly anticipated Telugu sequel Pushpa 2: The Rule, with Allu Arjun. The actress is also part of Hindi movies Animal and Mission Manju, and is guaranteed to sign many more projects and become a major power player.
9. Indian TV stars: Television actors in India have been drawing in big audiences for their drama serials and music videos, along with generating serious social media buzz. So expect more of the same from stars including Rubina Dilaik, Nakuul Mehta, Karanvir Sharma, Nia Sharma, Surbhi Chandna, Ashi Singh, Ayesha Singh, Gashmeer Mahajani and Debattama Saha, throughout the year.
10. Kartik Aaryan: The young Bollywood actor with the most momentum behind him will reach greater heights this year. The self-made star, who represents the future of the Hindi cinema hero, has an interesting variety of films on the way, like his next release Shehzada, which is a remake of Telugu blockbuster Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo.
11. Film festivals: The long-running UK Asian Film Festival and London Indian Film Festival will return with a strong line-up of movies that would not normally be released in cinemas. There will also be talks by big-name creatives and special events at the British festivals that superbly celebrate cinema. A special mention also goes to the Raindance and London Film Festival, which both usually have strong south Asian screenings.
12. Iman Vellani: The Pakistani-born Canadian actress will follow up her history-making performance playing the title role in hit Disney+ serial Ms Marvel last year by appearing on the big screen in 2023. She will shatter more glass ceilings as the young Muslim superhero in big-budget movie The Marvels this summer, and will continue inspiring a new generation.
13. Vijay: The actor affectionately known as Thalapathy will continue to score big at the box office and deliver India’s first blockbuster of 2023 with this month’s mega-movie release Varisu. Tamil superstar Vijay is sure to have another year of ruling the hearts and minds of movie fans.
14. Simone Ashley: The British actress had a brilliant 2022 with a star-making turn in season two of hit Netflix drama Bridgerton, and will return for the third series this year. She will carry on getting a lot of international attention with a part in high-profile Hollywood film The Little Mermaid. Expect her to reach even greater heights and consolidate her position as a new generation icon.
1. Akshay Kumar: The ageing actor had a nightmare 2022 that saw him headline five movie disasters, all of which dramatically under-performed at the box office. This will likely be another year when the star concentrates on quantity over quality, which means he will do further damage to Bollywood with a high number of flop films that won’t match up to any kind of hype.
2. Sajid Khan: The controversial Bollywood director recently resurfaced on reality TV show Bigg Boss 16, after being pushed into the wilderness by the Me Too movement, and reminded everyone how awful he is. His comeback movie 100 Per Cent looks like a guaranteed failure and will ensure more negativity against a man who has been accused by multiple women of serious sexual misconduct, which he has denied.
3. Indian Oscar selectors: The Indian film jury will almost certainly continue the clueless trend of getting it wrong when choosing an official Oscar submission. Like previous years, they will most probably overlook more deserving candidates for a film that has no chance of getting a nomination.
4. Karan Johar: Whether it is appearing on TV, popping up at live events, promoting his rubbish films, or wearing garish outfits, the attention-seeker will carry on being the most annoying Indian celebrity. Despite him quitting Twitter, expect the filmmaker to be an irritating presence throughout the year, like a bad smell that won’t go away.
5. Neha Kakkar: The talented Indian singer constantly trips herself up with silly pop songs and terrible cover versions like her awful 2022 interpretation of Falguni Pathak song Maine Payal Hai Chhankai. This inability to pick good songs will lead her to release more headache-inducing music that is not worthy of her undeniable talent.
6. Bollywood remakes: A lack of originality in commercial Hindi cinema has been illustrated by the huge number of remakes that have been made in recent years. Nearly all of those films failing won’t stop there from being more poor adaptations of great movie being released this year.
7. Kangana Ranaut: The actress has spread a lot of hate-filled poison in recent years and starred in a long list of flop films. That poorpattern is unlikely to change in 2023, so expect more nastiness and movies that will almost certainly be box-office failures.
8. Cover versions: The not-so-hot trend in India of classic songs being given a contemporary make-over will continue. So get ready for a raft of poor cover versions that destroy much-loved songs. This process will also include melodies being ripped off from international hits and cross-border raids, with Indian musicians stealing songs from Pakistan.
9. Arjun Kapoor: The poster boy for how nepotism is destroying Bollywood keeps getting more chances, despite starring in flop films and showing his lack of acting ability. There will be more of the same from him and others with famous connections, who will continue torturing audiences.
10. Streaming sites: Although major streaming sites including Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hotstar and ZEE5 will offer up a lot of things to watch, all of them will have very little quality control when it comes to commercial Indian content, especially films. So, expect to trawl through a lot of rubbish before finding the relatively few hidden gems that will entertain you.
11. Shehnaaz Gill: The talented actress and singer did a huge disservice to her undeniable talent by agreeing to act in Sajid Khan’s comeback film 100 Per Cent. She will make matters worse, damage her brand and insult the many women who have come forward with allegations of sexual abuse against the disgraced director, when promoting the rubbish-looking film. The same also applies to her co-stars John Abraham, Riteish Deshmukh, and Nora Fatehi.
12. Ageing heroes: It will be another year of older Bollywood heroes playing characters
not matching their actual age and doing cringeworthy romantic scenes opposite leading ladies who are decades younger than them. The knock-on effect of this will be a lack of new talent coming through and plenty of hair-dye on the big screen.
13. Feroze Khan: The Pakistani actor received a massive backlash after his ex-wife Syeda Aliza Sultan accused him of serious domestic abuse and shared shocking photographs of the alleged violence. He has denied all the allegations, but very few seem convinced, with everyone from angry members of the public to high-profile Pakistani stars turning against him. He will likely try to resurrect his career this year and will be a black mark on the Pakistan landscape.
14. Bigg Boss: India’s most popular reality TV show has become increasingly cruel in order to pull in ratings and has featured silly stunts like having disgraced director Sajid Khan participating (in the current series). It will likely return for a 17th series, when it really should be retired.