There was good and bad in 2012, as it is every year.
The good was the return of the ‘heroine’. Several mainstream films gave the leading ladies parts that required them to do more than just simper or dance.
The bad was the ridiculous 100 crore benchmark to determine the success (or lack thereof) of a film. While nobody denies the importance of box-office returns, but if money becomes the sole criterion for the existence of a film, then we are in for a series of really bad films that are made just to cross that mark—Housefull 2 would definitely lead the pack. The 100-crore benchmark is also making stars more competitive and is generally creating unpleasantness.
In spite of the biggies ruling the power centre of the film industry, in 2102, there were some films made with artistic integrity, which reached a mass audience, and perhaps opened doors for other filmmakers who wanted to make non-formula films. Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani, Shoojit Sircar’s Vicky Donor, Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Paan Singh Tomar, Gauri Shinde’s English Vinglish, and Umesh Shukla’s Oh My God were good examples of films that were so different that they deserved to succeed.
Vidya Balan in Kahaani is the star of the year – she played a non-glamorous character, and such a memorable one. Most years, when award time comes around the best actress and best supporting actress categories feature walkovers, simply because there aren’t any great roles for women. But in 2012 apart from Vidya, there’s Sridevi in English Vinglish, Priyanka Chopra and Ileana D’Cruz in Barfi,Parineeti Chopra in Ishaqzaade, Kareena Kapoor in Heroine, Deepika Padukone and Diana Penty in Cocktail, Richa Chadda in Gangs of Wasseypur, Rani Mukerji in Talaash (unfortunately Aiyya was a letdown) all deserving recognition for their performances.
Apart from Ranbir Kapoor in Barfi, Aamir Khan in Talaash, Ayushhman Khurana in Vicky Donor, Irrfan Khan in Paan Singh Tomar and maybe Shah Rukh Khan in Jab Tak Hai Jaan, what did the men do except flex muscle and do a bit of comedy? The find of the year, however, was Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who did a small part in Kahaani, but by the time Gangs of Wasseypur was out, he was a star. Karan Johar introduced three newcomers in Student of the Year – Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Siddharth Malhotra, a talented bunch but from a typical Bollywood ‘hot bod’ mould.
The duds of the year were highly hyped films like Joker, Players, Agent Vinod, Depatment, Tezz, that not even big budgets and A-list stars could save. Sometimes, a star is not enough!