The dreaded and detested 2020 is nearing its end and it has been a roller-coaster ride, albeit kept mostly indoors (if you get the drift). Interestingly, 2020 has been a year where the biggest newsmaker is not a person but an infection that took the world by storm. COVID-19 put a dampener on most people’s plans for the year, yet the movers and shakers of Bollywood did not let it deter them. In fact, many rose from obscurity and made the best use of the pandemic-induced lockdown.
Discounting the controversies that go hand-in-hand with the celebs, here’s a breakdown of what made news this year in a positive and thrilling way.
Sonu Sood’s philanthropic work helping migrant workers
Sonu Sood emerged as the hero we all needed in these depressing times. When the country was put under sudden lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic many migrant workers found themselves stranded with no means to return to their native towns in an increasingly harsh and costly metropolitan city with no means of livelihood. Sonu took it upon himself to arrange buses, trains and even aircrafts to rescue these workers who had taken up the perilous journey of walking to their home towns. He helped many and is still trying novel ways to ensure that people can find livelihood in their own city. After the unlock, he has started new initiatives like providing and helping people find employment, giving scholarships etc. due to which he is given the title of ‘messiah’ and ‘Sonu Sood Real Hero’. People also demanded the actor be given Bharat Ratna for his philanthropic work. The actor was lauded for his work by several political leaders as well Bollywood fraternity besides the common public.
Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, Aamir Khan, Ajay Devgn and other celebs come forward to donate for PM Cares Fund and other
Our Bollywood celebs showed the way when it came to lending a helping hand to the government and the daily wage earners, frontline warriors and healthcare workers. SRK, Aamir, Salman, Akshay, Ajay, Hrithik and almost all the Bollywood fraternity came forward to donate for PM Cares-Fund as well as through their own initiatives where they distributed free food, ration, medical supplies, PPE kits and even provided monetary help to daily wage earners of Bollywood, proving yet again that the film industry is a binding factor of our country.
Death of Prominent Actors-Irrfan, Rishi Kapoor, Sushant Singh Rajput
2020 will also be remembered for claiming the lives of some of our most popular, acclaimed and talented celebrities. Irrfan passed away leaving a void in the hearts of his countless fans on April 29 after a two year battle against neuroendocrine tumour. Rishi Kapoor passed away a day later on April 30, 2020 after battling cancer for two years. The deaths of these two stalwarts were still fresh in the minds of the audiences when on June 14 came the news of Sushant Singh Rajput dying. His tragic and untimely death has left the country pained and his fans and family are still fighting to get to the heart of the tragedy with a CBI inquiry that is still under process. The hashtag #JusticeForSSR is probably the longest trending hashtag on Twitter which trends almost every second day in week.
Anushka Sharma and Kareena Kapoor Khan brought some cheer to their fans when they announced their pregnancies this year. Anushka and Virat Kohli will be welcoming their first child in January 2021 while Kareena is expecting her second child with Saif Ali Khan after son Taimur, who turned four a few days back.
OTT Boom and Dil Bechara record
The coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown got the streaming giants lap up big projects due to the theatre shutdown. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+Hotstar, MX Player, SonyLIV, Zee5 and several other digital platforms saw an influx of films that could not have a theatrical release. Big-budget films like Laxmii, Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, Sadak 2, Dil Bechara, Shakuntala Devi, Durgamati, Khuda Haafiz, Lootcase, Ludo, Chhalaang, Khaali Peeli, Ginny Weds Sunny and several others made their way to the digital platform rather than waiting for the theatres to open. Sushant’s last release Dil Bechara on Disney+Hotstar broke all records as the most viewed film. It also amassed a near-perfect IMDb rating.
Sanjay Dutt beats Cancer
Sanjay Dutt was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in August. The news left his fans and the Bollywood fraternity upset. However, the actor managed to beat it and emerge victorious after a bout of chemotherapy and subsequent treatments.
The Bachchans diagnosed with Coronavirus
Amitabh Bachchan along with his son and actor Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and their daughter Aaradhya Bachchan were diagnosed with COVID-19. The news got the entire country worried for the first family of Bollywood’s well-being. After being hospitalized the family was declared COVID-19 free and returned to their home making everyone heave a huge sigh of relief.
Kartik Aaryan’s ‘Koki Poochega’
2020 will also be known for several celebs starting their own digital shows and YouTube channels. However, one actor who aced his social media game was Kartik Aaryan. His every Instagram and Twitter post went viral including his appeal to the citizens to stay indoors and wear masks. He also started his own YouTube series Koki Poochega that proved to be the most informative program available on the scenario outside as he interviewed frontline workers and bust some myths about the deadly and novel coronavirus. In fact, his series emerged so successful that he was praised by Global YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki for his content.
Indian Matchmaking – Sima Taparia
Netflix series Indian Matchmaking became the talk-of-the-town as it made the world aware how Indian arranged marriages take place. Sima Taparia aka Sima Aunty, the matchmaker became a household name and although the show also received brickbats for being regressive it became a big hit, s much so, many started calling her for finding their prospective marriage alliances.
Javed Akhtar receives Richard Dawkins award
Poet, lyricist and writer Javed Akhtar became the first Indian to receive the prestigious Richard Dawkins Award for 2020 for critical thinking, holding religious dogma up to scrutiny, advancing human progress and humanist values. The citation states that the recipient needs to be a well-distinguished individual from the worlds of science, scholarship, education or entertainment, who publicly proclaims the values of secularism and rationalism, upholding scientific truth wherever it may lead.
Karan Johar’s ‘Lockdown with Johars’ featuring twins Yash and Roohi and his parenting book
Acclaimed filmmaker Karan Johar kept everyone entertained with cute and candid videos featuring his twins Yash Johar and Roohi Johar. The sassy twins made no bones in calling out KJo’s fashion style, his physique, his wardrobe etc. They raided his closet and made fun of everything that the filmmaker owns. From calling him fat to a terrible singer they ensured that their beloved Papa knows exactly what they think of him which was hilarious to be sure. He also took up the pen this year to come up with a children’s book inspired by his twins titled The Big Thoughts of Little Luv. The book is inspired by his own parenting experiences and is a picture book for kids.
Ali Fazal in Death on the Nile
Ali Fazal continued his foray into Hollywood with another major feature film. He starred alongside Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Bateman, Annette Bening, Russell Brand, Dawn French, Rose Leslie, Emma Mackey, Sophie Okonedo, Jennifer Saunders and Letitia Wright. Although he was not the most marketable star according to his own admission and had a blink-and-miss-me appearance in the trailer, it still makes a momentous achievement for the actor.
Sooryavanshi and ‘83 Theatrical release
There were a lot of speculations and rumours going around that Akshay Kumar’s Sooryavanshi and Ranveer Singh’s ’83 will also go the OTT way and release on digital platforms. However, both the makers i.e Kabir Khan and Rohit Shetty laid all speculations to rest by stating that the films will wait for the theatres to open and will be released in 2021 after everything goes back to normal.
Suhana Khan takes on colourism
Shah Rukh Khan’s daughter Suhana Khan shut down trolls when she wrote a scathing post on colourism on her social media platform. Embracing her brown-skin, Suhana managed to slam all those who favour white and fair skin in Indians and discriminate on the basis of colour. She shared screenshots of online trolls who called her ugly and ‘kaali’ and called them out for discriminating based on colour when the Indian population is brown-skinned with different skin tones.
Shah Rukh Khan starts shoot for ‘Pathan’
After the debacle of his 2018 film Zero, Shah Rukh Khan had refrained from signing any other Hindi film for almost two years. So when news broke out about SRK signing YRF’s Pathan it made headlines. The film also stars Deepika Padukone and John Abraham. Shah Rukh started the shoot of the film in November bringing much joy and elation to his fans and followers as well as the industry folks.
Jallikattu goes to the Oscars
Jallikattu, a Malayalam film about a hunt for a bull on the run, is India’s entry to the Oscars in 2021. Named after the controversial bull-taming sport, the film has been directed by Lijo Jose Pellisery and stars Antony Varghese, Chemban Vinod Jose, Sabumon Abdusamad and Santhy Balachandran. It tells the story of a bull that escapes a slaughterhouse in a remote village in Idukki, Kerala as villagers try to hunt it down.
Arnab Goswami and Fake TRP scam
Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV gained a lot of TRPs after Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. The journalist opened fire against the Maharashtra government, Mumbai Police and the Bollywood film industry. However, he was soon embroiled in a fake TRP scam controversy where Mumbai Police called out his news channel along with several others for misappropriating the viewership numbers. However, Arnab has moved the Bombay HC seeking a stay to further investigation by the Mumbai police in the alleged TRP manipulation scam.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas’ memoir ‘Unfinished’
Priyanka Chopra Jonas has proved that she is a force to reckon with. With one impressive project after another in her kitty, PC also announced her memoir Unfinished this year. The book has become a best-seller even before its hard-copy release.
Delhi Crime wins India’s first International Emmy
Director Richie Mehta’s web series Delhi Crime won the International Emmy 2020 for Best Drama Series. The web series stars Shefali Shah, Denzel Smith, Rasika Dugal, Adil Hussain, Rajesh Tailang, Avijit Dutt, Gopal Dutt, Jaya Bhattacharya and Yashaswini Dayama. The series was released on Netflix and is set in the aftermath of the 2012 Delhi gang rape.
Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives – memes and controversy
Netflix brought another show Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives that depicted the lives of some of our actors’ better halves. Starring Neelam Kothari Soni, Seema Khan, Maheep Kapoor and Bhavana Panday the series received a mixed reaction with some hailing it while others calling it out for its superficiality. However, the series proved to be a winner and got the netizens talking. On the other hand, Madhur Bhandarkar alleged that producer Karan Johar had hijacked and ‘blatantly tweaked and misused’ the title of his project Bollywood Wives. However, after KJo tendered an apology to the award-winning filmmaker, Madhur called truce and let the matter die.
Urmila Matondkar joins Shiv Sena
Urmila Matondkar contested the Lok Sabha General Elections 2019 with a ticket from the Congress party. However, after losing the election she soon left the party saying that the petty-infighting was creating difficulties in her aims of serving the nation. Now, almost a year later she joined Shiv Sena in the presence of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his wife Rashmi at their residence. She also spoke about her verbal tiff with Kangana Ranaut and said that the actor was already in the news for no reason and she wouldn’t want to give her more media publicity by speaking about her.
Rahul Roy suffers a stroke
Rahul Roy suffered a brain stroke while shooting in extreme weather conditions in Kargil. The actor has recovered from his stroke and is recuperating now. Interestingly, he will be playing a stroke victim in his next film. Rahul shared a health update and revealed that he is on his road to recovery with the help of his doctors and sister. The actor was airlifted to Mumbai from Srinagar after his health deteriorated while shooting there.
Remo D’Souza suffers a Heart Attack
Choreographer-director Remo D’Souza suffered a heart attack on December 11. He was admitted in Mumbai’s Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital. However, Remo made a full recovery and came back home on December 18. Several celebs including Shraddha Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, Tiger Shroff hailed his spirit while choreographer-actor Punit Pathak rushed to his side with his wife in tow after his wedding ceremonies got over.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Suresh Raina retire
2020 also made India’s most successful captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni hang up his boots and so did his most-trusted lieutenant Suresh Raina. With a moving video that used Mukesh’s iconic song Main Pal Do Pal Ka Shayar Hoon, Dhoni bid adieu to International Cricket with no fanfare or an exhibition match to give him a fitting goodbye. The only captain to win all three major ICC trophies was at his humble best when he captioned the video, “Thanks a lot for ur love and support throughout. From 1929 hrs consider me as Retired.” It is ironic that when India was busy celebrating its 74th independence day, Dhoni called it quits on August 15, 2020. Suresh Raina also followed suit and retired on the same day following his captain cool.