Superstars played safe while youngsters made impact

Hits and Misses

Leading stars played safe in Bollywood but the young brigade cemented its position by navigating between potboilers and script-backed roles in 2014, which also heralded the arrival of female leading ladies in a big way, reports PTI.

It was particularly a good year for young stars like Arjun Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Siddharth Malhotra, Varun Dhawan, Shraddha Kapoor, Fawad Khan, Patralekha, Ali Fazal, Darshan Kumar and Alia Bhatt.

2014 had its usual share of big budget commercial fares that the dream factory of Bollywood churns out at regular intervals, often driven by superstars.

The two Khans, Salman and Shah Rukh, who seem to be back on friendly terms, did not disappoint by making it to the Rs 100 crore club with their releases Jai Ho, Kick and
Happy New Year.

Salman had his first release with Jai Ho which managed to do decent business despite getting a bashing from critics. He upped his box office collection with his Robin Hood
act in Kick.

Shah Rukh was close with his much hyped multi-starrer, Happy New Year that saw him returning with director Farah Khan after their brief fallout.

Like every year, Aamir's fans will have to wait till the end of the year to watch 'PK'. Keeping his track record of hits in mind and his pairing with Rajkumar Hirani after 3 Idiots, the film is expected to hit the bull’s eye.

Hrithik Roshan, who faced personal setbacks with injuries and his divorce from wife Sussanne Khan while making Bang Bang, managed to help the film sail through despite dismal reviews.

The other young and old entrants in the 100 crore club included Arjun Kapoor-Alia Bhatt’s romance saga 2 States, Siddharth Malhotra-Shraddha Kapoor’s Ek Villain, Ajay Devgn's Singham Returns, Akshay Kumar’s Holiday though the actor's second outing Entertainment did not entertain the audience and neither did Devgn’s Action Jackson.

Amid the star-driven masala entertainers, small-budget films created some elbow room for themselves. Queen, Hansal Mehta's CityLights, Vishal Bhardwaj’s Shakespearian adaptation of Hamlet in Kashmir-set Haider, Highway, Dedh Ishqiya, Finding Fanny, Ankhon Dekhi, Filmistaan and Bobby Jasoos were praised by critics though not all of them were box office hits. 

The year started with Dedh Ishqiya which failed to find many takers despite great performances by its leading stars Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi and Madhuri Dixit in her Bollywood comeback. Dixit's Gulaab Gang, where she was pitted against her '90s rival Juhi Chawla, too failed to impress.

Hasee Toh Phasee, starring Malhotra and Parineeti, was noticed for its story and their chemistry though the actress failed to score another hit this year despite two releases Dawat-e-Ishq and Kill Dill.

Haider, which got Shahid Kapoor much-needed attention, was also an important landmark in Shraddha’s young career who managed to hold her own opposite Tabu's impressive performance.

Queen, a coming-of-age drama about a girl travelling on her honeymoon alone after getting dumped just before her wedding, raised the bar with its endearing storyline and Kangana’s performance. The film, widely hailed as 2014's best movie, was also an indication of how the year would play out for heroines. Ranaut's second act in Revolver Rani did not find similar success, however.

Priyanka Chopra earned critical acclaim for fronting the biopic on boxing champion Mary Kom while Rani returned to the big screen post her marriage to Aditya Chopra with her intense cop act in Mardaani. Vidya Balan put behind the failure of Shaadi Ke Side Effects, with her act of an earnest but naive small-town detective in Bobby Jasoos, while newcomer Fazal got noticed in his role of the neighbourhood heartthrob.

Arjun and Ranveer Singh made their entry into the year with the not-so-impressive Gunday, the 70s set drama about two coal smuggling friends-turned-foes.

Alia Bhatt started the year with Imtiaz Ali's Highway. The film helped the young actress showcase her acting chops. She went on to score another hit in romantic comedy 2 States with Arjun, who surprised critics with his serious turn in Finding Fanny.

Deepika continued her winning streak by balancing SRK's Happy New Year and off-beat Finding Fanny in the same year. Amitabh Bachchan returned as a friendly ghost in Bhoothnath Returns successfully.

Rajat Kapoor's Ankhon Dekhi, a small-budget beautiful film, unfortunately got lost in the crowd of big Bollywood releases despite a memorable performance by Sanjay Mishra.
Amol Gupte's Hawaa Hawaai earned praise and moderate success while Filmistaan was praised for its unique story. The film that made maximum noise, though for all the wrong reasons, was Sajid Khan's Humshakals.

Riteish Deshmukh redeemed himself with his serial-killer act in Ek Villain but Saif did not have a Happy Ending this year.

Hate Story 2 did well with its erotic content while Pakistani TV star Fawad Khan made a successful Bollywood debut opposite Sonam Kapoor in Khoobsurat remake.

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