It was a relatively quiet year for some of the icons of showbiz. Aishwarya Bachchan and Abhishek spent most of the year shooting Mani Ratnam"s Raavan in the wilderness. John, Bipasha, Preity and Shahrukh also had a quiet year. Saif Ali Khan made waves with Love Aaj Kal and then vanished during the second part of the year. So who were the most visible faces of the year?
Amitabh Bachchan: He took a large chunk of the year off to be with his friend Amar Singh, faced a thundering failure in Aladn, but Amitabh Bachchan bounced back in the year-end as the 12-going-on-80 prematurely aged child-man Auro in Paa. Then there was his return to television with Bigg Boss 3. Once again at year-end the question is not, how long will Mr Bachchan continue to surprise us, but what will he do next? Buzz is AB Corp Ltd back in booming business with Paa will be producing a film that will star all the four star-Bachchans together for the first time. In the meanwhile, Paa director Balki took off for the mountains for a 10-day retreat to write yet another startling role for Mr B. After courting Tabu and Progeria in Cheeni Kum and Paa, what next? Balki knows best.
Ranbir Kapoor: So okay at year-end Ranbir"s most precious film and the performance he was proudest of in Rocket Singh Salesman Of The Year failed to take off. Rocket aborted, lekin kya missile doon Ranbir ke stardom ki? The guy proved unstoppable with two back-to-back hits both with weird and kinky titles Wake Up Sid and Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani and both featuring Ranbir in author-backed roles. The quota of conviction and credibility combined with a star presence that we thought went out of vogue with Rishi Kapoor, makes Ranbir the most dependable star-actor of our times. He won"t bend to break the rules. He will just do what he wants, regardless of repercussions. All through the year he remained in the news for his breakups, linkups and what-not though he swears he has no interest in being newsworthy.
Katrina Kaif: Ek Katrina thi, lakhon diwane the…could be the song this wholesome, lissome, winsome win-all lass could sing to her grandchildren. With 3 blockbusters, New York, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani and De Dana Dan to her credit Katrina left the female competitors far behind. At year-end she suffered a bout of ill health but was on her feet soon enough. You can"t keep a lucky-charm down.
Pritam Chakraborty: Every year it"s the same story with the hot-hit machine. Practically every chartbuster of 2009 was Pritam"s. No wonder he can"t stop grinning from year to year. Pritam scored bull"s eye with songs in Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, Tum Mile, De Dana Dan , New York…The birth of a baby girl ensured that the goofy smile never left Pritam"s face.
Akshay Kumar: He ran into some choppy weather during the earlier part of 2009 when three of his purported blockbusters Chandni Chowk To China, Tasveer and Kambhakkt Ishq under-performed. But the second-half of the year with De Dana Dan and the singular honour of carrying the Olympian torch proved to be the high points of Akshay"s year. He"s all set for a year of big events ahead.
AR Rahman: He went off to get the Oscar for us. Came back to a cluster of pending assignments and then is now off to get Grammy for his Slumdog Millionaire. Not since Pandit Ravi Shankar has an Indian musician made such a grand impact globally. It would be no exaggeration to say that when it comes to our music Rahman is the global 'band" ambassador.
Salman Khan: With Wanted Salman proved that the old fashioned larger-than-life hero still ruled the roost. Salman"s spate of non-starters at the box office were quickly forgotten as he single handedly revived the sagging fortunes of Boney Kapoor"s production house. The film had no star value except Salman. As though to prove he sells solo Salman"s home production Main Aur Mrs Khanna with the hot-and-happening Kareena Kapoor tanked during Diwali.
Vishal Bharadwaj: While he lit up the pubs with Dan tan nan, his latest stab at direction Kaminey got the nation"s critics swooning in ecstacy. Yup, Vishal Bhardwaj clicked in both capacities as a music composer and a filmmaker. On the home front Vishal"s wife Rekha made headway as a playback singer of substance. This Bhardawaj sure has come a long way.