Yearend Lookback

Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli (left) got married to actress Anushka Sharma in Florence, Italy on Dec. 11, 2017. The couple, who have been together for four years, chose the luxury heritage resort Borgo Finocchieto, a little over 100 km away from Florence, for their wedding. (IANS photo)

MUMBAI—The year gone by was a lean one for business. But newsmakers were in abundance. The prolific media and social networking made news sometime even out of trivial pursuits. In no particular order, here is a lowdown.

  • The wedding of the year was of Virushka’s – the trendy term for the couple Virat Kohli and actress Anushka Sharma, who had a destination wedding at a stunning resort in Italy and receptions in Delhi and Mumbai. The couple personally invited the Prime Minister for the Delhi reception, and he did oblige.
  • Other weddings included Neil Nitin Mukesh with Rukmini Sahay, comedienne Bharti Singh with Harsh Limbachiyaa, Sagarika Ghatge with cricketer Zaheer Khan and TV artiste Aashka Goradia with Brent Goble.
  • Amitabh Bachchan and Balasaheb Thackeray’s family had a teaser launch for Sanjay Raut’s biopic “Thackeray” on the latter, the Shiv Sena founder and a phenomenon in his own right.  Raut is a journalist as well as a member of Parliament. Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who plays Thackeray, was away shooting.
  • Yo Yo Honey Singh returned after a break of two years when he underwent treatment for bipolar disorder, with a song called “Dil Chori” from the film “Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety.” The song is out; the film will come next month.
  • Among stars that created a ‘hungama’ (sensation) was Esha Gupta (actress in “Baadshaho” and “Commando 2”) who went bold on Instagram. Her pics were bold, bolder and boldest and made a big stir, with battle-lines drawn between trolls and her fans, especially for a topless pic.
  • Karan Johar brought home his kids, Yash and Roohi, Mar. 30.They were born February 7.
  • Kajol could not resist compliments to Karan Johar’s kids Roohi and Yash on Raksha Bandhan day when proud papa put them on Twitter. Emotional exchanges in messages followed and today, they are back to being friends. Kajol and Johar, not Ajay Devgn and Johar.
  • Other arrivals were Esha Deol’s Radhya (Oct. 20), Soha Ali Khan’s and Kunal Khemu’s Inaaya on Sep. 29.  Lisa Haydon’s son Zack Lalwani came May 17, Adnan Sami’s Medina on May 10, while Celina Jaitley got a second pair of twins, Arthur and Shamsher on Sep. 30, but the couple lost the latter to a heart condition.
  • Star kids of all ages in the spotlight were led by Taimur (Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan’s kid) who was here, there and everywhere,  Aaradhya Bachchan, Jhanvi (Sridevi and Boney Kapoor) who started shooting her debut film “Dhadak” with another debutant Ishaan Khattar, Shahid Kapoor’s half-brother. Ishaan has already completed Majid Majidi’s maiden Indian film, “Beyond The Clouds.” Sara Ali Khan (Saif with ex-wife Amrita Singh’s daughter) will make her debut with “Kedarnath.” Misha Shahid Kapoor, Laksshya Tusshar(Kapoor), Suhana (Shah Rukh Khan’s daughter), Sanjay Dutt’s Shahraan and Iqra, Hrithik Roshan’s Hrehhaan and Hridhaan, Ajay Devgn’s and Kajol’s Nysa and Yug, Akshay Kumar’s and Twinkle Khanna’s Aarav and Nitara, Sanjay Kapoor’s daughter Shanaya and Chunky Pandey’s Ananya all made news and were seen or read about.
  • Those who split included Himesh Reshammiya from wife Komal after 22 years, Nandita Das and Subodh Maskara, Farhan Akhtar and Adhuna Bhabani and Arbaaz Khan and Malaika Arora Khan. The latter two couples, like Hrithik Roshan and Suzanne Khan, remain best friends, with Farhan and Adhuna also continuing their professional association.
  • Trolls also attacked Deepika Padukone for wearing an abbreviated outfit on a fashion mag cover, Priyanka Chopra for “showing leg” to Prime Minister Narendra Modi when they met, and Sidharth Malhotra for promoting his film “A Gentleman: Sundar Susheel Risky” on Twitter even though Mumbai was facing torrential rain and a notorious spiritual leader’s arrest had sparked riots in Punjab and Haryana.
  • Fatima Sana Shaikh was lambasted as she posed in a swimsuit on a beach during the month of Ramadan!
  • And another “Dangal” star, Zaira Wasim, who also played Geeta Phogat but as a kid, was molested mid-flight by a businessman.
  • War erupted on Twitter (euphemistically called “a social networking site”) between singer Armaan Malik and Sonakshi Sinha. Malikspoke derogatively about her singing “ability” which was also highlighted in fun by Vishal Dadlani. Sinha retorted that secure artistes let others grow and evolve. She later backed out of opening the Justin Bieber concert in Mumbai.
  • Abhay Deol similarly attacked Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Vidya Balan, John Abraham, Shahid Kapoor and Sidharth Malhotra for endorsing fairness creams. An indignant Sonam Kapoor tweeted a photo of Deol’s cousin Esha Deol doing the same.
  • Hrithik Roshan finally broke his silence and spoke about the controversy with Kangana Ranaut. His heartfelt statement went viral, and most of the industry supported him.
  • Ranaut also sparred with Apurva Asrani, writer of her “Simran,” Aditya Pancholi and Adhyayan Suman again, not to mention Ketan Mehta, who had all the rights earlier to make a film on Rani Laxmibai, which Ranaut is now making.
  • Asha Parekh (“The Hit Girl”), Rishi Kapoor (Khullam Khulla”), Karan Johar (“An Unsuitable Boy”) and Hema Malini (“Beyond The Dream Girl”) came up with authorized biographies. Books on and by celebrities, like Soha Ali Khan’s “The Perils Of Being Moderately Famous” become a trend by themselves. Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s memoir, “An Ordinary Life,” had to be taken out of circulation due to the controversies around it.
  • Fire broke out at Stage 1 of the iconic RK Studios, reducing invaluable memorabilia from most RK Films classics to ashes in minutes.
  • Priyanka Chopra (“Baywatch”) and Deepika Padukone (“xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage”) made their international debuts that collapsed in India. The latter film was a hit overseas.
  • Sonu Sood and Disha Patani made their international debuts in Jackie Chan’s “Kung-Fu Yoga” that flopped in India but made waves in China.
  • Based on this film’s success, Patani quoted a sum that top female stars do not get down South for “Saaho,” a trilingual starring Prabhas, and was rejected!
  • Vidyut Jammwal signed “Junglee,” a Hindi adventure drama directed by Chuck Russell from Hollywood.
  • Web shorts and series became the new “in” thing, even with established filmmakers like Vikram Bhatt, Ritesh Sidhwani, Farhan Akhtar, Neeraj Pandey, Kabir Khan and Ekta Kapoor among others. And Netflix and Amazon entered Indian markets.
  • Pehlaj Nihalani was sacked as Cesnor Board chief and the industry welcomed adman-script and lyrics writer Prasoon Joshi in his place. However, Joshi has proved a tough nut to crack too, and “Padmavati” was one of the main casualties.
  • Two top leading men from the ‘60s to the ‘80s, Vinod Khanna and Shashi Kapoor, passed away. Chameleonic character artiste Om Puri, ‘90s favorite screen mum Reema Lagoo, titanic writer-actor and filmmaker talent Neeraj Vora, filmmaker Ram Mukerji and hero of ‘90s smallies Inder Kumar passed away, as did celebrated film and television director Lekh Tandon.
  • A clash leading to considerable bad blood was there at the time of the co-release of “Raees” and “Kaabil,” when the latter producer Rakesh Roshan badmouthed his son’s friends Shah Rukh Khan and the Excel team.
  • Another pathetically wrong entry for the Oscars, “Newton,” ended in a fiasco with its elimination at an early stage.
  • Ranbir Kapoor and Mahira Khan were discovered spending time (‘we’ time?) together in NYC. Ali Fazal made his international debut with “Victoria And Abdul” with Judi Bench and has now formed a twosome with Richa Chadda (now spelt as Richa Chadha)!
  • Jacqueline Fernandez, who also made news on Instagram with her pics, fulfilled another dream by opening her own restaurant in a Colombo five-star hotel in home country Ceylon. Next up is a place in Mumbai’s Bandra.
  • Priyanka Chopra was honored on Dec. 24 with an Honorary Doctorate by the Academic Council of the Bareilly International University, in her hometown Bareilly, but had to miss the honor as her flight could not take off from Delhi in the fog. As of now, Dr. Priyanka Chopra is the youngest doc of that nature in showbiz!
  • Finally, Rajinikanth has decided to announce his political foray Dec. 31.

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