Top Bollywood newsmakers of 2004
Bollywood had its quota of sensations and scandals this year, though no controversy in 2004 could equal the Vivek Oberoi-Salman Khan conflict of the year before.
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
Here go the top newsmakers of the year from the film industry:
Madhur Bhandarkar-Preeti Jain: Jain's rape allegations put Bhandarkar on the front pages of newspapers. When the story broke, there were reactions of shock and disbelief among his colleagues. The casting couch, they joked, had developed a leak.
But the impact remains. Filmmakers are now wary of entertaining wannabes of either sex in their chambers. Says one filmmaker, "I meet newcomers only in the visiting room of my office and make sure one or more of my assistants is around. Who wants to be called a rapist at my age?" Or at any age, one might add.
Amar Singh-Shah Rukh Khan: Did the superstar come to blows with the super-politician at an awards function in Dubai? Many theories floated around. But here's what really happened. Singh roughed up one of the Moranis for misbehaving with his friend Amitabh Bachchan. For this, Shah Rukh accused Singh of "goonda gardi" (throwing his weight around). Amar Singh's rich riposte? "If I've to be a goonda to protect my brother, so be it."
Priyanka Chopra-Prakash Jaju: Hell hath no fury like a secretary scorned! When Priyanka Chopra told her manager to go fly a kite, he flew off the handle, rushing off SMSs and e-mails to every journalist who could get him to hurt his former star-client. But ask Priyanka if she cared! Well...she did, and she did not. While Jaju's tirade did affect her, she showed exemplary inner strength in dealing with it. "I can't let this get to me," she whispered in the thick of the crisis, and moved on!
Shahid Kapur-Kareena Kapoor: No one knows where the incriminating mobile images came from. No one knows who took them. But the images shocked the couple as well as those close to them. The paparazzi had finally arrived in Bollywood. Like the Bhandarkar-Jain run-in, the picture had far-reaching repercussions on Bollywood's relationship with the media.
Suddenly female stars have become more cautious about being seen in public with people. "Because you never know when one of those 'friends' will click a picture," quips Kareena's colleague.
Yash Chopra: He's the coolest one. While the whole industry slumped, the incredible Yash Chopra sailed from one level of success to another. Every single film that he produced during the year, from "Hum Tum" to "Dhoom", was a money-spinner. At yearend, his directorial undertaking "Veer-Zaara" opened to the biggest crowds recorded for any film during 2004, and continued to sustain itself for the next four weeks to become one of the few blockbusters of 2004.
Yashraj Films also launched its own music label to release the music of "Veer-Zaara". Contrary to scepticism, this was the only soundtrack that made hard profits during the year, far more than the other tepid albums that shocked the music industry by their non-performance.
Lata Mangeshkar: How do we define her? In her case, the legend tag just doesn't do justice to the volume of her success. Year after year she continues to rule the roost, creating brand new frontiers for her longevity. At age of 75, she gave voice to 30-year-old Preity Zinta in "Veer-Zara". And now in "Bewafaa", she sings for 24-year-old Kareena Kapoor!
Astonishing beyond words...and lyrics, 2004 saw the nightingale score resounding in two simultaneous films. In the revival of "Mughal-e-Azam", she sang like a dream for Madhubala. In "Veer-Zara", released the same day, she crooned with delightful conviction for Preity Zinta.
Karan Johar: When one of Bollywood's highest-profile directors decided to do a talk show, everyone wondered why. But within weeks of its premiere the unbelievable combinations of guests on the show and the ambience on the show has yielded plum ratings for the otherwise-dormant Star World channel. Johar's plus points? The guests are all his friends. It's all in-house. And it's all done in a spirit of jest.
Amisha Patel: What exactly have parent-child relationships come to in showbiz? Ask the goose that laid the golden egg. Amisha Patel moved her loyalties completely to director Vikram Bhatt and sued her parents for spending her hard-earned money on ventures she didn't really know about.
Years ago the legendary Nutan had taken her mother to court for financial mismanagement. Of course Nutan's legendary status had nothing to do with the scandal. It never does.
Amitabh Bachchan-The Gandhis: A totally media-manufactured controversy. A minor war of words was sparked off in the press after Jaya Bachchan supposedly expressed her opinion on the Gandhi family. No one was interested in a controversy. With both parties displaying exemplary self-control, the non-issue died down as suddenly as it started.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali-Aishwarya Rai: Aishwarya Rai was quoted as saying that her favourite director had a long way to go as a human being. Bhansali retaliated by calling her Joan Of Arc. Aishwarya then denied ever saying anything against her favourite director. Bhansali withdrew his comment. The end?