2013 marked one of the most important phases in the history of Indian cinema and gave Bollywood more than one reason to rejoice.
It was the year that saw the Hindi film industry complete 100 glorious years, produce films like Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Chennai Express, Krissh 3 and Dhoom 3, which went on to become some of the highest grossing films of all times.
It was a marvellous year for not only commercial flicks, but also parallel cinema as films like The Lunchbox, The Good Road and BA Pass earned much-deserved critical acclaim for a genre of cinema that not many filmmakers dare to explore. Apart from the critical acclaim, two of these films even offered Bollywood a shot at the Oscars.
As the year comes to an end, we take a look at films that were the talking point of 2013:
India's answer to superhero flicks, the film has been 2013's most talked about film. Sequel to Koi Mil Gaya and Krissh, the film was produced on a budget of Rs1.15 billion.
While it received mixed reviews from critics, the VFX technology used in the film put it on par with Hollywood standards. Doing a great business in domestic and overseas markets, the film earned Rs166.52 crore at the end of the first week and has made over Rs240 crore till now.
The Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone starrer was declared a blockbuster within the first week of its release as its box office collections broke several records in India and abroad.
While the Rohit Shetty-directed entertainer received mixed reviews, it became the fastest film to enter the 100 crore club in just 4 days of its release. The film broke 3 Idiots (2009) record in the domestic market and went on to become the third highest-grossing Bollywood movie in overseas market.
The third film of the Dhoom franchise was a perfect finish to the year as it zoomed past all the records and crossed Rs200 crore in the first week of its release.
While Aamir was seen in a negative role, Katrina silensed her critics with those deadly moves in the title track. Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra were appreciated in their roles as Jai and Ali.
Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
A young and frothy romcom, the film starring ex-flames Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone saw stupendous success at the box office with clinching the second spot among highest grossing films of 2013.
Directed by Ayan Mukherjee, the film is the fourth highest grosser of all times in Bollywood and world over.
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
The bipoic based on the life of Olympic medalist Milkha Singh was very well received at the box office. Farhan Akhtar won accolades for living the character to the full.
Opening to a collection of Rs8.50 crore on its first day, the film is ranked the third highest grosser of Bollywood in 2013. Milkha Singh sold the rights of the movie for one rupee but incorporated a clause asking for a share of profits to be given to the Milkha Singh Charitable Trust.
The romantic drama based loosely on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet proved to be a risk-worth-taking for director Sanjay Leela Bhansali as it became the fourth highest grossing Bollywood flick of 2013.
The film's success may partly be credited to the buzz generated by the sizzling chemistry between the lead pair — Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone. Despite running into controversies, the film managed to collect over Rs16 crore on the first day. In India, the film was declared a box office hit and had a better opening than Krrish 3 and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani.
A sequel to the 2004 release Masti, the film was an unlikely entrant in the 100 crore club. Grossing nearly Rs12 crore on the first day, the film was the fourth highest opener after Chennai Express, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and Race 2.
Sequel to the 1990 hit Aashiqui, the film took everyone by surprise as it was declared a hit at the box office. Directed by Mohit Suri, the film earned Rs100 crore worldwide within a month of its release. The music of the film was also a high point as the songs became hugely popular with Tum Hi Ho ruling the charts throughout the year.
...While these were some of the films with big stars, some smaller budget films with a not-so-well-known cast sprung a pleasant surprise as they shone amid the flurry of these big budget films.
The trend was an encouraging one for Indian cinema as it gave meaningful cinema a much-needed boost and re-inforced the fact that there is room for intelligent films other than the regular potboilers that are churned out. Here are some of the small wonders of 2013:
While this film by director Ritesh Batra missed out on the Oscars, The Lunchbox continues to receive rave reviews till date. A story of two middle aged people connecting through food and letters came as a refreshing change at a time when technology rules the roost. With thoughtful direction, transparent story-telling and beautiful performances by Irrfan Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Nimrat Kaur, the film's success is a well-deserved one.
The Good Road
This Gujarati film sprang a surprise when it made to the race for Oscars. Directed by Gyan Correa, the film featured Ajay Gehi, Rinkle Karelia, Keval Katrodia and Sonali Kulkarni.
The film tells the story of dreams, hopes and great compassion that thrives in the face of adversity in India. Though it was selected as the Indian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards, it was not nominated. The film won the award for Best Gujarati film at the 60th National Film Awards.
Hansal Mehta's film based on the life of activist-lawyer Shahid Azmi was a story told well. The film narrates Shahid's story with honesty and a depth that is often lost when a real-life incident is recreated for the celluloid. Lead actor Rajkumar Yadav breathed life into his character and his performance was one of the best in 2013.
Coming from first-time director Ajay bahl, this film on male prostitution in Delhi was a complete stunner. Bahl shows immense maturity in dealing with a subject/genre that could have easily slipped into the sleazy category. Instead the film, that had Shilpa Shukla of Chak De! fame and Sahadb Kamal in the lead, forced the audiences to face a much-overlooked reality of society.
Kai Po Che
The film based on Chetan Bhagat's bestseller The 3 Mistakes Of My Life was received very well at the box office. While it did not enter the Rs100 crore club like 3 Idiots (another film based on Bhagat's novel), the film received a lot of critical acclaim and was also screened at several film festivals.
Powerful performances by newcomers Sushant Singh Rajput, Amit Sadh and Raj Kumar Yadav set the bar high for newcomers waiting in the wings.