Biceps-n-bravery gained over frailty-n-feminism when Ajay Devgn defied the January jinx and Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior thundered on the field workplace. Netting over Rs 260 crore, it was not solely considered one of Ajay’s largest hits to this point, but in addition ended up being the best grosser of 2020. Moreover, Tanhaji proved unfaithful the concern that maybe Hindi cinema had overdosed on Maratha warfare since Ashutosh Gowariker’s big-scale Panipat had fallen on the battlefield only a month in the past.
On January 10, 2020, the identical day that Tanhaji arrived, a much bigger crimson carpet was rolled out for Deepika Padukone and Meghna Gulzar as Chhapaak, the story of an acid assault survivor, made an entry. But it surely was the primary of a trilogy of feminist-flops as Kangana Ranaut’s Panga fell on January 24 and Taapsee Pannu’s Thappad on February 28. With Vidya Balan’s Shakuntala additionally fetching a feeble response, it wasn’t a very rousing yr for characteristic movies top-lined by the most important actresses of the day. As compared, Janhvi Kapoor, comparatively a rookie, soared with Karan Johar’s Gunjan Saxena.
Sadly, the Good Newwz of December 2019 didn’t spill over into 2020 for Karan in most different methods. At year-end, he was saddled with three mammoth-budget setbacks, all of it sourced solely to the pandemic that threw the world out of substances. He was unable to launch the Rs 135 crore Sooryavanshi, the Rohit Shetty triple-decker starring Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and Ranveer Singh. The producers had checked out Christmas as a risk however trying on the puny viewers within the theatres, Sooryavanshi awaits more healthy instances in 2021. In the meantime, his Takht, which might have been shot all via 2020, had to enter chilly storage after a number of crores had been put into it on pre-shooting work and costly recces in Europe. Brahmastra, his three-part movie with Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, additionally took a monetary hit. Fortuitously, Karan’s hefty model worth continues to be the gold customary and his banner appears to have turned the nook. His Jug Jug Jeeyo, the Varun Dhawan movie that marks the return of Neetu Kapoor and had a hiccup when each actors examined optimistic for Covid-19, is again on observe. Neetu, the true braveheart of the yr, has accomplished all her work in it.
This brings us to the numerous despairing deaths of the yr that spared no age group or area. Irrfan Khan, Rishi Kapoor, Saroj Khan, Sushant Singh Rajput, Soumitra Chatterjee, S.P. Balasubramaniam — it’s a despondent listing.
The one cheer was that OTT, the alternate leisure to the large display, made lockdowns and lengthy hours at dwelling bearable. However when celebrities like Akshay Kumar and Sanjay Dutt tripped on the shrunken display and fewer saleable names like Pankaj Tripathi, Kay Kay Menon and Manoj Bajpayee engaged viewers, it additionally threw up the query — is it the tip of huge stars and journeys to the theatre?
The reply isn’t any, in case you go by the hectic filming that’s happening in all places.
Ajay Devgn ended the yr by quietly shifting base, briefly in fact, to Hyderabad. His 150-strong unit goes via Covid checks each 48 hours within the studio. It’s not a mirrored image on the premises however an announcement on how consciousness and precautionary measures have shot up when one recollects it was in Hyderabad that S.P. Balasubramaniam final shot for his musical TV present earlier than he succumbed to Covid-related issues. Avoiding lodges, nonetheless sanitised, Ajay rented a bungalow for himself, and after taking pictures within the studio, he heads to his “secure home”. He’ll ring in 2021 there.
Contained in the studio, a cockpit has been erected as a set. It sparks off the whisper that an up-in-the-air thriller is within the making. Ajay produces, directs and acts on this mission titled Mayday, scheduled for a theatrical launch in April 2022.
After the anguish of 2020, fingers crossed that Mayday won’t be the misery name of the spanking New Yr.
Bharathi S. Pradhan is a senior journalist and creator