Headlines are not choosy – they reflect extremes; either the absolutely adorable or the downright despicable. 2017 saw its share of both…
The Virushka wedding was Numero Uno on the list, creating mass hysteria among fans and more than mild interest in the rest. Despite definite clues that a wedding was on the cards, the couple continued to deny rumours and then surprised the world with their wedding pics! Needless to add, everything from their Italian countryside venue, to the embroidery motifs on her lehenga, to the floral décor was obsessed over, with interest only marginally plateauing past their Mumbai reception.
Kangana and Hrithik treated us to another round of endless allegations and counter-allegations. Spurred on by the runaway tongue of Ms. Ranaut, Roshan even went on to present his side of the case on national television – it only succeeded in adding to the confusion! Frankly, after the initial first burst of interest in the salacious details being thrown up, we were ready to throw up with the sheer boredom of it all.
His Royal Cuteness
Willy-nilly, Taimur Ali Khan became the darling of the paps and the public all this year. From his choice of clothes, to his smiles, to his birthday celebrations, every little detail about this tot was lapped up eagerly. Grandpa Randhir Kapoor sounded a tad worried when he admitted, “I just hope he never gets affected by this media craze around him… We don’t know what will happen when he grows up. But for as long as he’s a child, we want him to have his years of innocence and grow up like any other normal kid.” We hope so too!
Girl Gone Right!
Priyanka Chopra kept hitting the headlines for all the right reasons. If she wasn’t breaking into the top 10 on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list, she was among the world’s 10 highest paid TV actresses, and also on the Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women global list. As UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, she visited Jordan where she met with Syrian children greatly affected by the conflict, grabbed eyeballs at the Oscars and the Emmys and picked up her second People’s Choice Award for ‘Quantico’. She was also awarded a doctorate and a Mother Theresa Memorial Award for Social Justice. All this and acting and producing films too; what a girl!
Out in the Cold
After constantly courting controversy for his snipping scissors, the very ‘sanskaari’ Pahlaj Nihalani unexpectedly found himself out on his ear. Replaced by adman and lyricist Prasoon Joshi as CBFC Chairperson, Nihalani blamed HRD Minister Smriti Mishra for his early expulsion after he allegedly stalled Indu Sarkar, a film based on the Emergency.
Akshay Kumar’s Toilet: Ek Prem Katha caught the attention of Bill Gates who rated it as one of the high points of the year, for educating audiences about India’s sanitation challenge. His upcoming PadMan seeks to remove the stigma around menstrual periods, inspired by the true story of a man who invented a low-cost device to make sanitary pads for women in his village. Akshay’s belief? Entertainment can normalize taboo subjects in a way that other mediums can't.
In February, Karan Johar knocked our socks off with the news that he had become the father of twins, born via surrogacy! Named Yash (after his late father) and Roohi (an anagram of his mother’s name, Hiroo), the tots have taken over their daddy’s world and he has already ben penning them letters advising them never to be afraid of being different.
The lovely Manushi Chillar brought the Miss World crown back home 17 long years after Priyanka Chopra had won it in 2000. Chopra was quick to advise her, “Cherish and learn, and most importantly enjoy it.” The 20-year-old medical student from Haryana said that joining the film industry was not on top of her mind though “it is very interesting to be an actor”.
These star-kids followed their starry parents’ footsteps into films, plunging into the filming of their respective debut projects. Sara Ali Khan, who debuts with Kedarnath, and Janhvi Kapoor, who will hit the screens with Dhadak, had been like two peas in a pod for the greater part of the year but work commitments and that frisson of rivalry might just have nipped their closeness in the bud.
Malayalam actor Dileep made national headlines when he was arrested by the Kerala Police and subsequently remanded for conspiracy of kidnapping and rape attempt on an Indian film actress. Released on bail later by the High Court with certain conditions, the ghastly attack was evidently planned to settle personal scores with the victim.
The Harvey Weinstein Effect
It was in early October that The New York Times and The New Yorker reported that dozens of women had accused prominent film producer Harvey Weinstein of engaging in sexual harassment, sexual assault, or rape. Soon more than 80 women in the film industry had accused Weinstein of such acts. Dismissed by his company, The Weinstein Company, and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and other professional associations, criminal investigations into complaints from at least six women are ongoing in Los Angeles, New York City, and London. The Weinstein scandal triggered many similar allegations against powerful men around the world, also leading great numbers of women to share their own experiences of sexual assault, harassment, or rape on social media under the hashtag #MeToo.
Roast Chicken and a Ring
On November 27 it was announced that Prince Harry and ‘Suits’ actress girlfriend Meghan Markle were engaged to be married in Spring 2018. After a photocall at Kensington Palace, the pair gave their first joint interview to the BBC. Prince Harry described the couple as a "fantastic team" and said his fiancée would easily take to the role of being a member of the Royal Family. “The fact that I fell in love with Meghan so incredibly quickly was confirmation to me that all the stars were aligned,” he gushed. He had proposed, going down on one knee, one cosy night as they were trying to roast a chicken. All eyes now on the wedding on May 19, 2018 to be held at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle!