The Game-Changers Of Bollywood In 2018

It’s not just about delivering the hits. It’s also about using the power that those hits give you to generate a change in the audiences’ gaze as it falls on that hoary silver screen. Here’s saluting the ones who made a difference this year.

Ayushmann Khurrana

With two back-to-back hits, Andhadhun and  Badhaai Ho in 2018, Ayushmann proved himself an incredibly astute selector. Rather than aim for superstardom he aims to form a deep connect with India ’s working class.  He doesn’t sell dreams. He creates spaces on the screen where dreams get a breathing space. With a refreshing lack of vanity—the real hero of the Badhaai Ho was Gajraj Rao—and a solid grip over the pulse of the middle-class Ayushmann has proven he’s here for the long haul.

John Abraham 

We had almost forgotten his star-rating when suddenly, out of the blue he surprised us with a well-intended true-life story in Parmanu. No one expected anything major from  Parmanu.  It went on to become a  success proving the naysayers wrong.  John compounded the Parmanu success with Satyamev Jayate, a  kitschy blood-and-fists masala product that proved he can do the main-scream equally well. Now in 2019, he is exploring the mainstream-reality space again. Interesting where John goes from here.

Radhika Apte 

During 2018 she was seen here dare everywhere.  Daringly prolific she hopped skipped and frolicked through the big screen(Padman, Bazaar) and small(Scared Games, Ghoul) without skipping a beat.  Forever breaking the glass ceiling, overwork only makes Apte more apt at her craft.    

Rajkummar Rao

From the scarily argumentative sociopathic terror kingpin in Omerta to the silly satirical spook spree in Stree, Rajkummar Rao is an actor not afraid to let his guards down and look utterly idiotic on screen. The more un-heroic the more he enjoys it. We like.

Tapsee Pannu

An actress who doesn’t mind taking risks, no matter how steep. This year she was a  hockey player in Soorma who gives it all up for love, and then she was a sexually unabashed creature of self-satisfaction on Manmarziyan. Here is a rare actress who isn’t obsessed with looking correct on screen. She blends into everu character and defies the rules of objectification by which Hindi film heroines are supposed to work. Bravo

Alia Bhatt

While  Deepika Padukone could do nothing to take her superstardom ahead with Padmaavat, Alia Bhatt continues to display a  startling enterprising spirit. She was seen in just one film this year. Raazi featured her in the difficult role of an Indian spy who marries a Pakistani to infiltrate defence secrets. Alia made it look not only believable but also admirable. She will next be seen playing a rapper in Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy. Game changer? Hell, yes!

Sonam Kapoor Ahuja

Padman, Veere Di Wedding and marriage all during one year. Sonam disproves the long-standing myth that chic beauties are shallow frivolous creatures. In spite of being Bollywood’s in-house fashionista Sonam has achieved everything there is to achieve without falling back on her father’s name. In 2019 she will be seen with her dad Anil  Kapoor for the first time on screen. Please note, only after she has made her place in the industry. Nepotism is damned.

Saif Ali Khan 

While the three Khan superstars(and we don't need to name and shame them)  delivered duds the fourth Khan star(and we don't mean Taimur but his father) quietly made a big impact with his  Netflix series  Sacred Games. Saif was also excellent as a Gujarati stockbroker in Bazaar and as a man who thinks he is dying in the dark underrated comedy Kalahandi.  Saif doesn't play it safe at all, and that's what makes him a game changer, sacred or otherwise.


The  Kannada superstar has conquered the Hindi belt with his dubbed version of KGF.  North  Indian audiences are clapping cheering whistling at the antics of an actor whom they didn't know until a week ago.  Now we hear Yash's earlier Kannada films are ready to be dubbed into Hindi. Game changer indeed.

Ranveer Singh

Finally, the actor with the boundless energy started his year with a blockbuster Padmaavat and has now ended the year with a blockbuster Simmba.  With  Deepika Padukone as his wife now, Ranveer's career has only one way to go. Up!