2023 - Year Of Comebacks: Shah Rukh Khan Reclaiming His Throne, The Deol Supremacy & More

2023 - Year Of Comebacks: Shah Rukh Khan Reclaiming His Throne, The Deol Supremacy & More

Karan Johar pulled people to theatres and once again preached family values, but with a modern take, and romcoms found a place in the hearts of the audience all over again in 2023

Sagarika Choudhary Updated: Monday, December 18, 2023, 02:30 PM IST
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As 2023 is about to end in less than two weeks, it can be safely said that Bollywood redeemed itself this year after a prolonged dry spell — first, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, and then, due to the boom in OTT content and the audience's reluctance to step out of the comfort of their homes. Several records were made and broken this year, and with several stars and films, Bollywood, as a whole, made a smashing comeback in all its glory.

Looking back at the year, one can admit that a LOT happened in 2023 as far as the box office is concerned. Shah Rukh Khan re-established himself as the undisputed king of Bollywood with two Rs 1000 crore blockbusters, Sunny Deol returned with Gadar 2 and wrecked havoc, Karan Johar pulled people to theatres and once again preached family values, but with a modern take, and romcoms found a place in the hearts of the audience all over again.

Let's have a look at the key comebacks that happened in 2023:

The Badshah of Bollywood rises again

The year 2023 began with superstar Shah Rukh Khan ending his four-year-long hiatus and presenting his fans with the ultimate masala spy film that they were waiting for, in the form of Pathaan. The film was a perfect blend of action, drama, emotions, romance, patriotism, foot-tapping numbers, and of course, SRK's unmissable charm and the very enticing villain, John Abraham. Despite courting controversies, Pathaan saw SRK-deprived fans throng theatres and shows as early as 4 am and even post midnight had to be organised to meet the demand. The film earned over Rs 1000 crore at the box office, making it the actor's highest grosser.

But just when everyone thought that SRK might bask in the success of Pathaan for the rest of 2023, he announced a mid-year surprise for his fans — Jawan. The records set by Pathaan looked unbeatable, but the superstar managed to beat himself in the game, as Jawan triumphed over everything that Pathaan had achieved, becoming the actor's second Rs 1000 crore film of the year, a milestone which no other actor had achieved in Indian cinema until then.

The film had the power of not one, but two SRKs — a charismatic and determined Robin Hood cop who is also a son out to seek revenge, and his 'Daddy', who was a former jawan himself, but was tormented and was made to lose everything that he held dear to him.

While Jawan was rightfully called a "massy" film, it also had a rather important social message, asking people to use their right to vote and choose their leaders responsibly, and the timing could not have been better, given that the country is one the cusp of yet another Lok Sabha elections.

The D-Factor

The year 2023 was extremely eventful for the Deol family as well, as not one but all the three Deol men returned to the cinemas and how! It began with the OG Deol, Dharmendra, grabbing eyeballs with his liplock with Shabana Azmi in Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani. Post the film's release, people unanimously agreed that actors will come and go but the original charmer will continue to win hearts forever.

Following his footsteps came Sunny Deol with his blockbuster Gadar 2. It might be the first film in Bollywood, the sequel of which came 22 years after the original film released, but Sunny proved that no amount of years or generation gap can stop Indians from shouting "Hindustan zindabad tha, zindabad hai, aur zindabad rahega", at the top of their lungs when Tara Singh ventures into Pakistan to fight for his loved ones and for his country. Sunny once again single-handedly destroyed almost the whole of the neighbouring country, and the desi audience once again went bonkers inside housefull theatres, so much so that the cheers and hoots were heard even on the streets outside cinema halls.

And when the father and elder brother are enjoying their time back in theatres, how can the younger Deol scion, Bobby Deol, stay behind and look on. And thus, he decided to end the year with a bang for the Deols as he played what can be called the most gory and ferocious villains of all times in Animal. Without mouthing a single word and with just 15 minutes of screen time in an almost three-hour-long movie, Bobby became probably the only celebrated part of the otherwise debated film.

The return of 'Director' Karan Johar

While Karan Johar had been all over the tinsel town, be it through the films he was producing, the events he was attending or the shows he was hosting and judging, the one role his fans were actually missing him in was that of a director. And KJo fulfilled the wish of his fans as he returned on the director's chair after seven long years with the romcom Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani.

Starring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt in the lead roles, KJo pulled off a casting coup by also getting legends like Dharmendra, Shabana Azmi and Jaya Bachchan on board. The film was a hit among the masses and it was just what the audiences were missing in cinema halls — over-the-top romance, drama, family politics, chartbuster songs and finally, a happy ending. The film was a quintessential Dharma project and it reminded people of KJo's cult films like Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, but it also had a freshness which made it relatable for the current generation. The film was also a comeback of sorts for Ranveer Singh, who had been facing a lull in his career for the past one year.

Family entertainers, romcoms regained their lost charm

The year also saw a number of sleeper hits at the box office, most of them being masala entertainers and romcoms. For example, Vicky Kaushal and Sara Ali Khan's Zara Hatke Zara Bachke, which did not have a necessarily unconventional storyline, but went on to earn over Rs 100 crore.

Akshay Kumar and Pankaj Tripathi's OMG 2 was as educational as it was entertaining. Despite getting an 'Adults Only' certificate and being focused on a topic like sex education in schools, the film managed to make a place in the hearts of the audience. The film had a slow start at the box office due to its clash with the mammoth Gadar 2, but once the mania around the latter died down, the audience made sure to watch and review OMG 2 as well.

Ranbir Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor's romcom Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar also easily breezed past the Rs 100 crore mark, as did Kartik Aaryan and Kiara Advani's Satyaprem Ki Katha, which was a love story, but with an important message.

To sum it up, 2023 was just the year that Bollywood and the Hindi box office needed after the prolonged COVID-19 lull, and it redeemed itself and how! The year has boosted confidence in filmmakers and the masses now await and impressive lineup in 2024.

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