Aryan Khan, Raj Kundra, Squid Game and Bennifer obsession: Newsmakers of 2021. The world of entertainment made a lot of news in 2021 not just in India but also overseas. The Indian film industry was marked by controversies, arrests and legal tussles. These were more noticeable than actual film releases.
Superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s (SRK) son Aryan Khan was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on October 3 in an alleged drug bust case. NCB claimed that it had found evidence against Aryan and his two other friends (Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha) that linked them to international drug trafficking, even though Aryan personally was not found in possession of any banned drugs. Aryan finally got bail on October 28. After the bail formalities were completed, Aryan was released on October 30, but the social media was unsparing in judging the superstar’s son.
While Aryan was in Arthur Road Jail, actor Ananya Panday was also quizzed by the NCB in connection to the case.
In July, actress Shilpa Shetty’s husband and businessman Raj Kundra was arrested after a five month long investigation into the case. The police arrested him on the basis of an FIR registered against him. The charges were serious. The police said that Kundra was allegedly involved in creation and distribution of pornographic content via OTT platforms.
Shilpa however denied knowing anything of the matter during the investigation. Finally, Kundra was granted bail on September 20. The matter is still sub judice.
On the very first day of the New Year in 2020, Stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui was arrested for allegedly hurting religious sentiments of Hindu people through his show. On a complaint filed by Eklavya Singh, son of a BJP MLA, Munawar and four others were arrested. Munnawar was also accused of holding a show by ignoring all Covid protocols. He was finally granted bail on February 5, and released the following day.
One of the most keenly awaited web series of the year- the Saif Ali Khan-led Amazon Prime show Tandav, faced online trolling. Released on January 15 and helmed by noted director Ali Abbas Zafar, the series was targeted for ‘spreading communal tension’
BJP MLA Ram Kadam filed the first FIR against the director for hurting ‘religious sentiments.’ After this, an FIR in Lucknow was filed for portraying Hindu deities in an unsavoury light. The director released two statements- an apology and a confirmation that he had decided ‘to implement changes’ in order to avoid upsetting anybody unintentionally. Meanwhile, multiple FIRs continued to be registered against the team in Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh. The complainants called for a complete ban on the show.
2020 also saw painful separations of some of the most adored celebrity couples. In July, actor Aamir Khan and his wife Kiran Rao, put out a joint statement about their separation. The pair continue to work together in a professional capacity.
Popular couple Samatha Ruth Prabhu and Naga Chaitanya who got married in 2017 also announced their separation to fans in October. Both have featured in Telugu films. Some reports say that they have been spotted together in a studio where Naga was shooting for a film while Samantha was wrapping up the first schedule of another film.
Hindi biopic ‘Shershaah’ with Sidharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani in the lead, released on OTT platform Amazon Prime Video, was a huge success.
The film, bankrolled by Karan Johar and directed by Vishnuvardhan, earned huge applause for its subtle approach to patriotism. The film presented the story of the late army officer, Captain Vikram Batra who was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest and most prestigious award for valor, for his actions during the 1999 Kargil War.
Meanwhile, Akshay Kumar’s Sooryavanshi emerged as the first de facto hit at the box office in 2021.
The year also saw the emergence of a new star Adarsh Gourav following his lead role in The White Tiger. The Netflix movie which marked his debut not only earned him a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) nomination but also catapulted him to rightful stardom. Adarsh is now slated to work alongside Hollywood legend Meryl Streep in a new project, the drama series Extrapolations And of course, one cannot forget the well-made Malayalam film The Great Indian Kitchen. Helmed by Jeo Baby, the film won praise for its portrayal of gender dynamics in a new marriage and patriarchy in our society. The film starred the talented duo of Nimisha Sajayan and Suraj Venjaramoodu.