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From Kareena Kapoor to Ranveer Singh: Top 20 newsmakers of 2016

From raging controversies to meteoric performances, 2016 belonged to courageous and daredevil newsmakers. Though the regulars like Shah Rukh Khan and Ranveer Singh kept the news mills running, it was the arrival of new entrants like Sushant Singh Rajput and the explosion of Pahlaj Nihalani that made 2016 such a newsworthy year.

Shriram Iyengar

1. Shah Rukh Khan-Hrithik Roshan 

Having seen two massive flops each (Mohenjo Daro and Fan), Hrithik Roshan and Shah Rukh Khan need their next films to work. The only problem they face is each other. The controversy began in August when Shah Rukh and Hrithik announced their next films to be released almost simultaneously in January 2017. They did try to make peace at first, but soon Shah Rukh changed tack. "Whatever dates we are taking, they are following us." seethed Rakesh Roshan, while Shah Rukh shrugged, "It is not about who decided first." For now, both Raees and Kaabil are set to arrive in January, and the war between the two superpowers in Hindi cinema is officially on. 

Read more: Rakesh Roshan breaks his silence on Raees's release strategy

2. Alia Bhatt 

2016 could very well be termed as Alia Bhatt's year. The actress has fulfilled the potential that she promised on her debut. Be it her fiery performance in Udta Punjab or the confused young gun in Dear Zindagi, Bhatt has proved herself to be a consummate actress with a range of emotions. With appearances on Koffee with Karan, and two critically-acclaimed performances in Udta Punjab and Dear Zindagi, as well as the mandatory lead opposite Shah Rukh, Bhatt has finally climbed to the upper echelons she was destined for. We won't be surprised if 2017 begins with her winning several awards for her work this year. 

Read more: 10 times Shah Rukh Khan, Alia Bhatt slew Koffee With Karan's first episode

3. Pahlaj Nihalani 

In 2016, one man brought together an industry divided by box-office rivalry, camps and genres. Pahlaj Nihalani managed to do what several Prime ministers had failed at — unifying Hindi cinema in single opposition of censorship. His battle with the makers of Udta Punjab, particularly Anurag Kashyap, raised an important issue of censorship in films. He continued with the random censorship through the year. From allowing Ranveer Singh's butt to show while cutting down Ranbir Kapoor's intimate scenes with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Nihalani added to the filmmakers' frustration with 2016. 

Read more: Udta Punjab vs CBFC: 5 things that indicate it's a political battle

4. Salman Khan 

This is a name you just cannot keep off the newsmakers' list. Salman Khan rocked his way up the top with his performance in Ali Abbas Zafar's Sultan. The film saw Salman shed his macho stud image to play a broken, vulnerable wrestler complete with a physical transformation. The performance resurrected a floundering industry by delivering a Rs300 crore hit. It proved that, despite his bad boy image, Salman remains the Sultan of Hindi cinema. 

Read more: Sultan review: Salman's restrained performance saves film from being a drag

5. Anushka Sharma 

While Salman reigned over the fanboys, Anushka Sharma continued her rise as the 'go-getter' girl of 2016 with performances in Sultan and Karan Johar's Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. While Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra have moved international, Sharma seems to have taken over the baton with her carefree, natural grace. With Imtiaz Ali's Rehnuma lined up next, Sharma is set to enter 2017 with another big project in her kitty. The actress has already earned praise for her brave takedowns of trolls over her relationship with India's cricket captain, Virat Kohli. For now, this is one leading lady who is leading the way. 

Read more: Women are better actors: Anushka Sharma bats for heroines

6. Karan Johar 

2016 might well be the year Karan Johar came out...of his shell. The director has acquired a voice of his own, artistically and otherwise, across the media. Be it his blogs about mental depression or sexuality, or an increasingly autobiographical sense of filmmaking, or the success of his Koffee chats, Johar has become the cause celebre of the year. Though his kowtowing to political parties over Ae Dil Hai Mushkil's release raised some eyebrows, there is no question about why this is the year of the director's true emergence as a leader in the industry. 

Read more: 5 from Karan Johar's interview about his 'dark days'

7. Sushant Singh Rajput 

2016 witnessed the completion of Sushant Singh Rajput's rise from a television star to a film star. Breaking up with his long-time girlfriend, Ankita Lokhande, had already put him on the map of hot and single young stars, but it was his role as MS Dhoni that really put him on the map. Transforming into the Indian cricket captain, Rajput delivered a performance that raised the quality of Neeraj Pandey's film. With a Rs100 crore film in his kitty and directors waiting to cast him, Rajput has well and truly hit the headlines this year. 

Read more: Box-office update: MS Dhoni crosses the century mark

8. Kangana Ranaut 

The actress might be invisible on screen this year, but she has been breathing fire off of it. Her prolonged legal battle with Hrithik has earned her some enemies. But it has raised her credibility as a brave, independent soul in the industry. An individualistic actress, Ranaut has brought a fresh perspective on an insular, insecure, and patriarchal industry with her no-nonsense personality and open statements. No surprise that GQ magazine named her the Woman of the Year. "It is a bit unfair," complained the actress, "No matter how many lingerie shoots I do for you all, it is always about the spirit." 

Read more: My hotness is so underrated, Kangana Ranaut charms at GQ Awards 

9. Amitabh Bachchan and Shoojit Sircar 

You just can't keep Amitabh Bachchan away from the headlines. The 72-year-old continues to be a powerful presence in the industry and has hit quite the purple patch. He continued the form of Piku from last year in the Shoojit Sircar produced, Pink. The Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan ambassador's performance was one of the highlights of a hard hitting and powerful film. The other prominent face of the Pink campaign, Sircar turned in quite a year himself. Strangely, it was Sircar who was more prominent during the campaigning for Pink. Considering the success and the praise received by the film, the producer must consider it a good year. 

Read more: Meet Amitabh Bachchan’s biggest Israeli fan

10. Bipasha Basu 

It was a sad day for young men across the country when Bipasha Basu decided to become Mrs Karan Singh Grover. The couple began dating on the sets of the film Alone (2015), before deciding to exchange vows on 30 April this year. Though she has had no films in the last year, the actress seems to be quite happy enjoying marital bliss. Her pictures from Instagram are a reminder that she might be married now, but that does not put an end to her glamourous life. 

Read more: Bipasha is now Bipasha Basu Singh Grover

11. Sonam Kapoor 

It was a fantastic year for Sonam Kapoor. With Neerja, she was finally able to shed the tag of 'fashionista' and deliver an en vogue performance. If her acting brought her praise from the critics, her open stand on the gender inequality in the industry got the attention of the press. Making her debut soon as a co-producer with her sister Rhea in Veere Di Wedding, Sonam has just taken the lead in an issue that needs much more support. 

Read more: Sonam Kapoor hits out at 'patriarchal society and sexism' in film industry

12. Kareena Kapoor Khan 

The birth of the imperial sounding Taimur Ali Khan is the topping on a very sweet year for Kareena Kapoor Khan. Her newly born son, already a Twitter celebrity, caps off a decent year for the actress. Her performances in Udta Punjab and  Ki & Ka earned her appreciation from the critics. Then arrived the pregnancy which catapulted her fame on the social media. Unlike mothers who hide from the media, the Kapoor Khan lady walked down ramps, attended events, made statements that put her on the map of neo-feminists in the industry. As she enjoys a well-deserved break with her new born son, the actress still has another project, Veere Di Wedding, to start her off in the New Year. 

Read more: Kareena and Saif blessed with a baby boy

13. Shahid Kapoor 

2016 was the beginning of a new Shahid Kapoor. The birth of his daughter, Misha, has brought stability to the actor's life. A more secure actor, Shahid has also earned the credibility of directors. The serenity and poise he displayed during the controversy of Udta Punjab was a sign of this very characteristic. With Sanjay Leela Bhansali casting him opposite Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone in Padmavati, and Vishal Bhardwaj casting him opposite Kangana Ranaut and Saif Ali Khan in Rangoon, the actor now has a big year ahead of him. If it comes through, Shahid will have found a way past the ebullient new generation of stars crowding the industry. 

Read more: Udta Punjab review: The film flies high on strong content and brave performances

14. Akshay Kumar 

The Khiladi has become one of the most consistent and guaranteed box-office success stories of 2016. The success of Airlift, and the resulting praise has ensured that the actor has now become an equal to the Khans. In addition to his films, Kumar's clean public image, non-controversial nature and the happy family life has boosted his popularity on social media. His latest appearance on Karan Johar's chat show brought to light the ability of a confident star capable of playing second fiddle to a more successful wife. 

Read more: Akshay Kumar: 120+ films in 25 years and still going strong

15. Twinkle Khanna 

The former actress has acquired new fame as a writer and social commentator. Khanna's charm, wit and sense of humour have found the perfect platform on social media. Her followers have grown exponentially since the publication of her first book, Mrs Funnybones. With the publication of her second book, The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad, Khanna has broken down the ghastly image of the ham actress from Mela. Her appearance with hubby, Kumar on Koffee with Karan reminded fans that she might be a bad actress, but not untalented. 

Read more: Mrs Funnybones Twinkle Khanna returns to films

16. Ranveer Singh 

The rising superstar of Hindi cinema, Ranveer Singh is true blue box-office. 2016 saw him emerge as the new face of stardom in the industry. With the success of Bajirao Mastani, Singh has risen to the top of the cream with superlative ease. He has officially thrown down the gauntlet to the Khan trinity. He has already replaced Shah Rukh Khan in an Aditya Chopra film, while replacing Salman as the face of a soft drink brand. Although Befikre did not make a splash as expected, Singh has nothing to worry. He has another big period epic with Sanjay Leela Bhansali in tow. If his record is anything to go by, 2017 promises big things for this Singh. 

Read more: Ranveer Singh has the same brilliance, intellect, energy as Shah Rukh Khan: Aditya Chopra 

18. Priyanka Chopra 

Priyanka Chopra was already riding the wave of Bajirao Mastani's success when 2016 began, but the end of the year sees her on a completely different peak. After winning the People's Choice Award for Quantico at the beginning of the year, the new face of Pantene International, alongside pop star Selena Gomez, Chopra is now riding the wave of Hollywood fame. 2016 saw her grace the red carpet for the Oscars, the Grammys, the Emmys, kid around with Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon, introduce Coldplay on stage at the Global Citizen fest, and be announced UNICEF's global ambassador. Please forgive us if we forgot to mention one of the many reasons PC was in the news because nobody could keep up with her in 2016. She departed as the rising star from India, she returns having conquered a bigger stage. 

Read more: Priyanka Chopra beats DiCaprio, Jennifer Aniston to become only Indian in IMDb's rankings

19. Aamir Khan 

The last of the Khan trinity, but not the least, Aamir has arrived with a bang at the closing end of the year with his performance in Dangal. The actor was conspicuously quiet in the build up through the year, only to open up at the right time. While the rest of the pack had quieted down and prepared to wind up the year, Aamir has made an impact with not just Dangal, but also his uber punk look for his next film, Secret Superstar. 

Read more: Dangal review: Aamir Khan and his daughters score a win

20. Deepika Padukone 

The Mastani of Ranveer Singh, Padukone has had a quiet presence throughout 2016. Though she has had no film releases this year, the actress continued to occupy major space in the newsreels. Having secured her position as one of the top actresses of this generation, Padukone has now set her sights on foreign waters. Having signed on with XXX: The Return of Xander Cage and Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi's next, the actress has now staged serious competition to the only Indian face on the international stage, Priyanka Chopra. With appearances on the red carpet for the MTV EMAs, the actress has also gained some serious fashion cred. In addition, Padukone has already started working for mentor Sanjay Leela Bhansali's period epic, Padmavati. The film will see Padukone return to her hit pairing with current beau, Singh. Looking at their past record, 2017 might prove to be another big year for Miss Padukone. 

Read more: Deepika Padukone goes incognito for Majid Majidi’s Indian film