1. Salman Khan
2005 belonged to Salman Khan as he was the most powerful star for many reasons. With Shahrukh Khan having only one release this year, Salman was there to save the industry once again. Salman was able to prove that he is reliable when it comes to opening a movie in A, B and C centers of India. It was particularly better as Salman continued to be shrouded amongst controversy but his films saw the better half of that. This was clearly seen with the example of Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya (more on that). Call him Salman the Magnificent, or the Joker, however, to certain people, he is our box-office hero. Lucky was Salman Khan first release, and the movie took a huge opening at the box-office, thanks to the huge star-power of Salman Khan. The movie managed to settle in the average status, however, it was Lucky that began to set the cash register ringing after Black, and Salman Khan got huge praise for his performance.
His next release was Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya. Before the release of the film, Salman Khan was part of a tape controversy, which had him declare all his wrong doing to Aishwarya Rai in a drunken state. The movie was banned at certain cinema halls, and some people from India even burned his picture. The immediate prediction was that going through a controversy like this, the movie was bound to flop, however, that didn’t happen. The audience still managed to support their hero through the bad times, and Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya managed to do hit business at the box-office. Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya is one of the biggest hits and grossing films of 2005. This alone explains Salman Khan’s huge star-power and this alone shows Salman Khan is definitely number one.
Things got better for Khan with his next release, Boney Kapoor’s No Entry. No Entry also went through a small issue as some of the prints didn’t arrive on time. No Entry managed to score the second best opening at the box-office, and became the biggest hit and the biggest grossing film of 2005. Another feather in the cap for Salman Khan. Despite being a multi-starrer it was clear that Salman was very much a part of the big opening. His next release, Kyon Ki, was the only film that flopped this year. However, despite the film opening to 20% to 30% at the box-office, the movie still managed to get an 8 crore opening at the box-office, which is still quite an achievement. With four films alone this year, his total gross from all four films is over 100 crores, and having a 25.19 crores average. 2005 will be one of Salman Khan best years in Bollywood, and he will be acknowledged by the trade as the Top Actor this year. 2006 looks superb for Salman Khan as almost every film looks promising and is bound to do well at the box-office.
2. Amitabh Bachchan
2005 was truly a remarkable year for Big B. His first release, as most will claim as the Best Male performance for 2005, was Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Black. Big B shined in Black, and surprisingly, the movie went to do great business at the box-office. Black may be the Best Film this year, thanks to its different theme and wonderful performances and is bound to give Bachchan several award nominations. Later, Big B once again excelled with the emotional drama Waqt. Waqt belong to Big B, as he delivered a knock-out performance. His next movie was Bunty Aur Babli which is the second biggest grossing film of 2005 and one of the few hits this year. Big B finally teamed up with Abhishek and the audience became enthralled as the two shook a leg in Aishwarya Rai’s guest number “Kajra Re”.
Things got better for Big B with Sarkar. Sarkar has to be ranked as one of Big B best performance ever, as he managed to steal the movie from the rest of the cast. This was a huge streak for Big B, but it did slow down with the box office failures of Viruddh, Dil Jo Bhi Kahey and Ek Ajnabee. The latter was released amongst much fanfare as Bachchan was hospitalized during the release. Thankfully he recovered well making 2005 an even bigger accomplishment. By having an amazing year up to Sarkar, he had a success ratio of 100%, however, with three consecutive flops; it brought his success ratio to 57.14%. If Big B had one flop this year, he would have been a strong contender for number one spot. However, Big B still made a huge mark in 2005.
3. Yash Chopra/Aditya Chopra
The Yash Chopra/Aditya Chopra camp is simply the winner for being the best producer this year. Along with the Johars, YashRaj films always manage to generate good hype, and take a good opening at the box-office, whether or not the films are big or small. Their Bunty Aur Babli and Salaam Namaste were big in the Indian market and overseas. The only downers that YashRaj films had were Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Marna and Neal N Nikki as they both flop in the Indian market and overseas market. However, it proves that still up to this day, a YashRaj film can always generate hype and take a good initial.
4. Akshay Kumar
2005 was an amazing year for Akshay Kumar. He has never been better throughout his career. Akshay Kumar is finally getting his dues and he deserves it. While his first release Insaan bit the dust, Bewafaa opened to good numbers. Bewafaa didn’t exactly light the box office on fire but was still highlighted performance. His next release Waqt opened to great response and the pairing of Akshay Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan stood out once more sending the film way above the success mark. Akshay Kumar might earn some nominations for his performance. Akshay followed with his best release of the year, Priyadarshan’s Garam Masala. Garam Masala opened to great response at the box-office and the movie was a big hit. What’s better is that Akshay Kumar was the show-stealer in Garam Masala. Akshay’s next release Deewane Huye Paagal opened to an average response, however it failed at the box-office, despite the fact that it had gotten several good reviews. And still the Khiladi manages again to steal the show again as the hilarious Rocky. His latest release Dosti should open to a good response, however, it will be seen if the movie succeeds or not. Let’s hope it succeeds, and we hope Akshay Kumar the best for 2006.
5. Rani Mukherjhee
Rani Mukherjhee had a superb year in 2005. She is truly living up to her name as being the rani of Bollywood lately. She proved her true talent in Black, which was a huge success worldwide, while Bunty Aur Babli was one of the big hits of 2005. Rani Mukherjhee also had Paheli, despite not being that big of a hit, her performance truly stood out. Even with Mangal Pandey faring average at the box-office, Rani made her presence felt in a half-baked role. Rani Mukherjhee should be proud that 2005 brought her a lot of recognition. Don’t be surprised if she wins Best Actress award for Black. Clearly, Rani is definitely the “Star Of The Year” in the female category.
6. Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Black is a film that Sanjay Leela Bhansali should be proud of. It brought a new theme to Bollywood, and it got huge acclaim worldwide. If I’m not mistaken, Time Magazine placed Black in the top ten films of 2005 worldwide. It also proved to be a realization of a lifelong goal for Bhansali, aside from the fact that it featured Bachchan untouchable. This non-musical was a first for him and the result paid off. That is a huge accomplish for Indian cinema, and for Sanjay Leela Bhansali. As always, we look forward to the next Bhansali film, whichever that may be.
7. Karan Johar
Kaal is the only release of 2005, and yet it took a huge opening due to the fact that a Karan Johar film can sell at the box-office no matter what. One might say that the Shah Rukh number was the sole reason why, however, it still proves that his films can sell at the box-office, despite the type of film. Johar tried to stray—as a producer—from the sugar coat and take a stab at the growing trends of thrillers and it paid off for him. But more importantly, Johar is in prime for his much awaited next film in 2006. We can assure that it is bound to take a historic opening.
8. Shahrukh Khan
No matter if Shahrukh Khan has one film or two film in a year, his films are always awaited, and you can bet it will open up to good numbers. Paheli was the only example for that this year. Unfortunately, the movie didn’t light up the box office as expected, despite the good opening it received. However, it still proves that Shahrukh Khan star-power is still intact and can open any movie to good numbers, and as always, his performance stood out in the movie. Things look even better for him and Paheli as the film is India’s 2005 entry for the Oscars ®. 2006 should mark the comeback for the Baadshah Khan.
9. Preity Zinta
Ushering in from last year late success Veer-Zaara, Preity Zinta started this year on a high note. With only one release this year, Salaam Namaste, Preity Zinta not only proved her talent in the film but showed that she can deliver a film to success. Salaam Namaste was one of this year’s biggest grosser. Zinta proved that despite having one solo release she is still in demand, and we hope to see more of her in 2006.
10. Saif Ali Khan
Saif Ali Khan has never been better throughout his years at the box-office. With two releases this year with Parineeta and Salaam Namaste doing excellent at the box office, things couldn’t be any better. The best part was both performance were well-received by the audience and critics. Both roles were polar opposites and the audiences hammed them up. Saif Ali Khan is bound to get some nominations for his performance for Parineeta, in particular. Saif Ali Khan has never been better and we hope he continues this streak.
11. Aamir Khan
Despite the in evident failure of his sole release Mangal Pandey, that too after four years, Aamir Khan deserves to be within the list. Despite its failure, Mangal Pandey opened to the biggest initial ever in Bollywood history thanks to the hype of Aamir Khan’s comeback. I agree that Mangal Pandey disappointed at the box-office, but it wasn’t a flop, it was an average. And of course, one can’t deny that he got huge critical acclaim for his performance, which is enough to please his fans and audiences despite the lackluster performance of the film.
12. Himesh Reshammiya
A surprise entry in the list comes from Himesh Reshammiya; however, it is well deserved. Most of his albums this year were huge success in the music market. Particularly including Aashiq Banaya Aapne, Kyon Ki and Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya. However, the title track of Aashiq Banaya Aapne in particular became a rage, and it had Himesh himself singing the song which made the success even sweeter. We hope to hear more of Himesh in the future and also we hope he can generate some huge albums in the future.
13. Abhishek Bachchan
Abhishek Bachchan proved that he is here to stay, with 2005 being a fantastic year for him. All three releases of 2005 did great business at the box-office. While Bunty Aur Babli was a big hit, Abhishek manage to get huge praise for his performance. In his next release, Sarkar, Small B delivered a superb performance, which is bound to earn him a supporting actor nomination and don’t be surprised if he wins the award, as he deserves it. Sarkar did amazing business at the box-office, especially at the Mumbai circuit. His next release Dus opened to huge numbers at the box-office, however, it settled in the Above Average status. However, along with Sanjay Dutt, Abhishek’s performance stood out. His next release Bluffmaster opened to average response; however Bluffmaster is the movie that determines if he can do it on his own. Though it looks like Bluffmaster may just turn out average we still hope that 2006 is as great as 2005 for Abhishek Bachchan.
14. Sonu Nigam
Sonu Nigam was the best male singer of 2005 as he had the most hit songs this year. Songs like Sun Zara (Lucky), Piyu Bole (Parineeta), Just Chill Chill (Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya), Chup Chup (Bunty Aur Babli), No Entry (No Entry), Ek Bewafaa Hai (Bewafaa), and others topped the charts. He may pick up some awards especially for Sun Zara. 2005 was a remarkable year Mr. Nigam. Keep it up!
15. Udit Narayan
Udit Narayan dominated this year with some instant chart-busting songs. Songs like Kyon Ki Itna (Kyon Ki), Jaan Meri Jaa Rahi Sanam (Lucky), Dhadak Dhadak (Bunty Aur Babli), Ek Dilruba Hai (Bewafaa), and others had top the charts. Well, Udit Narayan will pick up some nominations this year, and we hope he continues this trend in 2006.
16. Lata Mangeshkar
Lata Mangeshkar is proving to the world that she is far from over. Lataji is simply India’s greatest singer of all time. The few songs she sings in 2005 were simply amazing songs. All of her renditions this year were superlative, including Shayad Yahi To Pyar Hai (Lucky), Kaise Piya (Bewafaa), Luka Chhupi (Rang De Basanti). Lataji, we hope to hear more from you in the future.
Well, Nadeem-Shravan (N-S) are splitting up, however, they still manage to make their mark in the music market. Albums like Bewafaa, Barsaat, and the recently released Dosti were musical hits in the music market. It’s sad to see them splitting up, especially having given us some great albums in the past.
18. Aishwarya Rai
No matter if Aishwarya Rai's films were failing at the box office, she has become an international icon and that we can’t deny. She is one of those figures that the people worldwide can recognize from India. However, to make a better place in the countdown next year, we hope that her international projects and her 2006 film projects have success at the box-office.
19. AR Rahman
Despite the fact that Mangal Pandey was an average album, AR Rahman still ranks in our list thanks to Rang De Basanti, which is a clear winner. Rahman had the beautiful Bose-The Forgotten Hero and Rang De Basanti which is also doing average business.
20. John Abraham
John Abraham (along with Abhishek Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan) is proving to be the future of Bollywood. Although most of his movies have flopped, his performances still manage to stand out. For Kaal and Viruddh, John Abraham delivered a good performance. However, the best thing about John Abraham this year was that John did a variety of roles. This paid off mostly in Garam Masala where he stood in comedy and on his own despite Akshay Kumar’s prowess. We hope the best for John Abraham in the future.
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