Here’s a list of the highs, lows, also-rans, noticeable performances and tearful adieus. Flashback 2012.

From sleeper hits to box office bonanzas, Bollywood has had a rather eventful 2012. It wasn’t just the moolah that did the talking (though it certainly was big with one Rs. 200 crore hit and about seven Rs. 100 crore ones — a first for B-town), there was enough action, drama and tragedy to make this year qualify as a Hindi potboiler. As we get ready to pull down the curtains on 2012, here’s a recap of the year that was.

The moolah makers

Ek Tha Tiger gave the industry what was expected of it — the Rs. 200 crore benchmark. Besides this, only Akshay Kumar’s Rowdy Rathore qualified as a blockbuster (Akshay’s Khiladi 786 released this Friday and Salman’s Dabanng 2 releases on December 23). Agneepath had interesting performances by Hrithik Roshan, Sanjay Dutt and Rishi Kapoor besides ‘Chikni Chameli’ to spice up the beginning of the year giving the industry the first Rs. 100 crore hit. Housefull 2, Barfi! (also India’s nomination to the Oscars), Bol Bachchan, Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Son Of Sardaar hit the Rs. 100 crore circuit too.

Surprise hits

Expect the unexpected is Bollywood’s new mantra as it sprung quite a few surprises this year. Films such as Irrfan Khan’s Paan Singh Tomar, Vidya Balan’s Kahaani, Ayushman Khurana’s Vicky Donor, Sharman Joshi’s Ferrari Ki Sawaari, Manoj Bajpai and Nawazzudin Siddiqui’s Gangs Of Wasseypur 1 & 2, Paresh Rawal and Akshay Kumar’s Oh My God (OMG) and Sridevi’s English Vinglish managed to create an audience of their own. The message went out loud: Filmmakers, don’t use the mass appeal excuse to make mindless movies. Even the so-called masses are intelligent and everyone likes to watch movies with good stories even if they don’t boast of stars.

The why-make-them category

Abhishek Bachchan made up with his Bol Bachchan later in the year but he started 2012 with a duck called Players. Madhavan and Bipasha’s Jodi Breakers, Saif and Kareena’s much-hyped Agent Vinod, Ajay Devgn and Anil Kapoor’s Tezz, Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt and Rana Daggubati’s Department, Karishma Kapoor’s comeback vehicle Dangerous Ishq, Akshay’s biggest flop of recent times — Joker, Rani Mukherjee’s high-on-expectations Aiyya and Kareena’s Heroine on similar lines…why wouldn’t the otherwise sensible actors/producers realise they are headed straight to the depths with such films?

Freshmen ahoy!

Would it be politically incorrect to list Ayushman Khurana (Vicky Donor) first when ‘students of the year’ Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Siddharth Malhotra are competing? The other big debutants were Yami Gautam (Vicky Donor), Arjun Kapoor (Ishaqzaade), Ileana D’Cruz (Barfi!), Paoli Dam (Hate Story), Huma Quereshi (Gangs Of Wasseypur 1 & 2 and Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurrana) and Esha Gupta (Jannat 2, Raaz 3D and Chakravyuh). A certain first-timer by the name of Sunny Leone was also the talking point of this year much less for her debut in Pooja Bhatt’s film Jism 2 than for providing a lot of fodder for the gossip mills and a lifetime’s supply to stand-up comics.

Bidding adieu

Bollywood has had many tearful good-byes to say this year. Child actor and character artist Achla Sachdev (April), 1970’s superstar Rajesh Khanna (July), arguably India’s first macho man Dara Singh (July), veteran A. K. Hangal (August), comedian Jaspal Bhatti (October), and director-producer Yash Chopra (October), the losses just wouldn’t stop on this front.

(This is the first of a two-part series that will conclude next week)