12 films to watch out for this year
2020 seems poised for some exciting releases. WKND draws the list
Now that we're into the New Year, and Bollywood continues its downpour of movies, here's looking at the future with hope in the heart. Indications are that biopics, sequels and fantasies will be on the menu throughout 2020, with a few exceptions and, hopefully, surprises of the pleasant kind.
The calendar is jam-packed, tentative release dates - incidentally, B-town films premiere in Dubai a day earlier - have been announced, subject to last-minute alterations, of course. The Meghna Gulzar-helmed Chhapaak, with Deepika Padukone in the role of an acid attack survivor inspired by a horrifying real-life incident, opens next week.
Here's looking, then, at the 12 most avidly-anticipated in film fare in the months to come:
Based on the life of a national-level kabaddi player, director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari focuses on a homemaker and mother, who is supported unwaveringly by her family to return to the sport and prove her mettle. Undoubtedly, Kangana Ranaut as the woman of fortitude will dominate the inspirational drama. Yet, Richa Chadda, in a supporting part, promises to give her tough competition - if the final edit sticks to the script and the footage shot.
SHUBH MANGAL ZYADA SAAVDHAN
Ayushmann Khurrana plays a young man from the orthodox town of Varanasi, who dares to defy societal norms for this ticklish comedy directed by first-timer Hitesh Kewalya. A sequel to the likeable (2017), which was scripted by Kewalya, this film clearly reaffirms Ayushmann's winning strategy to take on roles that are daringly different.
Directed by Anubhav Sinha, it features a female ensemble cast topped by Taapsee Pannu, Dia Mirza, Tanvi Azmi and Ratna Pathak-Shah. To convey the film's theme, Taapsee shared a quote by Punjab's legendary poet and novelist Amrita Pritam: "When a man denies the power of women, he is denying his own subconscious." Going by Sinha's hard-hitting Mulk (2018) and Article 15 (2019), this endeavour promises to be 'a slap on the face' of male chauvinists, as promised in the title.
A spin-off from Hindi Medium, a critique on the often-draconian education system, this film marks the welcome return of Irrfan Khan, who recently underwent a health scare. Directed by Homi Adajania, the film features Kareena Kapoor in her first jab at the role of a police officer. Known for his light-hearted touch even while handling serious themes in Being Cyrus (2006), Cocktail (2012) and Finding Fanny (2014), Adajania is expected to deliver a saucy satire on linguistic prejudices.
Director Rohit Shetty returns with his chaotic, slam-bang style, somehow bunging action, comedy and romance together. The unabashed formula is rejected by the discerning audience but welcomed with open arms by the masses. Produced jointly by Shetty and Karan Johar's Dharma Productions, Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif play leading roles in this cops-versus-crooks entertainer. In guest appearances, Ajay Devgn and Ranveer Singh re-enact their popular avatars of Singham and Simmba respectively. Ah well, more the stars, the merrier.
The title refers to the year 1983, when the Indian cricket team won the World Cup Final under the captaincy of Kapil Dev. Ranveer Singh is reported to have prepped for months to get every move and characteristic of the captain spot-on. Deepika Padukone co-stars as Mrs Romi Dev. The ambitious project's director Kabir Khan, most famously known for the Salman Khan blockbuster Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015), has a distinctive signature of his own and is expected to knock out another sixer, or a boundary at the very least.
Director Shoojit Sircar teams up Amitabh Bachchan with Ayushmann Khurana in this Lucknow-centred comedy revolving around the everyday struggle of the common man. Drawing from folklore and puppet theatre, the plotline has been kept under wraps. Yet, one thing's for sure: any film from Sircar, who extracted unforgettable performances from Ayushmann in Vicky Donor (2012) and from Bachchan in Piku (2015), promises to be above the commonplace.
(Sometime in May-June)
Slotted as a summer release, this opus - directed by Ayan Mukherji for Dharma Productions - is set in the present with resonances of mythology. Ranbir Kapoor portrays a reluctant superhero, with Alia Bhatt as his leading lady. Amitabh Bachchan gives the project heft, while Shah Rukh Khan fetches up for a cameo. Conceived as a trilogy, the kick-off edition has been inordinately delayed, perhaps because of the intricate special effects.
The eponymous role of the mental calculator, also known as 'the human computer', is being essayed by Vidya Balan. Directed by Anu Menon, the biopic traces the origins of a brilliant girl born to a father who was a circus trapeze artiste and a magician. His daughter was an inexplicable phenomenon, who found a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
RADHE - YOUR MOST WANTED BHAI
Timed for Eid ul Fitr, this Salman Khan action flick is the third collaboration between 'bhai' and Prabhu Deva, in his capacity as a director, after Wanted (2009) and the recent Dabangg 3. If there's a story in this guns-and-grenades drama, it has been a well-kept secret so far. Disha Patani has been announced as bhai's heroine in the film.
Uh oh, a clash ahead. Also timed for Eid ul Fitr, this remake of the Tamil mega-hit - Muni 2: Kanchana (2011), headlining Akshay Kumar and Kiara Advani, mixes supernatural elements with suspense, marking the Bollywood debut of the original's director Raghava Lawrence.
LAAL SINGH CHADDHA
Aamir Khan will be back next Christmas, playing a slow-witted man, a la Tom Hanks, through whose eyes we view the defining events of Indian history. An official remake of the multiple Oscar-winning Forrest Gump (1994), it's directed by Advait Chandan, who helmed the sensitively-narrated Secret Superstar two years ago for Aamir Khan's film production company.
That's the Big Dozen, then, for the coming weeks in Bollywood, where at least as far as quantity goes, all is well.