Actors and directors to watch out for in 2019
The year is sure to throw up surprises, but here's the lot of actors and directors we think will deliver
The fiery Kangana Ranaut makes her directorial debut with Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi, playing the title role that few in Bollywood can rightly stake claim to. Prakash Kovelamudi's Mental Hai Kya will see her reunite with Rajkummar Rao, her co-star from Queen (2014), the film that pretty much launched her career toward serious stardom. Her kitty is full, with Ashwini Iyer Tiwary's Panga, and Anurag Basu's Imali, also on the slate. This is Ranaut's make-or-break year. We're happy to bet on her going for the kill.
Who is India's top movie star? If you're as good as your last film, it's got to be Prabhas, whose Baahubali: The Conclusion (2017) grossed over R2,000 crore! He gave five years to Rajamoulli's two-part Baahubali, picking up no film in the interim. Clearly, that paid off. The reticent Hyderabadi, lovingly called Darling in the local film industry, returns with Hindi, Tamil, Telugu tri-lingual, Sujeeth's Saaho. It would be unfair to expect the Baahubali magic, again. But if his first TV appearance on Koffee With Karan is anything to go by, think we'll adore his presence, regardless of size/scale of the screen.
Writer-director Zoya Akhtar is in top form, if you simply consider her segment in Netflix's Lust Stories anthology in 2018. But even more so, given that the Berlin International Film Festival has already picked up her next, Gully Boyz, for a gala premiere in February. The hip-hop flick/biopic, with Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, has been on everyone's radar ever since its announcement. Besides, Akhtar makes her digital debut with Made In Heaven, a series based on the big, fat Indian wedding. Happy to crank up the volume — more than excited, in fact.
Her role as the southern soft-porn sensation Shakeela might well be her toughest yet. Given her strong CV (Gangs Of Wasseypur (2012), Masaan, 2015), we're quite confident Richa Chadha will pull it off. Early entrant to the web scene, she returns with the new season of the IPL drama, Inside Edge, besides her directorial debut, Logikal, a satirical short film. That's a plate-full; worth savouring, we reckon/hope.
Ever since his last release, the box-office gold, Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, over half a decade ago, filmmaker Ayan Mukerji has been at it — scripting, working on pre-production —for the ultra-ambitious, superhero-romantic-fantasy, Brahmastra, with Ranbir Kapoor in the lead. The first installment of this labour of love hits theatres in 2019. Clearly sure of its success, Mukerji will then return to the drawing board for the trilogy that comes out three years apart. This better work out well — both for him, and the audiences, of course. Fingers crossed.
He may have disappointed Salman Khan fans, with his curiously crafted anti-war film Tubelight (2017). But then it's not that Sal-maniacs were incredibly pleased with Bhai's no-brainer Race 3 in 2018 either. Event-picture director Kabir Khan, with an odd résumé for Bollywood, given that he started out as a documentary filmmaker, might be in more familiar territory with The Forgotten Army — a long saga set within the Indian National Army, under Subhash Chandra Bose. It's an extension of the doc, with the same name, he made in 1999. Amazon Prime, we're told, has bet big on the series: R150 crore as production cost alone. That apart, Khan will film another great, albeit post-independence story — of India winning the cricket World Cup in 1983, under Kapil Dev, with Ranveer Singh in the lead. Can't wait.
Of course, like every year, 2019 will see a host of star siblings/kids make their Bollywood acting debut: Sunny Deol's son Karan (Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas), Chunky Panday's daughter Ananya (Student Of The Year 2), Nutan's granddaughter Pranutan Bahl (Notebook, a Salman Khan production) Katrina Kaif's sister Isabelle (Time To Dance)… Proof of picture is in the watching. Who's Abhimanyu Dassani, though? Maine Pyar Kiya (1989)heroine Bhagyashree's son. Why are we excited about him most? Because his debut, Vasan Bala's action-comedy Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota, already earned fab notices at the Toronto International Film Festival, and wowed Mumbai as the opening film at MAMI. That's the movie (and the debutant), we're currently dying to catch. That said, like every year, there'll be plenty of surprises in store. Let's make way for that!
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