Bollywood films to watch out for in 2019
If 2018 saw content reigning as king at the box office, this year appears to be no different. From biopics to fantasies, period dramas to space odysseys films are big on star power, bigger on ideas
If Salman Khan fans weren't pleased with Race 3, they will have much to cheer about as this year sees the superstar reuniting with his Sultan (2016) and Tiger Zinda Hai (2017) director, Ali Abbas Zafar. The official adaptation of the Korean film, Ode To My Father (2014), Bharat reportedly spans 70 years and has Khan sporting five different looks. While Priyanka Chopra was the first choice, the makers brought Katrina Kaif on board after the former's last minute exit. It also stars Tabu and Disha Patani.
The Akshay Kumar and Parineeti Chopra starrer is based on the 1897 Battle Of Saragarhi, where 21 Sikh soldiers of the British Indian Army fought a 10,000-strong troop of Afghani tribesmen, in what is hailed as one of history's greatest last stands. Backed by Karan Johar and directed by Anurag Singh, the patriotic drama is right up Kumar's alley.
Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi
One of the fiercest actors of today, Kangana Ranaut brings to life India's famous warrior queen, Rani Laxmibai. Touted to be the most expensive Bollywood film to be led by a woman, the period drama is written by KV Vijayendra Prasad and Prasoon Joshi, and co-directed by Ranaut. After change of actors, handing over of the directorial baton and some delays, the biopic is finally releasing over the Republic Day weekend.
Mental Hai Kya
Kangana Ranaut reunites with her Queen (2014) co-star Rajkummar Rao in the dark comedy. By design of its genre, little is known about the film's plot, but the makers are riding on the talent of its leads, who are amongst the finest artistes of today. Written by Kanika Dhillon, the film marks the debut of Telugu director Prakash Kovelamudi.
The film's big draw is evidently its impressive cast — Sanjay Dutt, Madhuri Dixit-Nene, Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt, among others. The April release sees Dixit and Dutt reuniting after 21 years. But the Partition drama holds a special place in Karan Johar's life — it was the brainchild of his father, Yash Johar.
For his foray into Hindi films, Sairat director Nagraj Manjule has roped in the very best — Amitabh Bachchan. The two have turned to real life for inspiration. The social drama has the megastar stepping into the shoes of retired sports teacher Vijay Barse, who founded an NGO and rehabilitated over 50,000 street kids by turning them into soccer players.
With his magnum opus 2.0 behind him, Rajinikanth will be seen in Kartik Subbaraj-directed Petta. The film, apparently revolving around honour killings, also marks Nawazuddin Siddiqui's foray into South cinema.
Two years after his last outing, Kaabil (2017), released, Hrithik Roshan returns to the screen to tell the story of math wiz Anand Kumar, the founder of Super 30. Roshan's act aside, the film is also awaited as it marks the last offering from the now-dissolved Phantom stable. If director Vikas Bahl found himself in the eye of the storm, the film's muse had his own controversies to field after some former students accused him of inflating the number of students, who cleared the IIT entrance examination, from his institute.
Eight years after Vidya Balan told the story of Silk Smitha with The Dirty Picture (2011), Richa Chadha steps into the shoes of South softcore actor Shakeela. While Chadha is known for her acting chops, the Indrajit Lankesh-directed venture may well be the turning point in her career.
Two of the industry's strongest women come together to discuss a pertinent issue — acid attacks. While Meghna Gulzar comes fresh off the success of Raazi, Chhapaak is the only project greenlit by Deepika Padukone after Padmaavat (2018). The actor, who also makes her foray into production, will portray acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal in the drama.
The Zoya Factor
Anuja Chauhan's charming bestseller, The Zoya Factor, blended India's two obsessions — cricket and superstition. Come April 5, the book's cinematic adaptation, featuring South star Dulquer Salmaan and Sonam K Ahuja, will hit screens. The film traces the story of Zoya, who becomes the lucky charm of the Indian cricket team, much to the chagrin of skipper Nikhil Khoda. A romance brews between the two when Zoya travels with the team on a World Cup.
Though little is known about Ranbir Kapoor and Ayan Mukerji's third collaboration, the director refrains from calling it a superhero flick. He has envisioned it as a three-part movie that also features Alia Bhatt and Amitabh Bachchan. Will the hit actor-director jodi give Bollywood the large-scale fantasy film it deserves? Only time will tell.
After taking the nation by storm with his phenomenal act in the Baahubali series, Prabhas will be seen in the trilingual (Hindi, Tamil and Telugu) which also stars Shraddha Kapoor. While the story of the I-Day release is being kept under wraps, it is rumoured that Kapoor will be seen playing a double role in the film.
Director Abhishek Chaubey returns with a gritty thriller centred on the dacoits of Chambal. Sushant Singh Rajput, Bhumi Pednekar, Manoj Bajpayee and Ashutosh Rana come together for the fictionalised drama that is eyeing a February release. Expect another raw and unvarnished narrative, true to Chaubey's style.
Given the muse's fascinating life, Thackeray has become one of the most talked-about films. Nawazuddin Siddiqui's uncanny resemblance to the late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray in the first look has only added to the hype. Directed by Abhijit Panse, the biopic will be shot in Hindi and Marathi.
Based on India's Mangalyaan mission, the film backed by Akshay Kumar — who also features in it — narrates the story from the viewpoint of the women scientists who helmed the project. Touted as India's first space film, the I-Day release stars Vidya Balan, Taapsee Pannu, Sonakshi Sinha, Nithya Menen, Kirti Kulhari and Sharman Joshi. Though parallels have been drawn with Hidden Figures, producer R Balki says it is far removed from the 2016 gem.
Ahead of its February 14 release, the Ranveer Singh-Alia Bhatt starrer is slated to premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival. Based on the lives of rappers Divine and Naezy, the film takes on the trials and tribulations of the city's street rappers. A far cry from her feel-good cinema, director Zoya Akhtar offers a critique of society through the lens of the underdogs. And yes, we've got Singh rapping too!
Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga
Over 10 years and a National Award (Special Jury mention) later, Sonam K Ahuja is ready to share screen space with father Anil Kapoor for the first time. In another first, the family drama — that also features Juhi Chawla and Rajkummar Rao — marks the directorial debut of Shelly Chopra Dhar.
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