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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Sleuths, Superstars & Salman


Bollywood budgets will go through the roof in 2014 but will that guarantee a better year of cinema in terms of quality? TSI does some crystal ball-gazing
MONOJIT LAHIRI | New Delhi, January 17, 2014 13:40
Tags : Salman Khan |Dabangg |Jai ho |Hrithik Roshan | Ajay Devgn | Akshay Kumar | Ranbir Kapoor |

This year, Salman Khan fans will get quite a Kick out of watching their favourite Bollywood star. By the end of 2014, they could well be singing Jai Ho to him to celebrate a year of plenty  after 12 months of drought.

Not a single Salman Khan film hit the screen in 2013. Health issues slowed him down. So in 2014, the Dabangg star will be seeking to make up for lost time. He will get going in January itself with the advent of India’s Republic Day witnessing the release of Jai Ho.

Slated for releases halfway through the year, on the Eid weekend in July, Kick, producer Sajid Nadiadwala’s directorial debut, which is a remake of a 2009 Telugu hit of the same name.

The first-time director has promised that, in Kick, the superstar will be seen on the screen in an all-new persona. What will certainly be different is the presence of Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the film’s cast. For the actor known for his critically acclaimed work in small, independent film, Kick will be the first out and out masala flick.

Of course, Nawazuddin also has in the pipeline a film directed by Bengali auteur Buddhadeb Dasgupta – Anwar Ka Ajeeb Kissa, which has already been to a few festivals and is likely to reach the multiplexes sometime this year.
For Salman, there might be more in the offing. If all goes well, around Diwali or Christmas 2014, that star’s fans might be in for yet another treat, an untitled Prabhu Dheva-directed film.

No matter how the three releases perform at the box office, Salman will definitely be talked about all through 2014. But that is not to say that the other two reigning Bollywood Khans – Aamir and Shahrukh – will be lying low.

In the second half of the year, SRK will have two releases – Farah Khan’s Happy New Year, co-starring Deepika Padukone, and Maneesh Sharma’s Fan, a Yash Raj Films production in which the superstar is reportedly playing a double role.
For Aamir Khan fans, the film to look forward to will be Rajkumar Hirani’s much anticipated PK, scheduled for release on June 6. It is a political satire about “Gods and godmen” and Aamir’s co-stars in the film are two stars of the new generation, Sushant Singh Rajput and Anushka Sharma.

Quite clearly, 2014 will be a year when Bollywood’s top superstars will have a field day. Hrithik Roshan, Ajay Devgn, Akshay Kumar and Ranbir Kapoor, too, will be in the thick of the box office action. Lovers of big banner extravaganzas will have absolutely no dearth of entertainment options.
First off the blocks will be Ajay Devgn with Prabhu Dheva’s no-holds-barred Action Jackson. It will be followed up with a sequel to 2012’s Singham, directed by hitmaker Rohit Shetty.

Akshay, like Salman, will have three big releases this year – Holiday, a remake of the Tamil hit Thuppaki; It’s Entertainment, the maiden directorial venture of Sajid-Farhad, writers of the Golmaal series; and Gabbar, produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

A surgery had held up shoot of the Hrithik starrer for a while, but Bang Bang, the official remake of the 2010 Hollywood film Knight and Day, is likely to be ready for release this year. The film also has Katrina Kaif in the cast.

Ranbir Kapoor will be back in the multiplexes with a much anticipated film helmed by Barfi! director Anurag Basu. It is titled Jagga Jasoos.

Another Ranbir Kapoor starrer that will come out in 2014 is Bombay Velvet, Anurag Kashyap’s costliest and most ambitious film to date.

Hindi cinema, which has rarely had a tradition of detective films, will be embracing the genre big time in 2014. The very first release of the year, Mr Joe B.

Carvalho, featured Arshad Warsi as a bumbling detective. While Warsi did the best he could, the film was a washout. Jagga Jasoos will hopefully make amends for the genre.

Later in the year, Hindi movie fans will also get to check out Dibakar Banerjee’s Detective Byomkesh Bakshi, a whodunit set in 1940s Kolkata and produced by Yash Raj Films. The film will see the slow and steady Sushant Singh Rajput essaying the role of the eponymous sleuth.

Trust Vidya Balan, who is the female star of the marital comedy Shaadi Ke Side Effects, co-starring Farhan Akhtar, to try something that Bollywood leading ladies have never done before – a detective film. Titled Bobby Jasoos, the film is currently under production and will hit the screens in the second half of 2014.

It will also be the year of Madhuri Dixit’s comeback. The veteran actress has two releases lined up in 2014 – Abhishek Chaubey’s Dedh Ishqiya (which has already garnered rave reviews) and debutant Soumik Sen’s Gulaab Gang. Neither is a run-of-the-mill commercial potboiler.

The diva who reigned over Bollywood in the late 1980s and the entire 1990s could set a trend for meaty roles for actresses on the wrong side of 40. The Hindi movie industry has never been known for conceiving and promoting mature women characters but if the Madhuri magic works, we could actually a different story unfolding in the months and years ahead.

Unusual star combos will be another recurrent theme of the mainstream Bollywood scenario in 2014. If Vidya Balan and Farhan Akhatar being cast together in a film were not enough, gear up for Imtiaz Ali’s Highway, which pairs Alia Bhatt with Randeep Hooda; Ali Abbas Zafar’s Gunday, which has Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor vying for the romantic attention of Priyanka Chopra; and the Karan Johar production Hasee Toh Phasee, which brings together Siddharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra.

2 States, a screen adaptation of the Chetan Bhagat novel of the same name, will also seek to ride on the freshness of its cast – Arjun Kapoor and Alia Bhatt. The film is being jointly produced by Sajid Nadiadwala and Karan Johar and is bound to benefit from strong pre-release publicity.

Varun Dhawan, who, like Alia Bhatt and Siddharth Malhotra, made his debut in Karan Johar’s Student of the Year in 2012, will team up with director-dad David Dhawan for Main Tera Hero, a family entertainer targeted at the youth segment. The film will be in the multiplexes in early April.
Sajid Khan, who came a cropper with the sloppy remake of Himmatwala in 2013, will seek recompense with a characteristic comic romp, Humshakals, starring Saif Ali Khan, Riteish Deshmukh and Ram Kapoor in triple roles. One can only hope the audience isn’t reduced to tears yet again!

For Saif Ali Khan, who was seen in the rather lukewarm Bullett Raja in 2013, the next 12 months will be as busy as ever. He plays a pivotal role in Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK’s Happy Ending, besides serving as the producer of Homi Adjania’s Finding Fanny Fernandes.

The latter film has Deepika Padukone and Arjun Kapoor in lead roles, but it is likely to be talked about more for its ensemble supporting cast – Naseeruddin Shah, Dimple Kapadia and Pankaj Kapur. Saif also toplines Kabir Khan’s Phantom, co-starring Katrina Kaif.

It is quite apparent that 2014 will see the release of a larger number of big budget films than ever before, those who love their cinema to be more subdued and meaningful will look for a repeat of 2013, a year that was marked by the heartening box-office performances of titles like Ship of Theseus, The Lunchbox and Shahid. Only the months ahead will reveal if their hope will be fulfilled..

POSTSCRIPT: Do keep an eye out for the release of Nagesh Kukunoor's Lakshmi, a hard-hitting drama about the sex trade and human trafficking. The director of Hyderabad Blues, Iqbal and Dor has been off the boil for a while. Lakshmi could see him back in top form. The film has just won the Audience Favourite Award at the just-concluded Palm Springs International Film Festival.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017