A filmy flourish awaits

Bollywood 2015

A filmy flourish awaits

With the unbridled cheer of an incorrigible optimist, the industry steps into 2015 full throttle with what it thinks will be the perfect spread for moviegoers.

In view of the falling business in 2014 vis-à-vis the two earlier years, corrections will surely be made, in budgets mainly, and in approaches to scripts, music and the overall presentation.

Leading producers will as always be corporate entities like Disney (new UTV), Eros and Viacom 18, and independent frontrunners will be Bhushan and Krishen Kumar’s T-Series, Aditya Chopra’s Yash Raj Films and Nadidwala Grandsons Entertainment of producer Sajid Nadiadwala. Of course, there will be tie-ups between banners as well as between top production houses and corporates.

Every quarter of the year, then, promises the usual mix of big-cast and small films, and we take a look at the key fare offered in every quarter of 2015.

January leads

We have interesting line-ups in the first month of 2015 itself — Jan 9 sees the Sonakshi Sinha-Arjun Kapoor-Manoj Bajpayee entertainer Tevar, directed by Amit Sharma, and the following week sees Abhishek Dogra’s comedy Dolly Ki Doli with Arjun’s cousin Sonam Kapoor, Pulkit Samrat, Rajkummar Rao and Varun Sharma — this is an Arbaaz Khan production. Both films have music by Sajid-Wajid.

We have two horror movies as well — Alone starring Bipasha Basu as conjoined twins with Karan Singh Grover — a remake of a Thai film of the same name, and Karan Darra’s directorial debut Khamoshiyaan from the Mukesh-Mahesh Bhatt stable, starring Gurmeet Choudhary, Ali Fazal and Sapna Pabbi, who played Anil Kapoor’s daughter in the TV series 24.

The first quarter

The first biggie of the year will be T-Series’s loaded-with-real-but-big-action Baby (releasing on January 16) starring Akshay Kumar and Taapsee Pannu. Directed by acclaimed whizkid Neeraj Pandey (A Wednesday! and Special 26), it has stunts by Ciril Raffaeli, action co-ordinator of the Transporter series, Die Hard, Hulk 2 and other Hollywood biggies. It is also remarkable as the first-ever song-less movie from a music company.

T-Series will next give us the slick detective-cum-human drama Roy with Ranbir Kapoor in the title-role — but in a special appearance! Jacqueline Fernandez and Arjun Rampal co-star in this February 13 debut directorial of Vikramjeet Singh.

A week earlier, we will watch the much-awaited Shamitabh from the heady Amitabh Bachchan-R Balki team that gave us Cheeni Kum and Paa. This time, Rajnikanth’s son-in-law Dhanush and Kamal Haasan’s debut-making second daughter Akshara Haasan co-star with the Big B.

Sizzling hot right now is Shriram Raghavan’s dark Badlapur (Feb 20), starring Varun Dhawan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

Quarter two

Q2 (as in corporate terminology) begins (April 3) with a clash (avoidable, we hope) between Kabir Khan’s espionage drama about the 26/11 terror — Phantom, his first after the whopper that was Ek Tha Tiger, and Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gabbar, co-starring Akshay Kumar and Shruti Haasan, being directed by Krish from an A R Murugadoss original. Phantom has hotshot Katrina Kaif with Saif Ali Khan, the latter hoping to revive his sagging box-office status, with Pritam scoring music.

May 29 will see Welcome Back, the sequel to the 2007 super-hit Welcome, starring John Abraham, Shruti again, Nana Patekar, Naseeruddin Shah and Dimple Kapadia. Directed by Anees Bazmee, the film is touted to be a bigger laugh-riot than the original.

June sees three films of diverse genres that are likely to be high in content: Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Do with its ensemble cast of Anil Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh, Farhan Akhtar, Anushka Sharma and Shefali Shah, Mohit Suri’s customarily-intense romance produced by the Bhatts — Hamari Adhuri Kahani — with Emraan Hashmi, Vidya Balan and Rajkummar Rao, and the sequel ABCD 2 reprising director Remo, composers Sachin-Jigar and the lead artistes Prabhu Deva and Lauren Gottlieb with the added star-power of Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor.

The Disney film is expected to be a dance marathon again. We will also have Vikram Bhatt’s Mr X, a sci-fi drama with Emraan Hashmi and two young leading ladies, and Shoojit Sircar’s Piku with Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone and Irrfan Khan. We still might watch Bombay Velvet, starring Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma, directed by Anurag Kashyap, the hyped enfant terrible of this industry, in this phase. Scheduled for 2014 December, the film is said to have been almost completely reshot.

Expected in this season is also Venus’s comedy with Abbas-Mustan’s Kis Kis Ko Pyaar Karoon, starring comedy Czar Kapil Sharma, opposite Manjari Fadnis, Sai Lokur, Elli Avram and Simran Mundi.

The third quarter

Scheduled in July are Salman Khan’s own production Bajrangi Bhaijaan co-starring Kareena Kapoor Khan — the second film being directed by Kabir Khan this year and Karan Johar’s Karan Malhotra-directed Brothers featuring Akshay Kumar and Sidharth Malhotra (in title roles), Jackie Shroff as their father and Jacqueline Fernandez.

While both these films are earmarked for July, August will see Jagga Jasoos, starring Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif, an unusual musical detective drama for which director Anurag Basu (Murder, Life In A…Metro) has extracted over 20 songs from Pritam. The mysterious Fan directed by Maneesh Sharma, with Shah Rukh Khan in the lead, is slated for August 14.

The final frontier

As always, this is the boom phase of business that will have the biggest ones coming. Slated for October 2 — Gandhi Jayanti — is the biggie Singh Is Bling, an entertainer with Kriti Sanon working with Akshay Kumar in a Prabhudheva film — the hit Rowdy Rathore combination.

Sooraj R Barjatya returns after a nine-year hiatus to direct the family drama Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo with Salman Khan, Sonam Kapoor and Neil Nitin Mukesh. There is a strong positive buzz about Himesh Reshammiya’s music of this November 1 release: lyricist Irshad Kamil has gone on record to state that the music sittings are of the kind he has heard used to happen with the legendary composers, filmmakers and songwriters. Salman Khan plays a dual role as per the buzz.

And December seems to be the month of Deepika Padukone, who has two big-ticket releases, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s period drama of love and intrigue, Bajirao Mastani, his long cherished dream project, with Ranveer Singh, Deepika and Priyanka Chopra in a strong parallel role, and Tamasha directed by Imtiaz Ali and starring her with Ranbir Kapoor.

Films that also matter

Besides other films that might be added on, some of which might not have been announced (or even planned) yet, we see a nice bunch of movies likely to hit the screen in the new year.

Yash Raj Films is concentrating on small films like Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! directed by Dibakar Banerjee with Sushant Singh Rajput in the lead, Dum Laga Ke Haisha directed by Sharat Katariya with Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar (an ex-YRF employee like Parineeti Chopra) and (singer-turned-actor) Kumar Sanu. The film marks the entry of composer Anu Malik into YRF.

The company is also bankrolling Bank Chor under its youth label of Y Films, a comic-caper about three morons trying to rob a bank, who pick the worst day possible for it. Starring Riteish Deshmukh and Vivek Oberoi, the film is directed by Bumpy and produced by Ashish Patil. All the films will release by April.

T-Series is also looking at smaller co-productions in their usual cost-effective style, like Bobby Khan’s musical Leela with Sunny Leone and Jay Bhanushali and two co-productions with Pooja Bhatt, Cabaret (with Richa Chadda) and Love Affair with Arjun Rampal and Kalki Koechlin.

And yes, Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan and probably Ajay Devgn will go without a release in 2015.

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