Content the superstar

Bollywood 2010

Content the superstar

Thriller: Deepika Padukone & Farhan Akhtar in ‘Karthik Calling Karthik’.

If 2009 taught us one lesson, it was that content was the key to success — stars and budgets were not. The only mega-star driven hits were 3 Idiots and Wanted (of the 10 films featuring the top five stars — the Khan troika, Akshay and Hrithik) and the reason for the 80 percent flop rate was thus the same as why all niche or star-less films lost money. It is foolish — indeed amateur — to learn the wrong lessons by looking at facts and statistics with a warped focus.
On the positive side, films of all hues are under production, and so we hope that both the daring and the conventional breed aspire to good content and an elevated connect with the people. Here’s a quick look at what we can look out for in 2010.

Cool beginnings
The year has just taken off with two rom-coms — Dulha Mil Gaya and Pyaar Impossible — the former, a rom-com that has an extended cameo by Shah Rukh Khan, and the latter, a staple Yash Raj Films product about a geek in love with a bombshell. Next off the grid in January is Ken Ghosh’s dance-a-thon with Shahid Kapoor and Genelia D’Souza whose music is making waves. The Salman biggie Veer is sandwiched between this film and two literally ‘dark’ horses, Ram Gopal Varma’s Rann and Abhishek Chaubey’s Ishqiya on January 29.
The former, starr
ing Amitabh Bachchan, Riteish Deshmukh, Sudeep and Manisha Koirala, is a relationship-drama set against the backdrop of the media, and asks whether a news channel caught in a battle between honesty and viability can survive. The latter is a story of lustful romance between two thieves, Khalujan and Babban, played by Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi, and a friend’s widow, Krishna, played by Vidya Balan. The film is co-written by Vishal Bhardwaj, who produces the film with Shemaroo. The festival winners, Road To Sangam (with Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Tushar in a cameo) and Red Alert — The War Within and Tips’ SFX-driven action extravaganza, Prince — It’s Showtime complete the list along with Apoorva Lakhia’s campus thriller Hide And Seek.

Spring fever
After Aladin, Jacqueline Fernandez returns in a second attempt with Riteish Deshmukh in Jaane Kahaan Se Aayi Hai, a triangular love story between two boys (Ruslaan Mumtaz is the other) and an alien beauty from Venus. Office Office marks the big-screen film based on the popular sitcom, while we may also get a Himesh Reshammiya double-bill in two musicals, the light Ishq Unplugged and the intense Kajraare from the Bhatts.
Tips’ comedy on marriage, Toh Baat Pakki, promises laughter and hit music from market-leader Pritam, while Vikram Bhatt is back to the horror genre yet again with Shaapit, which stars newbies Aditya Narayan and Shweta Agarwal. Karthik Calling Kathik explores a lovable rake’s life and stars Farhan Akhtar.

Ajay Devgn, Konkona Sen Sharma and Paresh Rawal as the guest who overstays, promise to crack you up in Ashwini Dhir’s Atithi Tum Kab Jaaoge?, co-produced by Warner Bros. And we have Amitabh Bachchan co-starring with Ben Kingsley no less in Leena Yadav’s Teen Patti, a thriller woven around mathematics and set in England.
There are three niche movies — Road, starring Abhay Deol that has won hosannas at festivals abroad, UTV’s Peter Gaya Kaam Se that brings back their Aamir hero Rajeev Khandelwal and Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Paan Singh Tomar, the dramatised true story of a sportsman who turned to crime. Tum Milo Toh Sahi, directed by Kabir Sadanand, is about how three couples of different ages unite to save an Irani café in Mumbai, with a cast led by Nana Patekar, Dimple Kapadia and Suniel Shetty.

Summer & beyond
A whole lot of sequels are at various stages of planning and production, and which ones make it to the marquee remains to be seen — but fair chances are there for Golmaal 3 by Diwali season. However, the summer and beyond will also see Prakash Jha’s contemporised version of the Mahabharat — Rajneeti with Ajay Devgn, Nana Patekar, Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif. The other Indian epic, Ramayan, is being interpreted by Mani Ratnam as Ravan with Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Govinda.
Balaji Motion Pictures’ music-rich (Pritam) thriller Once Upon A Time In Mumbai brings director Milan Luthria back after three years in an underworld story of the 1970s with Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi, Kangana Ranaut and Prachi Desai. Aamir Khan is taking a brief sabbatical from acting (except for a cameo in wife Kiran Rao’s Dhobi Ghaat) and has just completed producing Peepli Love, directed by Anusha Rizvi, the official entry to the Sundance film festival. A black comedy about rural life, it is slated for release in 2010. His Delhi Belly, directed by ad filmmaker Abhinay Deo, is also a dark comedy starring Imran Khan, Kunal Roy Kapoor, Vir Das and Shenaz Treasurywala.

Shyam Benegal is back in his new feel-good mode in Well Done Abba, about a driver who takes leave for a month to find a husband for his teenage daughter. It stars Boman Irani in a dual role with Minissha Lamba and Sammir Dattani. 1-800-Love (there is a reported stalemate over the title) directed by Abbas Tyrewala, stars John Abraham with Pakhi, Abbas’ wife, and is about a perfect man to love, and a perfect confidante.

Two delayed films may finally make it too — Nagesh Kukunoor’s Ashayein starring John Abraham and Boney Kapoor’s Milenge Milenge, the last film to star Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor. And if luck permits they will be joined by Siddharth Anand’s romantic Anjaana Anjaani (Priyanka Chopra-Ranbir Kapoor) and Ashutosh Gowariker’s film on the Chiitagong Uprising — Kheley Hum Jee Jaan Se (Abhishek Bachchan-Deepika Padukone).   

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