Bollywood in 2017

what's coming?

Bollywood in 2017

If there is one thing that 2016 has surely shown, it is that content is king in Bollywood. Good directors like Ali Abbas Zafar, Neeraj Pandey and others proved that they can pull in the crowds as much as, or even for, the big-ticket stars. But the biggest crowd-pullers cannot be ignored either. Yes, no star is invincible, but the whole package works (or not), and at the end of the day, it is a different ball-game for every film, depending on face-value first and then on merit and word-of-mouth.

The biggies

Salman Khan’s next film of substance, Kabir Khan’s Tubelight, which the actor also co-produces, will come, as always with him, on Eid (June 26). The love story of a dim-witted Indian (hence the title) with a Chinese girl, played by Zhu Zhu from China, has music by Pritam. Expected on Christmas is Tiger Zinda Hai, YRF’s sequel to Ek Tha Tiger. Ali Abbas Zafar of Sultan directs Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif here, and the music is by Vishal-Shekhar.

Aamir Khan will have no lead release this year, but will make a key cameo in his own co-production with Zee Studios, Secret Superstar, whose first look was shown with Dangal. The film, which releases mid-August, is about a child who aspires to be a singer with Aamir as her music mentor. Zaira Wasim, who played Geeta Phogat’s childhood role in Dangal, plays the pivotal role here.

Akshay Kumar, as usual, has his handful of meticulously-planned films. First up will be Jolly LLB 2, the first sequel to hit the screen this year. He replaces Arshad Warsi as Jolly, the goofy lawyer, in this Subhash Kapoor satire that is out on February 10. But Akshay’s most anticipated film is Robot 2.0 with Rajinikanth. Akshay plays a villainous crow here and the South megastar magnanimously says that Akshay is the “real hero”. Amy Jackson also stars in this October 19 release.

Naam Shabana, produced by Neeraj Pandey and directed by Shivam Nair, is interestingly, a prequel to Baby, and the title refers to the alias taken by Taapsee Pannu in the Kathmandu sequences of the 2015 film. Releasing on March 31, the film stars Akshay Kumar in a cameo. June 2 will see another Neeraj-Akshay collaboration — the satire Toilet-Ek Prem Katha. Directed by Shree Narayan Singh, it co-stars Bhumi Pednekar. The Neeraj-Akshay combo does a hat-trick with Crack, which looks like an interesting journey of a schizophrenic.

Ajay Devgn, unfazed by the Shivaay debacle, will star in the action biggie Baadshaho, directed by Milan Luthria, with Emraan Hashmi, Vidyut Jammwal, Ileana D’Cruz and Esha Gupta. And Rohit Shetty and Ajay reunite for Golmaal Again, which features Parineeti Chopra apart from the Tusshar Kapoor-Arshad Warsi-Shreyas Talpade-Kunal Khemu combination of the franchise.

As for Hrithik Roshan and Shah Rukh Khan, good friends in real life, they will fight it out with their respective home productions Kaabil and Raees clashing with each other on January 25. Hrithik’s blind turn in Kaabil, apart from the music (by Rajesh Roshan), is already being spoken about. Rakesh Roshan has seen red at the stubborn wish of the other film’s makers to clash, while Hrithik feels that the film industry will lose at least a hundred crore because of this clash. But then, Raees, which was to take on Sultan earlier, has an inferior buzz vis-à-vis Kaabil, and we wonder why both filmmakers are publicising their respective ‘re-created’ item songs performed by Sunny Leone and Urvashi Rautela in a big way! As of now, Shah Rukh Khan seems to be taking on other actors again. The Ring, a romance with Imtiaz Ali at the helm, Pritam doing the music, and Anushka Sharma as his heroine, might take on Crack.

And Ranbir Kapoor will at last deliver Jagga Jasoos to the big screen as an actor and co-producer. This April 7-musical (Pritam) helmed by Anurag Basu features Katrina Kaif as the heroine.

Gen Y to the fore

From the Gen Y list, Ranveer Singh with Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Aditi Rao Hydari are expected to thrill and  dazzle audiences in the Sanjay Leela Bhansali epic Padmavati, slated as a November 17 release. Going by his track-record, Bhansali is likely to score high in the music section too.

Varun Dhawan will begin his innings on March 10 with Badrinath Ki Dulhania, after the 2014 Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania. Producer Karan Johar, director Shashank Khaitan and Alia Bhatt reunite, while Amaal Mallik scores the music for this one.

Judwaa 2, with the blessings of Salman Khan (the original Judwaa guy), is Varun’s second film with dad David Dhawan as director. This Sajid Nadiadwala-produced comedy stars Taapsee Pannu and Jacqueline Fernandez and releases on September 29. Sidharth Malhotra, who went through a lacklustre 2016, will be firing all cylinders in the action spectacle Reloaded, directed by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D K. Jacqueline Fernandez co-stars in this one.

Arjun Kapoor and uncle Anil Kapoor will come together in Mubaraka, directed by Anees Bazmee. Expected to be a laugh-riot, it has Ileana D’Cruz and Athiya Shetty with music by Amaal Mallik. Arjun also co-stars with Shraddha Kapoor in Half Girlfriend, directed by Mohit Suri, based on Chetan Bhagat’s bestseller of the same name. Tiger Shroff is expected to be a winner all over again in his musical actioner Munna Michael (July 7), a tribute to his real-life idol Michael Jackson. South sensation Nidhhi Agerwal and Nawazuddin Siddiqui co-star, the latter in a gray role, but for the first time ever, grooving to beats for which Tiger has been coaching him!

Parineeti Chopra and Ayushmann Khurrana co-star in Aditya Chopra’s breezy comedy Meri Pyaari Bindu with music by Sachin-Jigar. The film releases in mid-May. July 21 sees the formidable talent Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari direct the comedy Bareilly Ki Barfi with Kriti Sanon, Rajkummar Rao and Ayushmann Khurrana.

Dinesh Vijan, Saif Ali Khan’s partner in production, turns director with the musical romance Raabta featuring Sushant Singh Rajput and Kriti Sanon. Pritam is the composer of this June 9 release.

Lots more to come

Saif Ali Khan is co-producing Chef, based on Jon Favreau’s American hit of the same name, with Airlift director Raja Krishna Menon directing this family comedy. Before that, he will be in the ensemble cast of Vishal Bhardwaj’s February 23rd Rangoon, co-starring Shahid Kapoor and Kangana Ranaut. Bhardwaj has recently publicly admitted that he has never directed a film that made money, and we hope he corrects this, starting here!

Sarkar 3 may well be Ram Gopal Varma’s do-or-die film. Amitabh Bachchan, Jackie Shroff, Yami Gautam and Manoj Bajpayee head the cast of this March 17 release. Anushka Sharma’s comedy production Phillauri comes on March 24. Anshai Lal directs her as well as Diljit Dosanjh and Suraj Sharma here. July will see Siddhant Kapoor (brother of Shraddha Kapoor) play Dawood Ibrahim while Shraddha plays his reel sister in the title-role of Haseena, directed by Apoorva Lakhia. April 21 will see Noor, a comedy with a message, starring Sonakshi Sinha. Sunhil Sippy directs this one.

Finally, we have the dubbed-in-Hindi biggies, xXx: Return of Xander Cage (January 14) starring Deepika Padukone with Vin Diesel, and two more action-packed spectacles: Sankalp Reddy’s The Ghazi Attack (February 17) with Rana Daggubati, Taapsee Pannu and Kay Kay Menon and, last but certainly not the least, Bahubali 2 in April.

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