By Subhash K. Jha
Mumbai– There were not too many outstanding Bollywood films in 2016. The some that came were lapped up greedily. 2017 seems to have a richer ,more prolific slew of celluloid yummies for cineastes.
Here’s a look at the purported cream of the crop:
* “OK Jaanu”: Shaad Ali, as we all know by now, is at his best while remaking his mentor Mani Ratnam’s films. Remember “Saathiya”? So let’s see what Shaad has done to Mani’s Tamil film “Ok Kadhal Kalmani”. In the teasers, Aditya Roy Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor do not convey even half the ‘aashiqui’ of Dulquer Salman and Nitya Menon in the original. But let’s see. Releasing January 13.
* “xXx: Return of Xander Cage”: So okay, this is a Hollwyood film. But it’s being released in a proper Hindi dubbed version. And it’s our Deepika Padukone’s international debut. We can’t wait to see how she has matched muscles and fists with Vin Diesel. Go for it girl, we are watching you. Releasing January 14.
* “Kaabil”: Hrithik Roshan’s blind revenge act promises to set the screen ablaze. Sanjay Gupta promises to blend his own unique style of slick thrills with Rakesh Roshan’s emotional content. Promises to break records. Releasing January 25.
* “Raees”: Shah Rukh Khan playing a rule-breaker, law-transgressor in prohibition-ridden Gujarat in the 1980s. Rahul Dholakia’s stylish drama of the damned will see SRK revamp his image completely. Sunny Leone’s “Laila oh laila” is already a talking point. Releasing on January 25.
* “Jolly LLB 2”: Akshay Kumar was part of the stunning “Airlift” in January 2016. His first release for 2017 is a sure-shot winner. Akshay plays a wastrel lawyer whose life changes with an important case. Subhash Kapoor, whose last film “Guddu Rangeela” tanked badly, needs a hit. Releasing February 10.
* “Rangoon”: Kangana Ranaut, Shahid Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan directed by Vishal Bhardwaj in a love triangle, set during World War II . Sounds interesting! Releasing February 24.
* “Badrinath Ki Dulhania”: Karan Johar’s quirky wed-and-wild franchise brings together the saleable Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan. Foolproof rom-com. Releasing on March 10.
* “Sarkar 3”: Few would dispute that “Sarkar” was Ram Gopal Varma’s only watchable film in recent times. Though Ramu has messed up with Bachchan in “Aag”, we shall give him the benefit of the ‘clout’. Releasing on March 17.
* “Phillauri”: Anushka Sharma’s first production “NH10” was a whammy. “Phillauri” features Anushka with the “Udta Punjab” star Diljit Dosanjh and Suraj Sharma, the wonder boy from “Life Of Pi”. Debutant Anshai Lala helms this thriller set in rural Punjab. Releasing on March 24.
* “Naam Shabana”: A sequel of sorts to the gripping Neeraj Pandey thriller “Baby”, “Naam Shabana” features the talented Taapsee Pannu in a full-on action role. ShivAm Nair directs it. Releasing on March 30.
* “Jagga Jasoos”: At last, Anurag Basu’s quirky film about a young detective’s search for his father. The film has Ranbir Kapoor as an animal lover. We should expect Ranbir to have more chemistry with the animals than Katrina Kaif. Releasing April 7.
* “Baahubali: The Conclusion”: Arguably the most eagerly awaited sequel in the history of sequels, “Baahubali: The Conclusion” has a tremendous responsibility towards the expectant audience. Whether director S.S. Rajamouli lives up to the promise, will be evident on April 14.
* “Noor”: Sunhil Sippy directs this movie adaptation of Saba Imtiaz’s novel “Karachi, I Love You”. Sonakshi Sinha, who proved a dud in the title role in “Akira”, promises to make up for lost time. Releasing on April 21.
* “Half Girlfriend”: Chetan Bhagat’s silly stereotypical novel about a Bihari boy chasing down his beloved, pairs Arjun Kapoor with Shraddha Kapoor for the first time. How exciting. Releasing on May 19.
* “Toilet – Ek Prem Katha”: Shot entirely in Mathura, Akshay Kumar’s satire on sanitation is yet another departure from the norm for Bollywood’s most daring superstar. Debutant director Shree Narayan Singh’s comedy film opens on June 2.
* “Tubelight”: Salman Khan’s Eid release directed by Kabir Khan. Need we say anything more? Releasing June 23.
* “Chef”: “Airlift” director Raja Krishna Menon’s adaptation of Jon Feavreu’s culinary hit should, must, do wonders for Saif Ali Khan’s career. Releasing on July 14.
* “Bareilly Ki Barfi”: Ashwini Iyer Tiwari, who gave us the heartwarming “Nil Battey Sannata”, returns with this Ayushmann Khurrana-Kriti Sanon rom-com set in a small town in Uttar Pradesh. Releasing on July 14.
* “Mubarakan”: Anees Bazmee brings together uncle Anil Kapoor and nephew Arjun Kapoor in a wacky comedy of errors. Releasing on July 28.
* “The Ring” (working title): Imtiaz Ali gets together with Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma for the first time. Intriguing. Releases August 11.
* “Crack”: Akshay Kumar teams up with his “Special 26” and “Baby” director Neeraj Pandey to own the Independence Day weekend. Releasing August 11.
* “Simran”: Hansal Mehta teams up with Kangana Ranaut for a comedy set in the US. Releasing September 15.
* “Judwaa 2”: Varun Dhawan takes over the franchise from Salman Khan. Would he be as entertaining in a double role as the original? We’ll know on September 29.
* “Padmavati”: Sanjay Leela Bhansali helms the most expensive Indian film ever produced by Viacom18. Deepika Padukone plays the title role in this lavish costume drama. Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor are the two men in her life. Wow! Releasing November 17.
* “Tiger Zinda Hai”: Since Aamir Khan has no Christmas release in 2017, his friend Salman takes over the slot with this sequel to “Ek Tha Tiger”, directed by “Sultan” director Ali Abbas Zafar. Releasing December 24. (IANS)