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Feature: Flash Forward 2013

We’re nearly three months into the year. And we’ve had one casualty already. Vishal Bhardwaj’s Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola bit the dust but that blip aside, after a super successful 2012, it seems that in 2013, B-Town has several aces up its sleeve. And with Race 2 making its mark (irrespective of the quality of the film), things can only get better from here on.

Whether they live up to the hype or sink remains to be seen, but for now, presented below are the top ten films (in no particular order) with the potential to set cash registers jingling and whet movie lovers’ appetites.

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
Release date: 31 May 2013
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Aditya Roy Kapur, Kalki Koechlin, Rana Daggubati
Director: Ayan Mukerji
Producer: Karan Johar
Music: Pritam

Ranbir Kapoor, Ayan Mukerji & Deepika Padukone on the sets of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani

The shooting for this one is presently underway in Kashmir and if early indications are anything to go by, it has a lot going for it. Sample this. Ranbir and Deepika back together on screen at least, after their very public relationship and consecutive bust up. Ranbir and Ayan back after that little gem Wake Up Sid (2009) – undoubtedly one of Kapoor's best films. And to top it off - Karan Johar in the producer's seat.

Apparently, Johar has stated that the film is a tribute to the Nasir Hussain brand of filmmaking. According to reports, Padukone plays Naina - a naïve 20 year old and both she and Kapoor have had had drastic makeovers for the film. Kapoor plays a character named Bunny and sports an earring. Word has it that he also lost a fair bit of weight to look convincing as a 20 year old.

Johar has also purchased the rights to the 90s smash hit Jumma Chumma from Hum (1991) and is planning to recreate it for the film just like he did with Disco Deewane for Student Of The Year last year.

With so much already tilting in its favour, it looks quite likely that summer will star off on a good note with this seemingly breezy entertainer.

Release date: 21 June 2013
Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Vidya Balan
Director: Rajkumar Gupta
Producer: UTV
Music: Amit Trivedi

Vidya Balan & Emraan Hashmi reunite in Ghanchakkar after 2011's The Dirty Picture

At face value, Ghanchakkar doesn’t have much going for it. But it makes it to this list purely because of one woman’s name. Vidya Balan. The actress who has turned the tables for heroines and delivered roaring hits over the past couple of years is the the main reason I’ll be getting a ticket for this one.  

Ghanchakkar reunites her with Emraan Hashmi after 2011's box office smash The Dirty Picture. The film's important for Hashmi who has made a mark of his own and sounds very different to the the duo's earlier film together.

Directed by Rajkumar Gupta who gave us the sensitive No One Killed Jessica (2011), Ghanchakkar is a situational comedy about an ex conman and his over ambitious wife and the ridiculous situations they find themselves in.

How Hashmi and Balan fare in a comedy remains to be seen, but either way, I'm looking forward to their so called madcap antics come June just to see if they’re as good at tickling the audience's funny bone as they are at tugging at their heartstrings.

Chennai Express
Release date: July 2013 (Tentative)
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone
Director: Rohit Shetty
Producer: Gauri Khan
Music: Vishal Shekhar

Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone in Rohit Shetty's Chennai Express

Chennai Express too has a lot going for it. At face value at least. An accomplished director in Rohit Shetty, who has several blockbusters to his credit (granted they all starred his pal Ajay Devgn), Shah Rukh Khan in his first and only release this year after a tepid Jab Tak Hai Jaan last year and Deepika Padukone, who seems to be on a roll after Cocktail (2012).

"It's a hard-core commercial film with a romantic angle. The story is about this man's travel from Mumbai to Rameshwaram and what happens during the journey. There is a lot of romance keeping Shah Rukh in mind but it will also be a typical Rohit Shetty film with cars blowing up and lots of action," said Shetty when quizzed about the film earlier this year.

Whether he can score a hit with the enigmatic Khan sans Devgn remains to be seen, but the first look posters of the film promise a whole lot of fun – here’s hoping that the film’s just that and not a cornball, over the top wannabe comedy.

Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Again
Release date: Eid 2013
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Imran Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Sonali Bendre
Director: Milan Luthria
Producer: Ekta Kapoor
Music: Pritam

Akshay Kumar in Once Upon A Time in Mumbai Again

Its raining sequels in B-Town this year. This one is eagerly anticipated given that the first one was a cracker of a film and benefitted everyone that was associated with it.

Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Again sees Akshay Kumar in a role based on underworld gangster Dawood Ibrahim, and is essentially a love triange between his character, Aslam (played by Imran Khan) and Mumtaz (Sonakshi Sinha).

"I play this young innocent girl, who comes to Mumbai to become an actress and gets caught up in this whole web. Basically the film is a love triangle between Akshay Kumar, Imran Khan and me. But what makes it interesting is the nature of the chemistry between my two relationships. The relationship I share with Akshay is very different from the one I share with Imran," said Sinha recently in an interview.

The film made news recently because of an alleged on screen kiss between Sinha and Khan – a rumour that Sinha went on to deny.

But these few details aside, not much is known about the film. Surely though we’ll all be running to the theatres to see charismatic Kumar’s take on the iconic underworld don and to see whether he's done a better job than Ajay Devgn did in the original.

Release date: 23 August 2013
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Manoj Bajpai
Director: Prakash Jha
Producer: Prakash Jha
Music: TBA

The first look poster of Prakash Jha's Satyagraha

A biggie to watch out for this summer with its whopper cast and an interesting premise to boot, Satyagraha sees Amitabh Bachchan playing social activist Anna Hazare, while Kareena Kapoor plays an international journalist. Principal shooting for the film began in January.

Prakash Jha, who has managed to put together an ensemble cast for Satyagraha, said that he was lucky to have Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal and Manoj Bajpayee playing important roles in a film that focuses on corruption in the country.

"Today, it seems that the middle-class all over the world is in anguish with the system and is gearing up to almost renegotiate democracy. This is where our history is going to be settled. It's such an important juncture in the world history," said Jha to IANS.

“I'm extremely fortunate to have a dream cast of Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay, Kareena, Arjun and Manoj playing key roles," he added.

With a tagline that shouts ‘Democracy under fire’, lets hope Satyagraha is the strong political thriller it promises to be and doesn't end up being a turkey like Jha’s previous effort - the sleep inducing Aarakshan (2011).

Release date: 2 October 2013
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Pallavi Sharda, Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Kapoor
Director: Abhinav Kashyap
Producer: Reliance Entertainment
Music: Lalit Pandit

The first look poster of Besharam

Abhinav Kashyap must have presented one hell of a script to convince the Kapoors to come together in the same film. Until now Rishi-Ranbir had refused to be cast together until an exciting script came along, so Kashyap’s upcoming film must have something going for it. The cherry on the cake is that mum Neetu Kapoor will be seen in a fully fledged role too after her brief cameo in last year’s Jab Tak Hai Jaan.

This is Ranbir’s second release of the year and word is that here he will be seen in a role that is in stark contrast to the one in YJHD. He will rumouredly beef up for the part which sees him as a street smart rustic character – quite unlike anything he has portrayed before.

With Dabangg (2010) director Kashyap on board, and fresh faced Pallavi Sharda who was seen in bit roles in My Name is Khan (2010) and Heroine (2012), as the female lead I'll be advance booking for this one, if only it is to see what ace Ranbir has up his sleeve this time.

Ram Leela
Release date: 29 November 2013
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Producer: Eros Entertainment
Music: TBA

Ranveer Singh & Deepika Padukone in Ram Leela.

A Sanjay Leela Bhansali film is always anticipated regardless of its outcome at the box office. The first look poster of his next Ram Leela starring Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh was unveiled last month and it looks smashing.

There was quite a fuss earlier when Kareena Kapoor, who was initially due to star in the film, walked out because she didn’t want to sign the ‘no-pregnancy’ clause presented to her by Bhansali. As a result she was replaced by Padukone, who too seems like a good choice if her resplendent look in the film's first look is anything to go by.

The film is reportedly based on Shakespeare's classic love-story Romeo and Juliet and is based in Gujarat.

The film's tag-line reads 'Goliyon Ki Raasleela... Ram Leela'.

Sounds enticing.

Release date: Winter 2013
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Irrfan Khan
Director: Ali Abbas Zafar
Producer: Aditya Chopra
Music: TBA

The first look poster of Gunday

Starring two of Aditya Chopra’s blue eyed newbies Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor who have fairly reasonable successes behind them, Gunday sees them in a film set in 70's Calcutta and recounts the story of two coal thieves, who go on become powerful members of the mafia.

Ali Abbas Zafar who directed the awful Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (2011) takes the director's seat, but the initial synopsis of the film does sound interesting, which is why it makes it to this list. Besides, both Singh and Kapoor have done respectable work in their fledgling careers so I'm curious to see what they come up with next.

The film’s female lead Katrina Kaif was replaced by Priyanka Chopra, who will at least guarantee a decent enough performance if nothing else, and Irrfan Khan too can always be counted upon to deliver. And with Aditya Chopra in the producer's seat, Gunday may just turn out to be the dark horse this year. I hope.

Krrish 3
Release date: Diwali 2013
Cast: Hirthik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Vivek Oberoi, Kangna Ranaut
Director: Rakesh Roshan
Producer: Rakesh Roshan
Music: Rajesh Roshan

Hrithik Roshan in Krrish (2006)

Of all films releasing this year, this one's been in the making the longest which is quite rare these days. Apparently, the Roshans have left no stone unturned to make Krrish 3 as polished a product as possible, and with the previous two films (Koi Mil Gaya (2003) and Krrish (2006)) being such huge successes, a lot seems to be riding on this big festive release, which is being shot simultaneously in 3D.

Hrithik Roshan returns as the masked superhero, Priyanka Chopra reprises her role as Priya and Vivek Oberoi and Kangna Ranaut play the film’s antagonists in a film that promises action scenes and special effects never before witnessed in a Hindi film.

Rakesh Roshan has always been known to spin a good yarn so expectedly there’s a lot of excitement around this sequel, but its colossal budget (reportedly in the region of Rs.125 crore) could work against it. With a happening cast though, and the fact that Hrithik has two blockbusters behind him as does Chopra, it seems unlikely that anything will come in its way, making it a sure shot contender along with Dhoom 3 to become one of the biggest blockbusters of the year.

Dhoom: 3
Release date: Christmas 2013
Cast: Aamir Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Katrina Kaif, Uday Chopra, Jackie Shroff
Director: Vijay Krishna Acharya
Producer: Aditya Chopra
Music: Pritam

The first look poster of Dhoom:3

Any Aamir Khan film is special for obvious reasons. This one even more so though since he re-unites with Yash Raj Films after 2006’s blockbuster Fanaa. Here Khan is paired with 'Queen Midas' Katrina Kaif for the first time, while Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra return to reprise their roles as cops Jai and Ali.

Khan plays the antagonist in the film along with Kaif and reportedly both of them went through rigorous training for their parts. Khan reportedly learnt ballet, aerobatics and the French technique of parkour, a method of movement focused on negotiating obstacles with speed and efficiency, while Kaif took paragliding training and singing lessons.

It all sounds exciting enough but with Acharya at the helm of affairs, I just hope we’re not served up another disaster like 2008's Tashan. It's highly unlikely that that will happen though. Khan’s always around to keep an eye out for anything untoward and I trust his judgment and script sense.

Roll on December so we can 'Dhoom Machale' once again.

So there you have it. A relatively mixed bag and a very very diverse slew of films to look forward to. Of course I may be totally wrong and there may be that odd film with a newcomer that may take the cake.

But for now, very early on in the year, these are the films that show promise and have my bets placed on them. So roll on 2013, and bring on some interesting and (hopefully) enjoyable trips to the flicks.

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