Flash Forward 2014 — Part 1
2013 proved to be a mixed bag for Bollywood films overall. It seems stars, producers and the like were more interested in box office numbers, than script, screenplay and content, which is a real shame, but understandably products have to be commercially viable to keep things rolling, and cover the huge amounts of money pumped into production.
Our list last year, was, more or less spot on – almost all of the films mentioned in that list went on to strike box office gold, so we decided to do the same this year and compile a list of the films, that we think will whet movie goers appetites when they hit the marquee – whether they sizzle or fizzle remains to be seen, but for now they definitely have the moolah, the star cast and the credentials to make some noise even if only initially.
In the first part of this four part series we take a closer look at the films releasing between January and March 2014 and decide which ones will get audiences bums on seats and into theatres. Do you agree with the seven films listed here?
Release date: 10 January 2014
Cast: Naseerudin Shah, Madhuri Dixit, Arshad Warsi, Huma Qureshi
Director: Abhishek Chaubey
Producer: Vishal Bhardwaj
Music: Vishal Bhardwaj
The release of Dedh Ishqiya is imminent, but it makes this list for one simple reason. Madhuri Dixit. The graceful actress returns after a hiatus (if you exclude the 'Ghagra' number from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani), in a role which has grey shades, and from the trailer at least, her turn in the film looks incredibly interesting.
Khalu (Naseeruddin Shah) and Babban (Arshad Warsi) are back after the first film (which saw them opposite Vidya Balan), only this time to be pitted against a deceitful courtesan, the beautiful Begum Para (Madhuri Dixit), the Begum of Mahmudabad and Muniya (Huma Qureshi) her confidant. What follows is a poetic journey of romance, drama and deception in which the two ruffians end up with more than they bargained for.
Theatrical Trailer: Dedh Ishqiya
Release date: 24 January 2014
Cast: Salman Khan, Danny Dezongpa, Tabu, Daisy Shah
Director: Sohail Khan
Producer: Sohail Khan, Sunil Lulla
Music: Sajid Wajid
I have huge respect for Salman Khan. He's turned his fortunes around and almost all his films (Wanted, Dabangg, Bodyguard, Ek Tha Tiger, Ready and the like) have had massive returns at the box office. But after taking a look at the trailer of his next, Jai Ho (earlier titled Mental), I'm having my doubts as to how long he will sustain on the back of such ridiculous films.
Granted this is just trailer of the film, but one look at it, and rest assured you can bet you're in for a headache. It has elements of the Hollywood dud Pay It Forward, mixed with the usual 'one man against the corrupt system' scenario, and irrelevant supporting characters thrown in for effect. But you can bet your buck that the entire film will be a Salman Khan stardom showcase. He'll beat up a thousand goons, get the girl and make the cliched heroic speeches, and no doubt the public will come to theatres in droves.
Well if it's escapist cinema you're after... who am I to argue?
Theatrical Trailer: Jai Ho
Hasee Toh Phasee
Release date: 7 February 2014
Cast: Sidharth Malhotra, Parineeti Chopra
Director: Vinil Mathew
Producer: Dharma Productions
Music: Vishal Shekhar
It's a Dharma film, so naturally it's a love story. This one has a fresh look about it though, and Sidharth and Parineeti make for an interesting couple.
According to sources, the film is a romance spanning seven years with Adah Sharma playing the third angle of the love triangle and also features Karan Johar in a cameo.
The trailer has the required zest and freshness and Parineeti has a knack for pulling off zany characters. Sidharth took looks a lot more at ease than he did in Student of the Year, and has a different kind of look in the film.
Films like Hasee Toh Phasee rely heavily on chemistry rather than actual content, so it remains to be seen whether Sidharth and Parineeti can conjure up enough magic to light up the box office. I guess we'll find out come February.
Theatrical Trailer: Hasee Toh Phasee
Release date: 14 February 2014
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Irrfan Khan
Director: Ali Abbas Zafar
Producer: Aditya Chopra
Music: Sohail Sen
Gunday is a Yash Raj production which features both their blue eyed boys Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh, in what looks like a crime/action thriller, and is directed by Ali Abbas Zafar who directed the sleeper hit, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, for the same production house a couple of years ago.
The initial trailer of the film is well put together, and gives a good indication of what to expect from the crime thriller, even if it has a vague similarity to the classic Sholay. In Gunday, Ranveer and Arjun play Bikram and Bala, two inconsequential coal thieves who go on to become respected members of the mafia in 1970's Calcutta.
Early indications point at a love triangle, with Irrfan Khan playing a cop who puts a spanner in the works — a role he seems to have played a zillion times already and can probably play in his sleep. Priyanka plays Nandita, a cabaret dancer and her retro look is simply terrific, and the bromance between Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh seems to be have captured well too.
The film hits the marquee Valentines Day 2014.
Theatrical Trailer: Gunday
Release date: 21 February 2014
Cast: Randeep Hooda, Alia Bhatt
Director: Imtiaz Ali
Producer: Sajid Nadiadwala/Imtiaz Ali
Imtiaz Ali returns to direction after nearly three years, post his acclaimed Rockstar which won Ranbir Kapoor accolades back in 2011. His next, Highway, is smaller in comparison and stars a much lesser known cast, Randeep Hooda, who's been growing his profile of late and a one film old, Alia Bhatt, who made her debut in 2012's frothy Student of the Year.
Highway tells the story of a young city girl and how her life changes when she's abducted by a group of rustic criminals while she's on the highway with her fiancé in the middle of the night. Panic strikes among the kidnappers when they realise the girl is a daughter of a leading Industrialist with strong political connections. But the leader of the group is adamant to go ahead with the plan. Days pass as the Tempo runs and miles turn, and after the initial horror of dealing with her rustic captors, the air changes and she feels that she has changed as well. A strange bond begins to develop between her and the oppressor. She starts feeling free in this captivity. She does not want to return and wishes that this journey would never end. But they are not made for each other. Maybe this feeling is just a passing phase. Maybe not.
Highway has been produced by Imtiaz Ali's production house, Window Seat Films and is its first production.
Imtiaz says, “Highway was made on the road, on the go. It needed more care. Luckily I had the best people in the team. And the movie has changed us all a bit.”
Highway hits theatres worldwide on 21 February 2014.
Theatrical Trailer: Highway
Shaadi Ke Side Effects
Release date: 28 February 2014
Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Vidya Balan, Vir Das, Ram Kapoor
Director: Saket Chaudhary
Producer: Ekta Kapoor/Pritish Nandy
It's yet another take on how intimacy and romance fizzle after marriage, but what makes it special is that it features Vidya Balan and Farhan Akhtar, and their chemistry in the trailer at least, looks like it could see the film through.
Farhan plays Sid, an aspiring musician who bows down to his wife's demand's of having a child, only to regret his decision after the child seemingly takes up the couple's entire time and life, leading to seemingly irreconcilable differences between the two.
Saket Chaudhary's quirky direction made the first one, Pyaar Ke Side Effects, eminently watchable and he seems to have a winner on his hands this time round too, although is it me but is Vidya overdoing the annoying wife act. Last year's Ghanchakkar wasn't up to much, and this one may pull through, but where is actress who dared to be different a la The Dirty Picture, Kahaani and the like?
Theatrical Trailer: Shaadi Ke Side Effects
Release date: 7 March 2014
Cast: Madhuri Dixit, Juhi Chawla, Divya Jagdale, Priyanka Bose, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Shilpa Shukla
Director: Soumik Sen
Producer: Soumik Sen/Anubhav Sinha
Music: Soumik Sen
Madhuri has no release for a couple of years and then two in a space of two months! Although this one's a bit more special because it unites her with arch rival Juhi Chawla with whom she's never shared screen space with, despite repeated attempts by filmmakers in the 80s and 90s to bring the two divas together.
Yash Chopra nearly succeeded by casting the pair in Dil To Pagal Hai, but Juhi ultimately walked out of the film as she felt her role didn't have any meat. What that film did for Karisma Kapoor's career is another story altogether.
Gulaab Gang is based on Gulabi Gang, an actual group of Indian women vigilantes and activists who dress in pink sarees, and fight against the social injustice and in the Bundelkhand region of central India. While Madhuri plays the film's central protagonist, Juhi plays a wily politician with grey shades who will stop at nothing to stop the vigilantes dead in their tracks.
It all sounds very interesting on paper, the first trailer of the film is astounding. Here's hoping Sen's script and direction live up to the initial hype generated by the film.
Theatrical Trailer: Gulaab Gang
So there you have it. The seven films that are likely to make a splash in the first quarter of 2014. Do you agree with our list?
Watch out for the second part in this series, coming your way very soon!