2016 hasn’t been a particularly impressive year for Hindi cinema, but to give credit where its due, it did give us gems like Kapoor and Sons, Neerja, Waiting, Airlift, Pink and, of course, Dangal, which is currently smashing records and is on its way to becoming the highest-grossing Hindi movie of 2016.
As the year comes to an end, we look ahead to some of the most promising films of 2017.
Director: Vishal Bhardwaj
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Shahid Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut
Release Date: February 24
This period drama about a filmmaker, an actress and a war hero has all the makings of a classic. Bhardwaj is at the helm of his talent after delivering Haider and penning the screenplay of Talvar. Saif and Shahid, two actors who have undoubtedly given their career-best performances in Bhardwaj’s films (Omkara, Haider), lead the cast along with the feisty Kangana Ranaut, who will be seen playing an actress (loosely inspired by Fearless Nadia) in this Casablanca-inspired love story.
Director: Anurag Basu
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif
Release Date: April 7
This long-delayed project continues to be the subject of curiosity for many cinephiles. The intrigue-levels reached an all-time high a few days ago when the film’s first trailer dropped. This is Basu’s first film since the much-adored (and panned) Barfi! One can only hope that the stamp of originality that one witnessed in the Jagga trailer isn’t yet another convenient ‘homage’ to iconic movies and moviemakers of another era.
Director: Anshai Lal
Cast: Diljit Dosanjh, Suraj Sharma, Anushka Sharma
Release Date: March 24
Not much is known about this film other than the fact that Anushka Sharma has produced it (she last produced NH 10) and that Diljit Dosanjh and Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi) topline the cast. The film is supposed to be a madcap comedy and, in Anushka’s own words, “unlike any other film you’ve seen before”. Phillauri also marks the debut of director Anshai Lal.
MERI PYAARI BINDU
Director: Akshay Roy
Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Parineeti Chopra
Release Date: May 12
The film sees two interesting actors uniting on screen for the first time –- Ayushmann Khurrana and Parineeti Chopra — in a film set in Kolkata. While Ayushmann plays a seemingly B-grade writer, known to dole out novellas like Awara Dhobin, Parineeti will be playing a singer. This could turn out to be a surprise, one of those quiet little films that woo you with their simplicity a la Dum Laga Ke Haisha.
Untitled Imtiaz Ali movie with Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma
Release Date: August 11
Imtiaz Ali continues to be one of Bollywood’s most polarising filmmakers, as was evident from the response to his last release, Tamasha. As is the case with most of his films, not much is known about this one either (not even the title). All we know is that it features Shah Rukh Khan, who plays a tour guide. The film is set in Europe, Ali’s recurring muse. And it has a soundtrack by Pritam. We’re sold already.
Director: Kabir Khan
Cast: Salman Khan, Zhu Zhu
Release Date: September 15
Post Bajrangi Bhaijaan, expectations from the Salman-Kabir duo are pretty high. Tubelight is apparently a period-drama which will see Salman as an army man who falls in love with a Chinese woman, a role that is being essayed by Chinese actress Zhu Zhu. The film has music by Pritam. This could just turn out to be one of those emotionally fuzzy love stories which has its heart in the right place.
Director: Amit Roy
Cast: Amit Sadh, Taapsee Pannu
Release Date: February 3
Running Shaadi is a rom-com set in Amritsar, about a young guy who starts a website to help couples elope and get married. The film has been ready for a couple of years but various reasons led to its delay. Produced by Shoojit Sircar, Running Shaadi could just become the surprise hit of the year, with its high-concept, small-budget strategy.
Director: Raja Krishna Menon
Cast: Saif Ali Khan
Release Date: July 14
An official remake of the Jon Favreau’s much-loved food comedy that went by the same name, Chef is Raja Krishna Menon’s new film after Airlift. According to the director, the film has been entirely re-contextualised to suit the taste of an Indian audience, with only the ‘core elements’ intact. “All that is common with the original is a cook and a food truck,” said Menon on a phone call with HuffPost India.
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor.
Release Date: November 17
After Ram Leela and Bajirao Mastani, Bhansali completes his holy trinity with yet another magnum opus, starring real-life lovers Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone. Singh plays the Turkish ruler Alauddin Khilji, who invades the Chittor fort in Rajasthan in a bid to kidnap the beautiful Queen Padmavati, played by Padukone. Kapoor will be seen playing the role of Padmavati’s husband, Rana Rawal Ratan Singh. The film is touted as one of the most-expensive Bollywood films ever.
And the one we’re very worried for:
Director: Shaad Ali
Cast: Shraddha Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapur
Release Date: January 13
Ever since the premiere of the film’s teaser, committed fans of OK Kanmani, the Tamil film which OK Jaanu is a remake of, have been complaining about how this one doesn’t even give the slightest hint of living up to the standards set by the original. It didn’t help that producer Karan Johar roped in Badshah to ‘remix’ the Hamma Hamma song, originally composed by AR Rahman. The remix was widely panned, further alienating the audience that feels very, very strongly for Mani Ratnam’s Ok Kanmani. As a cinema-lover, I want OK Jaanu to be as good, if not better than the original. And that’s what I hope happens on January 13.