Beginnings are always special. There is thrill, there is a tantalising feel and there are thunders too. Ask a cinephile and he or she would probably tell you the starting is the most exciting time. For at the very embarking point is where you are most equipped with the what ifs, but alsos and if onlys.
While we, the great Indian buffs of Bollywood offerings, peep superstitiously at 2019 we find the year written off to masterstrokes and crowning achievements. The feats hopefully shall be the resulting combination of moolah, mastery and material in equal parts. Thanks to the humongous rakings of Baahubali series, tent poles and period dramas are hands down dominating the line-up.
Returning in the director’s chair with a fresh treat are Zoya Akhtar, Abhishek Chaubey, Abhishek Varman and others who are set to put forth their labour of love on display. Having ticked off the masters of the art, we move to the artists, as many of them are experiencing their first on the celluloid with some promising projects. As per usual, some will pass the test with flying colours while others will fall flat and hard on their face. Some shall prove to be the dark horse of the race and steal the show from right under your nose while many shall maintain the momentum. There will be 50-50 pleasers too! The possibilities are countless, but our eyes are set on a handful.
Let’s take a look at the top 20 up and coming films you should mark your Bollywood calendars for:
Uri: The Surgical Strike and The Accidental Prime Minister (Released)
Vicky Kaushal. Need we give you more reasons? Shining star of the year gone by, action director Sham Kaushal’s actor son has dished out a cocktail of performances through Love Per Square Per Foot, Raazi, Lust Stories, Sanju and Manmarziyaan. Absolutely capable of driving a film to box office glory alone, the very presence of Vicky should be reason enough to attract footfalls in cinema halls. Throw in a narrative of the surgical strike carried out by the Indian Army in 2016 – a subject still fresh in the minds of the audience - you get a marvellous experience! Watch it unfold on January 11, 2019.
Based on the 2014 memoir on Dr Manmohan Singh by Sanjay Baru, the ex-Prime Miniter's media advisor from 2004 to 2008, The Accidental Prime Minister is a movie by the same name. While the trailer shows Singh as the victim while his then party in power Congress as the villain, much flak has been subjected in the direction of this Anupam Kher, Akshaye Khanna, Ahana Kumra starrer. Will the film come to ruling? Only time will tell. The Vijay Ratnakar Gutte directorial is currently in troubled waters, though. The film will lock horns on January 11 with Uri.
Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi
Considering the current track record, historical dramas are so in! And what makes us put in some extra faith in this Zee Studios offering is it is also helmed by the titular lead Kangana Ranaut. If not anything else, it would be absolutely amazing and interesting to watch what Ranaut and co-director Krish have made of the life of the brave Rani Laxmi Bai into a Bollywood landscape. Another debut in the lineup is that of television’s darling Ankita Lokhande who will be seen as Jhalkari Bai in the magnum opus. Catch the movie in theatres on January 25, 2019.
[caption id="attachment_194814" align="aligncenter" width="612"] Ranveer Singh in a still from the trailer of Gully Boy[/caption]
After sprinkling magic and some slice-of-life drama on our screens, Zoya Akhtar is set to enthral with a musical drama. Her forthcoming film charts the underground hip-hop scene in India, the Maximum City in specific, loosely drawing inspiration from the rags to riches journeys of rappers Naezy and Divine. Stow in a selection at the prestigious “Berlinale Special” film category at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival for a Ranveer Singh – Alia Bhatt starrer. Picture hit. Beat drops on February 14, 2019.
Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga
What’s new about this otherwise one hell of a one-liner you ask? It exclusively presents the Baap-Beti Kapoor combo for the very first time in a film! Papa Anil Kapoor will be seen sharing screen space with his eldest born Sonam in the title that rightly has been lifted from one of his old classics. Directed by Shelly Chopra Dhar, the movie also stars powerhouse performer Rajkummar Rao as Kapoor-Ahuja’s smitten lover and Juhi Chawla. While Sonam’s Veere Di Wedding remains heartily etched in our memories, the actress revives her energy in a coming-of-age romantic drama which urges to #LetLoveBe. It’s hard to not be intrigued and drawn after you’ve watched the trailer especially! An unexpected romance blooms in screens near you on February 1, 2019.
Abhishek Chaubey enjoys a reputation for stirring a stipulating and captivating cinema with his outings. Director of Ishqiya, Dedh Ishqiya and Udta Punjab it’d be foolish to not expect him to bring something new to the table. Pulling a casting coup including Sushant Singh Rajput, Bhumi Pednekar, Manoj Bajpayee and Ranvir Shorey in this mix with Vishal Bhardwaj’s music; this one’s all gundas and guns in all their ruthless glory. Ab yeh देखनो hai, ki खलीफा बनेगो kaun? Find out on February 8, 2019.
Mental Hai Kya
[caption id="attachment_148805" align="aligncenter" width="647"] Posters of Mental Hai Kya[/caption]
Ranaut meets Rao – what happens when you throw in two eclectic actors in a single frame? Marvel. Manmarziyaan and Kedarnath fame Kanika Dhillon’s screenwriting finesse will be brought to life in a black comedy by Kangana Ranaut and Rajkummar Rao. The former has always been bestowed with moment for her brave and bewitching act while the latter knows of nothing but award-winning stints. Thank Ekta Kapoor, not us. Recent releases have us all stoked to see these talent boxes unwrap on our screens together. Get ready to go mental on March 29, 2019.
This Amitabh Bachchan – Taapsee Pannu – Ali Fazal featuring project is helmed by the man who masters the genre of thrillers like no other in mainstream cinema: Sujoy Ghosh. Albeit, the Kolkata-native hasn’t been able to repeat the success of Kahaani but with a stellar star cast, we believe he will go for gold this time. Co-produced by Shah Rukh Khan-owned Red Chillies Entertainment, Badla is said to be an adaption of Spanish film The Invisible Guest and is slated to release on March 8, 2019.
It’s difficult to put into words the break with a tradition of an all-star cast in a film. That could possibly explain the buzz surrounding Abhishek Varman’s new venture, a period drama titled Kalank. Soon after emerging as a promising face in the directorial circuit, Varman vanished for a while only to resurface with Karan Johar’s historical saga. The film has a Dharma Productions’ stamp of (accounts) approval and vibe all over it – be it the scale, the swag or the stars acting in it. Seen in the opulent drama will be Madhuri Dixit, Sonakshi Sinha, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Aditya Roy Kapur, Kunal Khemu and Sanjay Dutt. Curtains raise on April 19, 2019.
[caption id="attachment_162827" align="aligncenter" width="647"] The cast of Mission Mangal[/caption]
Akshay Kumar doesn’t seem to cease to ride on the patriotic wave. Taking a leap higher, the superstar will present to viewers all that went behind India’s historics Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalayan). Touted to the country’s first ever space film, three-movie deal will be bankrolled by Fox Star Studios and Cape of Good Films. Besides Khiladi Kumar, Vidya Balan, Sonakshi Sinha, Taapsee Pannu, Sharman Joshi, Kirti Kulhari, Nithya Menen and Sanjay Kapoor. Directed by Jagan Shakti, the extraordinary tale will hit your space on Independence Day, August 15, 2019.
Made in China
Mikhil Musale boasts of a National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Gujarati under his belt. Add to the mix the savoury of Rajkummar Rao’s delicious spreads (in the past) which leaves us wanting for more! Now throw in a dash of the bong beauty Mouni Roy’s mishti doi sweetness. You get a recipe that won’t suffice with just one watch! It’s a ‘once more’ tadka. Raj will be seen as a Gujarati businessman Raghu who is down-in-the-dumps but dreams of becoming an entrepreneur and Mouni as Rukmini, his wife. Boman Irani is an added treat! Keep yourself free to ‘be independent’ on August 15, 2019.
In a departure from his comfort zone of the urban backdrop, Ayan Mukerji sets his foot on the paddle of a fantasy spectacle. Karan Johar’s ambitious project is a part of an intended trilogy and as Mukerji describes it will be “a commercial film with ancient elements.” Born out of a superhero mould, Brahmastra will feature Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Amitabh Bachchan at the fore. For a film with so many firsts, a Christmas 2019 only deems fit and ideal.
The Sky is Pink
The return of the OG desi girl Priyanka Chopra. Hello, there. The family drama comes from Shonali Bose of Margarita With A Straw fame. It is based on the lifelong of Aisha Chaudhary – a girl who became a motivational speaker after she was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. While Dangal fame Zaira Wasim will play the young gun, Chopra and Farhan Akhtar will play her reel parents in the movie. That said, the project will be co-produced by Ivanhoe Pictures, Priyanka herself and Siddharth Roy Kapur’s Roy Kapur Films and Ronnie Screwvala’s RSVP Movies, which has bankrolled exciting films in the recent past. Dates are not out yet, so keep your eyes and ears open to save it!
Barring his scandalous life in the public eye, director Vikas Bahl has always made his viewers sit up and take notice of the underdog tales he sculpts and presents on the 70mm. In the first go, Bollywood’s Greek God – a hunk whose enviable hot-bod is the dictionary definition of perfect – playing a renowned mathematician who helped kids crack one of the toughest entrance examinations in the world – sounds stupid and even laughable. But Hrithik effortlessly slipped under the skin of Anand Kumar and plays the part like he knew the skew-symmetric matrices and Cartesian coordinates like the back of his hand. The intricate details are only more perplexing but stunningly beautiful. Gear up to meet the class of Super 30 soon!
Dolly Kitty aur woh Chamakte Sitare
Raise your hand if you think Lipstick Under My Burkha attracted all that attention from the CBFC for no absolute reason! One of the most brilliant watches of 2016, the Alankrita Shrivastava directorial stood for everything the world now needs. And if you find yourself in agreement with Alankrita’s views, her next starring Bhumi Pednekar and Konkona Sen Sharma will be a riveting experience for y’all. This satirical take on gender equality is bound to hit the right notes. #JoinTheREBELution you gais!
After treating us to the saccharine-sugary and toothsome Bareilly ki Barfis, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari returns with another tale to tell. However, stepping out of the sweet shop to a maidaan, the director’s filmography takes us to Kabaddi this time. Badhaai Ho actress Neena Gupta, Jassie Gill, Richa Chadha, Pankaj Tripathi and Kangana Ranaut have joined the bandwagon of entertainment through a slice-of-life drama that speaks feminism and fervour in the highest order. Look forward to this Panga!
The very mention of Ritesh Batra melts our heartstrings. With two critically acclaimed Hollywood films in his kitty, The Lunchbox director is hands down one of the most successful imports to the west. His next starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Sanya Malhotra is titled Photograph. It is centred around a street photographer who is a part of the hustle and struggle in Mumbai. The heart-warming film will have its World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in February, 2019.
The man who gave India the gift of an epic sports biopic Dangal, Nitesh Tiwari, returns to helm a never-seen-before comedy. Sushant Singh Rajput, Shraddha Kapoor, Tahir Raj Bhasin and Varun Sharma have been brought on board to stir a one-of-its-kind drama. Kutte kid um, tedhi ki tedhi…catch this what seems like a rib-tickling film on August 30, 2019.
[caption id="attachment_175462" align="aligncenter" width="647"] Poster of Dream Girl[/caption]
Little is known about this oddball of a film which stars 2018’s shining star Ayushmann Khurrana opposite Luv Ranjan’s favourite muse Nushrat Bharucha. Produced by Balaji Motion Pictures, directed by Raaj Shaandilyaa, the movie is a delectable and delightful entertainer.
Mard ko dard nahi hota
Written and directed by Vasan Bala, the film met with ravings reviews at various international festivals including the World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival where it won the Grolsch People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award, and also the Mumbai Film Festival. While the buzz across the globe refuses to die down, fans back at home can await their turn in 2019.
Taanaji: The Unsung Warrior
Ajay Devgn-starrer period drama revisits the life history of 17th-century Maharashtrian military leader in the Maratha Empire. He is most famously known for his role in the Battle of Sinhagad in 1670 A.D. Precious less is known about this epic drama, the Om Raut directorial will release in cinema halls on November 22, 2019.