Martin Scorsese’s latest black comedy, The Wolf of Wall Street, goes with the tagline ‘More is never enough’. Nothing explains Bollywood’s 2014 line-up of films better. If in 2013 we celebrated big box-office numbers along with the success of content-driven smaller films, in 2014 it just gets bigger, better and bolder. And, what better way to kick off the year than the rerelease of the all-time blockbuster Sholay in 3D? Although opinion is divided on the 3D format, viewers are glad that the younger generation got a chance to see Jai, Veeru, Gabbar and Basanti on the big screen.
Fresh from the festival
The rise of the Bollywood underdog comes a full circle with a few festival favourites getting nationwide releases. The most awaited among them is Anurag Kashyap’s Ugly, which was screened at Cannes. The film, which was slated for an October release, got delayed because of Kashyap’s tiff with the Central Board of Film Certification over scenes showing smoking.
Another Cannes darling is adman Ashim Ahluwalia’s debut film, Miss Lovely. Based on the story of two brothers who made C-grade sex horror movies in the 80s, the film is ready for release, after Ahluwalia and the Censor board agreed on the 157 cuts required. Another film on similar lines is Anup Singh’s Qissa, which speaks about sexual identities, a subject that Indians love to brush under the carpet. After the success of Ship of Theseus, Anand Gandhi returns with Tumbad, a period horror flick. But this time Gandhi has handed over the megaphone to his friend and long-time collaborator Rahi Anil Barve and settles for producing the film under his banner Recyclewala Films.
Get on the road, baby
A 28-year-old who shattered all box-office records in 2013 with four back-to-back hits found her surname tweaked by the media to Padu-Khan. Deepika Padukone, who outdid the Khans and Kapoors with some outstanding performances, will open the year with Homi Adajania’s road movie Finding Fanny Fernandes, which revolves around a dysfunctional Konkani family. Alia Bhatt, too, is all set to get on the road with Highway, directed by Imtiaz Ali. Among the other awaited films in this category is Navdeep Singh’s NH 10. Anushka Sharma was swept off her feet by its script and decided to make her debut as a producer with this thriller.
With Madhuri Dixit making a comeback (yet again) with Dedh Ishqiya, Abhishek Chaubey’s sequel to Vidya Balan’s Ishqiya, 2014 seems to be a good one for the ladies of Bollywood. From Begum Para of Dedh Ishqiya, Dixit will move to a completely different avatar in debutant Soumik Sen’s Gulab Gang, in which she plays the role of a leader of a female vigilante group.
After her “manwar” act in Krrish 3, Kangna Ranaut will be seen in title roles in Queen and Revolver Rani. While her contemporaries are taking up challenging roles, one actor who is determined not to change her ways is Sonakshi Sinha. Her choice of films makes her sensitive performance in Vikramaditya Motwane’s Lootera seems like a fluke. In 2014, she will be seen in Prabhu Deva’s Action Jackson and A.R. Murugadoss’s Holiday.
Mystery seems to be the flavour of the season. The iconic Bengali detective of the 1940s, Byomkesh Bakshi, will be portrayed onscreen this year by the most promising newcomer of 2013, Sushant Singh Rajput, in Dibakar Banerjee’s Detective Byomkesh Bakshi. Anurag Basu reunites with his Barfi! team in Jagga Jasoos, with Ranbir Kapoor playing the lead. Vidya Balan will also be seen as a detective this year in Samar Sheikh’s Bobby Jasoos.
Love in the air
How can a Bollywood year go by without love stories? This year, too, there are a few rom-coms lined up, and so are some dramatic tear-jerkers. Parineeti Chopra returns with yet another bubbly act in debutant Vinil Mathew’s Hasee Toh Phasee opposite Sidharth Malhotra.
What happens after happily ever after, have you wondered? Saket Chaudhary tries to keep your doubts at bay with his take on married life with Shaadi ke Side Effects. The casting is refreshing, with Farhan Akhtar playing hubby to Vidya Balan. If the trailer is anything to go by, the film is going to be a truckload of fun with the couple trying to make peace even as a baby wails in the background.
After the debacle of Bullett Raja, Saif Ali Khan returns to what he does best—wrap his arms around beautiful women and crack a few jokes about it. As he parties with Ileana D’Cruz and Kalki Koechlin in Happy Ending, rumours are rife that wifey Kareena might join them with a cameo.
Last year, Abhishek Kapoor showed us how a below average book can be made into a good film with Kai Po Che. This year, Abhishek Varman tries the same with yet another novel of Chetan Bhagat, 2 States: The Story of My Marriage. The film, which stars Arjun Kapoor and Alia Bhatt in the lead roles, tells the story of a young couple from Punjab and Tamil Nadu, who try to convince their families to say yes to their alliance.
Hoping to repeat the success of Aashiqui 2, Mohit Suri’s team returns with The Villain. While Sidharth Malhotra replaces Aditya Roy Kapur as the male lead, Shradha Kapoor plays his love interest. Vikramjit Singh’s Roy also sparks some interest, thanks to its innovative casting with Arjun Rampal, Jacqueline Fernandes and Ranbir Kapoor forming three corners of this love triangle.
After Stanley ka Dabba, the father-son duo of Amol and Partho Gupte are planning to skate their way out this year. Hawa Hawai, a film that revolves around roller-skating, will feature Partho in the lead, supported by Bombay Talkies actor Saqib Salim. Priyanka Chopra is trying her hand at doing a Farhan Akhtar in the biopic on Olympic boxer Mary Kom. Directed by first-timer Omung Kumar, the film will pose quite a challenge to the actor as she will have to pull off the looks of a 30-something Manipuri tribal.
Classy vs massy
Brace yourself because Priyanka Chopra is not the only one who will be boxing this year. Anurag Kashyap recreates Mumbai of yore with his period drama Bombay Velvet, in which Ranbir Kapoor plays the role of a boxer. Another reason to look out for this one is Karan Johar, who will make his debut in an antagonistic role.
Hamlet becomes Haider as Vishal Bhardwaj goes yet again to Shakespeare for inspiration. After the failure of Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola, Bhardwaj returns to familiar turf, casting Tabu, Irrfan Khan and Shahid Kapoor in this dark drama.
Action films are also lined up for 2014 with Siddharth Anand’s Knight and Day remake Bang Bang starring Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif, and Ali Abbas Zafar’s Gunday starring Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor. Saif places his action bet on Kabir Khan’s Phantom, in which he stars alongside Katrina Kaif, and his comedy bet on Sajid Khan’s Humshakals. Govinda makes a comeback with Shaad Ali’s Kill Dill, with Ranveer Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra.
And, for the Khans
The only Khan with two releases this year, Salman will be seen in Jai Ho and Kick. Shah Rukh reunites with the Om Shanti Om team for Happy New Year, scheduled for a Diwali release. And, after the blockbuster Dhoom: 3, Aamir teams up with 3 Idiots director Rajkumar Hirani for the satirical comedy Peekay. After the actor made public appearances in a skirt and a blazer, rumour has it that he might even be playing an extra-terrestrial. Now that’s more than enough to watch the film!