The movies releasing this season may lack big star power, but will keep you in cinema halls for long hours.
And you thought life would be boring this summer without the Khans or Bachchans in cinema theatres? You couldn’t be farther from the truth, for just a quick glance at what’s on offer and you’ll wish that the summer wouldn’t end. Oh well, metaphorically speaking, of course, coz this stuff is really cool.
The fare ranges from the much-hyped Kites, Hrithik Roshan’s latest flick, to the little-promoted Tere bin Laden, a comedy by debutant Abhishek Sharma whose zany idea is sure to grab attention. Prakash Jha and Ajay Devgn team up once again to bring politics home with Raajneeti.
Gurinder Chadha, of Bend It Like Beckham fame, returns with the comedy It’s a Wonderful Afterlife, while the master of ‘real’ films like Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro and Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastan, Saeed Akhtar Mirza returns with Ek Tho Chance after a self-imposed hiatus of 14 years.
For those of you who swear by the formula, there is Sajid Khan’s comedy Housefull—which brings Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone together once again. Looks like Vivek Oberoi is finally taking a break from his social work and attempting a comeback with Prince—a film being touted as an ‘extreme action thriller’.
The kids too will have their fair share of screen space with Warner Bros and Jyotin Goel teaming up to open their summer account with Bird Idol—a comic take off on the hugely popular Indian Idol; while Ajay Devgn and Kajol come up with India’s first 3-D animation flick Toonpur ka Superhero. Priyadarshan takes a detour from his comedies for adults and borrows an idea ‘officially’ for a children’s film Bumm Bumm Bole, starring Darsheel Safary.
So, read on, dear cineaste, and find out why cinema watching will be fun this summer…
Release date: 9 April
Banner/Director: Tips /Kookie Gulati
Cast: Vivek Oberoi, Nandana Sen, Neeru Singh and Aruna Shields
Synopsis: A thief (Oberoi) pulls off the biggest heist of his career. Next morning he wakes up to find a gunshot wound on him that he doesn’t remember getting. As he steps out to find answers, he also finds himself tagged to three women, all claiming to be his girlfriend, Maya. Not only that, he is also the most wanted guy—by the cops and criminals. Will he regain his memory in time to save himself?
Why give it a shot: Sorry to spoil the climax folks, but the hero in a Hindi film always wins. The excitement usually lies in how he does it. So go in for this ‘extreme action thriller’ with the full knowledge that debutant Kookie Gulati may just pull it off—in spite of a name like that. Who knows, Prince may just turn out to be the ‘break’ that Vivek Oberoi needs to save his drooping career, and your ticket to this film could become his bill to fame…
Release date: 16 April
Banner/Director: Eros Entertainment/Milind Ukey
Cast: Shahid Kapur, Ayesha Takia, Nana Patekar and Saurabh Shukla
Synopsis: Into the school of a principled principal (Patekar) walks in this cheerful English teacher (Kapur) with his effervescence and uprightness, only to discover that rogues infest schools too in these troubled times for education.
Why give it a shot: For one, there is Shahid Kapur who has been steadily climbing the ladder of success with each of his films. For another, the film is a commercial take on a subject that is increasingly worrying—in our times of poor education and lack of integrity in academic institutions. Third, it also stars the newly popular Sweeni Khare (of Cheeni Kum) and Avika Gor (of Balika Badhu) fame, as students.
Release date: 23 April
Banner/Director: Warner Bros/Jyotin Goel
Synopsis: Bird Idol finds its muse in the runaway success Indian Idol, only that it has its heroes in birds. The hero, Hummy, much to the horror of his feathered friends, finds human songs and music more challenging and fun. And when the time comes to prove his point, he puts his best beak forward.
Why give it a shot: Children are going to love this one. Jyotin Goel has done some forgettable films in the past, but take heart in the fact that Warner Bros is backing him on the project. A comedy with some slick animation is sure to keep you glued to your seat. Lasting 100 minutes, Bird Idol has music composed by Sangeet Haldipur and Siddharth, with Shaan and Kailash Kher lending their vocals. So, do take time out for some serious bird-watching this summer… and that too in some darkened auditorium.
Release date: 30 April
Banner /Director: Eros Entertainment/Sajid Khan
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone, Ritiesh Deshmukh, Lara Dutta, Dia Mirza and Arjun Rampal
Synopsis: Aarush (Kumar), the unluckiest guy in the world, believes that his bad luck will disappear the day he finds true love. In order to find it, truth becomes the first casualty, as he finds lying is so much easier than telling the truth. With one thing leading to another, the mess only gets messier, with people of different walks joining in.
Why give it a shot: With Sajid Khan—the fool’s paragon—at the helm, you can be assured of some great (including below the belt) laughs, but it might just be worth a visit because Akshay Kumar has more than proved himself as a comic hero in several films, and with Deepika Padukone, Ritiesh Deshmukh, Lara Dutta and Arjun Rampal supporting him, it should be worth that first day first show.
Cast: Darsheel Safary, Zia, Atul Kulkarni and Rituparna Sengupta
Synopsis: Khogiram (Kulkarni), his wife (Rituparna Sengupta) and their kids Pinu (Darsheel) and Rimzim (Zia) are too poor to afford two square meals, yet Khogiram wants to give his kids good education… But his resources can be stretched only so much. On top of it, Pinu misplaces Rimzim’s only pair of shoes. Therein lies a tale of how the siblings devise ways to keep their parents from finding out that the shoes are gone and also looking for opportunities to procure another pair.
Why give it a shot: BBB is an official adaptation of Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi’s multiple-award winner Children of Heaven (1997). For once, it’s not just a ‘lift’ that has been Indianised for the local palate, but an inspired choice, and Safary as Pinu is capable of pulling off the lead—a child caught in the struggle of getting back the lost shoes and playing a big brother.
IT’S A WONDERFUL AFTERLIFE
Release date: 7 May
Banner/Director: Indian Films and Studio 18/Gurinder Chadha
Cast: Shabana Azmi, Goldy Notay and Sendhil Ramamurthy
Synopsis: The film is a comic take on a Punjabi mother’s desperate measures to get her fat daughter married to a tall, dark and handsome hunk. And when each of the suitors is found unsuitable, she does away with them: murders them. Only to discover that they’re still with her in spirit (form). Motto of the story: in life as in death, we shall not part.
Why give it a shot: Why not? With the exception of Bride and Prejudice, Chadha has come up with some exquisite fare in the past, including Bhajji on the Beach and Bend it Like Beckham. This film is slated to have two premieres, in London and in Birmingham as well. It is one of the most awaited romantic comedies this season. Shabana Azmi as the quirky mother will definitely be exploring herself as an artiste in a comedy, and that should be an incentive.
Release date: 21 May
Banner/Director: Reliance Big Pictures and Film Kraft/Anurag Basu
Cast: Hrithik Roshan and Barbara Mori
Synopsis: No one’s giving anything away on this one, except that it is a love story with a twist.
Why give it a shot: Hrithik Roshan, Hrithik Roshan, Hrithik Roshan. (Oh, and for the men, they’ve added the tantalising Barbara Mori). Seriously though, the only thing that is predictable about Rakesh Roshan’s brand of cinema is that his films’ titles start with a ‘K’. Else, you can be sure that he is ‘different’. Add to that his collaboration on this project with Hollywood’s Brett Ratner (of the Rush Hour series and X Men fame), and the locales of Santa Fe and New Mexico captured magnificently by Ayananka Bose—who has honed his cinematographic craft under formidable names such as Ravi K Chandran and Rajiv Menon, and who was nominated Best Cinematographer for Dostana—and it makes the film eye candy in ways more than one. To top it all, Anurag Basu of Gangster, Life in a Metro and Murder returns with this love story of a betrayal. n
Release date: 4 June
Banner/Director: UTV Movies and Walkwater Media/Prakash Jha
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Ranbir Kapoor, Naseeruddin Shah, Katrina Kaif, Arjun Rampal, Nana Patekar, Sarah Thompson and Manoj Bajpai
Synopsis: Inspired by The Mahabharat, Raajneeti is set in the milieu of contemporary electoral politics. It’s a story of people who control and wield power over millions in India—through fair means and foul. If there is a conscience keeper like Bhaskar Sanyal (Shah), on the other extreme is Veerendra Pratap (Bajpai), who will claw his way to the top irrespective of the cost. In between, living their realities, mistakes and ambitions are Indu Sakseria (Kaif), Sooraj Pratap (Devgn), Samar Pratap (Kapoor) and Prithvi Pratap (Rampal).
Why give it a shot: Raajneeti has been described by Jha as ‘my most complete film to date’. Undoubtedly among the most awaited films of the year. The stakes are high and the stage is monumental. It will be worth that visit to the big theatre. Incidentally, the film’s box-office collections will be given away to Anubhooti, an NGO set up by Jha, to build a multi-speciality healthcare facility for the poor in Bihar.
Synopsis: Sweet little love story. The title is only there to confuse you and it can do so on two counts—one, that despite the fact that it comes from Karan Johar, though not directed by him, it fails to play on the ‘K’ factor, and two, that it helps make predictable fare a little unpredictable.
Why give it a shot: Punit Malhotra (Manish Malhotra’s nephew) may yet have to prove himself, but he is directing the much-loved Imran Khan and Sonam Kapoor, both of whom have managed to get their fan base in place with earlier hits like Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na and Delhi 6 respectively. Add to that, the film is backed by Johar and his team at Dharma, who have been known to make commercially successful (if rather mushy) cinema.
TERE BIN LADEN
Release date: 16 July
Banner/Director: Walkwater Media/Abhishek Sharma
Cast: Ali Zafar, Barry John, Chirag Vora and Nikhil Ratnaparkhi
Synopsis: A tongue-in-cheek, dark comedy about an ambitious young Pakistani news reporter who is desperate to migrate to the United States. But his repeated efforts are thwarted by the US visa authorities. And then, he comes across his ticket to fame in the unlikely garb of an Osama bin Laden lookalike. Ali’s scheme to produce a fake Osama video, and sell it to news channels as a breakthrough scoop, boomerangs as the White House gets involved and dispatches a secret agent to trail Ali.
Why give it a shot: Sharma’s debut comedy sounds like a dream. Just check out the team that is backing and creating this small-budget wonder. Writer Jaideep Sahni is the lyricist (he has Chak De India, Khosla Ka Ghosla and Bunty aur Bubli to his credit); music is by Shankar Ehsaan Loy, who need no introduction; Ali Zafar, who plays the lead, is a well-known Pakistani actor, and the director of cinematography is Santosh Thundiyal, who has done Krrish, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Pyaar Impossible and Pinjar. Notable is the fact that the film is a production of Walkwater Media, who’re also bringing in Raajneeti.
Cast: Purab Kohli, Amrita Arora, Vijay Raaz, Pawan Malhotra and Rajat Kapoor
Synopsis: Mumbai becomes the main character in Ek Tho Chance which brings together a motley group of people who want to make it big in the city of opportunities.
Why give it a shot: Once a Nukkad maker, always a Nukkad maker. At first glance, Ek Tho Chance seems different, but the similarities are unmistakable. Only, Mumbai has replaced the quintessential nukkad which everyone remembers till date. Saeed Akhtar Mirza, the master craftsman of cameos working as one whole, is back after a self-imposed exile of 14 years. His last outing on the big screen was Naseem, and that feels like lost ages ago. His new flick, in theatres this summer, is not a film that can be missed.