Welcoming the new year, we give you a breakdown on what stars and films to expect at a cinema hall near you from January to June.
Preview 2018: Here are the films to look forward to in the first half
Mumbai - 01 Jan 2018 16:12 IST
Updated : 02 Jan 2018 10:47 IST
So 2017, the year that surprised Hindi cinema, is history. Less than a handful of big-budget films with big stars succeeded at the box office while smaller features grabbed the spotlight with storylines that struck a chord with audiences.
Some actors — Rajkummar Rao and Nawazuddin Siddiqui among them — dominated the year while some stars — Ranveer Singh and Kareena Kapoor Khan among them — were absent. However, for a weary industry, it all begins anew with the new year.
From biopics to black comedies, dramas to ensemble pieces, here is what you can expect to find at a cinema near you in the first half of 2018.
Release date: 12 January
Director: Anurag Kashyap
Cast: Vineet Kumar Singh, Zoya Hussain, Jimmy Shergill
After Bombay Velvet (2015) and Raman Raghav 2.0 (2016), Anurag Kashyap returns with an electrifying, fresh story set in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh. Shravan, a boxer from a lower caste, goes up against the powerful Bhagwan Das Mishra, local sporting head. Along the way, he falls in love with Mishra’s mute niece to complicate matters. Mukkabaaz had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) last year and was the opening film at the 19th Mumbai Film Festival in October.
Release date: 12 January
Director: Akshat Verma
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Vijay Raaz, Deepak Dobriyal, Sobhita Dhulipala, Kunaal Roy Kapur, Isha Talwar, Akshay Oberoi
Delhi Belly (2011) writer Akshat Verma is making his directorial debut with this hilarious dark comedy starring Saif Ali Khan. The actor plays a character recently diagnosed with a terminal illness who decides to let go with society’s conventions. Taking place over one wild night in Mumbai, Kaalakaandi has an ensemble cast which contributes to the wackiness and absurdity of life in the big, bad city.
Release date: 26 January
Director: R Balki
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor, Radhika Apte
In the biopic Pad Man, actor Akshay Kumar, along with producer Twinkle Khanna, takes on the inspiring true story of social entrepreneur Arunachalam Muruganantham and his invention of the low-cost sanitary-pad-making machine. Directed by R Balki, Pad Man looks to continue from where Akshay Kumar left off with Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (2017) as a homegrown superhero. Joining him in this feel-good film are actresses Radhika Apte and Sonam Kapoor with R Balki staple Amitabh Bachchan making a cameo appearance.
Release date: 26 January
Director: Neeraj Pandey
Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Sidharth Malhotra, Rakul Preet Singh, Naseeruddin Shah, Anupam Kher
Going up against Pad Man on Republic Day is Neeraj Pandey’s Aiyaary. The filmmaker has teamed up with many of his regulars, Anupam Kher, Naseeruddin Shah and Manoj Bajpayee, for the upcoming feature. Sidharth Malhotra, in what could be a breakthrough for the actor, is working with Pandey for the first time. Based on true events and set against the backdrop of the Indian army, Aiyaary is supposed to explore the relationship between a mentor and his protégé who go up against each other in a battle of wills and mettle.
Release date: 9 February
Director: Prosit Roy
Cast: Anushka Sharma, Parambrata Chatterjee
Producer and actress Anushka Sharma has abandoned all glamour for Pari (2018). The film, by first-time director Prosit Roy, also stars Bengali actor Parambrata Chatterjee. The intense poster shows a wan Sharma, possibly abused, living in less-than-stellar conditions. Not much has been revealed about the film, which only piques our curiosity. Sharma, currently holidaying in South Africa with new husband Virat Kohli, is expected to return home this week to get the film's promotions rolling.
Release date: 23 February
Director: Siddharth P Malhotra
Cast: Rani Mukerji, Neeraj Kabi
Rani Mukerji returns to the big screen after a four-year hiatus with Yash Raj Films’ Hichki. The actress is set to take centrestage in an “inspiring story about a woman who turns her biggest weakness into her biggest strength”. Mukerji plays a teacher, Naina Mathur, with Tourette Syndrome who takes on a classroom of underprivileged students in the film directed by Siddharth P Malhotra.
Parmanu: The Story Of Pokhran
Release date: 23 February
Director: Abhishek Sharma
Cast: John Abraham, Diana Penty, Boman Irani
Director Abhishek Sharma’s Parmanu: The Story Of Pokhran takes us back in time two decades to the days when India conducted a series of nuclear tests in the desert of Rajasthan. The film, produced by star John Abraham, brings the scientists and officers of the Indian army who were part of the groundbreaking tests to the forefront. Parmanu looks like a history class we would all like to attend.
Release date: 2 March
Director: Tarun Mansukhani
Cast: Sushant Singh Rajput, Jacqueline Fernandez, Vikramjeet Virk, Sapna Pabbi
Drive, starring the hot new pair of Sushant Singh Rajput and Jacqueline Fernandez, is reportedly set in the never-seen-before world of street racing. Producer Karan Johar stated that the film is the first in a series for Dharma Productions. Director Tarun Mansukhani’s last was the hit comedy Dostana (2008). Here’s hoping it is nothing like Ryan Gosling’s similarly named Drive (2011), which featured the actor as a getaway driver.
Release date: 16 March
Director: Raj Kumar Gupta
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Ileana D’Cruz, Saurabh Shukla
With Raid (2018), director Raj Kumar Gupta returns to filmmaking after five years with the story of India’s most high-profile income-tax raids set in 1980s Uttar Pradesh. Leads Ajay Devgn and Ileana D’Cruz began filming Raid after the release of Baadshaho (2017) in which, too, they were paired together. Devgn reportedly plays a “no-nonsense income-tax officer”.
Sanjay Dutt Biopic
Release date: 30 March
Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Manisha Koirala, Dia Mirza, Sonam Kapoor, Vicky Kaushal
This project has been keenly awaited since writer-director Rajkumar Hirani announced that he would be working on Munna Bhai MBBS actor Sanjay Dutt’s biopic. With each casting announcement — Ranbir Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Manisha Koirala, Sonam Kapoor, Vicky Kaushal — the anticipation has only increased. Not much has been revealed about the film, apart from a few leaked and blurry set photos, but suffice it to say that the biopic easily ranks among the top three films we are looking forward to.
Release: 30 March
Director: Abhinay Deo
Cast: Irrfan Khan, Kirti Kulhari, Arunoday Singh, Divya Dutta
If Delhi Belly (2011) writer Akshat Verma has Kaalakaandi, the cult film's director Abhinay Deo will also have his own quirky comedy with Blackmail. The recently announced project features Irrfan Khan and Kirti Kulhari and reportedly deals with a man finding out about his wife’s infidelity. Khan and Kulhari have had a fantastic 2017 and their collaboration for 2018 already has us excited.
Release date: 13 April
Director: Shoojit Sircar
Cast: Varun Dhawan, Banita Sandhu
Shoojit Sircar returns to the director's chair after the crowd-pleaser Piku (2015). This time, he is helming a ‘slice-of-life love story’, written by Piku screenwriter Juhi Chaturvedi, with actor Varun Dhawan and newcomer Banita Sandhu. The simple story is said to be based on real events and has been shot in Delhi and Himachal Pradesh.
Release date: 20 April
Cast: Prabhas, Shraddha Kapoor, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Jackie Shroff
Actor Prabhas won over a lot of new fans in Hindi cinema with his double role as Mahendra and Amarendra Baahubali in the worldwide blockbusters Baahubali: The Beginning (2015) and Baahubali: The Conclusion (2017). In his next, a Telugu-Tamil-Hindi trilingual opposite Shraddha Kapoor, he will seek to prove that his success in previous films was no fluke. The action thriller, loaded by nifty VFX, has been shrouded in mystery and no plot points have been divulged as yet, but Prabhas looks to play a menacing man of mystery in the film directed by Sujeeth.
Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi
Release date: 27 April
Cast: Kangana Ranaut, Ankita Lokhande, Sonu Sood, Atul Kulkarni
Actress Kangana Ranaut caused quite a furore when she walked out of Ketan Mehta’s Queen Of Jhansi biopic and into Krish’s. The actress’s two releases last year, Rangoon and Simran, did not fare as well as she might have hoped. Mired in controversy for most of the year, Ranaut has poured all her energies into this period film. The film also boasts of an ensemble cast featuring Atul Kulkarni, Ankita Lokhande and Sonu Sood. A plus for the film is that it has been written by Vijayendra Prasad, the screenwriter with the Midas touch behind such films as Magadheera (2009), Eega (2012), Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015) and the Baahubali films.
Release date: 27 April
Director: Ahmed Khan
Cast: Tiger Shroff, Disha Patani, Manoj Bajpayee, Randeep Hooda, Prateik
Tiger Shroff and Disha Patani first appeared together in the music video ‘Befikra’ in 2016. The pair is rumoured to be dating and their casting in Baaghi (2016) added fuel to the fire. Shroff will once again be seen in a high-octane action avatar and might go up against Manoj Bajpayee, Randeep Hooda and Prateik who are said to be playing the antagonists in the film.
Release date: 27 April
Cast: Rajinikanth, Akshay Kumar, Amy Jackson, Adil Hussain
The long-awaited sequel to Enthiran/Robot (2010) is reportedly India’s most expensive film and the first to be shot directly in 3D and not converted later in post-production. While superstar Rajinikanth reprises his characters from the original, 2.0 will pit him against Akshay Kumar, who plays the villain. Amy Jackson joins the two stars in the sci-fi thriller directed by S Shankar. The film has some stiff competition though. Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity Wars (2018) will unleash a whole galaxy of superheroes that same day. But we do not doubt the power of Rajinikanth in India. With 2.0, he seems well prepared to take on Thanos.
Release date: 11 May
Director: Meghana Gulzar
Cast: Vicky Kaushal, Alia Bhatt
Adapted from Harinder S Sikka’s book Calling Sehmat, Meghana Gulzar’s Raazi stars Alia Bhatt as a young Kashmiri woman who marries a Pakistani army officer and provides valuable intelligence back to the Indian army. The period film is said to be based on a true story. We are always excited to see an Alia-starrer; she has been on a successful streak since Kapoor & Sons (2016). Her fresh pairing with Masaan (2015) actor Vicky Kaushal bodes well for the film.
Veere Di Wedding
Release date: 18 May
Director: Shashanka Ghosh
Cast: Sonam Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Swara Bhasker, Shikha Talsania
There has been a pointed lack of female-bonding films in Hindi cinema. Shashanka Ghosh’s Veere Di Wedding, produced by Rhea Kapoor, hopes to fill that space. Starring Sonam Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor Khan (back after her maternity break), Swara Bhasker and Shikha Talsania, the film revolves around four best friends who gather for a wedding. The behind-the-scenes photos of the mostly all-female cast looked like a lot of fun, and we can’t wait to attend this wedding.
Harshvardhan Kapoor and Vikramaditya Motwane's Next
Release date: 25 May
Director: Vikramaditya Motwane
Cast: Harshvardhan Kapoor, Nishikant Kamat
Sonam and Rhea Kapoor’s younger brother Harshvardhan has his second film out the week after Veere Di Wedding. Calling it a “badass vigilante” film that Hindi cinema has never seen before, this may or may not be the film Bhavesh Joshi that has had a long and beleaguered history with several delays and many cast changes. Filmmaker Vikramaditya Motwane has directed Udaan (2010), Lootera (2013) and Trapped (2017) and we hope this as yet untitled film is the mainstream hit he deserves.
Release date: 15 June
Director: Remo D’Souza
Cast: Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor, Bobby Deol, Jacqueline Fernandez, Daisy Shah, Saqib Saleem
Film franchises seem to be the flavour of the season! Salman Khan came aboard for the third instalment of the Race series, the first two of which were helmed by director duo Abbas-Mastan. Remo D’Souza takes over the reins of the latest film. Anil Kapoor, Bobby Deol, Jacqueline Fernandez, Daisy Shah and Saqib Saleem round out the cast. The film is due to be released on the superstar’s lucky Eid weekend. It just might be what the doctor ordered.
Release date: 15 June
Director: Atul Manjrekar
Cast: Anil Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Rajkummar Rao
Actor Anil Kapoor, who is going up against himself on Eid 2018, takes on the role of a desperate father in this official Indian remake of the Oscar-nominated Belgian film, Everybody’s Famous! (2000). Produced by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and directed by first-timer Atul Manjrekar, Fanne Khan’s cast includes Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Rajkummar Rao. With the casting in place, this interesting musical has already caught our eye as one to watch next year!
Release date: 29 June
Director: Shaad Ali
Cast: Diljit Dosanjh, Taapsee Pannu, Angad Bedi, Vijay Raaz
In 2006, Indian hockey player Sandeep Singh was accidentally injured in a shooting on board a train. The incident left him confined to a wheelchair for nearly two years before he bounced back to lead the hockey team as captain, no less, to the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2009. Actor Diljit Dosanjh fills in those large shoes as Sandeep Singh in this inspiring biopic directed by Shaad Ali, which also stars Taapsee Pannu and Angad Bedi.
Release: Likely first half of 2018
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Cast: Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Shahid Kapoor
Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus, Padmavati, was supposed to be the grand finale of 2017. However, owing to the controversy about the depiction of Rajputs in the film and its added censor woes at the hands of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), the makers decided a delayed release would be best. The film’s teasers and posters have revealed stunning looks for its three leads — Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor. The film was already one of 2017’s most anticipated. Now it will be 2018’s too!