2012 spawned some sexily unorthodox surprises at the box-office. 2013 promises the same. And some more. What with acknowledged movie making maestros like Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Prakash Jha returning to the marquee. Here's looking at the movies that are worth their wait in gold.
Krissh 3: Ideally sequels, and sequels to sequels are a complete put-off, what with them relying more on nostalgia value than intrinsic merit. And many of them are completely unrelated. But Rakesh Roshan's next installment of the Krissh saga, scheduled for a Diwali release, promises to get only bigger brighter bouncier than the earlier installments. While Hrithik Roshan reprises the super-hero role Vivek Oberoi plays the super-villain. Producer-director Rakesh Roshan promises the stunts would take Indian cinema to the Hollywood level. Fingers crossed,breath bated.
Ram Leela: Two years after the under-valued Guzaarish master-creator Sanjay Leela Bhansali returns to his Gujarati roots for a Gujju rendering of Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet with oodles of colours, vivacity and flamboyance. Bhansali admits for now he's done with films about physically and emotionally disabled characters. Ram Leela is a happy, feisty and, ummmm, tasty take on a love tale that refuses to get wrinkled. Deepika Padukone as 'Leela' Juliet and Ranveer Singh as 'Ram' Romeo would take their promising careers to the next level with this eye-catching feast of music, dances and songs (composed by director Bhansali himself). The film also stars that supremely talented spunky siren Richa Chadha from Gangs Of Wasseypur and has been shot in Kutch. Expected to be released in July-August.
Kai Po Che: Abhishek Kapoor who gave us that eminently watchable rock-steady-stadia drama Rock On, returns with an adaptation of Chetan Bhagat's novel 3 Mistakes Of My Life about the dreams aspirations and hopes of three youngsters in Gujarat. The film features three super-talented actors Sushant Singh Rajput, Amit Sadh and Rajkumar Yadav in career-making performances. Rajput has already been signed by Yashraj Films as the lead for their next film.He is being perceived as the star of 2013.
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag: Bhaag Farhan, Bhaag! Not one to run away from challenges ever since he took to acting in Rock On director-actor Farhan Akhtar went into the kind of intense preparation for his role of the Olympian runner that Shabana Azmi would approve of. If director Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra gets across the drama passion resilience and devotion of Paan Singh Tomar to the screen we'd have India's first definitive biopic on a sportsperson. A biopic on Mary Com featuring Priyanka Chopra is also on the anvil.
Ghanchakkar: After the hard-hitting No One Killed Jessica Rajkumar Gupta gets together with Vidya Balan again, this time for a comedy about a lock-breaking thief and his flamboyant Punjabi wife, played by Emraan Hashmi and Vidya. As is his won't, Gupta is shooting the film on different locations of Mumbai including, in the monsoonal rains. Get set for a wet romp-com.
Raanjhanaa: Extremely unusual casting chemistry of Kolaveri star Dhanush and Sonam Kapoor in a passionate love story set in Varanasi Raanjhanaa promises to be an enrapturing take on forbidden love bolstered by director Aanand R. Rai's extremely authentic eye for flavourful emotional detailing so evident in the endearing Tanu Weds Manu in 2011. A R rahman scores the romantic songs. Sigh, life at the movies is looking luscious.
Zanjeer: Telugu star Ramcharan Teja makes his Hindi debut in Amitabh Bachchan's career-defining role from the 1973 blockbuster of the same title. Director Apoorva Lakhia has completely revamped the original, changed the characterizations drastically. Sanjay Dutt's Sher Khan (played by Pran in the original), Priyanka Chopra's Mala (Jaya Bhaduri in the original) and Mahie Gill's Mona Darling (the overblown Bindu) are completely unrecognizable. That's the beauty of a remake, no?
Bullet Raja: Tigmanshu Dhulia who last year ripped the box-office open with his brilliant Paan Singh Tomar is back with a tale of crime, commitment, compulsions and convictions in Uttar Pradesh. Saif Ali Khan plays the rustic outlaw and the underrated Jimmy Shergil is his partner in crime. The film promises to give us a humorous insight into the anatomy of small town outlawry without trivializing crime. That's Dhulia's forte.
Aakash Vani: Last year director Luv Ranjan gave us the punch-filled coming-of-'edge' rom-com Pyaar Ka Punchnama. He's back with a story of horny love and corny one-liners with two of the Punchnama stars Kartikeya Tiwari and Nushrat Bharucha playing a couple discovering love and, er, sex. While the earlier Luv-tale was filled with dirty boyz' back chat this one is a 'pure' love story where we would feel a surge of emotions above the waistline. Interesting.
Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani: Going by what the promising debutant director Ayan Mukerjee did with Ranbir Kapoor in Wake Up Sid one can't wait to see the magic created between these two in their new film, an out-and-out musical romance in the tradition of the Nasir Hussain films in the 1960s. Ranbir who has never done a conventional boy-meets-girl film before is excited by the challenge of for once, not playing a victim of unrequited love (ref: Saawariya, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, Rock Star and Barfi).
Dhoom 3: The Dhoom franchise strikes again, this time bringing together the never-before jodi of Aamir Khan and Katrina Kaif. Need we say any more? The third installment of the Dhoom series is directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya whose only other film Tashan's only claim to fame is that it brought together Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor. Hopefully, this one will have a lot more to offer than just a platform for real-life liaisons. Katrina's action scenes and Aamir's full-on villainy should make this one a winner.
Satyagrah: Prakash Jha's take on politics in corruption and corruption in politics brings together Amitabh Bachchan and Ajay Devgn as two idelogues united and then separated in their war against corruption in hai hai places. Kareena Kapoor in her first post-marriage film(not counting the item song in Dabangg 2) promises to play a serious investigative journalist. Let's hope her promise has more relevance than the ones made by out netas.
Special Chabbis: A heist caper from Neeraj Pandey, the director of A Wednesday the gripping 2008 anti-terror drama Special Chabbis recreates, blow-by-blow, events connected with the the dare devilish broad-daylight heist on 19 March 1987 when a bunch of men masquerading as income tax officials 'raided' a jewellery store in Mumbai. Sure, this one just may end up glorifying fraudulency. But what the hell! We live in morally subverted times. It should be fun watching Akshay Kumar and his gang of co-stars pull this one off.
Besharam: Post-Dabangg director Abhinav Kashyap refused to direct the sequel to Dabangg. Instead he chose this crime drama about a con-person from Delhi (Ranbir Kapoor) trying to escape the law with two Haryanvi cops(played by Ranbir's parents Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh) hot on his heels. Dunno about real life. But crime certainly pays on celluloid.
Chennai Express: Shah Rukh Khan teams up with Ajay Devgn's favourite director Rohit Shetty for the first time in a romantic drama set in a train. The film promises a change of image for both SRK and his leading lady Deepika Padukone and for the director who for too long, has become associated with slapstick comedy.
Himmatwala: Remember Sridevi and Jeetendra cavorting amidst the pots and pans to the tune of Bappi Lahiri's Nainon mein sapna? Sajid Khan recreates the 1983 potboiler. Hopefully the pot would be boiling this time in a different brew,what with Ajay Devgn and Southern glam-doll Tamannaah all set to give the tale a different spin.
Race 2: Abbas-Mustan's 2008 thriller Race returns racier than before. As is the norm in sequels the male cast Saif Ali Khan and Anil Kapoor is repeated while the female actors from Race are replaced by Deepika Padukone Jacqueline Fernandez and Amisha Patel in Race 2. Sorry, guys no Katrina or Bipasha this time. But there's John Abraham as a beefy bonus, if that's any consolation.
Ishaaq: Director Manish Tiwari's faithful take on Romeo & Juliet features Prateik Babbar as Romeo and newcomer Amyra Dastoor as Juliet in a faithful page-by-page word-by-word character-by-character rendition of Shakespeare's original play in an Uttar Pradesh milieu. Sounds fascinating.
Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola: In Vishal Bharadwaj's latest quirky drama Imran Khan plays Matru. Anushka Sharma plays Bijli and the fabulous rarely-seen actor Pankaj Kapoor plays Mandola. And yes, Shabana Azmi plays a politician who has the hots for Pankaj Kapoor. This one looks like something that Anurag Kashyap would love to do if only Vishal wasn't doing it before him.
Shootout At Wadala: We've seen innumerable dramas on gangsterism in Mumbai. This one promises to be the real thing with real gangsters without fictional names. Shot on actual locations, featuring stars who abandon their vanity to get into character and written with the ink of sweat blood tears and semen, Sanjay Gupta's crime thriller recreates the events and episodes from Manya Surve's 'encounter' killing on 1 November 1982. This one should do to the genre of gangsterism what Ram Gopal Varma's Satya did a decade ago.
Vishwaroop: The inimitable Kamal Haasan, regarded by many as the best actor India has ever produced, returns with a hi-tech espionage thriller which boasts of some of the most spectacularly staged action sequences ever shot in Indian cinema. If all goes well this could be India's answer to Mission Impossible.Oh yes, besides saving the world from a global catastrophe Kamal Haasan also takes time off to perform a Kathak dance choreographed by Birju Maharaj. Now, can Tom Cruise do that?
Lootera: Vikram Aditya Motwane who gave us the striking Udaan two years ago returns with a love story based on an O'Henry short story about a leafy love-bond that refuses to fade with the seasons. One doesn't know how much passion Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha can whip up in the saga. But the producers are leaving no stone unturned to ensure this becomes Bollywood's answer to David Lean's Dr Zhivago.