Wazir, Ghayal Once Again, Kya Kool Hain Hum 3 among January releases.
By Vikrum Mathur
2015 was an interesting year for Hindi cinema. Most films tended to follow formula, and this year saw few successes. Interestingly, the films that did hit the bullseye were off the beaten path, which sends one clear message to filmmakers and producers — novel content is king.
Whereas films like Badalpur, Piku, and Tanu Weds Manu Returns did very good business, films like Dilwale and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo did not meet their full box office potential. The only true blockbuster of the year that met expectations was the phenomenal Bajrangi Bhaijaan.
What does 2016 have in store? Will content continue to reign supreme, or will it be a year where uninspired flicks turn into large money spinners? Time will only tell, but here is a list of the most awaited Bollywood films of 2016. You decide which film do you want to see the most?
Release Date: January 8
This long-in-the-making film is directed by Bejoy Nambiar (Shaitan, David) and produced by the legendary Vidhu Vinod Chopra (3 Idiots, PK, Munnabhai series.) From the trailers, it seems to be an action thriller, with the symbolism of chess and the “Wazir” piece as an allegory for the main characters. Featuring a stellar star cast that includes Amitabh Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar, Neil Nitin Mukesh, and Aditi Rao Hydari, Wazir promises to deliver an interesting cinematic experience. It will be fascinating, particularly, to see Neil Nitin in a villainous role again, fresh off of the success from Prem Ratan Dhan Payo.
2. Ghayal Once Again
Release Date: January 15
Roughly 26 years after the original Ghayal, Sunny Deol returns in his landmark role as the wronged Ajay Mehra in this sequel. This film plans on being a treat for Sunny Deol and Ghayal fans, as Deol is not only starring in the film, but has also directed it 16 years after his last directorial venture Dillagi. Taking on the subject of corruption and power once again, Ghayal Once Again will surely pack a punch when it hits cinema halls this January, especially keeping in mind the volatile political climate India has had the past few years. The film also stars Soha Ali Khan, Om Puri, and Tisca Chopra.
Release Date: January 22
Akshay Kumar has created waves the past few years with his roles in films like Special 26, Holiday, and Baby. He now returns with another power packed movie, based off of the true story of the rescue of Indians from Kuwait, during the Iraq-Kuwait war. Directed by newcomer Raja Krishna Menon, and produced by Nikhil Advani (D-Day, Patiala House, Kal Ho Naa Ho), Airlift will be a great addition to Akshay’s long and diverse filmography that will make his audiences proud. The trailer has already created quite a buzz, and it will be interesting to witness this story about which very little is known. The film has Nimrat Kaur (of Lunchbox fame) as the female lead opposite Kumar.
4. Kya Kool Hain Hum 3
Release Date: January 22
Admittedly, this sequel may be something only I am really looking forward to, but after watching the trailer, all I can say is that Indian comedies will never be the same. Seeming even raunchier than its predecessors, this comedy stars Tusshar Kapoor, Aftab Shivdasani, and newcomer Mandana Karimi. The story will reportedly revolve around how Tusshar’s girlfriend, played by Mandana, seeks to introduce him to her “sanskari” family, while trying to hide the fact that Tusshar is an adult film actor. Due to its controversial nature, and longstanding fan following for this franchise, I expect the film to be a huge success. It is directed by Umesh Ghadge.
Release Date: January 29
Another raunchy comedy, this one also stars Tusshar Kapoor, in addition to Sunny Leone and Vir Das. Directed by well-known writer Milap Zaveri, the film seems pretty crude and hilarious. We have two goof balls, and a pair of identical twin sisters, whose love story forms the crux of the film. Looking forward to another comedy film that pushes the limits of where comedy can go in Indian cinema.
Release Date: February 12
This romantic outing, starring Aditya Roy Kapoor and Katrina Kaif, promises to deliver an intense love story. With such a fresh pairing, and a competent director like Abhishek Kapoor (Rock on, Kai Po Che), Fitoor will be for those seeking a quality romantic saga. Long in the making, this film will finally hit the screens this February.
Release Date: February 19
Sonam Kapoor stars in this compelling real life tale of Neerja Bhanot, the brave air hostess who risked her life to save passengers aboard a flight taken over by terrorists. Directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra protégé Ram Madhwani, Neerja will make audiences incredibly proud to learn about brave souls like the title character that exist in the world and act selflessly for the protection of others. The film also stars Shabana Azmi.
8. Tere Bin Laden Dead or Alive
Release Date: February 19
A sequel to the 2010 hit, this film stars popular TV host Manish Paul, Sikander Kher, and Pradhuman Singh in the title role. Not much is known about the story, but with the original’s director Abhishek Sharma at the helm, the film is in safe hands. Hopefully, it will match the wit of the original.
Release Date: February 26
A true story based off of a gay professor, the film stars Manoj Bajpayee and Rajkummar Rao. It is directed by Hansal Mehta (Shahid, Citylights), and promises to be a touching, hard-hitting story that will enlighten its audiences. With such gifted actors and a director coming together for this project, there is no doubt that the film will receive many awards in the days to come.
10. Jai Gangaajal
Release Date: March 4
Director Prakash Jha returns with this sequel to his 2003 hard hitting hit Gangaajal, this time with Priyanka Chopra playing the lead as a tough cop fighting corruption. Jha himself also acts in the film as a grey cop. Priyanka has taken the world by storm with her performances in Dil Dhadakne Do, Bajirao Mastani, and Quantico, so it will be awesome to see her perform in this different, offbeat role. Prakash Jha is a master filmmaker himself with films like Raajneeti, Aarakshan, and Satyagraha under his belt, so the expectation is sky high for this film to add to his canon of political films.
11. Teraa Surroor 2
Release Date: March 11
Himesh Reshammiya returns as an actor with this sequel to his debut movie Aap Ka Surroor. Not much is known about this movie, but an interesting tidbit is that it features such stalwarts as Naseeruddin Shah, Shekhar Kapur, and Kabir Bedi in the cast. Before any one writes this off as yet another run of the mill movie, clearly something must be in the script that attracted such respected actors to join the ensemble. Hopefully, this will launch Himesh as an actor to reckon with. It is directed by newcomer Shawn Arranha.
12. Kapoor & Sons
Release Date: March 18
Being Karan Johar’s first production of the year, this project is keenly awaited. Starring Alia Bhatt, Siddharth Malhotra, Fawad Khan, and Rishi Kapoor, this film promises to be a novel take on love, family, and relationships. It is directed by Shakun Batra (Ek Main Aur Ek Tuu).
13. Great Grand Masti
Release Date: March 24
Another successful franchise gets a sequel, with this follow up in the uproarious Masti franchise. Vivek Oberoi, Aftab Shivdasani, and Ritesh Deshmukh are back, but this time they are joined by Miss India Urvashi Rautela, Sonal Chauhan, Sana Khan, Mishti, Ankita Shorey, Shraddha Das, and Puja Banerjee. The film will continue to follow the misadventures of three best friends who are looking to have an affair outside of their boring married lives. Indra Kumar (Dil, Beta, Raja, Ishq, Mann) returns to direct this film. Guaranteed super hit!
14. Ki & Ka
Release Date: April 1
A romantic comedy from R. Balki (Paa, Cheeni Kum, Shamitabh), this film features the unconventional pairing of Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor. Like all of Balki’s ventures, the film promises to be quirky, and is definitely on the must watch list for every Bollywood movie fan.
Release Date: April 15
Speaking of fans, this is one of the most awaited movies of the year. Superstar Shahrukh Khan stars in this niche film from Yash Raj Films, where he will once again be playing a double role. The twist this time is that SRK will be playing one role as himself, and the other of his biggest fan. The trailers have gotten everyone intrigued as the “Fan” role sees SRK playing a younger guy who looks like him, but also has distinct features. The film was delayed due to heavy special effects work, and fans wait with bated breath to see SRK in a different kind of movie from his usual masala flicks. This film is directed by Maneesh Sharma (Band Baaja Baaraat, Ladies Vs. Ricky Bahl, Shuddh Desi Romance) and also stars newcomer Waluscha D’Souza.
Release Date: April 29
For the younger generation of film goers, this romantic film stars Tiger Shroff and Shraddha Kapoor. It is produced by Sajid Nadiadwala, and directed by Sabbir Khan (Kambakht Ishq, Heropanti). Expect tons of action, songs, and big production values. This one is strictly for the youth.
Release Date: May 13
A biopic on famous cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin starring Emraan Hashmi, Prachi Desai, Huma Qureshi, Nimrat Kaur,and Nargis Fakhri, this film promises to reveal facets of the man that were previously unknown. Tony D’Souza directs (Blue, Boss) and Emraan is an excellent actor, so expect awards to come his way in 2017.
Release Date: May 13
Anil Kapoor’s son, Harshvardhan, debuts in this romantic saga which is a modern retelling of the famous love story of Mirza Sahibaan. Rakeysh Omprakasha Mehra (Rang De Basanti, Bhaag Milka Bhaag, Delhi 6 and Aks) directs and legendary lyricist, director, and writer Gulzar has written the script. Newcomer Saiyami Kher debuts as the female lead.
19. Housefull 3
Release Date: June 3
The third entry in the wildly successful Housefull franchise stars Akshay Kumar, Abhishek Bachchan, Ritesh Deshmukh, Lisa Haydon, Nargis Fakhri, and Jaqueline Fernandez. Expect chaos, confusion, and mayhem with the difference this time being Sajid Khan is not directing, but rather writers Sajid-Farhad (Entertainment) are.
20. Jagga Jasoos
Release Date: June 3
Ranbir Kapoor desperately needs a hit, and all his hopes are pinned on this children’s detective story co-starring Katrina Kaif. Anurag Basu (Barfi, Kites, Life in a Metro, Gangster, Murder) directs, and this movie also marks Ranbir’s debut as producer. The movie has been long in the making, and one only hopes that the constant delay is worth the wait.
21. Raaz Rebooted
Release Date: June 3
The 4th film in the Raaz franchise, Emraan Hashmi returns in the lead role alongside some newcomers. Horror director Vikram Bhatt, who also made the super successful Raaz 3, comes back to the franchise with this film. Prepare to get goosebumps, as the film promises an abundance of thrills and chills!
22. Udta Punjab
Release Date: June 17
A film revolving around drugs, Udta Punjab reunites the pair of Alia Bhatt and Shahid Kapoor after the lackluster Shaandaar. Abhishek Chaubey (Ishqiya, Dedh Ishqiya) directs. The most interesting aspect of the movie is that Kareena Kapoor will also play an important role, reuniting with Shahid nearly 9 years after Jab We Met. Hopefully, this will prove to be a successful venture for all involved.
Release Date: July 3
Another highly anticipated movie for 2016 starring Shahrukh Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and newcomer Mahira Khan, Raees once again takes SRK into offbeat territory. Reportedly, the film takes place in Gujarat and revolves around the alcohol industry, with SRK playing a don. Rahul Dholakia (Parzania, Lamhaa) directs the picture, and once again fans will get to see SRK as never before.
Release Date: July 29
Varun Dhawan, John Abraham, and Jacqueline Fernandez come together for this action caper directed by Rohit Dhawan (Desi Boyz). This is the first time Varun will be working with his elder brother, and the movie is all poised be Varun’s 7th hit in a row.
Release Date: Sometime in July
Salman Khan’s next blockbuster Sultan is being directed by Ali Abbas Zaffar (Gunday, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan) and produced by Aditya Chopra. It will tell the tale of a boxer and may provide the Dabangg Khan an opportunity to explore more of his acting chops after Bajrangi Bhaijaan. A Salman film is always an event, and it would not be a fallacy to say that this is most likely the most awaited movie of 2016.
Release Date: August 12
After the super success of Jodhaa Akbar, Hrithik Roshan reteams with the director of that film, Ashutosh Gowariker, for this epic adventure love story based off of the Indus Valley civilization in the earliest pages of Indian history. Newcomer Pooja Hegde is playing the lead, while Kabir Bedi will play the villain. Audiences are thirsting for a movie with Hrithik after a long gap, and Hrithik will do here what he does best – showcase his epic looking attributes. The movie is mounted on a large scale, and will include never before seen action sequences. Watch out for this one!
Release Date: August 12
Akshay Kumar experiments again with this thriller/love story from the director who brought Baby and Special 26, Neeraj Pandey. Not much is known about the story, but attached names to the project are enough to fan tremendous curiosity.
28. A Flying Jatt
Release Date: Sometime in August
Tiger Shroff will play a superhero and romance Jacqueline Fernandez in this extravaganza from Remo D’Souza (ABCD, ABCD 2, Faltu). These movies are always family crowd pleasers and it will be nice to see someone from the new generation of actors play a larger than life role.
29. M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Biopic
Release Date: September 2
Another biopic about a famous cricketer, Sushant Singh Rajput will star in the title role. Neeraj Pandey (Baby, Special 26) directs. A lot of curiosity is attached to this one, and there is no doubt that it will do justice to the life of a legendary player.
30. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil
Release Date: October 28
Karan Johar directs this modern romantic comedy featuring Ranbir Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and Anushka Sharma. Till date, Karan has not directed a flop film, and has always maintained a freshness and wittiness in his projects. Featuring, as always, a top notch cast, ADHM will be the big Diwali blockbuster of the year. This may very well be the film that will bring Ranbir back to being an actor to reckon with.
Release Date: Sometime in October
After Sunny Deol, Ajay Devgn stars and directs this ambitious action movie, currently being shot all around the world. Ajay’s first directorial effort U Me Aur Hum tanked, so he is leaving no stone unturned for this project. Sayesha Saigal, grandniece to Dilip Kumar, will make her Hindi debut with this movie.
32. Dinesh Vijan’s directorial debut
Release Date: Sometime in November
Not much is known about this one, except that it has the fresh pairing of Sushant Singh Rajput and Kriti Sanon. Looking forward to learning more about this one!
Release Date: December 23
Aamir Khan comes back after PK this year in a biopic about Mahavir Phogat, a wrestler whose daughters became India’s first female wrestling champions. Aamir has once again immersed himself into the character, gaining weight, growing a white beard, and sporting a buzz. Aamir has not given a flop or a bad film in the past 15 years, and Dangal will be no exception. Highly anticipated, expect records to be broken by the Ace Khan once again in 2016.
34. Ayan Mukherji’s next
Release Date: December 23
Karan Johar produces this superhero film starring Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, directed by Ayan Mukherji (Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Wake Up Sid). The Ayan-Ranbir combo has been 100% thus far, and expectations are no different from this venture.
Here’s wishing you all a very happy new year and even happier viewing!
(Vikrum Mathur is an actor, and avid film buff who resides in Maryland.)
More from Vikrum Mathur:
- The Modern Saint: a tribute to filmmaker Ramanand Sagar (December 29, 2015)
- Vinay Pathak sparkles in brilliant play ‘Nothing Like Lear’ staged in Maryland (September 22, 2014)