HINDI MOVIE PreviewS
“Panipat” Starring Arjun Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Kriti Sanon, Zeenat Aman, Padmini Kolhapure, Mohnish Bahl; directed by Ashutosh Gowariker; music by Ajay-Atul.
This 18th century historical epic from the director of “Lagaan”, “Swades” and “Jodhaa Akbar” recreates the famous battle of Panipat by the mighty Maratha Empire against the invaders from Afghanistan. Arjun Kapoor stars as Sadashiv Rao Bhau, who leads the Maratha army against the king of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Abdali, played by Sanjay Dutt. Kriti Sanon stars as Parvati Bai Sadashiv’s wife. Nana Saheb Peshwa is played by Mohnish Bahl while Padmini Kolhapure stars as his wife, Gopika Bai. The film recounts the events prior to the mighty brutal battle in 1761, considered one of the largest ever fought in Indian history. The ruling Maratha Empire was halted and this eventually led to British rule. Expect grand sets and stunning period costumes designed by Neeta Lulla. Songs by Ajay-Atul, the duo known for several super hits, including the soundtrack of the Marathi film “Natarang,” are sure to be popular.
“Bypass Road” Starring Neil Nitin Mukesh, Adah Sharma, Rajit Kapur, Sudhanshu Pandey, Shama Sikander, Gul Panag; directed by Naman Nitin Mukesh; music by Sharib-Toshi, Rohan-Rohan, Raaj Ashoo and Mayur Jumani.
This murder mystery story and screenplay was written by Neil Nitin Mukesh, who also stars as the protagonist while brother Naman Mukesh makes his directorial debut. Neil plays the well-to- do Vikram Kapoor, who becomes wheelchair bound after an accident. Rajit Kapur portrays his father and Gul Panag his stepmother. The trailer reveals that everyone has secrets. A model named Sarah, played by Shama Sikander, is murdered and it’s made to look like a suicide while another person has disappeared, both around the time of Vikram’s unfortunate accident. Are these coincidences? Who is involved? Meanwhile, a masked killer is on the loose. Vikram must defend himself from the killer to survive. The soundtrack includes a remake of the hit song ‘So gaya yeh jahaan’ from “Tezaab” sung by Nitin Mukesh. The actor, who considers thrillers his forte, says the song does poetic justice to the plot of the film.
“Bala” Starring Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar, Yami Gautam, Saurabh Shukla, Javed Jaffrey; directed by Amar Kaushik; music by Sachin-Jigar.
The versatile Ayushmann Khurrana is on a roll playing unique characters in movies that entertain and make us laugh. Here, Khurrana is Bala, a young man in Kanpur dealing with premature balding and lack of confidence that ensues. He tries various methods to regain his lost hair while his friends and family also experiment with ideas. Yami Gautam plays a model named Pari while Bhumi Pednekar is the dusky small town girl Nikita. This will be Pednekar’s third film with Khurrana since her debut with him in “Dum Laga Ke Haisha.” Amar Kaushik previously directed the comedy horror “Stree,” for which he won the Filmfare award for best debut director. The makers call it a slice of life comedy that makes statements without being preachy. There has been controversy around this film and “Ujda Chaman,” directed by Abhishek Pathak as both have a similar storyline.
“War” Starring Hrithik Roshan, Tiger Shroff, Vaani Kapoor, Ashutosh Rana; directed by Siddharth Anand; music by Vishal and Shekhar.
This Yash Raj production stars Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff, in a high-octane action film that promises to be a visual spectacle. Billed as the biggest action entertainer of the year, where both stars push to the limits in never-seen-before death-defying stunts sure to keep you on the edge of your seats. The trailer has a “Mission Impossible” feel. Roshan stars as Kabir, an Indian operative who has turned rogue. Shroff plays Khalid, a soldier once trained by Kabir, but now assigned to eliminate his mentor. Roshan and Shroff pull off jaw-dropping action sequences as they try to outwit each other. Vaani Kapoor plays the girl somehow caught in the mix. The movie was filmed in seven different countries. One scene shot in the Arctic Circle in Finland was reportedly the first ever. The almost unrecognizable ghazal “Ghungroo Toot Gaye” gets a stylish modern makeover, the catchy new version beautifully picturized on the gorgeous Amalfi coast.
“The Sky is Pink” Starring Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Farhan Akhtar, Zaira Wasim, Rohit Suresh Saraf; directed by Shonali Bose; music by Pritam.
This film by the director of “Margarita with a Straw” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. It is based on the true story of Aisha Chaudhary, born with an immune deficiency disorder, who later develops pulmonary fibrosis. Instead of living in fear, Aisha chooses to embrace the positivity in life, becoming a motivational speaker and author before her death at age 18. Zaira Wasim portrays Aisha, who humorously narrates the love story of her parents, Aditi and Niren Chaudhary, played by Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Farhan Akhtar. Chopra Jonas, who is also the co-producer, returns to Hindi cinema after a gap of three years. She and Akhtar share a real chemistry in this emotional story, which spans 25 years told in flashbacks. We learn the couple previously had a baby girl, born with the same genetic disorder. With Aisha’s diagnosis, the family uproots to England for treatment. Rohit Saraf plays her brother Ishaan. The struggles are shown in a funny, warm and heart-wrenching way. The makers say the magic of life and beauty of death manifest in one family's unusual, courageous journey.
“Chhichhore” Starring Sushant Singh Rajput, Shraddha Kapoor, Varun Sharma, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Naveen Polishetty, Tushar Pandey, Saharsh Kumar Shukla, Prateik Babbar; directed by Nitesh Tiwari; music by Pritam.
The director of “Bhoothnath Returns” and “Dangal” takes us to the world of seven friends during their college days. This coming-of-age drama is full of all the exuberance and fun college life is known for. Sushant Singh Rajput and Shraddha Kapoor star as Anni and Maya, students at an engineering school. They are joined by several interesting characters: Sexa, Derek, Mummy, Acid, and Bevda – each one as unique as his name. Together, the group shares several hilarious and masti-filled times one experiences in college and become friends for life. The story then transitions from the past to the present, where each actor plays an older version of their characters, who then come together for a reunion they never imagined. Director Nitesh Tiwari, a graduate of IIT Bombay who discovered a love for writing, likely drew on some of his own memories. His directorial debut in 2011, “Chillar Party,” which he also wrote, won the National Award.
“Dream Girl” Starring Ayushmann Khurana, Nushrat Bharucha, Annu Kapoor, Vijay Raaz, Abhishek Bannerjee, Manjot Singh, Nidhi Bisht, Rajesh Sharma, Raj Bhansali; directed by Raaj Shaandilyaa; music by Meet Bros.
Known for picking unique roles, Ayushmann Khurana’s string of hits continues after last year’s “Andhadhun” and “Badhaai Ho.” The talented Khurana plays Lokesh Bisht in this comedy of errors set in Mathura, which features a crackling ensemble cast. Lokesh can recite dialogues in a girl’s voice and portrays Sita and Draupadi on stage. Annu Kapoor stars as his father. Lokesh lands a job at a call center, where he must change his name to Pooja and answer as a female. When he voices Pooja, everybody is taken with the mesmerizing speech, from the local cop to his girlfriend’s brother. Dream Girl Pooja is the object of their infatuation, which leads to a series of unusual, crazy situations. Nushrat Bharucha, who we loved in “Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety,” plays the object of Lokesh’s affections. Khurana says his radio background came in handy to modulate his voice to sound like a woman. He calls this masala entertainer his most commercial to date. The songs are sure to add to the fun, including a redo of the Marathi classic “Dhagala lagli kala.”