HINDI MOVIE PreviewS
“Shakuntala Devi” Starring Vidya Balan, Sanya Malhotra, Amit Sadh, Jisshu Sengupta; directed by Anu Menon; music by Sachin-Jigar.
This biographical drama is based on the life of the world-renowned math genius, who was nicknamed the “human computer.” Vidya Balan stars as the vibrant Shakuntala, gifted in calculations without formal education, who strove to show the pursuit of mathematics as exciting. Sanya Malhotra plays her daughter with whom she shared a complex but extraordinary relationship. Shakuntala’s father was a circus artist who recognized her abilities at a young age and showcased her natural gift in shows. There are many video recordings that display her aptitude with numbers, which director Anu Menon used as research. She also spent significant time with the math whiz’s daughter, Anupama Banerji, who shared many personal insights. The film goes beneath the surface to show an incredible journey and reveals many facets about the confident woman with a lively personality who lived boldly and unapologetically on her own terms. Reports say Balan was the director’s only choice for this role and she is sure to shine. The biopic made its global premiere on Amazon Prime Video.
“Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl” Starring Janhvi Kapoor, Pankaj Tripathi, Angad Bedi, Manav Vij; directed by Sharan Sharma; music by Amit Trivedi.
The film is inspired by the life of Gunjan Saxena, who made history with her determination and courage to become one of India’s first female Air Force officers to fly in a combat zone. After a well-received debut with “Dhadak,” Janhvi Kapoor stars as the aspiring aviator. Pankaj Tripathi, recently seen in the series “Mirzapur,” plays Gunjan’s supportive father and Angad Bedi her brother Anshuman. Growing up in an army family, Gunjan always had dreams to be a pilot and was one of the first women inducted into the Air Force in 1994. The real life pilot credits her thorough training and said her capabilities led to acceptance despite initial apprehensions from officers who had never worked with women. Flight Lieutenants Gunjan Saxena and Srividya Rajan inspired young women across India when they flew Cheetah helicopters into war zones for reconnaissance and to evacuate casualty during the Kargil War in 1999. Though she never imagined it, Saxena is pleased with the makers’ sincere efforts and hopes the story will inspire all young people. The Karan Johar production is expected to premiere on Netflix Aug. 12.
“Gulabo Sitabo” Starring Amitabh Bachchan, Ayushmann Khurrana, Vijay Raaz, Brijendra Kala; directed by Shoojit Sircar; written by Juhi Chaturvedi; music by Shantanu Moitra.
The directing and writing team of “Vicky Donor,” “Piku” and “October,” delivers an unusual light-hearted film to watch with the family, which premieres on Amazon Prime Video June 12.
The world of Gulabo Sitabo includes two slimy scheming foxes in a game of one upmanship, each with his own agenda. Amitabh Bachchan stars as Mirza, a 78-year-old landlord, who would move heaven and earth for his most prized possession, a dilapidated old mansion in the heart of Lucknow. But his garden of roses has a unique set of thorns, his tenants. Among them is Baankey, played by Ayushmann Khuranna, a shrewd squatter who matches Mirza bit for bit in ceaseless banter. The makers say it’s a quirky slice of life where Mirza and Baankey are like Tom and Jerry, unique and unmatched, friend and foe, naughty and smart, all combined to produce chaos. Bachchan’s unique look required three hours each day to get into character. Khurrana, thrilled to be reunited with his “Vicky Donor” mentor, said, “What I love about the film is its sheer simplicity, the fleeting moments of simple humour in the banter between a landlord and tenant makes this film really special. I hope audiences love the film and our chemistry when it premieres.”
“Angrezi Medium” Starring Irrfan Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Radhika Madan, Deepak Dobriyal, Dimple Kapadia, Ranvir Shorey; directed by Homi Adajania; music by Sachin-Jigar, Guru Randhawa.
In 2017’s “Hindi Medium,” Irrfan Khan starred as a father struggling to get admission for his daughter into a prestigious English school. In this follow-up, which isn’t really a sequel, Khan plays Champak Bhansal, a modest small town sweet shop owner and father whose daughter wishes to study abroad. The film revolves around the beautiful relationship between daughter Tarika, played by Radhika Madan, and her doting father. On the home front, Champak is quarreling with his brother, Gopi, regarding the family business. To make Tarika’s dreams come true, he tries everything to support her financially, even if it means conning a few people. Kareena Kapoor Khan plays a pivotal role as Naina, a cop in London. Reports say she was keen on the chance to work with the gifted Irrfan. This heartwarming story from director of “Being Cyrus” and “Finding Fanny,” which features a talented cast, is sure to be a fun watch.
“Sooryavanshi” “Starring Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Abhimanyu Singh, Gulshan Grover, Neena Gupta, Jackie Shroff, Sikander Kher; directed by Rohit Shetty; music by Himesh Reshammiya
If you enjoyed the “Singham” films and “Simmba,” director Rohit Shetty’s latest installment in the action-packed, big-budget police universe is highly anticipated. Akshay Kumar stars in the title role as Veer Sooryavanshi, chief of the anti-terrorism squad, a character introduced near the end of “Simmba.” Not many plot and character details have been released, but likely DCP Sooryavanshi is a virtuous officer fighting crime and injustice. Kumar has had several successful films in the past few years and this one is sure to be popular with fans. Reunited onscreen after several years, Katrina Kaif plays his wife, Aditi, a doctor. Of course, there will be larger than life action, blasts and fights, involving helicopters, motorbikes and more. Reportedly, the iconic ’90s song 'Tip Tip Barsa Paani,' gets a redo. This franchise features special appearances by Ajay Devgn and Ranveer Singh as Singham and Simmba in a climactic scene.
“Love Aaj Kal” Starring Kartik Aaryan, Sara Ali Khan, Randeep Hooda; directed by Imtiaz Ali; music by Pritam.
If the title sounds familiar, there’s a reason. Director Imtiaz Ali’s 2009 version featured Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone. Ten years later, he follows up with a new relatable love story, again set in two different time periods. One story is set in Udaipur in the early ’90s and other in present-day Delhi. He was featured in last year’s comedies “Luka Chuppi” and “Pati Patni aur Woh,” here Kartik Aaryan stars as both Raghu in 1990 and Veer in the contemporary story. She made her debut in “Kedarnath,” Sara Ali Khan stars as Zoe, an ambitious career-oriented girl with conflicted feelings for Veer, a modern guy who knows what he wants. Newcomer Arushi Sharma plays Leena, a schoolgirl who’s the object of teenager Raghu’s affections in the 1990 parallel story. Music director Pritam’s catchy hit “Twist” from the original gets an update along with several new tracks. Reports say Imtiaz Ali, who is known for critically-acclaimed romance dramas such as “Jab We Met” and “Rockstar” is open to the idea of more installments for this franchise in the future if the story is right.
“Chhapaak” Starring Deepika Padukone, Vikrant Massey; directed by Meghna Gulzar; music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.
She won accolades for “Raazi” and “Talvar.” Director Meghna Gulzar depicts complex themes with skillful sensitivity, remember “Filhaal.” Here she examines the true story of Laxmi Agarwal, who was attacked with acid at age 15 and her courageous battle afterward. The word chhapaak is the sound of a splash. Deepika Padukone stars as Malti, she is attacked with acid on a street in New Delhi, in 2005. After an arduous recovery, struggling to come to terms with her appearance, she decides to lead a campaign against the sale of acid, taking the case to the courts. Her journey becomes an inspiration for young women across the country. Vikrant Massey plays Amol, who stand by her during her fight. The makers say the film attempts to understand the consequences of surviving an acid attack in India, the medico-legal-social state of affairs that transpires immediately after the acid has been hurled. Reportedly, Padukone had an instant connection with the story and considers the film the most special of her career.
“Panga” Starring Kangana Ranaut, Jassie Gill, Richa Chadda, Neena Gupta, Yagya Bhasin; directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari; music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Sanchit Balhara.
After her promising debut with “Nil Battey Sannata,” director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari won more praise for “Bareilly Ki Barfi.” Tiwari continues with stories centered on new age Indian families. Panga is inspired by the life of a national level Kabaddi player and features a talented start cast. The gifted Kangana Ranaut stars as Jaya Nigam, a young wife and mother, who was once a Kabaddi champion. Jassie Gill plays her supportive husband Prashant and Neena Gupta plays her mother. Jaya has desires to give her life new meaning and dreams of making a Kabbadi comeback, despite her age. The challenge creates an upheaval in her life as she is torn between family responsibilities and her love for the sport. It follows her struggle and triumphs as she overcomes stereotypes, showing how important family love and support is for success. Richa Chadda plays Jaya’s friend Meenu. The makers describe this sports drama as an emotional roller coaster tale of a middle-class Indian woman.