' Kisna - The Warrior Poet '
Subhash 'showman' Ghai returns in January 2005 with a bang called 'Kisna'. A period film set in pre-independence India, Kisna is a romantic tale of an Indian man and a British girl. Subhash Ghai, known to introduce a bevy of Bollywood beauties including Madhuri Dixit, Meenakshi Seshadri, Manisha Koirala and Mahima Choudhary has this time come up with not just one but two new discoveries. The first is a British bombshell called Antonia Bernath and the other well-known danseuse, Isha Sharwani. The film is set in the last days of the Raj and tells the story of Kisna (Vivek Oberoi) who saves a British girl Katherine (Antonia Bernath), from an angry mob of freedom fighters. Kisna escorts her to safety and a romance blossoms between the two. The third angle in this love story is Laxmi (Isha Shravani), who is engaged to Kisna. Hrishitha Bhatt, Amrish Puri, Om Puri and Zareena Wahab constitute the rest of the cast. Music is by A. R Rahman and Ismail Durbar.
Another period film eagerly awaited by millions of Aamir Khan fans is 'The Rising'. A big budget film that has taken a long time to finish, 'The Rising' stars Aamir Khan, Rani Mukherji, Amisha Patel, Toby Stephens (the 'Die Another Day' baddie) and is directed by Ketan Mehta. The last Aamir release, 'Dil Chahta Hai' was in 2001. An Aamir Khan release is expected to overshadow not just the other releases around its release time but months to follow. The film is based on the 1857 mutiny hero, Mangal Pandey and his fight against the British rule. The film is expected to release in June this year.
After creating marvelously flamboyant imagery on screen with films like 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam' and 'Devdas', Sanjay Leela Bhansali returns with an austere 'Black. The promos are stunning with the look truly international. Loosely based on the life of Helen Kellar, Black is the story (set in Shimla winter) of a blind, dumb and deaf girl, Michelle McNally, played by Rani Mukherjee. Amitabh Bachchan plays her teacher in this song-less film. Amitabh Bachchan is said to be completely in love with his role in the film and is rumoured to have learned sign language for it. Rani and Nandana Sen play sisters. Designer Sabyasachi Mukherji has worked on Rani's look in 'Black'. The film is expected to release in February, 2005.
Another film to watch out for this year is 'Shabd', produced by Pritish Nandy Communications. Shabd has Aishwarya Rai playing a seductress and the target is a much younger Zayed Khan. Sanjay Dutt (thankfully not playing a gangster) plays an author who is struggling with the failure of his novel. He is Aishwarya's husband and completes the triangle in the love/deception tale. The promos look steamy and may take the thanda tag away from Ash. The film is slated to release in February this year.
After 'Devdas', another film subject originating from Bengali literature is Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's classic 'Parineeta'. Vidhu Vinod Chopra has decided to revisit this novel with Sanjay Dutt, Saif Ali Khan, Raima Sen and newcomer Vidya Balan in the lead. The film has been shot in Kolkatta and Darjeeling (including the famous toy train of the hill station) and is directed by Pradeep Sarkar. Parineeta, set in Kolkatta's typical upper class Bengali household, is a passionate little love story that questions conventions, commitments and is about the domination of women in a patriarchal society. 'Parineeta' was made earlier in the 50s by the legendary filmmaker Bimal Roy with Meena Kumari and Ashok Kumar. Later, Anil Ganguly made his version called 'Sankoch' with Jeetendra and Sulakshana Pandit. The third adaptation of 'Parineeta' was Gulzar's 'Khushboo' with Hema Malini. The film is expected to release in April this year.
'Koi Mil Gaya sequel'
The sequel to the super hit science fiction 'Koi Mil Gaya' that brought back Hrithik Roshan in a big way, will interestingly be devoid of any aliens and space ships. 'Jadoo', the little blue extra-terrestrial will not feature in the sequel and the common links would be Hrithik Roshan and Rekha. Hrithik will be seen in a new look with longish hair and current hottie, Priyanka Chopra plays his love interest in the film. In the sequel Hrithik Roshan and Preity Zinta die and the special powers given by Jadoo to Hrithik are transferred to their son (new look Hrithik Roshan). From here the story deviates superman style where grandma Rekha brings up the child (superchild) who grows up to become a superhero. The rest of the cast includes Naseeruddin Shah, Manini De and Rajpal Yadav. Summer 2006.
'Waqt- Race Against Time'
Directed by Vipul Shah, 'Waqt- Race Against Time' stars Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal and Priyanka Chopra. It is an emotional family drama based on a father-son relationship. 'Waqt' is an adaptation of a Gujarati play. Once again Akshay will be paired opposite Priyanka Chopra and playing Amitabh's son. One of the highlights of the film is action hero Akshay Kumar's (known for his flexible body) tandav dance. The film is produced by Manmohan Shetty and is expected to release in April, 2005.
'Dus' is the revival of Late Mukul Anand's multi-starrer film, 'Dus' by Nitin Manmohan. He had earlier released the audio of 'Dus', but the film remained incomplete. 'Dus' is now being directed by Anubhav Sinha and boasts of stars like Sunjay Dutt, Suneil Shetty, Abhishek Bachchan, Zayed Khan, Esha Deol and Shilpa Shetty. Pakistani actor Javed Sheikh will play a negative role in the film. According to the producer the film is completely different from Mukul's version of Dus and just the title remains the same. The film revolves around an anti-terrorist cell fighting global terrorism. 'Dus' is reputed to be a cool flick with some slick action and thrilling espionage sequences.
'Phir Hera Pheri'
Feroz Nadiadwala is coming up with a sequel to the laugh riot, 'Hera Pheri'. Titled, 'Phir Hera Pheri', it has the same trio of Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal and Suniel Shetty going ballistic yet again. Priyadarshan's assistant, Neeraj Vohra is directing 'Phir Hera Pheri' (Priyadarshan directed the original). Instead of Tabu, Suniel's love interest in the film is Bipasha Basu who plays an insurance agent. Rimi Sen, Asrani and Johnny Lever join in too. 'Phir Hera Pheri' starts where 'Hera Pheri' ended, with the trio finally becoming rich. Bipasha tries to dupe the trio by making them invest in her company. Watch out for the side-splitting fun later this year!
After 'Kal Ho Na Ho's' astounding success, Karan Johar's next project slated to release this year is Kaal. Shah Rukh Khan is co-producing the film as well as playing a cameo for the musci video of the film (good luck mascot). Karan surprised everybody by steering clear of his trademark weepy family sagas. 'Kaal' is a thriller about wildlife conservation and John Abraham plays a tiger conservationist. The rest of the cast includes Ajay Devgan, Vivek Oberoi, actress Lara Dutta and Esha Deol. The film is being shot in Nainital and Jim Corbett National Park. The film is directed by, Karan's assistant, Soham Shah. Expected date of release is April 2005.
SRK's next home production (untitled)
Shah Rukh Khan is producing and acting in a film to be directed by Amol Palekar. According to some reports, the untitled project has Shah Rukh Khan in a double role, one role as Rani Mukherjee's husband and the other as a ghost. The director-producer team is being viewed as odd and unusual. SRK liked the script and hence the pairing. Palekar's last film was 'Anaahat' starring Sonali Bendre. In SRK's words, the film will be "simple, interesting and nice" and will be released in mid-2005.
'Bunty Aur Babli'
Shaad Ali of 'Saathia fame is coming up with another Rani Mukherjee starrer called 'Bunty Aur Babli'. Abhishek Bachchan pairs up with Rani yet again in this romantic comedy after 'Yuva'. His new look for the film is making waves as he has lost 13 kgs. for the role and is looking much younger. 'Bunty Aur Babli' is an adventurous journey of two strangers Bunty (Abhishek) and Babli (Rani), lost in a jungle. Joining sonny boy in 'B&B' is Amitabh Bachchan who plays a cop (yet again) hunting for the two youngsters.