MUMBAI— 2018 sent a clear message: big stars were optional, not compulsory. The trade circles also reconfirmed that mega-stars could boost good business, or conversely, help the degree of losses go higher. Presenting what is to come in 2019, from the 10 mega- to big-ticket stars. Which way will these films go?
As of now, he will only have his Ali Abbas Zafar-directed home production “Bharat,” featuring Katrina Kaif, Disha Patani and Tabu. A T-Series co-production, it will have music by, after a year in which they went missing, Vishal-Shekhar. And after two bad Eids in 2017 and 2018, Khan is looking at a blockbuster again, simply because the Khan-Zafar combo is the only one besides Aamir Khan and Raju Hirani, to have two films as members in the 300 crore club.
The funny part is that “Housefull 4” is complete but needs so much post-production that it will be Kumar’s last release in 2018 – around Diwali. Directed by Sajid Samji, it stars Bobby Deol, Ritesih Deshmukh, Boman Irani, Chunky Pandey, Rana Daggubati (after Nana Patekar had to #MeToo quit the film!), Kriti Sanon, Kriti Kharbanda and Pooja Hegde. Music is by Sohail Sen.
There is buzz that his title-turn as the ATS (Anti-Terrorist Squad) cop “Sooryavanshi” will also come this year, marking a beginning with director Rohit Shetty, a prelude to which was seen at the end of “Simmba.” With both Kumar and Shetty known to wrap up films fast, this one might make it before “Housefull 4,” or might grab Christmas 2019 again. Shetty and Karan Johar co-produce the film.
Before that, the most consistent performer at the box-office in recent times (his last flop was 11 films ago – “Brothers” in 2015) has two more films coming up, both home productions: “Kesari” featuring Parineeti Chopra, a historical on the 1897 Battle of Saragarhi with Kumar as Havaldar Ishar Singh, directed by Anurag Singh, and the R. Balki co-production “Mission Mangal” on India’s first space mission to Mars, featuring Vidya Balan, Sonakshi Sinha, Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulkari and Nithya Menen besides Kumar and Sharman Joshi. Jagan Shakti directs.
Karan Johar, who is backing “Kesari” as well as “Sooryavanshi” is also the producer of “Good News” featuring Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kiara Advani and Diljit Dosanjh. If released, this year will mark a record five films for the superstar.
Ajay opens his score with “Total Dhamaal” featuring Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit Nene, Esha Gupta and the entire “Dhamaal” gang of Riteish Deshmukh, Arshad Warsi, Aashish Chowdhry and Jaaved Jafferi. The film releases Feb. 22 and is director Indra Kumar’s third film in the comic franchise.
Ajay is also set to release his rom-com, “De De Pyar De” director by well-known editor Akiv Ali. The film stars Tabu, yet again non-romantically with Devgn after “Drishyam” and “Golmaal Again.” Rakul Preet Singh is his leading lady.
With any luck, even his home production “Taanaaji: The Great Warrior” will make it. The film is directed by successful Marathi film director Om Raut and will co-star Kajol as Taanaaji’s wife. Devgn, of course, plays Taanaaji Malusare, the hero of the battle of Sinhagad. And Saif Ali Khan is the antagonist – this will be his only film this year.
“Gully Boy” is up for release in February and the Zoya Akhtar-Singh reunion is exciting for its true Mumbai rappers story of Divine and Naezy, and hot because Alia Bhatt and especially Singh have had an exceptional 2018. A potential highlight is Singh rapping himself.
After a prolonged absence – his last film was “Kaabil” in January 2017 – Hrithik Roshan is back with “Super 30,” the biopic on Maths wizard Anand Kumar and the controversial accusations on him. The film too had its share of controversies – it is the last film of the notorious and now-dissolved Phantom Films and has been completed after its director Vikas Bahl was sacked following the #MeToo controversy. Sajid Nadiadwala as co-producer has made the project safe. Mrunal Thakur is the leading lady.
No feature film, as of now, will star or be made by Aamir Khan in 2019.
Shah Rukh Khan
Shah Rukh Khan has reportedly brought forward the shoot of “Salute,” his biopic on astronaut Rakesh Sharma after the “Zero” calamity. The Ronnie Screwvala co-production with Siddharth Roy Kapur is directed by Mahesh Mathai, who, however, has no track-record of significance, who last directed the fiasco “Bhopal Express” with Zeenat Aman two decades back. The film is also a space drama.
Varun Dhawan’s Abhishek Verman-directed multi-star “Kalank” might make it, despite the presence of Sanjay Dutt, Madhuri Dixit Nene, Alia Bhatt, Sonakshi Sinha and Aditya Roy Kapur. Produced by Karan Johar and Sajid Nadiadwala, the film marks the return of composer Pritam after going missing in 2018. It is a Partition drama originally conceived, it is said, by Karan’s father, the late Yash Johar.
Ranbir Kapoor will make it in 2019 only if his friend, Ayan Mukerji, finishes work on his lavish Karan Johar co-production “Brahmastra” co-starring Alia Bhatt, Amitabh Bachchan and Mouni Roy. Pritam scores music again.
If not a superstar, John Abraham has proved his star-who-matters credentials in the last year and will be seen in two films, “RAW (Romeo Akbar Walter)” and “Batla House.” The former, directed by Robbie Grewal, is shot in 80 locations and has Abraham sporting 18 looks. It is an espionage thriller inspired by a real story.
“Batla House” is directed and co-produced by Nikkhil Advani and is about the 2008 Parliament attack and the encounter that followed. Mouni Roy and Jackie Shroff star in the former and Mrunal Thakur and Nora Fatehi feature in the latter.
Tiger Shroff will be back, with Ananya Pandey and Tara Sutaria as his latest newbie leads in Karan Johar’s sequel to “Student Of The Year.” Punit Malhotra directs this youthful college romance.