PONNIYIN SELVAN 1
The first part of the mega-budget Tamil-language historical fiction epic, Ponniyin Selvan, directed and co-written by Mani Ratnam, is one of the most Indian anticipated films of the year. It is based on a 1955 novel by Kalki Krishnamurthy. The story is set in the 9th century AD and revolves around the early years of the life of the Chola Prince who went to become Emperor Raja Raja Chola. Apart from Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in a dual role, Karthi, Jayam Ravi (as the titular character), Vikram, Trisha Krishnan, Sobhita Dhulipala and Aishwarya Lekshmi comprise the principal cast of Ponniyin Selvan 1.
The long in the making Pathan marks Shahrukh Khan’s return to the big screen after a four-year hiatus. The Bollywood superstar was last seen in 2018’s Zero, a film that underperformed at the box office. The upcoming SRK starrer is an out-and-out action thriller helmed by Siddharth Anand and produced by Yash Raj Films’ Aditya Chopra. The Pathan cast includes Deepika Padukone and John Abraham. The film also has Salman Khan in a cameo. The film’s lead actor is known to have undergone a physical transformation for the character somewhat in the manner that he did for Farah Khan’s Om Shanti On 15 years ago.
In Dobaaraa, Anurag Kashyap, working with a screenplay by Nihit Bhave (Choked), attempts an Indianised reworking of the 2018 Spanish psychological thriller Mirage. The film reunites him with Taapsee Pannu – the two worked together in Manmarziyaan. The actress plays a woman who, in the course of an electric storm in which the space-time continuum snaps, finds herself able to communicate through an old television set with a 12-year-old boy whose life was cut short many years ago. She attempts to change the course of events that led to the youngster’s death. Interestingly, the maker of Mirage, Oriol Paulo, was also the director of The Invisible Guest, which was turned by Sujoy Ghosh into the 2019 Amitabh Bachchan-Taapsee Pannu mystery drama Badla.
Billed as Kamal Haasan’s 232nd movie, Vikram, written and directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj (whose Master released early last year), is backed by the Tamil megastar’s own production banner. The action thriller also features Vijay Sethupathi and Fahadh Faasil (in his third Tamil film) in stellar roles. Scheduled for release on March 31, 2022, the buzz around the film centres as much on the star cast as the de-aging technology that has reportedly been used a aa Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman for flashback sequences involving Kamal Haasan. Details about the plot is under wraps, but it is speculated that Kamal Haasan plays a police officer in the film to Fahadh Faasil’s politician. No matter what, Vikram promises to be a film worth waiting for.
Manoj Bajpayee’s fans are in for a treat. Despatch, Kanu Behl’s sophomore directorial venture. Behl’s debut film Titli had its world premiere in Cannes in 2014. Set in Mumbai, Despatch revolves around a veteran crime journalist struggling to stay relevant in the age of digital news. Desperate for a scoop, he wades into a murky universe that he isn’t wholly unaware of. Written by the director in collaboration with Ishani Banerjee (co-writer of Aligarh), Despatch has Shahana Goswami, Rii Sen and Hansa Singh in key roles.
A Tamil-language crime thriller written and directed by Vetrimaaran, Viduthalai has comedian Soori and the explosively talented Vijay Sethupathi teaming up on the screen in the roles of the protagonist and his mentor. Based on a story by Jayamohan, the film has been shot in the dense forests in and around the Sathyamangalam tiger reserve. Viduthalai has Bhavani Sre, actor and music composer G.V. Prakash Kumar’s sister, as the female lead. From the looks of it, the film promises to be a hard-hitting thriller made in Vetrimaaran’s take-no-prisoners style.
Adapted from adman-novelist Anees Salim’s book The Small-Town Sea by veteran writer-director Shyamaprasad, Kasiminte Kadal (Kasim’s Sea) is a disarmingly simple but achingly beautiful tale of an 11-year-old boy (played by Tashi Shamdat) growing up in a small beachside town in Kerala and learning to come to terms with loss. The Malayalam film tempers a melancholic tone with the life-affirming innocence of childhood. The boy’s loneliness is a key element in the film, but it is his ability to find joy in the little things in life that gives the film its uplifting quality. Kasiminte Kadal will probably bypass a theatrical release and land on a streaming platform. It is one film
Anek, an action thriller extensively filmed on location in Northeast India, is actor Ayushmann Khurrana’s second collaboration with director Anubhav Sinha. The two had delivered the critically acclaimed Article 15 in 2019. Not much is known about the plot of the film or the character that Khurrana plays in it. The actor, in a tweet to announce the end of the shoot, described the theme as “an untouched subject” and the film as “very important new age cinema”. Anek is expected to hit the screen in the second half of 2o22.
Meghna Gulzar’s upcoming film is a Sam Manekshaw biopic with Vicky Kaushal playing the role of the Indian Army chief who led India to victory in the 1971 war. The military triumph led to the creation of Bangladesh 50 years ago. Titled Sam Bahadur, the film has been scripted by the director and Bhavani Iyer. The venture is bankrolled by Ronnie Screwvala’s RSVP. It is expected to be as much a war film as a character study of a legendary general whose heroism is part of Indian military folklore. Besides Kaushal, the cast of Sam Bahadur has Sanya Malhotra and Fatima Sana Shaikh.
Seasoned cinematographer-director Venu has assembled an impressive cast – Prithviraj Sukumuran, Manju Warrier, Asif Ali and Anna Ben – for the upcoming thriller set in the capital city of Kerala. Adapted from a story by journalist-novelist-filmmaker GR Indugopan (Shankhumukhi), Kaapa is about gangs engaged in violent clashes for the control of the Thiruvananthapuram underworld. The screenplay has been authored by Indugopan himself. Kaapa represents the first time that Prithviraj Sukumuran and Manju Warriet will be seen together in a full-length film.