Comeback of comedy

Going by the lessons Bollywood has learnt from the previous season, Jyothi Venkatesh looks at what is in store during 2011

Salman Khan-starrer Ready will offer action and comedy like never before
Salman Khan-starrer Ready will offer action and comedy like never before
Turning 30 is a woman-centric film, in which Gul Panag plays the protagonist
Turning 30
is a woman-centric film, in which Gul Panag plays the protagonist
Dum Maro Dum will see the return of director Rohan Sippy with Abhishek
Dum Maro Dum
will see the return of director Rohan Sippy with Abhishek
Dhobi Ghat marks the debut of Kiran Rao not only as a writer but also as a director
Dhobi Ghat
marks the debut of Kiran Rao not only as a writer but also as a director

With serious films getting a beating in 2010, the trend for 2011 is to go in for comedies. Last year, though Golmaal 3 took a tremendous opening, Anil Kapoor's No Problem proved to be a dismal failure. Ajay Devgn has, in fact, cancelled his dates to favourite filmmakers Rajkumar Santoshi and Prakash Jha for Power and Aaarakshan, respectively, because he has allotted the dates to his current blue-eyed director Rohit Shetty for his next laugh riot, Bol Bachan, starring Ajay and Abhishek Bachchan.

It is indeed a tragedy that panic has set into Bollywood and money, unfortunately, has taken a priority over creativity and even common sense, because every producer is now desperate to see that his film at least recovers the investment, forget about profits.

Though Wanted had clicked in a big way earlier, not many seem to be opting for remakes of Tamil hits. While Rohit Shetty is all set to make the Hindi remake of Singhum (Tamil), Anees Bazmee is remaking Telugu hit Ready in Hindi with Salman Khan. Though small films like Udaan and Tere Bin Laden, besides Payback, were appreciated, no one is ready to back them and the corporates continue to back stars by turning a blind eye to content even though flicks with big names, such as Action Replayy, Raavan, Kites, Khatta Meetha and Aakrosh, had tanked at the box office. 

The year 2011 will see at least intelligent decisions by corporates and producers. Ekta has said no to paying Akshay Kumar a staggering Rs 27 crore to play the role of Dawood Ebrahim in her sequel to Once Upon A Time. With Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Akshay Kumar, Hrithik Roshan, Ajay Devgn, John Abraham and Zayed Khan all taking to film production in a big way, the real producers are now hard pressed to make a movie, with the stars asking for a share in the profits if they want to cast them.

 As Arjun Hingorani, who had introduced Dharmendra in Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere 50 years ago, puts it, "The need of the hour today is to discover new talent like I did with Dharmendra. Believe it or not, I had paid Dharmendra just Rs 300 per month throughout the making of my film. I just cannot understand how the producers today can make money if they siphon off a large sum of profits to the stars!"

Coming to the releases lined up for 2011, the general belief is that any Hindi film, which sees the light of the day in the first week of the New Year, does not do well at the box office. Yet, the producers of No One Killed Jessica decided to go ahead and tried their luck by releasing their film in the first week, on January 7.

In the next release, Yamla Pagla Deewaana, the three Deols — Dharmendra, Sunny and Bobby — come together for the first time on the big screen, with the sprightly and petite Kulraaj, earlier seen in popular Hindi TV serial Kareena Kareena, as the leading lady.

Turning 30, produced by Prakash Jha and directed by Alankrita Srivastav, is a woman- centric film, which deals with the trials and tribulations a young girl has to face when she turns 30. Gul Panag plays the protagonist, with Purab Kohli as the male lead.

The next film, Aamir Khan-starrer Dhobi Ghat is the quiet and stirring story of four disparate characters, who slip away from the comforts of familiar moorings and are inexorably drawn into compelling relationships.

Patiala House, which will release on February 11, coinciding with Valentine’s week, will have Akshay Kumar play a cricketer, a bowler, to be precise. In fact, Akshay Kumar took his role as a cricketer in Patiala House so seriously that he trained rigorously under the former Test bowler Paras Mhambrey even before the shooting for the film had started. Patiala House has an eclectic cast, that boasts of a huge household.  Besides Akshay Kumar and Anushka Sharma, the film has Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, Hard Kaur and Soni Razdan. Directed by Nikhil Advani, the film is about a family that is still ruled by an autocratic and stubborn patriarch (Rishi Kapoor), and has all three generations living together.

Vishal Bhardwaj’s next film will be Saat Khoon Maaf, where Priyanka plays the protagonist, who has seven husbands. The film, based on the Ruskin Bond book, Susanna's Seven Husbands, features Neil Nitin Mukesh as the youngest husband. The other male leads are Naseeruddin Shah, John Abraham, Irrfan Khan, Annu Kapoor and Naseeruddin Shah's youngest son Vivaan Shah in the roles of the other six husbands, with Russian actor Aleksandr Dyachenko playing the part of the seventh husband. It is quite interesting to note that in Saat Khoon Maaf, set for release on February 18, Priyanka will be seen playing a negative character once again after Aitraaz (2004) and Yakeen (2005).

Dum Maro Dum marks the coming back of director Rohan Sippy with Abhishek Bachchan after the superhit Bluff Master. Releasing on April 22, the film, also starring Bipasha Basu and Rana Daggubatti, has Abhishek cast as a narcotics cop. The film, set in Goa, is an edgy, coming-of-age cop caper, with Goa playing a full-fledged character, and has a lot of thriller elements thrown in.

Aamir Khan will again woo the audiences with Delhi Belly, set in Delhi, this summer.

Saif and Kareena will sizzle in Saif’s production, spy film Agent Vinod, set for release in May. The action-thriller film directed by Sriram Raghavan, is not a remake of the 1977 action film Agent Vinod. The film is being talked about for its big budget and the red-hot sizzling real-life jodi of Saif and Kareena.

Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara, starring Hrithik Roshan, Katrina Kaif, Abhay Deol, Farhan Akhtar, Kalki Koechlin and Naseeruddin Shah is an eagerly awaited release. The film produced by Farhan’s Excel Entertainment, is set for release in June.

Ranbir Kapoor will be seen as a singer in Imtiaz Ali’s Rockstar, set for release in July. Ranbir's character is a little inspired by American singer Jim Morrison, considered one of the most charismatic front men in rock music history.

Reliance Big Pictures has three big releases of next year — Double Dhamaal, Don 2, Bodyguard and the Hindi remake of Tamil hit Singum with Rohit Shetty and Ajay Devgn. Releasing this summer, laugh riot Double Dhamaal, directed by Inder Kumar, stars Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi, Riteish Deshmukh, Javed Jaffrey, Ashish Chowdhary, Mallika Sherawat and Kangana Ranaut.

Farhan Akhtar’s Don with Shah Rukh Khan will have a sequel in 2011.

Ferrari Ki Sawaari starring Sharman Joshi and directed by first-time director Rajesh Mapuskar, who is Rajkumar Hirani’s protégé, stars Sharman and Boman Irani in key roles. It is Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s next production after 3 Idiots.

The film goes on the floors in March and releases later next year, while Aamir’s next (untitled) film directed by Reema Kagti (of Honey Moon Travels fame) marks the coming together of the Dil Chahta Hai team, with Aamir Khan, Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Siddhwani and also stars Kareena Kapoor and Rani Mukherjee. The film is a suspense thriller and one of the most awaited films of 2011. It goes on the floors in February and releases the same year.

Clash of the Khans

Salman Khan

‘Dabangg’ Khan’s big flick for 2011 is Ready, set to release on May 27. Currently being shot in Mumbai, Ready from the house of T-Series, starring Salman Khan and Asin, is already creating a stir in the industry circles much before its release. After breaking all box-office records with his last film Dabangg, Salman will be back at his comic best in Ready, directed by Anees Bazmee of the Singh is Kinng and Welcome fame.

Ready also reunites Salman Khan and Bhushan Kumar. Says Kumar, “The schedule of Ready is moving smoothly and it's been great fun working with Salman.

Salman Khan
Salman Khan

It's overwhelming to see his commitment towards the movie. He is a thorough professional and always there with interesting inputs. I was looking for a script which had everything and I found that in Ready. The film has lots of humour, two-three action sequences, which Salman fans will love, and plenty of drama. In short, it's a total masala entertainer with a proper storyline and screenplay," adds Kumar.

Shah Rukh Khan

King Khan will be seen as a superhero in Ra.One, set for release in June. The film, produced by Shah Rukh’s production company Red Chillies, has been directed by Anubhav Sinha. SRK will be seen opposite Kareena. SRK plays a superhero, a la Rajnikant in Robot. SRK will return in Don-2 on December 23, with Priyanka Chopra, Lara Dutta, Kunal Kapoor and Boman Irani.

Shah Rukh Khan. Photo: AFP

Shah Rukh Khan

Aamir Khan

Aamir Khan’s first New Year release will be wife Kiran Rao’s Dhobi Ghat, in which he will essay the role of a painter called Arun, who lives and works in a tiny studio-apartment in a noisy and congested neighbourhood of aamchi Mumbai. The film is set for release on January 21. This weekend is extremely special for Aamir, as it was on this day that Rang De Basanti was also released.

Aamir will again woo the audiences with Delhi Belly, which is set in Delhi, this summer. The film stars Imran Khan, Vir Das, Kunal Roy Kapur and Shehnaz Treasurywala and has been done by first-time director Abhinay Deo. It is Aamir Khan Productions’ first English film. Incidentally, Aamir had launched Imran in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. Aamir will also star in a yet-untitled film directed by Reema Kagti.

Photo: PTI