A number of films are lined up for release this year, but among those that are most eagerly anticipated are the comeback films of eight directors who haven’t had releases in the last couple of years.
R Balki’s Shamitabh and Sriram Raghavan’s Badlapur will hit screens first. Dibakar Banerjee’s Detective Byomkesh Bakshy, Anees Bazmee’s Welcome Back, Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Do and Sooraj Barjatya’s Prem Ratan Dhan Payo are all on the cards, along with Rahul Dholakia’s Raees, and two films for Kabir Khan — Phantom, and later, Bajrangi Bhaijaan.
A poster of Zoya Ahktar's (right) next.
Excited by the line-up, trade experts say they have high expectations from these films. "Sooraj definitely comes to mind first; he is the man who gave us Salman Khan, and made two of his biggest blockbusters. With them teaming up after 16 years, their collaboration is the most awaited movie of the year," says trade analyst Atul Mohan.
Trade expert Amod Mehra has a similar take. He says, "I would pick Sooraj’s film in terms of the expected revenue, but in terms of entertainment and content, Kabir’s films are my pick, because there’s always an underlying message, along with plenty of suspense and action in them. Zoya and Dibakar’s latest films are also eagerly awaited."
From left to right: R Balki; Dhanush and Amitabh in a still from Shamitabh
For Mohan, Balki’s next will also be interesting. "We have a great storyteller among us, and he is repeatedly raising the bar. Balki working on a script for years means it is a film to look forward to," he says.
Bazmee, whose comeback film is a sequel to his 2007 hit, Welcome, says, "I’ve been getting good feedback from my cast and technicians. It feels special to have a new release."
Dibakar adds, "I didn’t even notice its been that long. I haven’t been able to breathe, given the extensive research we have done in the last two years."