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Past forward: A look at upcoming period dramas

A number of upcoming Bollywood films, starring top names, are set in bygone periods from SRK's Raees to Ranveer Singh's Bajirao Mastani. We explore the trend.

bollywood Updated: Aug 12, 2014 20:02 IST
Prashant Singh
Prashant Singh
Hindustan Times
Shah Rukh Khan,Rahul Dholakia,Raees

Shah Rukh Khan will be seen in Rahul Dholakia's Raees, a crime drama set in the 1980s, while Hrithik Roshan will travel back to the 2,500 BC for an ambitious project, titled Mohenjo Daro. On the other hand, Ranbir Kapoor will relive the jazz epoch that Bombay experienced in the '60s, in Anurag Kashyap's Bombay Velvet, while Irrfan Khan would be seen playing legendary poet Sahir Ludhianvi in Ashi Dua's Gustaakhiyaan.

If the number of upcoming films - set in the bygone era - is anything to go by, Bollywood seems to be revisiting the past.

Old is gold
"There is always great curiosity about the past, and what better medium than cinema to revisit it?" says trade expert Taran Adarsh.

Ashutosh Gowariker says it was his fascination with the yesteryear romances that prompted him to make a film. "I just love 'love' stories, especially those which are set in different times. And if those times happened to be several centuries ago, then the intensity of that romance grows manifold..." he said in a statement.

Another love story that's set in the past is Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Bajirao Mastani. Salman Khan-starrer Shuddhi, which has an element of reincarnation in the story, also features a portion from the past.

That's not all. Sanjay Gupta's John Abraham-Anil Kapoor starrer Mumbai Saga is a crime saga set in the '80s and '90s.

Rising to the challenge
Making a film set in another time is no mean task. Dibakar Banerjee admits that Detective Byomkesh Bakshy - that is set in 1942 - was the "the toughest film" of his life.

Adds Gupta, "You have to recreate an entirely new world from scratch. And unlike the west, you don't have period prop stores. So we have to do the rounds of Chor Bazaar and old antique shops."

In the act
Most actors say they find such films inspiring. "The characterisation for Bajirao Mastani is going to be very distinct. I will be going bald, and learning horse-riding, sword fighting and the Marathi language." Ayushmann Khurrana, whose Hawaizaada is set in 1890s while another one, Dum Laga Ke Haisha, is based in the 1990s, says, "This is the first time I am stepping out of my comfort zone." He will also be seen alongside John in Shoojit Sircar's period film, titled 1911.

First Published: Aug 12, 2014 19:14 IST