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Posted at: Jan 7, 2018, 1:34 AM; last updated: Jan 7, 2018, 1:34 AM (IST)

Small and sensible to hold sway

Here’s a peep at some upcoming offbeat films that are likely to strike a chord in the new year

Saibal Chatterjee

The year just gone by saw numerous Bollywood tent-poles collapse in a heap. But small, independent, offbeat films like Mukti Bhawan and Newton struck a chord. As did unconventional mainstream offerings such as Hindi Medium, Bareilly Ki Barfi, Shubh Mangal Savdhaan and Tumhari Sulu. It looks more than likely that small, offbeat and sensible cinema will once again click with the audience if the following 10 films deliver on their promise.


Actor-turned-director Nandita Das’ sophomore effort will be the Hindi film to watch in 2018. It has the versatile Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the role of the iconic and controversial chronicler of Partition. It promises to be a powerful document of, and a tribute to the life of a pugnacious writer, who pulled no punches in berating religious hate and political myopia. Manto, currently in post-production, also has the talented Rasika Dugal portraying Manto’s wife.


Coming off the critical and commercial success of Talvar, Meghna Gulzar is ready with this intriguing period espionage drama, her fourth feature film. Raazi, one of the most anticipated titles of 2018, is a screen adaptation of former Indian Navy officer Harinder S. Sikka’s novel Calling Sehmat. It is an account of the real-life adventures of a Kashmiri Muslim girl who, during the 1971 War, married a Pakistani in order to spy for India. Alia Bhatt plays the female lead in a cast that includes Vicky Kaushal (Masaan, Zubaan).

Gully Boy

This Zoya Akhtar-directed film hasn’t gone on the floors yet, but it is already creating a buzz. Being bankrolled by Excel Entertainment, Gully Boy will see Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt team up on the screen in a drama set in Mumbai’s underground hip-hop scene. It is about a boy (played by the mercurial Ranveer) who rises from the slums to become a rapper, ready to take on the world. Alia Bhatt will be the icing on this appetising cake. 

Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi

Manikarnika promises to be the biggest film of Kangana Ranaut’s career. This is a biographical epic that centres on Rani Laxmibai’s war against the British Empire during the First War of Independence 1857 rebellion. Directed by Krish Jagarlamudi, the film is set for an end-April release. The cast includes Sonu Sood, Atul Kulkarni and Ankita Lokhande.


Sudhir Mishra’s much-anticipated Daasdev is a revisionist take on the Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay classic that has spawned umpteen screen adaptations over the decades. Daasdev is a political drama that unfolds in Uttar Pradesh. The film has Rahul Bhat in the role of Devdas, with Richa Chadha and Aditi Rao Hydari playing characters modelled on Paro and Chandramukhi. The film has finally got a release date — February 16. We can barely wait. 

Chanda Mama Door Ke

Among the most ambitious Hindi films being readied for release in 2018 is the sci-fi space fantasy Chanda Mama Door Ke, directed by Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan. In the film’s fictionalised story, which draws inspiration from India’s official space programme, an Indian makes a trip to the moon. The new film is top-lined by Sushant Singh Rajput in the role of a path-breaking astronaut. Chanda Mama Door Ke also stars R. Madhavan, Shraddha Kapoor and Bhumi Pednekar.


Directed by Shaad Ali, Soorma is a biopic about former India hockey captain Sandeep Singh (played by singer actor Diljit Dosanjh), who survived a gunshot and two years in a wheelchair to return to international action and lead India to the 2012 London Olympics. The film, produced by actress Chitrangda Singh, also has Taapsee Pannu and Angad Bedi in key roles. The release of Soorma is scheduled for June end.


Directed by ad filmmaker Pushpendra Misra, Ghoomketu has been in the making for a while. It is a comedy about a writer who travels to Mumbai from Lucknow to find a foothold in films. The film stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Anurag Kashyap, Richa Chadha and Ragini Khanna. 


Anushka Sharma’s third production after NH 10 and Phillauri, Pari is directed by first-timer Prosit Roy. It stars Bengali actor Parambrata Chatterjee (Kahaani) opposite the actress. From early indications provided by the first look of the film, Anushka plays a victim of domestic abuse. Pari is expected to carry forward the actress-producer’s penchant for addressing social issues in entertaining ways.


Reema Kagti’s Gold is an Akshay Kumar-starrer in which a glittering piece of Indian sporting history will receive a welcome cinematic treatment. The film, to be released on August 15, has the actor essaying the role of the legendary hockey player Balbir Singh Sr., who was an integral part of the team that won India its first Olympic Gold medal in 1948. 


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