This time next week, the new year’s releases will start rolling... not strictly next week, since the first Friday of the year is considered jinxed, but after that, January has a lot to look forward to.
Coming up first is Anurag Kashyap’s 'Mukkabaaz', which has been screened at film festivals and been duly acclaimed. Vineet Kumar Singh, who plays the boxer of the title, reportedly trained in boxing to play the part and this might just be his big ticket into Bollywood. (Kashyap’s films made stars out of Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Richa Chadda).
Saif Ali Khan heads the ensemble cast of Akshat Verma’s 'Kaalakaandi', as a man who hasn’t got long to live, so decides to enjoy his life and things go topsy turvy. After 'Rangoon' and 'Chef', Khan needs a hit and this black comedy might just be it.
Neeraj Pandey’s 'Aiyaari', starring Manoj Bajpayee and Siddharth Malhotra comes with good vibes following the much-appreciated promo; the 'MS Dhoni : The Untold Story' director is back to action ('Baby') at which he excels.
R. Balki’s 'Pad Man', starring Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor and Radhika Apte is based on Twinkle Khanna’s story, which in turn was based on the life of Arunachalam Muruganatham, the man who made low cost sanitary napkins. After the Swachh Bharat campaign of his Akshay Kumar’s last film 'Toilet Ek Prem Katha', this one talks of the taboo topic of menstrual hygiene.
Vikram Bhatt makes another horror film '1921', starring Zarine Khan and Karan Kundra – the fourth in his '1920' series – sticking to his now favourite genre.
The first month of the year also has some indie films. Samir Soni directs 'My Birthday Song' with Sanjay Suri and Nora Fatehi. There’s a thriller titled 'Vodka Diaries', directed by Kushal Srivastava, with Kay Kay Menon playing a cop, solving murders in Manali. Films like 'Kabaddi', 'Medal', 'Nirdosh', 'Downup The Exit 796' and 'Union Leader' are also lined up for release.
Hopefully, things have quieted down on the 'Padmavati' front, and Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s beleaguered Deepika Padukone-Shahid Kapoor-Ranveer Singh starrer will finally reach the audiences, without any new group jumping in with offended feelings.
Other films that might brighten the first quarter of 2018 – 'Chanda Mama Door Ke', 'Pari', 'Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety', 'Daas Dev', '3 Storeys', 'Hichki', 'Parmanu: The Story Of Pokhran', 'Love Sonia', 'Drive', 'Hate Story 4', 'Raid' and the Sanjay Dutt biopic.