Hold your breath for 10 Bollywood films
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
Mumbai, Jan 2 (IANS) Here are 10 films that could set Bollywood ablaze in 2004:
Black: Sanjay Leela Bhansali returns after the glorious "Devdas". This time he moves into totally unexplored territory to examine a passionately emotional bonding between two absolutely incompatible souls played by Amitabh Bachchan and Rani Mukherjee.
The theme together with Bhansali's awesome reputation as Bollywood's most dependable epic maker gives "Black" the cutting edge. This time Bhansali promises entertainment on an entirely unexpected scale and in an untried style.
Chameli: Pritish Nandy Communications flags off the year's basket of drop dead goodies. Under Sudhir Mishra's can't-go-wrong stewardship, Kareena Kapoor dazzles in the title role. She's at once gorgeous and believable, elusive and attainable. Rahul Bose, as the man who shares a night of rain-splashed dialogue with her, is the perfect foil.
Debutant cameraman Aseem Bajaj shoots Kareena in loops of lyrical lusciousness while Sandesh Shandilya's music adds melody. This could well be the first crossover film of the year.
Khakee: Raj Kumar Santoshi's eagerly awaited thriller marks the screenwriting debut of the talented Sridhar Raghavan. In this highly original cops thriller, a group of spunky cops - Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Tusshar Kapoor - transport a hardened criminal (Ajay Devgan) across a rugged territory.
Aishwarya Rai plays the eyewitness who can nail the criminal, provided she doesn't get nailed first. For a spot of seduction there's Lara Dutta's item song "Aisa jadoo daala re".
Yuva: Mani Rathnam's second Hindi film about three friends who go their separate ways only to come together in unexpected ways has a cast to die for.
Ajay Devgan plays an ideologue who dreams of starting a revolution to cleanse our fetid society. Abhishek Bachchan loses his way, while Vivek Oberoi treads the straight and narrow path. Simran, Rani Mukherjee and Kareena Kapoor are their girls. The film looks hotter than most of the releases during the year.
Lakshya: Outwardly Farhan Akhtar's post-debut film looks like a war epic. In reality, it is something else altogether. It's the story of one individual, Hrithik Roshan's search for self-worth, and how it takes him from the status of an aimless civilian to a socially responsible soldier.
Like "Koi...Mil Gaya" in 2003, "Lakshya" promises to make 2004 another year of Hrithik Roshan. Amitabh Bachchan and Preity Zinta will provide interesting support to Roshan's author-backed role.
Yash Chopra's untitled film: Though Bollywood's resident romanticist's new directorial venture is being kept under wraps, information seeping out of the sealed sets suggest an India-Pakistan love story set in the 1980s.
Shah Rukh Khan plays an Indian boy in love with Preity Zinta, a Pakistani girl. Rani Mukherjee is the girl who brings the lovers together. One of the highlights of the film will be composing maestro Madan Mohan's unreleased melodies that have been rejuvenated by his son Sanjeev Kohli.
Main Hoon Na: A Shah Rukh Khan-starrer is a Shah Rukh Khan-starrer. So let's hold our breath for his next home production that is being directed by choreographer Farha Khan.
A 1980s styled drama with passion, emotion and tension, it tells the story of a protective elder brother, Shah Rukh, and his sibling played by Zayed Khan. Shah Rukh teams up with Sushmita Sen for the first time and Suniel Shetty turns villain.
Swades: At long last director Ashutosh Gowariker will go beyond "Lagaan". Not much is known about his new script except that it is a topical drama with very strong emotional resonance.
Shah Rukh plays the main role, while debutante Gayatri Joshi plays the heroine. A.R. Rahman is expected to work the "Lagaan" magic around Gowariker's new film.
Deewar: Let's Bring Our Heroes Home": Producer Gaurang Doshi and director Milan Luthria's film about a group of Indian prisoners of war making their way back home is put together with the crackling tensions inherent in the war genre.
With a dream cast featuring Amitabh Bachchan along with Sanjay Dutt and Akshaye Khanna, this one should an outright winner.
Miyan Maqbool: Music composer Vishal Bharadwaj's film may well be the dark horse of 2004. Adapting Shakespeare's "Macbeth" to the Mumbai underworld, Bharadwaj has assembled a cast that's a connoisseur's delight.
Naseeruddin Shah, Pankaj Kapoor, Om Puri and Irfan Khan blow the screen apart with their intense performances. Tabu plays the heroine.