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Bollywood gears up for summer blockbusters

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS

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During the simmering months of April and May, Bollywood will unleash some of the biggest films of the year.

Let's take a look:

A. "Masti": Vivek Oberoi makes a comeback with this zany situational comedy about four guys - Ajay Devgan, Aftab Shivdasani, Ritesh Deshmukh and Vivek - confronted with the temptation of extra-marital affairs.

The comedy is director Indra Kumar's first since the hit "Ishq" (also featuring Ajay). Ever since he has only had flops to his discredit. Will "Masti" change his fortunes? He has certainly changed his ways.

All the actors were made to attend a workshop before shooting. Besides the bevy of bantering boys there's oomph provided by Lara Dutta. Expected April 9.

B. "Run": Will it run? The jokes about Abhishek Bachchan's first solo action film are running wild. But producer Boney Kapoor is pretty gung-ho about this straight-from-the-hip action film about a small-town boy in the big city who takes on his beloved's boorish brother's brute force. Bachchan junior and Mahesh Manjrekar play the main roles.

Bhoomika Chawla of "Tere Naam" fame plays the girl whom both the guys love to death. It was a huge hit in Tamil with Madhavan and Atul Kulkarni doing the two main roles. Its highlights are the action scenes, specially one confrontation in a subway, which is heart-stopping. It might bring Abhishek the stardom he awaits. Expected April 23.

C. "Main Hoon Na": Thanks to Shah Rukh Khan's awesome stardom the music by Anu Malik is a bestseller all right. No one doubts about its box-office feasibility. But will "Main Hoon Na" be as big as Shah Rukh's "Devdas" or "Kal Ho Na Ho", or even bigger?

This massy entertainer directed by choreographer Farha Khan is a 1980s styled masala dossier about a protective brother and his bratty sibling Zayed Khan. The highlights include Shah Rukh's first-time pairing with Sushmita Sen and Suniel Shetty as the villain. Of course, Shah Rukh will take care of the rest. Expected on May 7 or 14.

D. "Aan: Men At Work": After "Khakee", this is the first big cops film of 2004 featuring Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty and Shatrughan Sinha who returns after a long time. Raveena Tandon in her first post-marriage release is cast as a gangster.

Producer Feroz Nadiadwala, known for his hi-tech actioners with Akshay Kumar, has spared no expenses to ensure a sleek look for the film. Director Madhur Bhandarkar goes from the low-budget female-centric "Chandni Baar" and "Satta" to this guys-and-guns tale with a vengeance. Expected May 21.

E. "Yuva": Undoubtedly the biggest film of the summer season, "Yuva" is ace-director Mani Ratnam's latest foray into Hindi cinema. Though Mani Ratnam's "Dil Se" bombed, expectations surrounding "Yuva" are huge.

The film delineating the lives of three friends, played by Ajay Devgan, Abhishek Bachchan and Vivek Oberoi has the most interesting ensemble cast of 2004. Besides the rugged triumvirate, Kareena Kapoor, Rani Mukherjee and Esha Deol lend weighty glamour to what promises to be one of the most powerful movie experiences of the year.

And let's not forget the special magic of the Mani Ratnam-A.R. Rahman combination that made "Roja", "Bombay", "Alai Payuthe" and "Kannattil Mutammittal" such powerful and dramatic expositions of our times. Expected May 21.

F. "Deewaar: Let's Bring Our Heroes Home": Producer Gaurang Doshi's full-blast action film features the mighty Amitabh Bachchan with the awesome-in-his-own-right Sanjay Dutt together again after "Kaante". The duo plays prisoners of war trying to make their slushy way from Pakistan to India. Akshaye Khanna is the soldier who helps bring them back home.

Like most of the summer biggies this one is a full-throttle macho show, with the focus on bunched fists, clenched jaws and booming guns. Director Milan Luthria who earlier made the fist-friendly "Kachche Dhaage" and writer Shriram Raghavan who wrote the recent "Khakee" hope to bring the heroes home. Double quick.


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