As we get ready to welcome 2022, here’s a bouquet of films that should be on your must-watch list this coming new year…
By Rodrigues C
AS FAR AS NUMBERS are concerned 2021 is something that Indian filmmakers would rather forget. Covid almost killed the industry, whether its Bollywood or films from South Indian states such as Kerala (Malayalam), Tamil Nadu (Tamil), Karnataka (Kannada) or Andhra Pradesh and Telangana (Telugu).
Right now, as the Omicron variant increases substantially in the West, India is seeing a relative calm. There have been just about 800 cases so far and it has given hope to a film industry, which is still very much in recovery mode.
The way ahead, 2022, looks promising for filmdom, unless and until there are unexpected hiccups. For avid film buffs, this will be a celebration of sorts. There’s a lot on offer. Here’s a lowdown of what’s in store; the biggest, the best and the starriest across the length and breadth of India all through 2022.
RRR (January 7)
This Jr NTR, Ram Charan, Ajay Devgn and Alia Bhatt period action drama is directed by SS Rajamouli. More on this in our full feature set to appear here on January 6.
Radhe Shyam (January 14)
Directed by Radha Krishna Kumar, this multi-lingual sci-fi drama features Prabhas and Pooja Hegde. Set in Europe in the 1970s, the film is the love story of Vikramaditya played by Prabhas and Hegde’s character Perna. The trailer of the film, which has garnered 74 million hits so far, was released on December 23 in Hyderabad. More than 40,000 fans attended the event – there is a short report on in our regular Bollywood column here.
Gangubai Kathiawadi (February 18)
The biographical drama is adapted from one of the chapters in S Hussain Zaidi’s book ‘Mafia Queens Of Mumbai’. Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the drama features Alia Bhatt with cameos by Ajay Devgn and Huma Qureshi. The film, which will premiere at the Berlin Film Festival (February 10-20), was recently embroiled in a criminal defamation case. It has been stayed by the court in India currently.
KGF: Chapter 2 (April 14)
The title, ‘KGF: Chapter 1’ (KGF stands for Kolar Gold Fields) turned out to be an unexpected sleeper hit. Three years later, its multi-language releases, and TV and digital premieres have made the sequel one of the most anticipated film of 2022. In fact, its teaser hit 232 million views on Youtube, which is on a par with the biggest Hollywood blockbusters. The official trailer is scheduled for January 8, which is also the birthday of Yash, the film’s lead. The gangster drama also stars Sanjay Dutt, playing the antagonist Adheera and Raveena Tandon, as the Prime Minister of India, Ramika Sen, thereby giving it a pan-India appeal. Its directed by Prashanth Neel.
Laal Singh Chaddha (April 14)
Shot for more than six months in about 100 locations, Aamir Khan’s official remake of ‘Forrest Gump’ is going to give competition to ‘KGF: Chapter 2’ at the box office. The film also stars Kareena Kapoor Khan, who will be seen with Khan for the third time after ‘3 Idiots’ (2009) and ‘Talaash’ (2012). Advait Chandan, who directed Khan in ‘Secret Superstar’, has helmed Laal Singh Chaddha. The screenplay is by actor Atul Kulkarni and Eric Roth, who had adapted the 1986 Winston Groom novel ‘Forrest Gump’ for the Tom Hanks movie.
Heropanti 2 (April 29)
This Tiger Shroff action flick will have an Eid release. In India, festivals are reserved for big names in Bollywood but it seems like change is on the cards. If all goes as planned, Shroff will become the youngest actor to have an Eid release. Directed by Ahmed Khan, this movie also features Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Tara Sutaria.
Adipurush (August 11)
The mythological adventure will see superstar actor Prabhas playing Lord Rama and Kriti Sanon in the character of Sita. Saif Ali Khan is the antagonist Ravana. Sunny Singh plays Lakshman. Based on ‘The Ramayana’, the Om Raut directorial recently completed its shoot in a record 103 days. Shot in Hindi and Telugu, it will be released in Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada as well. Another milestone for the film has been Prabhas’s fee, a cool £15 million, the highest among Indian stars.
Brahmastra (September 9)
This Ayan Mukerji mythological fantasy adventure has been in the making since a decade. Born with special powers, Ranbir Kapoor stars as Shiva in the film, while Amitabh Bachchan essays the role of his guru. Mouni Roy is the antagonist. Alia Bhatt and Nagarjuna add to the star power in the first of this planned trilogy. The Karan Johar production will be presented in South Indian languages by filmmaker SS Rajamouli.
Director Nelson Dilipkumar’s Tamil action flick starring Thalapathy Vijay and Pooja Hegde in the lead has just completed shooting. It’s based on a hostage situation. No release date has been scheduled for this action comedy thriller but going by the reaction to a recent tweet by Vijay, it looks set to be a huge money spinner. The post, which revealed the first look of ‘Beast’, became the most retweeted (1,43,800) and liked (3,47,900) tweet related to Indian cinema in 2021.
This Razneesh Ghai directorial stars Kangana Ranaut in the lead along with Arjun Rampal and Divya Dutta. Initially, Katrina Kaif was offered the lead role but was dropped due to creative differences. Shot in Mumbai, Bhopal and Budapest, the film is about child trafficking and crimes against women. Ranaut plays an officer called Agni.
Ponniyin Selvan: Part-I
Based on Kalki Krishnamurthy’s 1955 fiction novel of the same name, this film by legendary director Mani Ratnam will have a sequel as well.
Set during the rule of the Chola Dynasty (around the period of CE1000 in what was a rule that lasted from around 300BCE to 1279), the epic novel has been adapted for the movie by Ratnam. Writer B Jeyamohan has penned the dialogues for the action adventure. Featuring Vikram and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan among others, the film is being made in Telugu and Tamil. It is currently in the post-production stage. The movie’s music, by AR Rahman, will be launched either in London or Dubai. A major chunk of the film’s £50 million budget is being used to recreate temples built by Arulmozhi Varman, who became Raja Raja Chola I.