Following the disappointing showing of Acid Factory last weekend, Bollywood is on the top of its form this Diwali weekend with three big releases. The underwater epic Blue with Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Dutt, Lara Dutta and Zayed Khan – not to mention guest appearances from Katrina Kaif and Kylie Minogue – certainly looks the pick of the bunch. However, Salman Khan on a roll from Wanted looks set to put up a fair challenge in Main aurr Mrs Khanna, especially as it also stars Kareena Kapoor. Sanjay Dutt pops up again in All The Best, which could be the dark horse of the weekend as it also stars Ajay Devgan, who knows how to do comedy – and bags of eye candy in Bipasha Basu and Mughda Godse.
Down South, one of the big contenders in Kollywood and Tollywood should be Namitha’s big budget Jaganmohini, a family fun-filled entertainment of myth, magic and spooky comedy. However, in one of those frustrating court battles that so often damages southern cinema, its release could be delayed over a copyright claim, destroying what should have been a box-office bonanza. Other Kollywood films include Jayan Ravi’s Peran Mai which has Jayan Ravi in action hero mode as a tribal eco-warrior determined to protect his forest. The film includes new girls Dhansika and Maha. Aadhavan sees soon-to-be-in-Bollywood Suriya playing an anti-hero in an action adventure directed by Stalin and also starring the superstar Nayanthara. Suriya denies his film is in a Diwali competition, however. “I’m not competing with Namitha or anybody else” he says, “Every film-maker makes movies hoping to strike gold at the BO. I wish them the best too. As for Aadhavan, it’s a big-budget film, so yes, we want it to be screened in good theatres.”
In Mollywood, the latest Mammootty release will be Pazhassi Raja, showcasing the superstar’s talents and with the blessing of the Kerala government which has halved the entertainment tax for the movie. Putrudu is more traditional fare being released in flood-hit Andhra Pradesh where activity is more restrained this year. It stars Boddam Indrasena and Tanisha. In addition, the Telugu version of Mallika I Love You could be a surprise hit with Ultimate Star Ajith as the hero and Nayanthara as the heroine.