Take a peek into 2008…

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The final releases of the year have hit theatres and all eyes are now on the New Year and what it has in store. So far, 2008 looks extremely promising for the industry with several intriguing films lined up. Let’s take a look.

The first quarter of any year is usually quieter since there aren’t many holidays and students are busy writing exams in school. The same goes for this January which doesn’t see any big budget releases. However, Ajay Devgan has two releases within the same month even though they are poles apart. A political drama co-starring Vidya Balan Halla Bol will be the first to release followed by the masala flick Sunday two weeks later. Aside from these two, My Name is Anthony Gonsalves looks like an interesting proposition and is co-produced by Shah Rukh Khan. Don’t be surprised if Nagesh Kukunoor springs another surprise hit with Bombay to Bangkok.

Aamir Khan Productions’ next titled Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na might just prove lucky for the industry as it marks the debut of Aamir’s nephew Imran. However, the real dynamite arrives a day after Valentines Day with Ashutosh Gowariker’s Jodhaa Akbar. After much delay, let’s hope the film releases on time! Within the same month you can expect to see the mulitstarrer Race hit the screens.

March, usually an extremely dry month, looks surprisingly exciting this year. Subhash Ghai’s first directional venture in years titled Black and White hits the screens early in the month. Sushmita Sen will see her first release in a long time with Dulha Mil Gaya which also boasts of a special appearance by SRK. The much delayed God Tussi Great Ho starring Salman Khan, Big B and Priyanka Chopra is almost ready for release and is looking towards March as well. Mahesh Bhatt’s ambitious venture titled Jannat starring Emraan Hashmi and Esha Deol will be descending during March as well. We might even see the debut of Kirron and Anupam Kher’s son Sikandar in Woodstock Villa.

As exams come to an end, April usually rejuvenates the industry with a newfound vigour. Kajol will grace the screen after two years with husband Ajay Devgan who has also directed the film. Titled U, Me Aur Hum it’s touted to be a feel-good romantic film. On the same day we’ll witness the clash of two titans with the science fiction flick Love Story 2050 and masala action flick Tashan hitting the screens on the same day. Don’t be surprised if the former backs out of the clash. If that wasn’t enough, the Amitabh Bachchan-Juhi Chawla starrer Bhootnath which also has Shah Rukh Khan in a small role will most likely release in the same month. Preity Zinta’s first flick in ages titled Har Pall is also looking towards an April/May release.

In the early part of the next month, Preity Zinta will be seen once again in a multistarrer with Salman Khan titled Heroes. Govinda’s comedy Money Hain Toh Honey Hain is expected to create laugh riots in theatres as well. On a more serious note, the Bachchan family comes together for Ram Gopal Varma’s Sarkar Raj set to release in May.

Abhishek Bachchan’s Drona has hopes of creating another superhero furore after Krrish. It will release some time in the middle of the year. Akshay Kumar attempts to continue his dream run in the comedy Singh is King.

So far, the Diwali weekend will have Main Yuvraaj releasing starring Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif. The interesting part is that it will be directed by Subhash Ghai and boasts of music by A.R. Rahman.

Several films haven’t zeroed in on a release date just yet. The Shahid Kapoor-Vidya Balan venture Kismet Konnection will release next year as well. Kareena Kapoor is the latest addition to the cast of Golmaal Returns. Aamir Khan has stated in an interview that his Ghajini Remake co-starring Jiah Khan and Southern superstar Asin will release in the second half of 2008. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s hinting at a Diwali or Idd release! Rakesh Roshan’s Krrazy 4 boasts of a wonderful ensemble cast. Kunal Kohli’s next starring Rani Mukerji, Saif Ali Khan and Amisha Patel will be released along with Yash Raj’s film with Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif and Bipasha Basu. Yash Raj Films will also be releasing Roadside Romeo in association with Walt Disney Productions. Deepika Padukone and Akshay Kumar are currently working on the martial arts film Made in China. After leaving us in awe with Johnny Gaddaar earlier this year, Sriram Raghavan’s next with Aishwarya Rai and John Abraham just might make it by the end of the year. Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is currently working on Dilli 6 with Abhishek Bachchan and Sonam Kapoor and one can expect this to be an extremely hyped release. However there is doubt that the film will release next year. Sudhir Mishra’s Phir Devdas stars Shiney Ahuja, Soha Ali Khan and Lara Dutta in three pivotal roles and promises to be a different take on Devdas. Kareena Kapoor continues to boast about her role across Akshay Kumar in Kambakth Ishq. Like him or not, Himesh Reshammiya will be back in Karzzz as well as Pooja Bhatt’s Kajra Re. The sizzling Mallika Sherawat will return in Ugly aur Pagli with Ranvir Shorey which will be Mallika’s first lead role in a long time. She will also be seen again with Rahul Bose in Maan Gaye Mughal-e-Azam. Madhur Bhandarkar promises an interesting eye into the fashion industry with Fashion starring Priyanka Chopra, Kangana Ranaut and Arbaaz Khan. Even Rajshri Films should be ready with their next after Vivah similarly titled Ek Vivaah Aise Bhi. Sujoy Ghosh’s extravagant Aladdin should be a production to watch out for with an all-star cast comprising of Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Ritesh Deshmukh.

On the non-Bollywood front, Deepa Mehta’s Heaven on Earth gives Preity Zinta the opportunity to do something completely out of the ordinary. Rituparno Ghosh’s The Last Lear will release in the first half of the year after being acclaimed at festivals around the world. His other film titled Sunglass is also ready for release. Aparna Sen has quietly been crafting her film starring Raima Sen and Rahul Bose titled My Japanese Wife.

The dynamics of the Hindi film industry are changing. When looking towards the exciting year ahead keep in mind the saying “expect the unexpected”.

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