Aligarh (February 26)
After Chhal, Shahid and Citylights, director-writer duo Hansal Mehta and Apurva Asrani will be back with Aligarh. Starring Manoj Bajpai and Rajkummar Rao, the film is inspired from a real-life incident of a professor who was sacked on charges of homosexuality. The film, which has already garnered appreciation at film festivals here and abroad, arrives in the last week of February.
Neerja (February 19)
A biographical based on flight attendant Neera Bhanot, Neerja (played by Sonam Kapoor, a risky bet ;-) tells the story of a young braveheart who sacrificed her life to save passengers on a hijacked flight. She died two days before her twenty third birthday. Shabana Azmi and music composer Shekhar Rajviani will also be seen in the film.
Starring Emraan Hashmi, this one is a biopic on the life of former Indian cricket captain Mohammed Azharuddin, who was banned from the sport in 2000 for his involvement in match-fixing. Produced by Balaji and MSM Productions, it will also star Prachi Desai, Huma Qureshi, Nargis Fakhri and Gautam Gulati.
Udta Punjab (June 17)
After their massive box-office flop (Shandaar), Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhat will try undo some of the bad with this hopefully good film. I hope it's good cause it's directed by Abhishek Chaubey, whose last outing was Dedh Ishqiya. And wait! There's Kareena Kapoor Khan too. The off screen couple that was, will be seen together after 9 years! Popular Punjabi actor and singer Diljit Dosanjh will also be seen in the film, his first Hindi film I guess.
Kapoor & Sons (March 18)
Because Sidharth Malhotra! :-) That's enough for me to catch the first show. Produced by Karan Johar and directed by Shakun Batra (of Ek Main Aur Ek Tu), it also stars Alia Bhatt, Fawad Khan & Rishi Kapoor. Watch out for the first trailer on February 10.
Ki & Ka (April 1)
The intriguing title was enough to create a noise about this film, which questions gender roles thrust upon us by the society. Helmed by veteran R Balki (whose last film Shamitabh was, unfortunately, coldly received by the audience) and starring a fresh pair Kareena and Arjun Kapoor, it is set to release April 1, 2016. It will also see Jaya and Amitabh Bachchan in a brief appearance.
Directed by Shlok Sharma and backed by Anurag Kashyap and Guneet Monga, Haraamkhor stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui playing a married teacher in love with his student, Shweta Tripathi (of Masaan). Siddiqui received the Best Actor award for his role at the New York Indian Film Festival last year in May. A month before that, Shweta Tripathi bagged the Best Actress Award at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles. Here's a powerful short by the director that went hugely viral in 2014:
Rangoon (September 30)
From Vishal Bhardwaj's arsenal comes a period film - a love triangle set in the backdrop of World War 2, featuring Shahid Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan and Kangana Ranaut. Her character is based on Australian-born Bollywood actress and stunt queen Mary Ann Evans - aka Fearless Nadia. The film was initially titled Julia, but was revised later as the makers, apparently, didn't want it to come across as a female-centric film.
Fan (April 15)
Celebrating the phenomenon called Shah Rukh Khan, Fan stars the superstar in a dual role - playing himself and his fan. The much-delayed Yash Raj project, directed by Maneesh Sharma (of Band Baaja Baraat fame), will finally release on April 15, 2015. (Trivia: Fan is the first film to have been shot at the Madame Tussauds wax museum in London!)
Shahrukh's second release this year is a crime thriller set in Gujarat in the 80s. It also stars Nawazzudin Siddiqui. Directed by Rahul Dholakia, best known for his critically acclaimed film Parzania based on the 2002 Gujarat riots, and backed by Farhan Akhtar & Ritesh Sidhwani, Raees is slated for July 3 release. Rumor has it the Dholakia wrote the script keeping Irrfan Khan in mind. When he got a big banner to produce his film, Shah Rukh Khan was finally brought on board.
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (October 28)
Starring Anushka Sharma, Aishwarya Rai and Ranbir Kapoor, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil will be Karan Johar's first film after the Bombay Talkies' short in 2012. In his words "...it's a film that dwells deeply on relationships, heartbreaks and how love completes you, defines you and yet leaves you wanting for more. I have never had, in my entire career, a film that has come to me so fast, so organically and so from within." The film releasing October 28 will also star Saif Ali Khan in a cameo.
Sarabjit (May 19)
Omung Kumar of Mary Kom fame will be back this year with a biographical drama on the life of Sarabjit Singh, an Indian farmer convicted of spying and terrorism by Pakistan. It features Randeep Hooda (who plays Sarabjit), Richa Chadha (playing his wife Sukhpreet Kaur) and Aishwarya Rai (playing his sister Dalbir Kaur).
Mohenjo Daro (August 12)
After Jodha Akbar, Hrithik Roshan will team up with Ashutosh Gowariker for this grand love story set in the era of Indus Valley civilization, opposite model turned actress Pooja Hegde. The music will be scored by A.R. Rahman.
Sultan (July 8)
Come Eid and Salman Khan will be back in what has been voted one of the most anticipated films of 2016. Did we need a survey to know that? Sultan is a biographical sports drama around the life of Haryana-based wrestler Sultan Ali Khan. Produced by Yash Raj Films, it will also star Anushka Sharma and Randeep Hooda.
Raman Raghav 2.0
Based on real-life serial killer of the 60s Raman Raghav is Anurag Kashyap's next, played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Director Sriram Raghavan, in his FTII years, had made a 45-minute film Raman Raghav (with Raghubir Yadav in the key role), which pretty much set the ball rolling for him in the industry. It was appreciated by the biggies - Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Ram Gopal Verma (who had just made Satya then) and Anurag Kashyap himself (who had recommended the film to Ram Gopal Verma). [Can anyone suggest where I can watch Raghavan's film?]
MS Dhoni: The Untold Story (September 2)
The biopic on India's World-Cup winning captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni will star the very charming and talented Sushant Singh Rajput. Directed by Neeraj Pandey, known for A Wednesday, Special 26, Baby, the film will also star Kiara Advani (playing Dhoni's wife), Fawad Khan (playing Virat Kohli) and Dhoni's fast friend and actor-producer John Abraham (playing himself).
Baar Baar Dekho (September 9)
My eyes will have enough to feast on with Mal'hot'ra's second release in September. He stars opposite Katrina Kaif in this love story that spans the evolution of their relationship over the years. Nitya Mehra's directorial debut Baar Baar Dekho is a collaborative production of Farhan Akhtar, Ritesh Sidhwani & Karan Johar.
Befikre (December 9)
The Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor-starrer Befikre will mark Aditya Chopra's return to direction after eight long years. It will also be Adi's first film without Shah Rukh Khan. (He has directed only three films till date - DDLJ (1995), Mohabbatein (2000), Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008). Befikre was announced last year on Yash Chopra's 83rd birthday.
Dangal (December 23)
Dangal is a biographical sports drama on the life of former wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat, who trained his two daughters in the sport in a conservative village in Haryana. Starring Aamir Khan (who put on 30 kgs for this role) and backed by Disney, the film had everything going for itself until Aamir's 'intolerance' remarks sparked a controversy. We'll have to wait until Christmas to find out if the audience gives it a cold reception [like Dilwale, which too bore the brunt of Shah Rukh's comments on intolerance, although it could be given a benefit of doubt given that the film was intolerant at many levels!] or will All be Well.