Akshay Kumar’s Sooryavanshi, Ranveer Singh’s ’83, Salman Khan’s Radhe, SanjayLeela Bhansali’s ‘Gangubai’
While the debate on OTT platform versus movie theatres rages on in the Indian entertainment industry, with movie exhibitors threatening to “boycott” and “ban” those filmmakers who are now taking their films directly to the digital platform, there are some big-budgeted films that won’t budge from their big-screen positioning. Here are the pending Bollywood releases that won’t, repeat WON’T, go digital.
Sooryavanshi: Directed by the redoubtable Rohit Shetty whose Golmaal series ks the most successful Bollywood franchise of all times, this cops-and-robbers action drama brings together one of Bollywood’s most successful directors with Akshay Kumar for the first time. The two have shot the most death-defying jaw-dropping stunt scenes which, according to the film’s director, will go to waste on the home-viewing medium. For the film’s climactic hijinks the director has roped in Ajay Devgn (Singham) and Ranveer Singh (Simmba) to join Akshay. Sources from the film’s core crew verify that Sooryavanshi, “will wait it out”. The film’s producer Reliance Entertainment’s CEO Shibasish Sarkar confirms, “We are expecting theatres to be functional in the next 3 to 6 months, say, by September. We will hold our release till normalcy comes back for a theatrical experience of these films.”
Gangubai Kathiawadi: Directed by the epic visionary Sanjay Leela Bhansali whose Devdas and Bajirao Mastani have re-written some rules of commercial Hindi cinema, Gangubai Kathiawadi casts the very talented Alia Bhatt as a real-life sex worker who grew into a formidable much-feared figure in the red-light area of Mumbai. Though 2020 has not been a prosperous year for Bollywood films featuring female heroes in a central role, the combination of Bhansali and Bhatt is expected to create box office magic. This would be the first film to resume shooting once the lockdown ends. And no, under no circumstances will it go on the OTT platform. “I make films for the big screen. I’ll let the world know when I make a film for the digital platform,” my close friend Bhansali told me.
’83: Recreating the events during India’s grand victory during the 1983 Cricket World Cup, this Kabir Khan-directed sports epic stars Ranveer Singh as the iconic Indian batsman Kapil Dev and Ranveer’s real-life wife, Deepika Padukone as Kapil’s wife Roma. In addition, there is an impressive slew of actors playing real-life cricketers. But the main focus of interest is Ranveer Singh’s unbelievable physical transformation as Kapil Dev. Says director Kabir Khan, “Cinema and cricket are religion in India. When the two come together there is bound to be a humongous amount of interest in the product.” ’83 which was to release in April 2020 will wait for normalcy to be restored so that audiences can watch the biggest fusion of cricket and cinema since Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan.