1) Jagga Jasoos [July 14]
Ranbir Kapoor and Anurag Basu’s much, much-delayed production looks like it is finally ready for release. With over 20 songs, special effects and a globe-trotting adventure with his former bae (Katrina Kaif), the actor has a lot invested in his sole release of the year. He will be hoping for Barfi!-like success, but it’s a tall order given the buzz around innumerable production delays.
2) Daddy [July 21]
We may have been part of a minority that watched acclaimed ad filmmaker Ashim Ahluwalia’s atmospheric feature debut, Miss Lovely, featuring one of Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s finest performances as a soft porn filmmaker who falls for an actress. Ahluwalia’s vision and his artistry – the fine visuals, set design and costumes –only make us excited for his next, a biopic of the infamous Mumbai gangster-turned-politician Arun Gawli with Arjun Rampal in the leading role.
3) Lipstick Under My Burkha [July 21]
Any film that Pahlaj Nihalani and his sanskari cohort don’t want you to see automatically qualifies in our list of must-see films in the second half of 2017. But that’s not reason enough. Alankrita Shrivastava’s second feature has been gaining traction on the international festival circuit, picking up a host prizes on the way. Last count was 10. No wonder Ekta Kapoor has stepped on board to ensure that this female ensemble drama gets into cinemas.
4) Bareilly Ki Barfi [August 18]
Ashwini Iyer Tiwary’s first film, Nil Battey Sannata, about a fraught relationship between a determined single parent and her stubborn adolescent daughter was one of the more memorable films of 2015. For her second, Tiwary directs a romantic comedy starring Ayushmann Khurrana as a printing press owner, Rajkummar Rao as an author and Kriti Sanon as a girl grappling with traditions. Could be another small town-set wonder with strong characters and message.
5) Shubh Mangal Savdhan [September 1]
Photo: Hindustan Times
Ayushmann Khurrana, the leading man, calls it the “antithesis of Vicky Donor”. After being a prolific sperm donor in Vicky Donor, he now plays a man suffering from erectile dysfunction. A remake of the 2012 Tamil hit, Kalyana Samayal Saadham, the film sees Khurrana team up with his Dum Laga Ke Haisha co-star Bhumi Pednekar.
6) Simran [September 15]
Already making headlines for the heated war of words between writer-editor Apurva Asrani and lead actress Kangana Ranaut over writing credits, Simran has coloured us curious because its teaser trailer reminds us of Ranaut from the good old days of Queen. Hopefully the story and screenplay will explain the feud over creative license.
7) Secret Superstar [October 18]
If her National Award-winning performance in Dangal is anything to go by, Zaira Wasim’s second collaboration with Aamir Khan Productions should make for a promising watch. Directed by Khan’s former manager Advait Chandan, the film is about a Muslim teenager who aspires to be a singer-musician much to her family’s chagrin. Also featuring Aamir Khan dressed in rather questionable attire, the Diwali release date shows confidence on Khan’s part in the newcomer director’s work.
8) Omerta [November 9]
Photo: Indian Express
Hansal Mehta makes his second appearance in the list – after Simran – this time around for teaming up with his muse Rajkummar Rao for a project about the terrorist Omar Sheikh, currently imprisoned for the murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl. We’re hoping for another powerful personality-driven drama like Shahid.
9) Fukrey Returns [December 8]
The first one was a riot, a surprise hit, with filmmaker Mrighdeep Singh Lamba creating one of the most vivid characters in Bholi Punjaban (Richa Chadha). The quartet is back for another set of misadventures. The December release date shows that producers have a lot of faith in the sequel.
But obvious candidates: When Harry Met Sejal in which Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma come together for (yet another) Imtiaz Ali holiday romance; Toilet - Ek Prem Katha in which Akshay Kumar advocates for government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan; Padmavati aka Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s most troubled production yet; and Tiger Zinda Hai in which Salman Khan sticks to his money-spinning action hero ways.