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© Tim Green / Flickr
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Hotly Anticipated Bollywood Movies Of 2016

Picture of Mehak Siddiqui
Updated: 15 November 2016
As the world’s biggest film industry, Bollywood annually churns out over a thousand movies on average. Some are much-awaited, much-publicized, mega-budget blockbusters – others are small films that go unnoticed by the masses but win many hearts among the niche audiences they attract. Here’s a pick-n-mix of 20 films Bollywood buffs were looking forward to in 2016.

Wazir

With the venerated Amitabh Bachchan portraying a wheelchair-bound chess grand-master and the multi-talented Farhan Akhtar as an officer on the Indian Anti-Terrorist Squad, this action thriller is set to be the first blockbuster of the year. It is directed by Bejoy Nambiar, the man who gave us the thrilling 2011 hit, Shaitan.

Chauranga

Already an award-winner, Chauranga is the debut feature of independent filmmaker and critic Bikas Mishra. Inspired by real events, it’s a coming-of-age story of a 14-year-old Dalit boy growing up in an obscure corner of India and dreaming of an idealized city life.

Chalk n Duster

Featuring celebrated veterans Judi Chawla and Shabana Azmi, Chalk n Duster examines the challenges imposed by the education system, especially in terms of the commercialization of schools. Since Aarakshan and Paathshaala failed to hit the mark with this socially relevant theme, it will be interesting to see how this ambitious project fares.

Airlift

Starring Akshay Kumar opposite Nimrat Kaur of The Lunchbox fame, Airlift is an action flick inspired by the mass evacuation of Indians from Kuwait during the 1990 Persian Gulf War. Kumar plays a Kuwait-based Indian businessman. He is reported to have learned Arabic to do justice to the part.

Fitoor

Based on Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, director Abhishek Kapoor’s Fitoor stars Aditya Roy Kapoor and Katrina Kaif in the lead roles, while the revered Tabu plays the eccentric old spinster Begum (i.e., Miss. Havisham). It is being sold as a love story.

‘Fitoor’
‘Fitoor’ | © UTV Motion Pictures / PVR Cinemas

Yeh Laal Rang

Set in the small town of Haryana, this film delves into the little-known issue of theft from Indian blood banks. It stars Randeep Hooda and promises to be an edge-of-the-seat thriller.

Neerja

After playing the stereotypical dainty damsel in Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, Sonam Kapoor returns to the screen in the role of Neerja Bhanot, the flight attendant who was shot dead by terrorists aboard the hijacked Pan Am Flight 73 in September 1986.

‘Neerja’
‘Neerja’ | © Fox Star Studios

Jai Gangaajal

Superstar Priyanka Chopra plays a police officer in this sociopolitical drama. Producer-director Prakash Jha has said that his latest venture is not a sequel to 2003’s Gangaajal (2003) but a new story exploring the same theme — the relationship between the police force and society.

‘Jai Gangaajal’
‘Jai Gangaajal’ | © Prakash Jha Productions, Play Entertainment

Fan

Shahrukh Khan plays a superstar and his obsessive fan in this hotly anticipated star vehicle. Whether one loves or loathes ‘King’ Khan, the topper of the 2015 Forbes India Celebrity 100 list, Fan is a Bollywood event.

Agar

Emraan Hashmi and Prachi Desai reunite for this biopic of former Indian cricket team captain Mohammas Azharuddin. Digging into the match-fixing scandal of 2000, the film also features reality TV star Gautam Gulati as Ravi Shastri, Nargis Fakhri as Sangeeta Bijlani, Manjot Singh as Navjot Singh, and Huma Qureshi as Jwala Gutta.

Mirziya

Anil Kapoor’s son Harshvardhan makes his Bollywood debut opposite fellow newcomer Saiyami Kher in this tragic love story directed by Rakesh Omprakash Mehra. Based on the popular Punjabi folk story of Mirza Sahiban, this movie was largely shot on the lavish landscapes of Ladakh.

Sarabjit

Like Neerja and Azhar, the story of Indian farmer Sarabjit Singh is a biopic. In 1991, he was sentenced to death on conviction of terrorism and espionage by Pakistan’s Supreme Court. The sentence was repeatedly postponed by the Pakistani government, but Singh eventually died in 2013 after an attack by fellow prison inmates. Directed by Subhash Ghai, the film stars Randeep Hooda, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan plays Singh’s sister.

Jagga Jasoos

After a bevy of intense narratives, it’s time to lighten up with this comedy-drama starring Ranbit Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, and Govinda. Directed by Anurag Basu, Jagga Jasoos is the story of a teenage detective searching for his missing father.

‘Jagga Jasoos’
‘Jagga Jasoos’ | © Picture Shuru Productions / UTV Motion Pictures

Sultan

For his role of a wrestler from Haryana, Salman Khan did intense training and learned various martial arts techniques. Like most of his film, Sultan is all about the hero – huge chunks of the film were shot even before a female lead was signed!

Raees

It’s the clash of the Khans this Eid, as this Shahrukh Khan crime thriller opens alongside Sultan. Delving into the sensitive topic of prohibition of alcohol in the state of Gujarat, Raees was directed by Rahul Dholakia (Parzania) and also stars the versatile Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Pakistani actress Mahira Khan.

Mohenjo Daro

This epic offering from the prolific Ashutosh Gowariker made in association with Disney India, stars Hrithik Roshan and newcomer Pooja Hegde. It’s set in the ancient era of the Indus Valley civilization, which had been brought alive on screen by celebrated Hollywood visual effects artist Karen Goulekas.

‘Mohenjo Daro’
‘Mohenjo Daro’ | © Ashutosh Gowariker Productions Private Limited / UTV Motion Pictures

Rustom

If history is not your thing, you have the option of celebrating India’s seven decades of freedom by watching this third collaboration between director Neeraj Pandey and star Akshay Kumar. The popular actor is reported to be sporting a unique look and persona in this much-awaited romantic murder-mystery.

Ae dil hai mushkil

Karan Johar’s signature romance boasts an impressive cast that includes Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Fawad Khan, Imran Abbas, Lisa Haydon, and Deepti Naval.

‘Ae dil hai mushkil’
‘Ae dil hai mushkil’ | © Dharma Productions / Fox Star Studios

Shuddhi

Director Karan Johar’s magnum opus generated a lot of news on account of speculations regarding its lead actors and story. The filmmaker recently ruled out the popular assumption that Shuddhi is the official adaptation of the bestselling novel The Immortals of Meluha. After Hrithik Roshan, Salman Khan, and Kareena Kapoor refused to take part, the main roles went to Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt.

Dangal

In yet another biopic, Aamir Khan plays Mahavir Singh Phogat, the coach of wrestlers Babita Kumari and Geeta Phogat, who won silver and gold respectively at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.