There’s nothing I find really exciting in the news, but there’s a lot of little things we can talk about. Mostly casting announcements.
Karan Johar Schedules Superhero
Brahmastra, which used to be called Dragon, and which used to be supposed to release this year, is now supposed to release next August. But they haven’t started filming yet, so I don’t know if I believe that.
This whole idea seems not very believable to me. Ayaan Mukherjee, who has done two brilliant character driven romances (Wake Up Sid and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani) is now going to be taking the helm on a big budget special effects superhero trilogy. Ranbir Kapoor, who specializes in angsty internal boy-man type characters is going to play a superhero. Alia Bhatt, who looks about half Ranbir’s age, is going to play his love interest. NONE OF THIS IS GOOD!!!! Oh, and the filmmakers have so little faith in their film, that they changed the name from Dragon to the more Hindu-fundamentalist-friendly “Brahmastra”.
(NO! WRONG!!! TOO YOUNG/TOO OLD!!!!)
And now Karan says that pre-production is finally done, they will start actually filming in February and release just 6 months later. And that they will be releasing sequels on regular schedules, every 2 years. This sounds very organized, but may not be that good of an idea. The pre-production taking forever and the filming being so quick tells me it is going to be driven by the look of it all a lot more than the acting. Which makes me nervous in general, a film is empty without characters we care about. And the 2 year schedule means that they are filming back to back, committing to the sequels before they see how the original does. So if this movie is a hit, despite the odd director and lead actor choice, the pedophile looking romance, the Hindu message grafted on, and the special effects outweighing the acting, then great, Dharma has 2 more hits lined up to follow. But if it is a flop, then oops, Dharma has already committed the budget and time for 2 more movies that will lose them money.
Vishal Bhardwaj Can’t Get Top Stars
Well, this is what you get for making Rangoon! Vishal Bhardwaj is casting his next movie, supposedly a film about two sisters who hate each other. He has one sister, Kriti Sanon, and names being suggested for the other are Parineeti Chopra, Vaani Kapoor, like that. Very different from the level of actors he got for his last film!
Not that this will necessarily make for a bad movie, personally I think Vaani Kapoor and Kriti Sanon in a gritty drama about two sisters who hate each other would be FANTASTIC. A director struggling to get funding and prove himself will give a break to two actors who deserve a break and otherwise may not have a chance.
But it is interesting how in one film, Vishal dropped from one of those directors everyone wants to work with, to a director that no top star wants to work with.
Ranveer, Rohit, and Karan Come Together
We all knew this movie would be coming out for a while, and now there is a poster and a new announcement, that Dharma is helping to fund it. The Dharma stamp of approval is a big thing, Karan has a good sense for what kind of film will run and what won’t. If he sees something here, that is a very very good sign.
Karan also means a good promotion campaign, and this is the kick off. A poster released a full year before the release date. Before filming has even begun. I don’t know if this is so much for the audience as for the rest of the industry, an announcement that Ranveer is tentatively taking the week after Christmas next year, so back off.
It’s really good for Ranveer, no matter what happens with Padmavati now, he is covered, he has a title and a poster and a date for his next film. Well, moderately covered. If something really bad comes out (not like Padmavati bad, but like if Dips accused him of abuse), the film industry is such that he could always be dropped and the film scrapped right up until filming is completed. A poster is a commitment, but not a final commitment. And a year is a long long time away.
Ashutosh Gowarikar Goes Back to History
Woot, Ashutosh is doing another historical epic! Okay, modified “woot”, Mohenjo Daro was a nightmare. But Lagaan and Jodha-Akbar were great! So he’s due another good one.
More importantly, “woot, a well-known religious moderate is making another historical film!” It’s going to be like Bajirao and Padmavati, but way more balanced. Arjun Kapoor is supposed to be playing a Maratha war leader, opposite Sanjay Dutt as an Afghan leader. Based on a battle in 1760, meaning a time period when there are actual good reliable historical sources for all the little details of relationships and things. And Sanjay is supposed to be playing a failure sympathetic character, it’s not just “oh the poor brave Maharashtrian soldiers and the evil faceless Muslim horde”.
So, depending on how the political winds blow, look for either a huge controversy over Sanjay being sympathetic in about a year, or else look for no one to really care because there isn’t an election coming up.