News Round-Up Part 1: SO MANY Upcoming Movies!!!!! Milan Talkies and Ali Fazel, Housefull 4 and Abhishek Update, Aiyaary and the Censor Board, Manikarnika and Kangana, YRF and Karan Malhotra

So many news items about upcoming movies!  Mostly how they are being released early, or released late, or starting filming.  Just a lot of date talk, really.  Which isn’t very interesting on the surface, but is super super interesting when you dig in and think about what those dates mean.  And this is just part one, I am breaking it into two parts so we can more easily keep comments focused.  Part two here

Milan Talkies is Back Thanks to Ali Fazal

This is just an interesting case study in how film development works.  Tigmanshu Dhulia first announced Milan Talkies back in 2012.  At that time, Imraan Khan and Priyanka were rumored to be the leads.  But then Imraan lost interest, or else was dropped after Katti-Batti failed, and Priyanka went to America.  So the new cast briefly considered was Ayushmann Khurranna and/or Aditya Roy Kapur opposite Shraddha.  But then OK Jaanu flopped and/or they lost interest and that cast died.  But now, 5 years later, Ali Fazal (fresh off his crossover buzz in Victoria and Abdul combined with a surprise minor hit in Happy Bhaag Jayegi) is interested in the script and therefore the project is back on.

I find this whole thing lowkey fascinating.  First and most importantly, Tigmanshu Dhulia hasn’t been twiddling his thumbs this whole time, he’s made other movies while this was on the backburner.  That’s what a savvy producer/director does, they have multiple projects and they wait until the star gives the greenlight to start devoting all their time to any one.

And secondly, this kind of unofficial back and forth on casting is exactly the thing that actors fear when they have flops.  I won’t lose the films that were already locked in, and you won’t lose money because of how the pay scale works, but you will lose out on the promising scripts that you were unofficially in the running for.  And the flipside, this is the benefit of having some minor buzz around your name.  It doesn’t translate into a ton of money immediately, or even that big starring role in the next Yash Raj epic, but it gives you a little breathing room and some choices, suddenly you are the one picking a script instead of the script picking you.

Image result for ali fazal happy bhag jayegi


Housefull 4 and Abhishek/Akshay Friendship

An update on the Abhishek weirdness that is possibly all in my head!!!!  The first film of the whole batch that he announced after he dropped out of Paltan which is a definite actual film!  Related to that news item above, there is a difference between “the producer has a script/story idea and is considering this actor” and “there is a filming start date and an official announcement”.  This is the first film that is an actual film with a script and a cast and a crew and a filming start date.

And it’s real interesting!  Akshay, supposedly, is the one who insisted on Abhishek joining the cast.  Apparently because he is a good friend of Abhishek and has decided to take on his career and help him gain some direction.  And also, they are both clients of Reshma Shetty, PR lady extraordinaire/woman who came up with the “Being Human” strategy for Salman/Karan Johar’s best friend.

I find Akshay being a friend of Abhishek’s totally believable.  As we were just talking about with Parineeti’s decision to sign on for Housefull 4, the Housefull shoots sound like just the best bonding activities.  You are in a fun foreign location, it’s a lot of improve and goofing around, and not a lot of memorizing scrips and making your characters “real”.  Abhi and Akshay just made Housefull 3 together.  Before that, they were in Heri Pheri 2, and going all the way back to 2002, a forgotten movie Hain Maine Bhi Pyaar Kiya. Plus, of course, Akshay’s wife would have known Abhishek his whole life, that’s a bond that doesn’t go away.

Image result for hum maine bhi pyar kiya

(They all look so young!)

So yes, I generally believe this story.  That Reshma Shetty helped bring them together (because that is what she is good at), but Akshay’s own good nature and generosity, plus his real friendship for Abhishek, took him the rest of the way.  And I also think this is the first actual not-fake good sign for Abhishek’s career.  Akshay personally taking a hand and bringing him in for Housefull 4, which is exactly the kind of role where Abhishek shines and the kind of role he should be doing (guaranteed hit, low pressure shoot) if he is dealing with unknown personal issues.



Aiyaary Delayed Again, Censor’s Continue to Do Their Job

Here’s an interesting censor board update!  I continue to be fascinated by this new censor board which is interested in ACTUALLY DOING ITS JOB.  Aiyaary, which deals with military graft and so on, was submitted to the censor board and the board brought in the Ministry of Defense to view it and give notes.  And now Aiyaary is delayed a week to Feb 16th while those notes are reviewed and the film is updated.

I like this.  In general, censorship isn’t great, it would be nice if the film could be released without fuss.  But in India today, censorship by the mob is almost inevitable.  For the censor board to make a choice to step up and prevent that, do their job as the only legitimate body with a charge to determine if a film should or should or should not be released, is a marvelous defense.  And they are going above and beyond in that regard, they are no longer merely rubber stamping these films, they are carefully finding the appropriate authorities and consulting them, so that there is not an inch of uncertainty left once the film is actually certified.

It does mean that this film is delayed another week. However, the news today is full of films being delayed for much weaker reasons.  Unless it is something like Padmavat, one of those 2-3 times a year movies that everything else is built around, a film being delayed one week is no big deal. And definitely worth it if it can avoid the protests and last minute FIRs and law suits that have become the standard in the past few years any time any film is coming out.

(Also as good an excuse as any to put out this love song I haven’t posted before.


Kangana’s Next Delayed

Speaking of delayed, Kangana’s Manikarnika, the Rani of Jhansi movie, is delayed.  Partly because of VFX work, partly because (possibly) Kangana wants it to be a higher standard, or is otherwise making a fuss.

I’m not getting a strong “danger! Disaster!” vibe off of this news story.  Post-Padmavat, it is obvious that the onscreen quality needs to be a higher level for the audience to respond, it sounds like actual filming finished on time, it’s just the post-production work that is running over.  It happens, no biggie.

What I am beginning to realize is that the only reason we are getting these “delayed” news stories is because the release dates are announced so far in advance.  This wouldn’t even have been a news story a few years back, it would just be the film taking the time it takes to make, no big disaster or excitement, just regular decisions involved around post-production.

Image result for manikarnika

(Also, hello Sanjay Leela Bhansali!  This is the practical way a woman does her hair for battle!)


YRF 3 Film Deal

This is a very different and exciting kind of story!  Karan Malhotra has just signed a 3 film deal at YRF.  This is an all kinds of new kind of story!

First, the focus on the director rather than the star.  Second, that a studio would make a 3 film commitment instead of project by project.  Third, Karan Malhotra jumping from Dharma (where Karan mentored him and helped him make Agneepath and Brothers) to YRF.  And fourth, that YRF is building this kind of a studio, a studio where multiple directors are working on their own projects long term.

The director versus star part is obvious, a continuing effort on the part of the major studios to undercut the power of the star in order to build a more manageable corporate environment.  If Karan Malhotra can manage to make hits no matter who is starring in them, that is going to be good for YRF (although the first film is rumored to be with Ranbir Kapoor, one of the starriest new names, so we aren’t quite there yet).

The jump from Dharma to YRF isn’t a huge jump.  They have very similar house styles and Karan and Adi, and their two companies, are close enough that there was probably some cross-training going on.  And after Brothers failed-ish, it became clear that Karan Malhotra’s style does not fit with “Dharma”.  Agneepath was brilliant and Karan Johar’s tribute to his father.  But then Brothers had that same dark angry vibe and it just is not something that works with Dharma’s brand identity or promotion strategies or anything.  However, YRF has a much more open brand identity lately, moving past romances to include action, social films, all kinds of things.

Image result for brothers poster akshay

(Just doesn’t feel Dharma-y)

The fourth is what I find really interesting!  Adi is working on his management structure, the balance between having a close personal touch on every film and delegating responsibility to trusted secondaries.  We already saw that with Maneesh Sharma, perhaps Karan Malhotra will be another one?  The three film deal looks that way, different from the film-by-film hiring of directors like Ali Abbas Zafar.


(to be continued)



20 thoughts on “News Round-Up Part 1: SO MANY Upcoming Movies!!!!! Milan Talkies and Ali Fazel, Housefull 4 and Abhishek Update, Aiyaary and the Censor Board, Manikarnika and Kangana, YRF and Karan Malhotra

  1. Pingback: News Round-Up Part 2: Ranveer and YRF, Aanand L Rai and Rajkumar Santoshi, Aditya Chopra and Hrithik Roshan, John Abraham and Release Dates, Sui Dhaaga and Valentine’s Day, Sanjay Dutt and Scandal | dontcallitbollywood

  2. I’m surprised that Aiyaary is delayed , wasn’t it supposed to release in January (before Padmavat stired things up)? I thought it was certificated long time ago. I was never interested in watching hi movie, but how annoying it must be for people involved or those who want to see it.

    Oh, and I really hope this new John Abraham movie won’t flop.


    • I don’t know for sure in this case, but I know in the past it has been common to submit for censorship just a week in advance of release, unless you really really think your film will be controversial. So I wouldn’t be surprised if, once they decided not to release on Republic Day, they just didn’t bother to submit until a couple weeks before the new release date. They were also pretty casual about switching off the Republic Day date, which makes me think they might have still been in post-production and were glad of the chance to slow down and take their time with the new Feb. 9 date instead of rushing for Republic Day. Which would also mean they may not have had the film finalized until just now, thus the submission to the censor board now.

      Anyway, it reads to me like the new board is being extra cautious and the industry isn’t used to it yet. But again, I’m still not hearing any complaints exactly, it’s not that the board is being bribed or politically motivated, they are just trying to do a very good job.

      I hope the John Abraham movie is good too! I don’t know why, but I want good things for him. Him and Abhishek. Must be the Dostana effect.

      On Mon, Feb 5, 2018 at 3:48 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  3. I love Ali Fazal! I watched a web series with him, and he was really charming and effortless in it. He was cute in Happy Bhag Jaayegi too, so glad he’s found a leading role.
    What’s with Dutt – can’t believe Rishi Kapoor hasn’t swung to action. I actually can’t believe this is happening to Raju Hirani. He usually operates with a strong script, and he and Sanjay are so close. Anywho, sounds like its bad news for Ranbir Kapoor (again!)
    And Abhishek – a hit is a hit is a hit, so if Housefull does well, will only do him good and increase his confidence which he seems to lack now.


    • I have to confess, I didn’t really notice Ali Faizal in Happy. But that was just because Abhay Deol was so effortlessly charming. Ali was nice enough I guess. But I have heard good things about him from people who’ve seen him in other stuff, so I am excited to see him do more films!

      Dutt is giving me such Jagga Jasoos vibes! And no one is saying anything about it being Ranbir’s fault, but two films having such similar production histories both with the same star? You have to wonder. Especially because, as you say, Raju is usually so tight and serious about getting things done. This is the man who managed to finish his film while a pivotal character actor was in jail (PK and Sanjay), and now he has mysterious story difficulties that are delaying the film? And Vidhu Vinod Chopra is producing too!

      I hadn’t thought about Rishi before, but you are right, he is our only hope! He always tells the truth, even when he really shouldn’t. So I think we can trust him to reveal something uncomfortably truthful in this case too eventually. Oh, and also show up and terrify them all into finishing the film.

      I love how worried we all are about Abhishek. Based on nothing! We don’t even know the man! But I have the same feeling of “poor Abhi baby, let’s get you a hit and build you back up again”.

      On Mon, Feb 5, 2018 at 4:31 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



    • Oh right, that’s what I meant. I got very little sleep last night. There are many many many typos today. My comment replies are basically incomprehensible.


  4. Aiyyari, I’m not surprised it got sent to the MoD for “review”. Not only does it look a whole lot like the the Rafale scam which is still being debated in the Parliament (not so much in the news, any guesses why?), the film’s theme also is very consistent with the military propaganda films of recent times. It feels more like disinformation and a Pentagon-endorsed Hollywood film than a film like RDB which never let go of the seriousness of corruption inside the MoD.


    • It felt like it had been a while since we got a legitimate “anti-corruption” film. The last few I can remember are Gabbar is Back, which focused more on private industry corruption and petty bribery than the higher levels of government, and Toilet, which ended up kind of handwaving the corruption away and saying the real problem is the people. If the MoD is concerned, that makes me a lot more interested to see this movie!

      On Mon, Feb 5, 2018 at 10:43 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



    • I really hope it means good things! There has been a lot less publicity and so on around this film, which could mean we are surprised by its quality, or could mean that it is kind of a mess and no one wants to promote it.

      On Mon, Feb 5, 2018 at 10:45 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



        • My new policy is to read but not report those stories until they become an actual effect on the film, release delayed or something. Because all these groups want is publicity, so I’m not going to help give it to them.

          Anyway, I have hope that either the new Censor Board will surge into battle and find some unimpeachable Brahmin group to back the film and help them certify it, or the filmmakers will pay these guys off and they will go away.

          On Tue, Feb 6, 2018 at 8:01 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



          • The story didn’t even make it to the news because the stock markets are crashing everywhere and THAT’S the big news for now.

            I’m extremely fearful of the new recession. I lost my dream job in the last one. I don’t even know what all this one would wipe off!! 😱


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