Time for popcorn and cola
Cinema Get ready for the summer time biggies from Hollywood and Bollywood. Over 60 films will hit the theatres between April 29 and August 12. SREEDHAR PILLAI
Seasonal fare: Batman Begins highlights the state-of-the-art special effects.
The heat is on. As the mercury soars, Hollywood and Bollywood get ready to unleash the biggies. Traditionally, summer has been the best season for filmmakers with an eye on the box office, as it is vacation time.
Over 60 films from Hollywood and Bollywood will hit theatres this season (April 29 to August 12) but here the focus will be on blockbusters and Bollywood films with offbeat themes and experimentation. These movies have some of the biggest stars in the world from Tom Cruise to Shah Rukh and Aamir Khan.
In what is Bollywood's coolest summer yet, over Rs. 120 crores is riding on the back of at least five movies Kaal, Bunty Aur Babli, Parineeta, Paheli and Mangal Pandey (The Rising) as they try to woo the young multiplex audience.
In a clear break from Karan Johar's candy floss NRI romantic tales, his Dharma Productions with Shah Rukh Khan's Red Chillies are producing Kaal that has Ajay Devgan, Vivek Oberoi, John Abraham, Esha Deol and Lara Dutta in the lead. It is a thriller set in the Jim Corbett National Park directed by Soham Shah. Shah Rukh Khan and Malaika Arora are doing a sexy item number for added attraction.
Bollywood's top banner, Yashraj Films' Bunty Aur Babli, features Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukherjee as two small town con artistes who dream of making it big as they pull off one heist after another. Close on their heels is Amitabh Bachchan as a cop. This film is said to be a refreshing entertainer directed by Shaad Ali who made a memorable debut with Saathiya.
Bunty Aur Babli is rumoured to be a desi version of the American classic Bonny and Clyde minus the killings and violence.
It is the offbeat film that is making waves in Bollywood. The clear winners of 2005 are Page 3 and Black, both experimental and critically acclaimed which are hits. There is a feeling that Bollywood audiences are maturing, as producers and directors are willing to take risks which they could not dream of earlier.
In the offbeat category, producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Parineeta has been directed by adman Pradeep Sarkar. Revisiting classics has been an age-old fashion in cinema and Sarkar's Parineeta is based on Sarat Chandra Chattopadhya's classic love story written in 1914. Sarkar has set the story in 1960 Kolkata and has an impressive star cast of Sanjay Dutt, Saif Ali Khan, Raima Sen and a new heroine, Vidya Balan.
Shah Rukh Khan's big summer release is the Amol Palekar-directed Paheli, his home production.
Kaal is a thriller from Karan Johar-Shah Rukh Khan.
It is a remake of the 1973 neo-realistic filmmaker Mani Kaul's Duvidha and is said to have great cinematography by Ravi. K. Chandran.
Says Shah Rukh Khan, "I have always been crazy about Amol Palekar films and so when he approached me with Paheli, I readily agreed to produce it. Paheli is not parallel cinema but a racy entertainer."
Finally summer ends in Bollywood with the release of Mangal Pandey (The Rising, in English).
It is one of the most eagerly awaited films of the year as Aamir Khan is back after a four-year hiatus and the film also has Rani Mukherjee, Amisha Patel and Die Another Day villain, Toby Stephen.
The film is based on the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 and it is the first uprising against the British, which was led by Mangal Pandey (played by Aamir).
For Hollywood, Indian summer (from May to August) means mega bucks. Last summer, Shrek 2, Spiderman 2 and Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban made over $1 billion between them in the U.S.
Summer releases are big-ticket movies, big budget, big concepts, big directors and they come with big effects. For Hollywood, India is the fastest growing market in Asia, thanks to the multiplex boom and the lucrative dubbing market.
In recognition, Hollywood studios are releasing, for the first time, their summer blockbusters simultaneously in India along with the rest of the world.
The spate begins on April 29 with XXX-2: State of the Union. It is an action film. The earlier XXX had done bumper business in India. But this time, Vin Diesel is not there, instead Ice Cube, the popular hero in India thanks to Anaconda, is the new agent who will have to track a dangerous group that is conspiring to overthrow the U.S. Government. The film, directed by Lee Tamahari, has some stunningly orchestrated action scenes.
On May 6, House of Wax, the remake of the 1953 horror classic, opens in India along with the rest of the world. It stars Elisha Cuthbert and Chad Michael Murray and is directed by Jaume Serra. The new House of Wax has enough special effects to terrify the audience.
On May 20, the most anticipated film, Star Wars Episode-3: Revenge of the Sith, releases worldwide including India. Noted Sci-Fi specialist director George Lucas finally brings his 28-year-old space opera to a close.
On June 17, Batman Begins, directed by Christopher Nolan, explores the origins of the caped crusader with Christian Bale playing Batman. The highlight is the state-of-the-art special effects including an all-new Batmobile vehicle.
Finally on June 30, Steven Spielberg is back with War of Worlds with a whopping budget of $200 millions. It is the highest in filmmaking history, produced by Paramount pictures and is about the earth being invaded by Martian war machines.
The film is based on H. G. Wells' sci-fi fantasy and has Tom Cruise fighting to save the world! The special effects come in for special mention.
So grab your popcorn and colas for the biggest ever summer series in recent times.
Releasing April 29
The director: Sohan Shah
Bunty Aur Babli:
Releasing May 27
The director: Shaad Ali
Releasing June 10
Releasing June 24
The director: Amol Palekar
Releasing August 12
The director: Ketan Mehta
XXX-2 : Releasing (worldwide including India) on April 29
The director: Lee Tamhari
House of Wax : Releasing May 6
The director: Jaume Serra
Star Wars episode 3 - Revenge of the Sith: Releasing May 20.
The director : George Lucas
War of the World: Releasing June 30.
The director: Steven Spielberg
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