2018, as stated in my best of the year article, was a pretty standard year for Bollywood, and within that standard, it does encompass a few twists and turns, ebbs and flows, hits with miniscule expectations and misses with mammoth expectations. Despite that, 2018 might just be the gold standard in defining in a concrete fashion that the audience come into theatres seeking more content driven cinema than the mind numbing entertainment we have been accustomed to for decades. All three big budget mega productions starring superstars turned out to be duds, and small budget intimate productions turned out to be box office surprises going on to impress critics and audiences alike. The years following the close of the last decade are witness to this incoming wave, and if the upcoming slate of films in the new year is any indication, 2019 will be no different.
However, while even ‘standard’ for Bollywood might just be an interesting ride when trends are observed, there are some things that continue to be tethered to a peg and refuse to change: the darned side of standardisation that ultimately leads to stagnancy before too long. Examples of this include a number of stars banking on the new wave of pseudo nationalistic cinema, Bollywood’s reliance and obsession with historical tales that often fail to do justice to the glory of said history, the occasional star making vehicle, and an array of romantic comedies that barring a few fresh ones, rely on recycling the same tropes over and over again. Reading the article, it would be easy enough to spot at least half that would fall under one of the stated clichés. But then again, in a glass half full scenario, the other half does seem experimental and ambitious in what it seems to try and accomplish. If anything, good cinema does involve appreciating ambitious visions. So, without further ado, regardless of their fate at the box office and in critical circles, here is the list of upcoming Bollywood Hindi movies coming out in 2019 (with their release dates) that sure do get us excited.
20. Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare (TBA)
What catches my eye instantly about this is the title and the poster reveal, that some might be too quick to dismiss. However, the film stars Bhumi Pednekar and Konkona Sen Sharma as the characters in the title, and is touted to be a rebellious social satire helmed by the same team as 2017’s excellent ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’. If that is any indication, ‘Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare’ may just be the surprise cracker of the year, if the censor board can keep its hands away from it.
19. The Sky is Pink (TBA)
Bollywood’s tryst with inspiring true stories has gained significant momentum following the success of similar movies, especially in the sports genre, where sports biopics saw roaring success. While ‘The Sky is Pink’ isn’t based on a prominent sports personality, it is no less inspiring, since battles fought against great odds have always produced personalities of steel. This story is about the inspirational speaker Aisha Chaudhary who battled pulmonary fibrosis and while the disease consumed her, her positive attitude towards life and inspirational talks made her live on and positively influenced thousands. With Shonali Bose at the helm, I can expect the film to have the right kind of pathos that is required to portray such an emotional story. Due for a release later this year, the film stars Zaira Waseem who has already gathered a significant repute for herself as an actor, accompanied by Priyanka Chopra and Farhan Akhtar.