After Raazi and October, are Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan going back to more commercial roles in Rannbhoomi, Brahmastra?
Raazi may have been the last of non-glamorous Alia Bhatt we see for at least the next two years since her slate is filled with big budget films like Brahmastra.
Six years after making their debut together in Karan Johar's candyfloss high school affair Student of the Year, Sidharth Malhotra, Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan stepped into the shoes of everyday characters this year, in Neeraj Pandey's Aiyaary, Meghna Gulzar's Raazi and Shoojit Sircar's October respectively.
While Sidharth and Alia played spies (though poles apart), Varun portrayed Dan, a hotel management trainee who is as disoriented in his career as he is in life. Unlike Aiyaary, Raazi and October went on to have smooth runs at the box office. The Sidharth Malhotra-starrer added to the pile of flops he has delivered over the year. On the other hand, Raazi and October, though commercial successes, further proved the actors' mettle as performers too.
However, fans who love these two Badrinath Ki Dulhania stars in Joe and Jane-like characters may have to wait very long (probably a minimum two years) before they get to see them shed their starry auras and step into the shoes of boy/girl-next-door. Their diaries seem to paint a choc-a-bloc picture of busy schedules for the next two years.
They are currently shooting for Abhishek Varman's period drama Kalank, a cross-border romance set in the 1940s. Do not expect their characters to join Mahatma Gandhi in Quit India Movement as Kalank is not a Freedom Struggle drama. It is touted as a classic, timeless romance conceived by producer Karan's late father Yash Johar. Now that the much-anticipated project nears fruition, details of their characters have gradually began resurfacing.
Alia will be seen as a student of Madhuri Dixit, who plays a dance teacher in Kalank. They are scheduled to start shooting for their big dance number in June. On the other hand, Varun will also be seen shaking a leg with another student of Dixit's character, played by Kiara Advani. They have reportedly shot for their elaborate song-and-dance sequence. Varun even went on to share that though he is happy to return to dancing after a year, he feels Kalank is his most challenging role yet.
But as reiterated by the entire Dharma gang, we do know for a fact that Kalank is all popcorn, or the equivalent of popcorn in the 1940s. Varun and Alia are, by no means, stripping themselves of their stardom to play ordinary characters.
Both the actors have signed two more films which will release in 2018 and 2019 respectively. After Kalank, Varun will kick off the shoot of his big budget dance film opposite Katrina Kaif and directed by Remo D'Souza. Given that it is being built up as 'India's biggest dance film' that will also release in 3D, it is likely Varun will be seen in an amped up version of his ABCD 2 character. After all, he is reportedly being paid Rs 32 crore for the project, much higher than his more experienced co-star.
Alia's release next year will be Zoya Akhtar's Gully Boy opposite Ranveer Singh. Given Zoya is known for making high class entertainers 'for rich people', Gully Boy would have been another gem in Alia's crown. But the stills from the sets, along with the subject of the film (underground rap scene of Mumbai), Alia would most likely don a de-glam avatar. But how de-glam can you get for a Zoya Akhtar film anyway?
For the subsequent year, Varun has announced that he will reunite with his Dulhania franchise director Shashank Khaitan for Rannbhoomi, which producer Johar described as Khaitan's "colossal" project. Speaking about the film, the director had said, "Rannbhoomi is a warrior film, which showcases love, relationships, sacrifices, revenge, and heroism." Since it has been locked for a Diwali 2020 release already, it is sure to have been pitched as a mass entertainer promised to bring audiences to theaters in flocks during the festive season.
Similarly, Alia will be seen sharing the screen space with Ranbir Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan in Ayan Mukerji's fantasy drama Brahamastra. Though details of her character are not known, she has been performing high-octane stunts during the film's shoot in Bulgaria.
Having said that, there is hope. Alia has confirmed that she is in talks with Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari for a project. Given that Ashwiny is the director of slice-of-life films like Nil Battey Sannata and Bareilly Ki Barfi, she will have something special, and more real, in store for Alia. But Kangana Ranaut is also speculated to be in negotiation with Ashwiny though it is not known whether the discussions are for the same role that Alia is being considered.
As far as the question of taking out dates for the film is concerned, it may not be an issue as most of such small films have a start-to-finish school. Alia happened to shoot for Raazi in 40 days which must have played a major factor in her opting for the espionage thriller. She signed the film when she had taken a six-month break from acting after delivering four commercial and critical successes (Kapoor & Sons, Udta Punjab, Dear Zindagi and Badrinath Ki Dulhania). As she was recuperating from her hectic schedule and mentally preparing for Brahmastra and Gully Boy, she was narrated Raazi by Meghna in the interim. Things worked out between the two, culminating into a smash hit.
Similarly, Varun had been pursuing Shoojit for a long time, craving to get a taste of the unconventional director's world. It came as a surprise when he signed October after two huge formulaic sequels in Badrinath Ki Dulhania and Judwaa 2 but it was necessary for his career to offer a Badlapur-like performance-oriented role again. And Dan just set things right.
This September, he will be seen in another de-glam role, probably his last in the next two years, in Sharat Katariya's Sui Dhaaga: Made in India. An unconventional love story opposite Anushka Sharma, he will be seen as a tailor in the Yash Raj Films production. Fans of Varun must freeze his next film in their consciousness as they will need to go back to it periodically, till he strips himself of his stardom and does a slice-of-life entertainer, say alongside an Alia Bhatt.
All images from YouTube.
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