Kaalakaandi, Mukkabaaz, Hichki, Pari, Parmanu — the first few months of 2018 boasts of small films with big potential

Archita Kashyap

Jan,03 2018 08:51:18 IST

2017 closed with a bang when Tiger Zinda Hai, the typical Bollywood blockbuster, minted money. It called curtains on a sad year for Hindi cinema. The upside though, was the small film with big potential — a definite trend that has emerged in the past three years.

2018 opens with a decent line up of the small-scale film, big on story and content and some riding on female stars. Here are the ones worth watching out for.

Kaalakaandi

Starring Saif Ali Khan, Akshay Oberoi, Deepak Dobriyal

Releases on 12 January, 2018

Akshat Verma made Delhi Belly, an adult comedy in its own standalone space. It has taken him a while to make his next, with Saif Ali Khan in the lead walking the grey line, a space he tackles well. Kaalakaandi teases with its abusive, black humor and says little about its story. It plays out during one night in the life of a banker who has little time to live, and plays on the word ‘kaand’ (translating to a strange event). In the director’s words,  “The idea is to make people curious with the trailer, which is why I have not given out much of the plot. It’s a thriller. I am a big Saif fan but apart from that, I felt that only he could fit into this part. It took me a while to get around to him, and get him on board. But I am happy that it finally worked out.”

Saif Ali Khan in a still from Kaalakaandi

Saif Ali Khan in a still from Kaalakaandi. YouTube

Mukkabaaz

Beyond the cast, a typical Anurag Kashyap film

Releases on 12 January, 2018

Anurag Kashyap has held his own in the grungy cinematic space — one devoid of stars but packed with actors and powerful performances. Set in Uttar Pradesh and in the context of local boxing in conflict with local politics, this film brings in flavors of the sass mouthing, kicking and punching, heartland drama. Kashyap has a lot to disprove after the Bombay Velvet debacle and seems at home in this film’s zone. That it has done well at reputed film festivals adds to its credibility.

A still from Mukkabaaz. Image from Eros

A still from Mukkabaaz. Image from Eros

Aiyaary

Starring Manoj Bajpayee, Sidharth Malhotra, Naseeruddin Shah

Releases on 26 January, 2018

Pandey has fortunately shunned the hangover of the big flick for  this thriller, focusing on an interesting storyline with a fabulous cast of actors. Manoj Bajpai leads the pack as a colonel and the film features Naseeruddin Shah, the veteran star from Pandey’s debut film, A Wednesday, in an important role. Sidharth Malhotra brings in the star factor and actors like Adil Hussein add value to a stellar cast. From the trailer, the film centers on illegal arms trade. Delicate subject, so piques curiosity.

Sidharth Malhotra and Manoj Bajpai in a still from Aiyaary. Twitter@Aiyaary

Sidharth Malhotra and Manoj Bajpai in a still from Aiyaary. Twitter@Aiyaary

Pari

Starring Anushka Sharma, Parambrota Chatterjee

Releases on 9th February, 2018

Rather than categorizing Pari a small film, it can definitely be called an unusual film. A horror movie with Anushka Sharma and Bengali super star Parambrota Chatterjee working together for the first time, the film’s plot has been kept under wraps. While speculations around its story continue, Prosit Roy’s debut film presents Anushka in an eerie, shocking avatar. Horror always works at the box office, ask the makers of 1920 and the Ragini MMS movies. If you make it with a solid story, as Sharma’s production house tends to do, then the film holds huge potential for audiences.

Anushka Sharma in a still from Pari. Twitter@AnushkaSharma

Anushka Sharma in a still from Pari. Twitter@AnushkaSharma

Sonu Ki Titu Ki Sweety

Starring Kartik Aryaan, Nusrat Bharucha; typical Luv Israni comedy

Releases on 9 February, 2018

Luv Ranjan proved his ability to tell a typical ‘ boys will be boys’ story with the Pyar Ka Punchnama comedies. Sad but true, neither the filmmaker nor his young actors seemed to have found their footing beyond these runaway super hits. So now they team up for Sonu Ki Titu Ki Sweety for a typical, flashy Dilli style comedy. A promising trailer, (if you can deal with the very male lens used in its narration), and a proven team come together to make a film that can well be a big success with the masses.

Nushrat Bharucha and Kartik Aaryan in a still from Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety. YouTube

Nushrat Bharucha and Kartik Aaryan in a still from Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety. YouTube

Hichki

Starring Rani Mukerji

Releases on 23 February, 2018

Calling a Rani Mukerji film small is somewhat suitable. But Hichki is her comeback project where she plays a a teacher suffering from Turrets syndrome. It is about her struggle to teach young students from Mumbai slums in an upmarket school. Not riding on glamour or past glory, this film holds out the promise of a classic Rani performance. However, if only the film’s makers had called it a remake right from the start, the shadow would not have hung over in what looks like a heartfelt story that many can relate to.

Rani Mukerji in a still from Hichki. YouTube

Rani Mukerji in a still from Hichki. YouTube

Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran

Starring John Abraham, Diana Penty, Boman Irani

Releases on 23 February, 2018

While this thriller is marketed around the India Shining slogan to salute glory of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government, one can safely ignore that bit to focus on what makes Parmanu attractive. It brings the story of a nuclear test where India proved its scientific mettle and stood up to pressure from powerful Western nations to millennials. Producer John Abraham has shown a knack for picking interesting subjects. Faux patriotism aside, this one promises an engaging plot and a thrilling watch.

John Abraham in a poster of Parmanu: The Story Of Pokhran. Twitter@TheJohnAbraham

John Abraham in a poster of Parmanu: The Story Of Pokhran. Twitter@TheJohnAbraham

The first three months will also have Sudhir Mishra’s Daasdev, a contemporary, political take on the classic Bengali novel Devdas, hit theatres. Mishra excels at the political milieu. With a plethora of smaller films jostling for space, the audience is spoilt for choice.

Richa Chadha, Rahul Bhat and Aditi Rao Hydari in stills from Daasdev. Images via Twitter/@taran_adarsh

Richa Chadha, Rahul Bhat and Aditi Rao Hydari in stills from Daasdev. Images via Twitter/@taran_adarsh

Updated Date: Jan 03, 2018 11:39 AM