After a year in which the curtains went down in theaters in the aftermath of the pandemic, 2021 promises to be a blockbuster year for the silver screen. From Vijay to Aamir Khan and Mohanlal, industry bigwigs will be scorching the cinemas hoping to keep the box office busy. A peek into the grand feast in store for the fans.
Even the all-pervasive pandemic could not dampen the buzz surrounding Ilayathalapathy Vijay’s multi-crore offering -- Master.
The film, initially slated to release in April 2020, is now expected to release as early as Pongal (January 2021), perhaps breaking the long box-office lull.
The makers kept updating Vijay’s legions of fans with regular updates, sending the lacklustre trade circles into a tizzy.
Buzz is that several online streaming sites have asked for rights for a record price (as mind-boggling as Rs 100 crore), but Vijay wanted The Master to be released in theatres only — for obvious reasons.
His clear political aspirations aside, Vijay did not want to antagonize multiple stake-holders in the screening pecking order. That’s why quite boldly, Vijay took the call of releasing the film in January, even risking a major percentage of the film’s box-office revenue. A streaming site has reportedly bagged the rights of Master paying top dollar. Also starring Makkal Selvan and Malavika Mohan, the film directed by Lokesh Kanakaraj --remember, that stunning thriller Kaithi? -- is undoubtedly one of the most-awaited flicks of the year.
TIDBIT: The film has already amassed ₹200 crore, in pre-release business, including theatrical, overseas, satellite, digital, music and dubbing rights.
There is only one reason why there is such a huge buzz around Annaatthe: Rajinikanth. Directed by Siva, after the blockbuster Viswasam, the film’s shoot has been disrupted multiple times due to the pandemic. A little birdie says Rajinikanth, who was hunting for potential scripts that suit his age and persona, was bowled over by Siva’s script, which was initially written for Ajith. According to insiders, the makers want to wrap up the project before Rajinikanth officially joins politics. With Tamil Nadu elections slated in April/May, time is virtually running out for Thalaivar to seal the project and make his entry into politics. Also starring Nayanthara and Keerthy Suresh, the film is expected to release in the summer. Will the flick have political undertones? Wait and watch.
TIDBIT: If Rajinikanth enters full-time politics, Annaatthe is most likely to be the last film in his long career.
If Annaatthe is about Rajininakth, then RRR (Roudram Ranam Rudhiram) is all about SS Rajamouli, who is returning after the mega-blockbuster Bahubali series. With expectations soaring on what he does next, Rajamouli decided to go for another fictional story set in the pre-Independent era. What more, the film stars two of the biggest stars in Tollywood, Ram Charan and NTR Jr. Shot on a budget of Rs 450 crore, the film also stars Alia Bhat and Ajay Devgan.
TIDBIT: Alia Bhat is making her South debut through RRR.
Designed as part of ace director Rohit Shety’s cop franchise, the film enjoys a star-studded line-up (hold your breath!) which includes Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Ranveer Singh, Ajay Devgn and Jackie Shroff. Clearly playing to the Rohit Shetty gallery, the film will have Akshay playing as the head of Anti-Terrorism Squad. Like Vijay’s The Master, the film has been repeatedly sought by digital streaming sites for a record price, but the makers did not budge. After all, a Rohit Shetty film is to be seen on the big screen!
TIDBIT: The film will recreate an iconic song — Tip Tip Barsa Paani — from Akshay’s 1994 film Mohra with Katrina Kaif in Sooryavanshi.
KGF 2 (Kannada)
Such is the impact of KGF-1 that the tremors it created in 2018 is still reverberating. Starring Yash, the first part turned out to be the biggest grosser EVER in Kannada cinema. Ever since, the industry and the rest of India have been eagerly awaiting the release of the sequel, which got a big fillip after Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt was roped in as the baddie. Directed by Prashanth Neel, KGF-2 was shot extensively at Kolar Fields in Karnataka.
TIDBIT: KGF-2 is Kannada cinema’s first film to be shot on a Rs 100-crore budget.
Laal Singh Chaddha (Hindi)
An official adaptation of the 1994 American classic Forrest Gump, the film stars Aamir Khan in the titular role. This will be the first time that all the 3 khans, Aamir, Salman and Shahrukh, will come in a single movie though the three of them won't be seen together in the movie. Laal Singh Chaddha has been filmed in more than 100 Indian locations, including Varkkala and Changanassery in Kerala. Aamir was so keen to rope in Vijay Sethupathi in a key role, but the latter dropped out due to commitments in Tamil cinema.
TIDBIT: The film’s script has been written by National Award-winning actor Atul Kulkarni
Marakkar – Arabikadalinte Simham (Malayalam)
Touted as the most expensive film ever made in Malayalam with a budget of Rs 100 crore+, Priyadarshan’s Marakkar explores the exploits of Kunjali Marakkar, the Naval Chief of Zamorin of Calicut. Starring Mohanlal, the flick took almost a year to shoot on humungous sets created by National Award-winning production designer Sabu Cyril. The film, dubbed in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and Kannada, was originally slated for release in March 2020, but postponed at the last minute after COVID struck.
Digital streaming sites have quoted record price for Marakkar, but the producers decided to have a theatrical release. The film stars Arjun Sarja, Suniel Shetty, Prabhu, Manju Warrier, Keerthy Suresh, Mukesh, Siddique, and Nedumudi Venu in supporting roles.
TIDBIT: The film will be released in over 50 countries, the first Malayalam flick to do so.