Monday, 30th October 2017

E- paper

Kedarnath, Mauli, Zero, KGF, Simmba — December's plenty

Whatever the backstage fights, the one clear winner is going to be Sara Ali Khan... She’s in Kedarnath and Simmba

  • Published 1.12.18, 10:05 PM
  • Updated 4.12.18, 1:47 PM
  • 2 mins read
Sara Ali Khan Fotocorp

What a wicked month December is going to be. Kicking it off is Kedarnath, the film that ran into trouble even before it was fully made. After managing to free itself from production trouble, it spruced up and got ready for a December 7 release. But the trailer, which seemed to suggest that the wrath of the gods caused those devastating floods in 2013, has rankled quite a few. Set against a Hindu-Muslim love story (with the Hindus shown as communal and against the match), it raised the hackles of the Right wing. Insiders themselves say the wrath is with reference to man playing with ecology and not the romance. But this is not going to end with a meek debate. For all the crackers that could not go off on Diwali and for all the big ones who failed to crackle at the box office this season (read Thugs, 2.0), there’s going to be major sizzle on screen and off it, and Kedarnath will be the vanguard.

A week after will be Riteish Deshmukh’s Marathi film Mauli, the sequel to Laai Bhaari, originally scheduled to hit theatres in Maharashtra on December 21. If Kedarnath has Lord Shiva watching over the love story, Mauli is an unabashed tribute to Lord Vitthal of Pandharpur. Lakhs of pilgrims walk to Pandharpur during this time chanting “Mauli”. The power of Mauli is so great in Maharashtra that Shah Rukh Khan requested his buddy Riteish not to clash with his Zero. Riteish obliged and brought his film forward by a week.

The third week will see Shah Rukh as a dwarf in Aanand L. Rai’s Zero. Since the audience wasn’t kind to his last release, When Harry Met Sejal, much is riding on Zero to resurrect the hero.

But there’s a hitch. His best friend Karan Johar (who makes a pile distributing films with partner Anil Thadani, Raveena Tandon’s husband), has a Kannada biggie called KGF coming on the same day as Zero. Karan is also associated with Rajinikanth’s 2.0 (just as he backed Bahubali), so the whisper is that they’ve been offering a package deal of 2.0 and KGF, to get both lavishly made films from the South the best chain of theatres. But with 2.0 (Hindi) turning out to be not such a hot deal, one wonders if SRK will lose sleep over a dubbed Kannada film.

The fourth week is when friendships will be put on test. Simmba, the commercial Singham-genre cop film starring the irrepressible Ranveer Singh, directed by Rohit Shetty in co-production with Karan Johar, is the really big one. Will SRK allow Zero to make space for Simmba within a week? There’s the additional side story that SRK and Rohit Shetty aren’t the best of friends after Dilwale crashed three years ago. So Zero vs Simmba?

Whatever the backstage fights, the one clear winner is going to be Sara Ali Khan, Saif and Amrita’s vivacious daughter who talks just like her mom. She’s in Kedarnath with Sushant Singh and in Simmba with Ranveer. What more could a debutante want?

Speaking of Ranveer, he and Deepika threw a well-hosted party for the media on Wednesday. It was one of those extremely high-security events with a code in the e-invite that was strictly followed before one could go in. But once in, the hospitality flowed non-stop. Said the groom to me, “I did it as per your instructions,” referring to a cover story I’d done on him when he was a newcomer, in which I’d listed all the reasons why I thought he was the next big thing. As for Deepika, when I told her how wonderful it was that they were having such a grand wedding and so openly, she said with a huge smile, “We don’t know any other way.” Touche.

Bharathi S. Pradhan is a senior journalist and author