A new year brings new opportunities for Bollywood to dazzle audiences with fantastical, action-packed, and moving stories. The real question is: Will it actually follow-through? This year’s Bollywood schedule is certainly planning to give one hell of a try. The slate of movies on deck for 2016 are ambitious and surprisingly empowering for men and women, and it has started off with a bang thanks to the release of the great new thriller “Wazir.”
So, here’s what to look out for in the coming weeks and months—from projects with trailers and release dates to those still in rumor or casting stages, Bollywood 2016 has created a pretty impressive list of anticipated films.
[Read Related: ‘Wazir’—A Mind-Bending Thriller Wrapped in a Family Tragedy]
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Nimrat Kaur | Releasing: January 22
Akshay Kumar plays real-life Indian businessman Ranji Katyal, the man who was instrumental in the biggest evacuation of Indians in Kuwait after Iraq’s invasion of the country in the 1990s. The film also stars Nimrat Kaur as Katyal’s wife Amrita.
2. “Saala Khadoos”
Starring: Madhavan, Ritika Singh | Releasing: January 29
Madhavan sheds his timid, “Tanu Weds Manu” skin as boxer Adi Tomar, whose life is shattered by the corrupt politics involved with his sport in this bilingual Hindi/Tamil film. Adi decides to get back into boxing through coaching after he spots champion-level potential in a young woman from a rural fishing community. This film gets huge points for also being directed by a woman, Sudha Kongara Prasad, who also directed the acclaimed Tamil film, “Drohi.”
Starring: Aditya Roy Kapur, Katrina Kaif, Tabu | Releasing: February 12
An adaptation of “Great Expectations,” Aditya Roy Kapur plays Noor, a young artist who is desperately in love with Katrina Kaif’s Firdaus. Their love has many obstacles including manipulation by Tabu’s Begum Harzat and much more. This marks director Abhishek Kapoor’s fourth film after hits like “Kai Po Che” and “Rock On!!”
[Read Related: "Katrina Kaif, Aditya Roy Kapur Bring ‘Great Expectations’ to Life in ‘Fitoor’"]
Starring: Sonam Kapoor, Shabana Azmi | Releasing: February 29
In one of the most anticipated movies of the year, Sonam Kapoor plays real-life hero Neerja Bhanot, who gave her life to save the passengers of Pan Am Flight 73 from Mumbai to New York which was hijacked in Karachi, Pakistan.
[Read Related:"‘Neerja’ Trailer Portrays a Brave, Real-Life Woman With Respect and Strength"]
Starring: Manoj Bajpai, Rajkummar Rao | Releasing: February 26
[Photo Credit: Eros International]
“Aligarh” tells the real-life story of Dr. Shrinivas Ramachandra Siras, who was fired from his position as professor of Marathi by Aligarh Muslim University after a TV channel forced their way into his house and found him engaging in relations with another man. The movie, which shows the unfortunate truth of homophobia in India, received a standing ovation at the Busan International Film Festival. Acclaimed actor Manoj Bajpai plays Siras in this film directed by director Hansal Mehta, who helmed incredible films like “Shahid” and “CityLights.”
6. “Jai Gangaajal”
Starring: Priyanka Chopra, Manav Kaul | Releasing: March 4
Director Prakash Jha—helmer of incredible social justice and political films like “Damul,” “Mrityudand” and “Rajneeti”—returns in this film starring Priyanka Chopra as Abha Mathur, the first female SP of the Bankipur District in Bihar. Mathur is forced to go after corruption and violence caused by the local MLA of the area.
7. “Kapoor & Sons Since 1921″
Starring: Fawad Khan, Sidharth Malhotra, Alia Bhatt | Releasing: March 18
[Photo Source: Twitter/Karan Johar]
We really don’t quite know the plot of this new film directed by “Ekk Main Aur Ekk Tu” helmer Shakun Batra aside from the fact that Fawad Khan and Sidharth Malhotra play brothers. But with those few facts alone, who wouldn’t want to go see it?
8. “Ki and Ka”
Starring: Arjun Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan | Releasing: April 1
[Photo Source: Eros Now/Screenshot]
“Cheeni Kum” and “Paa” director R. Balki’s newest film challenges gender stereotypes put upon Indian men and women through the eyes of a young couple, in which the wife is the breadwinner and the husband runs the home.
Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Ileana D’Cruz | Releasing: April 15
Not much is known about this new thriller, and director Maneesh Sharma (who also made “Band Baaja Baarat”) is making sure to keep it that way. What we do know is that SRK plays a double role in the film—one is a 45-year-old superstar, Aryan Khanna, and the other is a 25-year-old Aryan Khanna super fan, Gaurav Chadha. This sounds enticing already!
Starring: Hashvardhan Kapoor, Om Puri | Releasing: May 13
Anil Kapoor’s son makes his Bollywood debut in “Rang De Basanti” and “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s newest historical romance.
Starring: Emraan Hashmi, Prachi Desai, Nargis Fakhri, Huma Qureshi | Releasing: May 13th
Emraan Hashmi stars as Mohammad Azharuddin, the famous cricketer who was involved in a match-fixing scandal in 2000.
Starring: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Randeep Hooda | Releasing: May 20
[Photo Source: Twitter/First India News]
“Mary Kom” director, Omung Kumar, helms a new biopic about Sarabjit Singh—an Indian national who was convicted of being a terrorist and spy by the Pakistani Supreme Court, and then sentenced to death. The sentence continued to be postponed for years, but Singh was attacked by fellow inmates and died in 2013. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan plays Singh’s sister.
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vidya Balan | Releasing: May 20
[Photo credit: Twitter/Beejal Bhatt]
We have no idea what this new thriller is about, but the star wattage and acting talent involved in the project is enough to keep us on the edge of our seats, awaiting its release.
14. “Jagga Jasoos”
Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Govinda, Adah Sharma | Releasing: June 3
[Photo Source: Twitter/ZeeNews]
Anurag Basu, director of “Life in a… Metro” and “Gangster,” directs this new film about a detective who goes in search of his missing father.
15. “Udta Punjab”
Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Alia Bhatt | Releasing: June 17
[Photo Source: Twitter/First India News]
The new film by “Ishqiya” director Abhishek Chaubey is said to be about substance abuse in the Indian state of Punjab—but what’s really interesting is the cast. Only the trailer (not yet released) can tell us how much screentime former couple Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor Khan share, as well as the depth of the film’s plot.
Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Mahira Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui | Releasing: July 8
In this film, SRK plays a ruthless bootlegger whose business is threatened by a new police officer in his territory. “Raees” is said to be about the prohibition of alcohol, prostitution, and illegal drugs in 1980s Gujarat.
Starring: Salman Khan, Anushka Sharma | Releasing: July 8
The Khans are set for a mighty release date clash, as Salman Khan’s “Sultan”—a new film by “Gunday” helmer, Ali Abbas Zafar, about a Haryana-based wrestler—is slated to hit theaters the same day as SRK’s “Raees.”
18. “Mohenjo Daro”
Starring: Hrithik Roshan, Amrita Puri, Pooja Hegde | Releasing: August 12
[Photo Source: Twitter/Ashutosh Gowariker Productions Pvt. Ltd.]
A film set during the ancient era of the Indus Valley civilization of 2600 B.C., this new film features the second team-up of Hrithik Roshan, Ashutosh Gowariker, and A.R. Rahman after 2008’s “Jodhaa Akbar.”
19. “MS Dhoni: The Untold Story”
Starring: Sushant Singh Rajput & many more | Releasing: September 2
[Photo Source: Twitter/CineSpeaks]
This film is literally what it sounds like: it tells the story of the cricketer, M.S. Dhoni. But what makes it, even more, exciting is the list of names supposedly attached to the project—alongside star Sushant Singh Rajput, the cast includes Fawad Khan, John Abraham, and Anupam Kher, to name a few.
20. “Baar Baar Dekho”
Starring: Sidharth Malhotra, Katrina Kaif | Releasing: September 9
[Photo Source: Twitter/KoiMoi.com]
Once again, not much is known about this film aside from that it is a romance. But the star power behind the film makes it an anticipated release, with producers Karan Johar and Farhan Akhtar, as well as newcomer director, Nitya Mehra, who worked as an assistant director for “Lakshya” and “Don.”
21. “Half Girlfriend”
Starring: Arjun Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor | Releasing: October 7
[Photo Source: Twitter/RedFMIndia]
After “2 States,” this film is another Chetan Bhagat adaptation starring Arjun Kapoor. The pairing with Shraddha Kapoor is definitely exciting, as is the combination with “Aashiqui 2″ and “Ek Villain” director, Mohit Suri.
Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Kangana Ranaut | Releasing: October 14
[Photo Source: Instagram/Shahid Kapoor]
Described as a “’Casablanca’-esque love story set during World War II,” this new film by “Omkara” and “Haider” director, Vishal Bhardwaj, is sure to be a must-see—especially considering his fantastic cast.
23. “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”
Starring: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Anushka Sharma, Ranbir Kapoor, Fawad Khan | Releasing: October 28
[Photo Source: Twitter/Ae Dil Hai Mushkil]
Karan Johar finally gets his wish of casting Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in one of his directorial ventures with “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.” The film’s plot is still unknown, but considering the cast and director, does it really matter?
Starring: Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt | Releasing: October 31
So what exactly is “Shuddhi” about? Who knows—but it has supposedly caused a lot of confusion with scheduling and casting issues. That must mean it’s at least worth a watch, right?
25. “Rock On!! 2″
Starring: Farhan Akthar, Arjun Rampal, Prachi Desai, Shraddha Kapoor | Releasing: November 11
[Photo Source: Twitter/Zee Cinema]
A sequel for “Rock On!!” with the whole cast plus Shraddha Kapoor? Yes, please!
Starring: Aamir Khan, Sakshi Tanwar, Rajkummar Rao | Releasing: December 23
[Photo Source: Walt Disney Studios]
Aamir Khan is back on the big screen with “Dangal,” a story about Mahavir Singh Phogat, the man who taught his two daughters — Kumari and Geeta Phogat — wrestling. Both sisters later competed and received accolades for their wrestling prowess.
These are the films we’re not quite sure will get a release date in 2016 or 2017—nonetheless, they are absolutely anticipated. Let’s get some official dates soon, Bollywood!
Starring: Ranveer Singh, Vaani Kapoor
This film marks producer extraordinaire Aditya Chopra’s latest directorial project.
Starring: Sonakshi Sinha, Aditya Roy Kapur, Konkona Sen Sharma
“Ghajini” director AR Murugadoss returns to Hindi cinema with this remake of the hit Tamil film, “Mouna Guru.”
Starring: Kangana Ranaut
Kangana Ranaut stars in a new thriller from director Hansal Mehta. This is sure to be a fantastic new pairing.
30. Untitled Gauri Shinde Project
Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Alia Bhatt
All we hope is that this new film starring SRK and Alia Bhatt does not find the pair as a romantic couple—the age difference would just be a bit too staggering. But the anticipation for the film could not be any higher.
31. “Dhoom Reloaded”
Starring: Who knows for sure?
According to different reports, everyone from Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, and Salman Khan are all starring in this new installment of the “Dhoom” franchise. We can’t know for sure until Yash Raj Films gives us some answers!