The bygone year didn’t seem to be a very good one for commercial cinema. A string of big-banner movies crashed at the box office. But on the other hand, it proved to be a great year for independent cinema, with movies like Newton, Hindi Medium, Lipstick Under My Burkha and Secret Superstar among others making it big in terms of both critical acclaim and box-office numbers. So the question is whether commercial films will be able to match up to their lesser rivals in 2018. Let us find out by looking ahead at some of the most anticipated commercial releases of the coming months.

Aiyaary:

After a highly-appreciated trailer launch on 19 December, the hype surrounding Aiyaary has sky-rocketed. Aiyaary, as explained by director Neeraj Pandey recently in a press conference, means “ultimate trickery” and “fabulously sums up what a soldier resorts to ultimately in the face of extreme crisis”.  Starring Sidharth Malhotra and Manoj Bajpayee, the film will bring to life the story of two Indian Army officers who are at the opposite end of the spectrum of morality. Bajpayee playing the role of a loyal Army man will be seen chasing his former protégé, Malhotra, who is involved in an artillery scam. The cat and mouse chase between the two actors, against the backdrops of Delhi, Kashmir and London, is expected to prove all the more exciting as an array of characters played by Rakul Preet, Anupam Kher, Naseeruddin Shah and Adil Hussain join in the action. The film is up for a clash with Akshay Kumar’s Padman, and will hit the silver screen on  26 January.

Hitchki:

After a hiatus of almost four years, Bollywood’s quintessential queen Rani Mukerji is all set to make a comeback with Hitchki. Slated to release on 23 February, the film has been directed by Siddharth P. Malhotra. Mukerji will be seen portraying the role of a teacher who has Tourette’s Syndrome, a form of speech impairment, and as a result, makes a lot of strange noises. The recently released trailer of the film has already earned some rave reviews and successfully underline the 39-year-old’s acting prowess, reminding us of her performances in critically acclaimed movies like Black [2005], Laaga Chunari Mein Daag [2007], and No One Killed Jessica [2011] among others. Mukerji, who recently confessed that she used to stammer as a child, said that her performance in the film derives from a personal space. The movie explores the age-old teacher-student premise, as the trailer suggests, and portrays a character›s struggle against her speech disorder as well as against a set of rowdy students. Produced by Maneesh Sharma, the film will be released under the banner of Yash Raj Films.

The Sanjay Dutt Biopic:

Ranbir Kapoor’s massive transformation and Raj Kumar Hirani’s direction make this untitled biopic a highly anticipated film of the year 2018. The movie will trace the controversial life of actor Sanjay Dutt, and has caused much excitement across B-town. Following the disappointing performance of Jagga Jasoos [2017] at the box office, the biopic is expected to be one of the biggest movies in the acting career of the Ae Dil Hai Mushkil star, Ranbir Kapoor. While the audiences will still have to wait for the trailer launch, Kapoor in a recent message [through his official fan page] on Twitter announced that the poster with the movie title will be revealed in the first week of January. The movie is set to hit the silver screen on 30 March and has been produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra. The biopic also stars Paresh Rawal, Manisha Koirala, Dia Mirza, Sonam Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Anushka Sharma, Jim Sarbh, Vicky Kaushal and Tabu.

2.0:

This sequel of Tamil blockbuster Enthiran [2010] is slated for a  27 April release. The film was supposed to release in December, and the release date was shifted to 26 January later. However, owing to a delay in VFX work, the film has now been further pushed to an April release. The film will now lock horns with the next in line of the Avengers  series—Avengers Infinity War. Touted to be the most expensive Indian film, 2.0 is part of a project that has a whopping budget of Rs 450 crore.  Directed by Shankar, the film will star Rajinikanth, Akshay Kumar and Amy Jackson. Music maestro A.R. Rahman has composed music for the film. Made under the banner of Lyca Productions, the movie has been produced by A.Subhashkaran. 2.0 will be released in Hindi, Telugu and Tamil.

Kedarnath:

The New Year will mark the much-awaited debut of two star kids in Hindi cinema. Jhanvi Kapoor is all set to make her grand entry in Bollywood with Karan Johar’s Dhadak [a Hindi remake of hit Marathi blockbuster Sairat]. Sara Ali Khan, on the other hand, will be seen starring opposite Sushant Singh Rajput in Kedarnath.  While both the films are set to roll out new flavours and freshness, Abhishek Kapoor’s Kedarnath has already managed to create the right buzz among movie buffs with its strong storyline and reports of it having a probable clash with Shah Rukh Khan’s untitled film with Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma. There are also reports of the producers having some discussion with Shah Rukh’s production house Red Chillies to avoid the clash. Produced by Prernaa Arora, the film is dedicated to Lord Shiva and gives out a message of peace. The film as of now has been scheduled for a 21 December release.

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