x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Desi Girl: two big Bollywood premieres will soon bedazzle Dubai

Kareena Kapoor and Ranbir Kapoor will be in town to promote their films Barfi and Heroine.

With Ramadan finally over, we can look forward to not only more Bollywood film releases, but also local premieres and promotional visits by casts and crews. The two main premieres in the next few days are Barfi (August 29) and Heroine (September 3), both organised by Dream Advertising and the Ministry of Events.

Emad Syed, the chief executive of Dream Advertising, says Ranbir Kapoor will be in town for Barfi's red carpet premiere and to participate in promotional events in various malls. Meanwhile, Kareena Kapoor and Madhur Bhandarkar will be in town a couple of days later to promote Heroine.

Barfi, set in India in the 1970s, features a deaf-mute character named Barfi (played by Kapoor) and an autistic girl, Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra). Alongside them is Shruti (Illeana D'Cruz), who is torn between bringing Jhilmil and Barfi together or keeping Barfi all to herself.

The film is directed by Anurag Basu, who is best known for films dealing with dark themes such as adultery, murder and crime (Life in a Metro, Murder, Gangster). It will be interesting to see how he has tackled the light, romantic comedy genre.

Basu has confirmed that Barfi is a commercial venture made solely to entertain. Attempting such a movie was quite a brave move on his part, considering his high success rate with more serious subjects and the lukewarm response to his last romantic film, Kites, in 2010. But Basu says he likes to keep things interesting by trying different genres.

It's quite strange that neither the film's director nor the leading ladies will be in Dubai for the premiere. Rumours have been floating around since the film's first day of shooting that D'Cruz and Chopra have been at loggerheads on and off the set. D'Cruz is the only one to have publicly denied them. Maybe the South Indian actress is being politically correct. After all, this is her Bollywood debut and she won't get anywhere by making enemies. So far, she seems to have played her cards right: her first Hindi film is not even out yet and there are whispers that she has already signed her second. Raj Kumar Santoshi's Phata Poster Nikla Hero might feature D'Cruz with another male Kapoor in the lead: Shahid. In the South, D'Cruz recently starred in Nanban, a Tamil remake of 3 Idiots, where she took on the role Kareena Kapoor played in the original version.

Meanwhile, neither of the recently released songs from the Barfi soundtrack features Priyanka Chopra: the track Ala Barfi has Ranbir Kapoor, while Main Kya Karoon features him with D'Cruz. Chopra's absence could mean one of two things: either all is not well between her and the producers, or the producers are saving the best song for the last.

We're quite disappointed that neither actress will make it to Dubai this time. But don't worry – Kareena Kapoor will soon be in town. Known for being outspoken, she will no doubt make a few people squirm. And looking at all the controversy surrounding the film's trailer, she has already started. Her character's comments alluding to prostitution in Dubai got people in the UAE all worked up. Print advertisements for the film, which feature her smoking, have angered anti-tobacco groups all over India.

And then there is the recent release of a song from Heroine, already set to become one of the year's biggest item numbers: Halkat Jawaani. Kapoor sizzles on screen – and we can't wait for her to up the heat in Dubai.