x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

From Bang Bang to Mary Kom and Haider, Bollywood is releasing a slew of blockbusters in the coming months

Liked Salman Khan's Kick? Then brace yourself for other high-octane action movies due out this year.

Rani Mukerji in Mardaani. Courtesy Yash Raj Films
Rani Mukerji in Mardaani. Courtesy Yash Raj Films

Salman Khan’s action-comedy Kick has already set a high standard by zooming into the 1 billion rupees (Dh60m) club within a week of hitting cinemas in India, and more adrenalin-fuelled movies are coming your way: Singham Returns, Mardaani, Mary Kom, Desi Kattey, Bang Bang, Haider, Happy New Year, Tevar and Tamanchey. And yes, they are all out this year.

If the success of 2011’s Singham is anything to go by, Ajay Devgn as Bajirao Singham will roar again in Rohit Shetty’s Singham Returns, due out in UAE cinemas on August 14 (the film is released in India on August 15, the country’s Independence Day). Expect exploding police vans, slow-motion punches and men somersaulting in the air every time Devgn’s fists make contact with their faces.

Want a change from macho men tearing off their shirts and flexing their biceps? Catch Rani Mukerji in her new avatar as a tough cop in Mardaani, produced by Yash Raj Films (YRF) and out on August 21. The film – about human trafficking – has the actress kicking and punching her way through several action sequences, for which she had to undergo professional training.

“The action scenes in Mardaani are very real and integral to the story without being over the top,” says Rafiq Gangjee, the vice president of marketing and communications at YRF. “Rani was trained by professionals of krav maga, an Israeli martial art form, and her actions are true to life. Her role is that of a senior crime-branch police inspector who goes after the child-trafficking mafia and she has played that tough role to perfection,” Gangjee said.

Not far behind on the list of Bolly-wood actresses in action mode is Priyanka Chopra, the star of the ­biopic Mary Kom, out in the UAE on September 4. To portray the Indian Olympic boxer on screen, Chopra underwent “extreme physical endurance to prepare for the character and delivered a knock-out performance that has set a new bar for the women protagonists in Bollywood”, says Ajit Andhare, the chief operating officer of Viacom18 Motion Pictures. “Action sequences have been an integral part of cinema, but today these sequences are realistic and gritty and the stars train resiliently to be able to deliver the same.”

Unlike the ham-fisted action sequences that peppered Bollywood films in the 1970s and 1980s, today’s movies are true to life and actors go through months of training to pull off tough action sequences and to sport toned, muscular bodies, all in the name of authenticity. The actor Farhan Akhtar, for example, trained like a professional athlete for his role portraying the Indian sprinter Milkha Singh in the biopic Bhaag Mikha Bhaag (2013).

Suniel Shetty, Bollywood’s self-styled muscle man, stars in Desi Kattey, due out on August 28. It promises plenty of raw action – it’s about two orphans who make rudimentary guns to earn their ­livelihood.

Another much-awaited film is Bang Bang – could the title give away more? Hrtihik Roshan and Katrina Kaif star in this Hindi rip-off of Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz’s Knight and Day, so expect flying fists, roaring jet-skis and Formula 1 cars burning rubber in high-speed chases (some of which were filmed on Abu Dhabi’s Corniche earlier this year). The film is out on October 1.

There’s also the much-talked-about Haider, also due out on October 1, Vishal Bhardwaj’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The cast includes Shahid Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Tabu and Irrfan Khan. A peek at its trailer reveals that the film is high on guns and explosions, set as it is in war-torn Kashmir.

How can the year close without a dose of Shah Rukh Khan? He stars in Farah Khan’s Happy New Year, due for release during Diwali (October 22). Besides Khan in the lead role, the film pulls a mighty punch thanks to the star-studded cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Vivaan Shah, Sonu Sood and the irrepressible Boman Irani.