Dec 312016

Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone
While Priyanka had a blink-and-miss appearance in the promo of India’s wet dream, ‘Baywatch’, we’re sure she’ll make up for screen-time in the actual movie, since she plays the antagonist. And then there’s Deepika in ‘XXX: The Return Of Xander Cage’, with Vin Diesel. Top desi heroines making their Hollywood debut. Big deal. Yes, how can we not be excited.Ritesh Batra
‘Lunchbox’ (2013) was a rare, Indian crossover, sleeper hit. We heard little from its director thereafter, only to learn now that he’s been listed by Variety among the top 10 filmmakers in the world to watch out for. Couldn’t agree more. The Bandra boy helms the adaptation of Julian Barnes’ Booker winning ‘unfilmable’ book The Sense OF An Ending, and Robert Redford’s final film, Our Souls At Night, with Jane Fonda—both out in 2017. Woah!Vidya Balan
We’ve seen the Bengali original, ‘Rajkahini’, that Vidya’s ‘Begum Jaan’ is a remake of. There’s enough meat in it for the lead to deliver a knock-out punch. Vidya, we believe, will deliver. As would, we hope, many other Bollywood actors whose ‘author-backed roles’ (Okay we hate that cliché) that we’re eagerly looking forward to: SRK in ‘Raees’, Ranbir in Sanjay Dutt biopic and Ranveer Singh in ‘Padmavati’.Harshvardhan Kapoor
So ‘Mirzya’ wasn’t the masterpiece it was meant to be. But his next, ‘Bhavesh Joshi’, isn’t likely to disappoint (or so we hope). He comes across as a well-meaning film-buff raring to change the game. As for other filmy kids, many rumours over Sridevi’s daughter Jhanvi in ‘Sairat’ remake and Shahid’s bro Ishan in KJo’s production… But no confirmations yet.Rajkummar Rao
Here’s the actor who might own 2017. Why? Firstly, Vikramaditya Motwane’s ‘Trapped’, that everyone’s raving about already. Then there’s Newton, directed by Amit Masurkar of ‘Suleimani Keeda’ fame: a black comedy. And whatever happened to Ramesh Sippy’s return to direction: ‘Shimla Mirchi’? Rao is definitely worth looking forward to.Zaira Wasim
Remember the younger Geeta Phogat from ‘Dangal’? She got less attention, because the adult version of her character (played by Fatima Sana Shaikh) stole the limelight, and the film’s climax, and rightly so. But there’s more of Zaira coming up. She stars as the lead in Aamir’s ‘Secret Superstar’ now. Hoping to watch this pocket-rocket set the screen on fire.Konkona Sen-Sharma
The strikingly talented actor makes her directorial debut with ‘Death In The Gunj’, a moody film set in 1970s McCluskieganj, among an Anglo Indian family, that being the only shade similar to her mom Aparna Sen’s first film as director, ’36 Chowringhee Lane’. Especially look out for some fine performances.Diljit Dosanjh
Could he become Bollywood’s first Sikh superstar, while keeping his turban, and a terrifically understated on-screen persona intact? Well, the Punjabi singer-hero did become a household name with ‘Udta Punjab’ in 2016. And, now Anushka Sharma’s home production ‘Phillauri’ will be his next. Can’t wait. Seriously.Zhu Zhu
Zhu, who? Well, the top Chinese star, opposite Salman Bhai this year, in Kabir Khan’s ‘Tubelight’. Dream desi debut? Yes. But a film that will unite Bombay films with the Orient, thanks to her? We don’t know yet. What we wanna know is how’s Zhu? Hearing great chatter, by the way.

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