What’s queued up in first quarter?

The Hindi film industry is firing on all cylinders as it moves confidently into the new year. 2019 saw our cinema explore new themes and formats, unshackling itself from several age-old genre constraints...and it was amply rewarded through a bumper year at the box office with more Rs 100-crore hits than ever before.

Now, 2020 promises to continue this trend with several event films and bold experiments on the anvil. Here's looking at what is popping up onscreen in a theatre near you in the next three months.

January — Clash of the biggies

A sure sign that the film industry is booming is the fact that there are not enough release dates to go around for all the biggies to have that prized solo release on a Friday.

Two major films will consequently vie for your attention on January 10 — the Om Raut-directed historical Tanhaji and the Meghna Gulzar-directed drama Chhapaak.

The stars playing the protagonists in both the films — Ajay Devgn and Deepika Padukone respectively — have also co-produced both the films, clueing us in on the significance of these films in their careers.

With Chhapaak, Deepika returns to the screen after a two-year absence (Padmaavat was released in early 2018) and her honest portrayal of an acid attack survivor is already drawing raves from those who have watched the trailer.

And in Tanhaji..., Devgn portrays the brave Maratha warrior alongside wife Kajol playing his onscreen wife Savitribai Malusare and with Saif Ali Khan playing the antagonist, Udayban Rathod.

On January 24, the second woman-driven, woman-directed film of the month — Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s Panga — will go head to head with Remo D’Souza’s Street Dancer 3D.

While Panga has Kangana Ranaut playing a sportswoman making a forceful comeback post marriage and motherhood, Street Dancer 3D is a dance drama that reteams the hit ABCD pair of Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor alongside current hottie Nora Fatehi who will rival Prabhu Deva’s cartilage-defying moves.

Himesh Reshammiya returns to acting one more time with Happy Hardy and Heer on January 30 but will have to contend with Jawaani Jaaneman that pits seasoned actors Saif Ali Khan and Tabu opposite attractive youngster Alaia Furniturewala.

February — Test for the three musketeers

Ayushmann Khurrana, Vicky Kaushal and Kartik Aaryan are arguably the three most discussed male stars who have achieved their breakthrough in recent times. Coincidentally, all three mavericks will have a film of theirs hitting the theatres in February 2020.

Ayushmann Khurrana intrepidly continues with his desire to do something different with Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan which is reportedly a gay love story.

Also gearing up for February 21 is Vicky Kaushal who teams up with top notch producer Karan Johar and Bhumi Pednekar for Bhoot – Part One: The Haunted Ship.

Will be able to impart A-list status to the horror genre? And Kartik Aaryan bands with Sara Ali Khan for Love Aaj Kal 2 which is directed by Imtiaz Ali who will hopefully give his trademark contemplative spin to the romcom.

Releasing on February 7 is Malang which introduces Anil Kapoor and Disha Patani to the Mohit Suri universe. Aditya Roy Kapur reteams with Suri seven years after their successful collaboration in Aashiqui 2.

And in the last weekend of the month, Anubhav Sinha continues his fruitful association with Mulk star Taapsee with Thappad.