Reel Deal: 10 Films to Look Forward to in Second Half of 2019

We are almost half way through 2019 and while some films like Uri: The Surgical Strike, Badla, and Gully Boy, among others, found audiences love, star vehicles like Kalank and Student of the Year 2 were rejected by moviegoers.

But there is a lot more to come this year, with a line-up of interesting films.

In this week’s Reel Deal podcast I pick top 10 films to look forward to in the second half of 2019.

Tune in to the podcast here.

1) Super 30

Super 30 is based on the life of Anand Kumar from Bihar, a mathematician who started a super 30 program to offer free training to underprivileged students appearing for IIT entrance exams.

The story sounds inspirational, and the trailer was good too. But since Anand Kumar has said that he is the one who had the authority to chose the director and the actor, I would like to know how much freedom the writers really at the scripting stage. It should not turn out to be yet another “hero worship” kind of biopic, but more about a human struggle because that would make it more interesting to watch.

Hrithik’s Bihari accent seemed inconsistent, at least in the trailer, and the actor does have a tendency to over-perform in scenes. If he manages to give the audience something new in terms of acting, it will add a whole new dimension to the film.

Fun fact: Anand Kumar has been accused of projecting inflated success rate for his coaching institute. Former students have alleged that he earns commission by referring IIT aspirants to another coaching centre. The allegations haven’t been proven yet.

Release date: 12 July

2) Mental Hai Kya

Two good actors, Rajkummar Rao and Kangana Ranaut, coming together in a film titled Mental Hai Kya should be reason enough to have expectations from the film.

Mental Hai Kya follows the story of two individuals whose lives pivot between reality and illusions. From all the pictures and posters released so far, it seems like a quirky take on mental illness that will also give us something to think about.

Kanika Dhillon, who has written films like Manmarziyan and Kedarnath has worked on this film, and her ability to write nuanced characters makes me excited about this one.

Release Date: 26 July

3) Mission Mangal

The ensemble cast of Mission Mangal includes Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Taapsee Pannu, Kriti Kulhari, Sharman Joshi and Sonakshi Sinha.

It tells the story of scientists at Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) who contributed to the Mars Orbiter Mission, which marked India’s first interplanetary expedition.

Hope is that they will dial down on hyper-patriotism and show a more realistic picture of the people involved and the challenges they faced, hence automatically lending itself to a feeling of pride as an Indian.

Fun fact: Considering that ISRO will launch Chandrayaan-2, its second spacecraft to the moon, on 15 July and 52 days later, on 5 or 6 September, will attempt to make a first ever soft landing on the moon’s South Pole, the subject of the film will be a hot topic around Mission Mangal release.

Release date: 15 July

4) Chhichhore

This is Nitesh Tiwari’s next outing as director after Dangal and that gets me interested. But what really made me look forward to the film is the poster that was released some time back.

The poster of Chhichhore was super fun and intriguing. They also had quirky nicknames for each of the characters on the poster like Bevda, Acid, Anni and Sexa.

The film stars Sushant Singh Rajput, Shraddha Kapoor, Varun Sharma, Prateik Babbar and Tahir Raj Bhasin, and follows the life of seven friends from their days at the university in 1992 into middle-age. The story is relatable and fun with a huge potential for emotion too.

Fun fact: Nitesh was inspired from his own hostel days when studying at IIT where giving nicknames is almost a tradition. His friends had been given wierd names, each with their own story behind them, like Guppa, Gucci, Puke, B-Zero, Dard Kumar, Skinny, Bhindi, Danda etc.

Release date: 30 August

5) Made In China

The film stars Rajkummar Rao as a Gujarati businessman, who goes to China to increase his business prospects. Mouni Roy, who we last saw in Gold, is playing his wife. Mikhil Musale whose Gujarati film Wrong Side Raju won a National Award For Best Feature Film in Gujarati in 2007, is directing it. The film is a light hearted and relatable drama about the ambitions of a Gujarati business man.

The fact that producer Dinesh Vijan is guiding the project is reassuring because he is a producer with understanding of scripts. He has helmed a series of good and successful films like Badlapur, Hindi Medium and Stree in recent years.

Release date: 30 August

6) Laal Kaptaan

The poster of the film, featuring Saif Ali Khan with a long teeka on his forehead, was quite edgy. We have seen many period dramas in recent times, but Laal Kaptaan looks very different with its dark revenge drama genre, set around 1780 Rajasthan.

Saif plays the role of a Naga Sadhu who is out to get revenge. The film also stars Zoya Hussain from Mukkabaaz and Deepak Dobriyal.

This dark edgy space is director Navdeep Singh’s zone. He has previously made the cult thriller Manorama Six feet Under and the acclaimed NH10, so it would be exciting to see what he does this time around.

And Saif in a dark character? Bring it on!

Release date: 6 Sep

7) Jhund

Jhund is based on the story of professor Vijay Barse, the founder of the NGO, Slum Soccer. Amitabh Bachchan plays the role of Vijay, who is seen motivating street children to form a soccer team.

While we have seen the Mumbai slums being depicted in many films, the concept of Jhund still sounds very exciting, at least at the outset.

The fact that it is directed by filmmaker Nagraj Manjule who made acclaimed Marathi films like Sairat and Fandry, one should expect a realistic and intimate portrayal of slum life. He has also cast his Sairat leads Akash Thosar (last scene in Lust Stories) and Rinku Rajguru.

Fun fact: Amitabh Bachchan has played a character named Vijay in at least 21 films so far, including the famous Vijay Dinanath Chauhan in Agneepath.

Release date: 20 September

8) The Sky Is Pink

The Sky Is Pink (tentative title) will mark the return of Priyanka Chopra to Hindi cinema after a gap of three years. And for that reason alone, this film should be an exciting prospect. But there are many other reasons for being interested in this film.

Firstly, the story. The film depicts the life of Aisha Chaudhary who was born with an immune deficiency disorder and underwent a bone marrow transplant at the age of six months. Diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis later, she went on to become a motivational speaker. The film depicts what she and her family went through while dealing with the challenges that came with it.

Secondly, Zaira Wasim who did a brilliant job in Dangal and Secret Superstar, will be playing the role of Aisha. While Priyanka plays her mother, Farhan Akhtar plays the father.

Thirdly, the film is directed by Shonali Bose, who did a splendid job of depicting disability and sexuality in Margarita with a Straw, makes the film worth waiting for. She is aided by Juhi Chaturvedi who has co-written the film.

Release date: 11 October

9) Saand Ki Aankh

Saand Ki Aankh is yet another biopic amidst the plethora that’s coming to the theatres this year.

Based on the life of India’s oldest sharpshooters Chandro Tomar and her sister-in-law Prakashi Tomar from a tiny village in UP, the film stars Bhumi Pednekar and Taapsee Pannu essaying the characters. The two women in question took up shooting in their ‘60s and went on to become champions.

While I do have a little bit of a problem with Taapsee and Bhumi playing old women instead of real life older actors, I am still interested in seeing how convincingly the two portray these characters. After all, both are competent actors.

Also, a film with two female protagonists comes our way only once in a while.

Fun fact: The Tomar ladies are referred to as Shooter Dadis.

Release date: 25 October

10) Bala

After the success of Dum Laga Ke Haisha and Shubh Mangal Saavdhaan, the Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar pair returns to the screen with Bala. And Amar Kaushik, who made the hilarious horror comedy Stree, is directing it.

Ayushmann has found a lot of success playing quirky characters (read: sperm donar, person with erectile dysfunction etc) in lighthearted situational comedies, and Bala looks to be on the same lines. He is playing a man dealing with premature balding this time around.

Fun fact: Writer Kamal Kant Chandra has accused Ayushmann and the makers of the film for stealing his script.

Release date: 22 November

There are some films that I am not particularly excited about, but the trade surely is. These big budget films are expected to rake in big money at the box office. Here are the four big releases coming out later this year.


Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff will be seen together in this action film by Yash Raj Films. Expect lots of action and dancing to bring audiences into the theatres.

Housefull 4

Sajid Khan (the director) and Nana Patekar, who was playing an important role in the film, are no longer a part of the fourth offering of this comedy franchise. Rana Daggubati stepped into Nana’s shoes, starring alongside regulars like Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh, Boman Irani and Akhri Pasta aka Chunky Pandey. This time around its a reincarnation comedy with Akshay playing a 16th century king in his past life.

I don’t know what to expect from the film except that it is meant to be a silly outrageous ensemble comedy with mindless mayhem.

Dabanng 3

The Dabangg franchise will gets it’s next film after a seven year break. Will people still be interested in the film? Well, it’s got Salman Khan back as Robinhood Pandey! While I really enjoyed the first Dabangg, I am not kicked about a third part. May be hardcore Sallu fans are.

Good News

Good News brings back Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor as a pair after a long time. The film is a black comedy and it will be interesting to see the two stars in that space. the film also stars Diljit Dosanjh and Kiara Advani.

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