At a quick glance, Bollywood in 2020 looks like more horror and sports dramas, more of 2019's successful actors – Ayushmann Khurrana and Akshay Kumar, the return of Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Imtiaz Ali, our first Baahubali-like mythological epic in Brahmastra, and major artists making films for digital. In short, there's lots to look forward to. We've whittled down the 35 films whose premise, first-looks and teasers had us interested. We can't guarantee if these films will eventually deliver, but we're excited to find out!
Director: Meghna Gulzar
Release Date: January 10
Deepika Padukone is returning with a film after almost 2 years. We last saw her in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat. Chhapaak is based on the real-life story of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal and is also the actress's maiden turn as a producer.
Director: Om Raut
Release Date: January 10
After Manikarnika, Panipat and the Bhansali films there is a bit of period epic fatigue that's setting in. But this is Ajay Devgn's 100th film and when you think of his debut way back in 1991 as an action star you can't help admire the actor for successfully soldiering on for three decades.
Director: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari
Release Date: January 24
The trailer of Panga was an instant winner. A young mom, played by Kangana Ranaut, reclaims her life by pursuing her dreams of playing kabaddi for the country. We all love an underdog story and this one seems triumphant and poignant in equal measure.
Director: Hansal Mehta
Release Date: January 31st
Hansal Mehta and Rajkummar Rao make for a dependable team. They've given us solid films like Shahid, City Lights, Aligarh and Omertà in the past, so it's fair to expect nothing less from their next collaboration too.
Director: Nitin Kakkar
Release Date: January 31st
The thought of Saif Ali Khan and Tabu in a comedy is instantly exciting. Director Nitin Kakkar too showed his comedic chops in his debut film Filmistaan. We're hoping this one explores the promise Kakkar displayed in that film.
Director: Imtiaz Ali
Release Date: February 14
Love, heartbreak, travel and self-discovery- all these themes are Imtiaz Ali's forte and from the little that we've seen of this Kartik Aaryan and Sara Ali Khan-starrer, we're hoping that the filmmaker has played to his strengths. Also, Imtiaz fans are waiting for him to resurrect himself after the failure of Jab Harry Met Sejal.
Director: Hitesh Kewalya
Release Date: February 21
One is always looking forward to seeing which social evil Ayushmann Khurrana will fight next. In this one it's homophobia. Khurrana has said in interviews that finding an actor to play his partner was turning out to be next to impossible. The makers finally went with the excellent Jitendra Kumar of TVF fame. We approve!
Director: Bhanu Pratap Singh
Release Date: February 21
Horror is having a bit of a moment in Hindi cinema and we're totally for it. Not much is known about this film starring Vicky Kaushal and Bhumi Pednekar apart from the fact that the drama unfolds inside a ship. It's also Dharma's foray into horror after Kaal in 2005 and we're curious to know how far they've come.
Director: Anubhav Sinha
Release Date: February 28
Anubhav Sinha 2.0 hasn't disappointed so far. Both Mulk and Article 15 were powerful films and we expect Thappad, in which Taapsee Pannu is a victim of domestic abuse, to strike the same balance of social commentary and entertainment.
Director: Ahmed Khan
Release Date: March 6
Tiger Shroff doing gravity-defying stunts and killing bad guys yet again – what's not to like. But this time around we're interested in the antagonist of Baaghi 3, played by Vijay Varma, who we can't wait to see more of after his fantastic portrayal of Moeen in Gully Boy.
Director: Sharan Sharma
Release Date: March 13
This is based on the real-life story of Gunjan Saxena, one of the first female pilots to go into combat. It's an inspiring story and after her promising performance in Ghost Stories, it will be interesting to see what Jahnvi Kapoor does with the part.
Director: Homi Adajania
Release Date: March 20
Angrezi Medium will mark the return of Irrfan Khan to the movies after a long hiatus. We've missed the actor and cannot wait to have him back.
Director: Rohit Shetty
Release Date: March 27
Rohit Shetty expands his cop universe with Akshay Kumar as Sooryavanshi. It's a first-of-its-kind franchise in Hindi films and we're curious to know what an action sequence with Singham, Simmba and Sooryavanshi kicking ass will look like.
Director: Kabir Khan
Release Date: April 10
A film about the historic World Cup win of 1983 – who doesn't want to see that? But truth be told, Bollywood hasn't always made the best cricket films. The film on captain Mohammad Azharuddin's life was particularly bad. But the image of Ranveer Singh bearing an uncanny resemblance to Kapil Dev gives us a lot of hope.
Director: Shoojit Sircar
Release Date: April 17
Filmmaker Shoojit Sircar collaborates with writer Juhi Chaturvedi and actors Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana again. This is the crack team that has given us gems like Piku and Vicky Donor in the past. Also, looking forward to Sircar's other release this year – Udham Singh starring Vicky Kaushal.
Director: Hardik Mehta
Release Date: April 17
Hardik Mehta is an artist to watch out for. He was the co-writer on Vikramaditya Motwane's Trapped and also made the delightful documentary Amdavad Ma Famous. This is his first time directing a major commercial film starring Rajkummar Rao and Jahnvi Kapoor.
Director: Anurag Basu
Release Date: April 24
The last time Anurag Basu made a big ensemble film we got the hugely enjoyable Life… In a Metro. Ludo looks like another such multi-narrative film with a fantastic cast that includes, Abhishek Bachchan, Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi and Sanya Malhotra.
Director: Anu Menon
Release Date: May 8
A film in which Vidya Balan plays the brilliant maths genius Shakuntala Devi had our attention as soon as it was announced!
Director: Raghava Lawrence
Release Date: June 5
The first-look of Laxmmi Bomb was intriguing. It's the first time Akshay Kumar will be playing a transperson. The film is a remake of the Tamil horror comedy Kanchana which is about a man who gets possessed by the ghost of a transwoman Laxmmi.
Director: Mahesh Bhatt
Release Date: July 10
The last time Mahesh Bhatt directed a film was way back in 1999. How often does a filmmaker make a comeback after 21 years? That alone makes Sadak 2 one of the most highly anticipated films of 2020. In addition to that, Bhatt will be directing his talented daughter Alia Bhatt for the first time.
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Release Date: September 11
The news of Bhansali's film with Salman Khan and Alia Bhatt being called off was disappointing. Perhaps it all worked out for the best because the idea of Alia getting her own Bhansali film where she plays a mafia queen sounds way more exciting.
Director: Amit Sharma
Release Date: November 27
Sports biopics and dramas aren't going anywhere. This is yet another one. But after Badhaai Ho, we want to see filmmaker Amit Sharma dabble in a new genre. Also, Ajay Devgn as a football coach feels like new territory for the actor.
Director: Advait Chandan
Aamir Khan has often been called the 'Tom Hanks of Hindi cinema'. We'll see how well that holds when he reprises Hank's most popular and well-loved movie character – Forrest Gump. The original film also had many memorable support characters and we hear that Tamil superstar Vijay Sethupathi will be playing one of them in this Hindi remake. This of course instantly makes us want Laal Singh Chaddha to release sooner.
Director: Nagraj Manjule
Nagraj Manjule is undoubtedly one of the most powerful filmmaking voices in India. No matter what he makes, we'll always be excited to watch it. That said, Jhund marks many firsts for the Marathi filmmaker. It will be his first Hindi film and also the first time he gets to direct Amitabh Bachchan. Manjule has in many interviews confessed to being the star's biggest admirer.
Director: Chaitanya Tamhane
Five years after the superlative Court, wonderkid Chaitanya Tamhane is finally ready with another film. We don't have a release date and all we know is that it's about classical music. We're sold.
Director: Umesh Bisht
Producer Guneet Monga has always given us interesting stories. She describes Pagglait as a 'quirky coming of age story of a young girl as she discovers her purpose and identity amidst looming questions about love and belonging in the neo-modern small-town India'. The film stars the talented Sanya Malhotra in the lead role.
Director: Ayan Mukerji
In the post-Baahubali world, this will be the first ambitious, large-scale Hindi movie that's been planned as a trilogy. The film has already been pushed a fair bit because of the intensive VFX work required. It's quite a leap for Ayan Mukerji who so far has made breezy coming-of-age films. The cast has Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Amitabh Bachchan and Nagarjuna. Release it, already!
Director: Divyang Thakkar
The publicity material by Yash Raj Films doesn't tell us much about Jayeshbhai Jordaar apart from the fact that Ranveer Singh plays a 'Gujarati man'. But Singh's description piqued our interest. This is what he said in an interview: 'Jayeshbhai is an unlikely hero – an ordinary man, who ends up doing something extraordinary when he's hurled into a threatening situation… He believes in equal rights between men and women in a society that is deeply rooted in patriarchal ideals, practices and doctrines.'
Director: Seema Pahwa
Seema Pahwa is an actress par excellence with a storied career in theatre, television and films. When she directs her first film, we're there in a heartbeat.
Director: Ruchi Narain
What happens when a small-town girl accuses the college heartthrob of rape? The film stars Kiara Advani and is a part of the many films Dharma Production's digital arm Dharmatic will create for Netflix.
Director: Dibakar Bannerjee
Through 2019 we kept hearing reports of Dibakar Banerjee's Yash Raj Film Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar being pushed further and further. We don't know the status on that but now we know that we'll definitely get a Dibakar film in 2020. Netflix describes it as a story of an Indian family interwoven with the personal, ideological and sexual history of India.
Director: Sooni Taraporevala
The film has one of the best one-line hooks – a story about two young boys whose love for ballet helps them escape their miserable lives.
Director: Renuka Shahane
Tribhanga has a wonderful mix of talented female artists. Actress Renuka Shahane directs her first Hindi film for Netflix and the cast includes Kajol and Mithila Palkar.
Director: Shirish Kunder
Shirish Kunder hasn't had the best luck with his feature films Jaan-E-Mann and Joker but some would agree that in both films one could spot sparks of an interesting voice. He's back with a film after long and we're hoping the distance may have worked in his favour.
Director: Ramin Bahrani
Aravind Adiga's prize-winning novel, Priyanka Chopra and Rajkummar Rao – there's so much going for this film. But we're particularly keen on seeing what the fantastic Iranian-American filmmaker Ramin Bahrani does with these actors.