This is a big week for film commemoration and film announcements. Yesterday, we celebrated 25 years of Sanjay Leela Bhansali in the movies — his debut Khamoshi: The Musical released in 1996. Today, we are celebrating 20 years of Dil Chahta Hai, Farhan Akhtar's feature film debut that reoriented the urban-cool genre.
To commemorate both these film milestones, two announcements were made today. Sanjay Leela Bhansali is going digital with his first web-series Heeramandi with Netflix.
Set in pre-independent, undivided India, in the Heeramandi area of Lahore, which is now in Pakistan, it will explore the story of three generations of courtesans with Bhansali's trademark opulence. "It is a huge saga about the courtesans of Lahore, it is something I was living with for 14 years. It is very vast and ambitious," Bhansali told Variety.
This is the biggest move to digital in Hindi cinema, given how Bhansali is seen as the last holding fort of old-school cinema — big characters, loud drama, music and dance, single screen whistles. We await to see how the new and the old mingle.
Farhan Akhtar also announced his next film as a director, Jee Le Zaraa. It's a road trip film, with an all-female star cast — Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Katrina Kaif, and Alia Bhatt. It is written by Zoya Akhtar, Farhan Akhtar, and Reema Kagti. Kagti and Zoya Akhtar had written Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, an all-male road trip film that starred Farhan Akhtar, who himself ushered in the road trip genre with his debut Dil Chahta Hai — the ultimate bromance movie. It was high time we had one with the women, cleaving off the road trip genre the male shadow.
In the introductory announcement, 'Firefly' by When Chai Meets Toast is used as the background score — a feel good indie-pop burst of music. The film will commence shooting in 2022. Akhtar's last film as a director was Don 2 in 2011, marking his return behind the camera after a decade.
Ekta Kapoor too has made an exciting announcement — a thriller directed by Hansal Mehta. Based on a true story, set in London, this will also be Kareena Kapoor Khan's foray into film production.