Vijay’s Master Led The Way, Who’s Following In The South?
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Post the theatrical release of Lokesh Kanagaraj‘s Vijay-starrer Master, which has initiated the return of audiences to theatres, there have been some announcements of movies currently under production or gearing up for a theatrical release. From Malayalam movies such as Mammootty-starrer The Priest and Theerpu to Kannada ventures such as Hero and Kabzaa, here’s a look at what moviegoers can look forward to from the Southern film industries.

Malayalam

Theerpu

Actors and real-life siblings Prithviraj and Indrajith Sukumaran, previously seen together in Mohanlal-starrer Lucifer, will once again share screen space in director Rathish Ambat’s Theerpu. After Kammara Sambhavam, the director reunites with actor/writer Murali Gopy who has penned the script. Produced by Murali Gopy, Rathish Ambat, and Vijay Babu (who also stars in the film) under Friday Film House, the cast includes Isha Talwar, Saiju Kurup and Hannah Reji Koshy. Shoot will begin in February, as Prithviraj is working on a slew of films, including  Dijo Jose Antony’s Jana Gana Mana, Tanu Balak’s Cold Case and Manu Warrier’s Kuruthi.

The Priest

From the teaser, actor Mammootty seems to be playing a role equivalent to the fictional vampire slayer Van Helsing. The film is the maiden venture of director Jofin T Chacko. Shyam Menon and Deepu Pradeep have written the screenplay and dialogues. Without giving away the plot synopsis, the teaser successfully sets the vibe of the film that seems to be a psychological/horror thriller.  The cast includes Nikhila Vimal, Sreenath Bhasi, Saniya Iyappan and Jagadish. Interestingly, this is actress Manju Warrier’s maiden venture with Mammootty.  

Mohan Kumar Fans

Director Jis Joy’s fourth directorial venture after Bicycle Thieves, Sunday Holiday and Vijay Superum Pournamiyum sees him team up with Kunchacko Boban and Anarkali Nazar in this comedy-drama written by writer duo Bobby and Sanjay. The trailer hints at a story that revolves around characters associated with various aspects of the film industry. Kunchacko plays an aspiring playback singer and Siddique, an ill-fated ageing star called Mohan Kumar. The cast includes Krishna Shankar, Sreenivasan, Saiju Kurup, Vinay Forrt, Basil Joseph, Mukesh T G Ravi, Ramesh Pisharody and Alencier. Music is by Prince George while the film’s score is by William Francis.

Vellam

Actor Jayasurya has come a long way since his Pulivaal Kalyanam and Chadikatha Chandu days. The previous decade saw the actor be a part of some exceptional films such as Cocktail (the Malayalam adaptation of Butterflies On Wheels), Beautiful and Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam. Director Prajesh Sen G collaborates with the actor after their critically-acclaimed Captain, a biopic on VP Sathyan, the former captain of the Indian national football team. Vellam is also based on true events, and it explores the life of an alcoholic. The film’s cast also includes Samyuktha Menon, Siddique and Johnny Antony. 

 Telugu

Zombie Reddy

Director Prasanth Varma of Awe and Kalki fame returns with Telugu cinema’s first zombie comedy caper. The recently-released trailer indicates the film will be a satirical take on horror and a long list of faction-based movies such as Samara Simha Reddy, Narasimha Naidu, Chenna Keshava Reddy, Indra, Aadhi, Samba, and so on. The film was initially touted to be a Sankranthi release, but has since been postponed to February 5. The cast includes Teja Sajja, Anandhi, Harsha Vardhan, Daksha Nagarkar and Raghu Babu. Music has been composed by Mark K Robin of Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya fame.

Love Story

After the success of Fidaa, which starred Varun Tej and Sai Pallavi, director Shekar Kammula reunites with the talented actress, this time co-starring Naga Chaitanya . The teaser showcases the drama between the characters Rhevanth (Naga Chaitanya) and Mounica (Sai Pallavi) followed by their ambitions and struggles. Though they have simple titles, Kammula’s films dwell upon complex human emotions, be it the ideological tussle in Fidaa or the emotions in the coming-of-age  tale of engineering students Happy Days. Music has been composed by  Pawan Ch and cinematography is by Vijay C Kumar.

Untitled Telugu remake of Ayyappanum Koshiyum 

The Telugu remake of the Malayalam hit has been in the news recently, from guessing who would be cast in the iconic roles made memorable by Prithviraj and Biju Menon in the original to who would handle the technical aspects. The excitement was amped up when Pawan Kalyan and Rana Daggubati were signed up, and Saagar K Chandra (Appatlo Okadundevadu, Ayyare ) was announced as the director. In a teaser of sorts, it has been revealed that ace director Trivikram Srinivas has been roped in to handle the screenplay and dialogues. Music is by S Thaman.

Vakeel Saab

Pink, director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury’s courtroom drama that told us that “no means no”, has evolved to become a mass film of sorts in its various remakes. The Tamil version directed by H Vinoth saw Shraddha Srinath and Ajith re-enact the pivotal roles played by Taapsee Pannu and Amitabh Bachchan in the original, along with a flashback segment for the star, featuring Vidya Balan. The Telugu version stars Anjali, Shruti Hassan, Nivetha Thomas, Pawan Kalyan and Prakash Raj and the director is Venu Sriram of Oh My Friend and Middle-Class Abbayi fame. A teaser to this women-centric drama showcases its star as a rebellious lawyer (the polar opposite of the character from the original) who, apart from fighting cases in the courthouse, also fights the bad guys. The film is bankrolled by Dil Raju and Boney Kapoor, and music is by S Thaman while cinematography is handled by PS Vinod, whose work includes recent hits such as Super Deluxe and Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo.

 Kannada

Roberrt

Actor Darshan Thoogudeepa’s much-talked-about film sees him star opposite Jagapathi Babu, Ravi Kishan and Asha Bhat. After making a successful debut with Chowka, director Tharun Sudhir helms this action thriller. Apart from the release of a few music singles, the plot details have been kept under wraps. Originally scheduled for an April 2020 release, the film has been tentatively postponed to March 11, 2021. Arun Janya has composed the music while Sudhakar S Raj handles the cinematography.

Kabzaa

Post-KGF, there has been a slew of big-budget film announcements in the Kannada film industry. from Shivarajkumar’s Bhajarangi 2 to Sudeep -starrer Phantom and Darshan-starrer Roberrt. The most recent is Kabzaa, starring Upendra and Sudeep in the lead. The film is directed by R Chandru and music is by Ravi Basrur. From the motion poster, the film looks to be a period action drama set during the post-independence era.

Hero

The trailer of director M Bharath Raj’s gritty action dark comedy starring Rishabh Shetty, Ganavi Lakshman, Pramod Shetty and Ugramm Manju is not for the faint-hearted. The film seems to be a modern-day Quentin Tarantino-esque take on Sita Haran. The film is produced by  Rishabh Shetty and co-written by Anirudh Mahesh.

Tamil

Maanadu

This Silambarasan-Venkat Prabhu combo was the most sought after film soon after its announcement, but the excitement fizzled out soon and the film was nearly shelved. However, pre-production resumed in 2020 and the film is in shoot. Considered to be a political thriller, the cast includes Kalyani Priyadarshan, SJ Suryah, Bharathiraja, SA Chandrasekhar, Karunakaran and Premgi Amaren. Music is by Yuvan Shankar Raja. The film is produced by Suresh Kamatchi, and a motion poster was recently revealed on YouTube.

Tuglaq Darbar

Actors Vijay Sethupathi and Parthiban starring in this political thriller seems like casting done right. The recent trailer reveals the movie is a banter between the two actors. With Prathiban’s splendid word play  and Sethupathi’s organic performance, Tughlaq Darbar, directed by newcomer Delhi Prasad Deenadayal, seems like an interesting watch. The film also stars  Raashi Khanna, Manjima Mohan and Bagavathi Perumal. Dialogues are by director Balaji Tharaneetharan and music by Govind Vasantha.

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