Earlier this year, reports emerged that Sultan (2016) and Tiger Zinda Hai (2017) director Ali Abbas Zafar’s next is a female superhero film, spearheaded by Katrina Kaif. Ali confirmed these developments and within the trade and fans, it led to a lot of excitement. After all, superhero films are working big time all over and a desi female superhero sounded extremely exciting as it has a lot of potential.
However, it turns out that viewers will not get a chance to experience this two-part film in cinemas. Bollywood Hungama revealed a month back that this flick will premiere directly on Netflix. A source close to the project says, “Katrina’s film will be mounted on a huge scale and is fit for big screen viewing. The budget is Rs. 200 crore for both the films combined. Ali Abbas Zafar approached several producers and studios to bankroll the project. But all of them found the venture to be financially unviable. They feared that it won’t find as many takers as they’d require for the project to become profitable.”
The source adds, “Ali was in no mood to shelve as he was very kicked about the project. Hence, with no other option in mind, he approached Netflix. The streaming giant showed interest and were more than happy to back the project.” Besides Katrina Kaif’s superhero franchise, Netflix also came on board for Ali Abbas Zafar’s production, starring Diljit Dosanjh, and based on the 1984 riots.
A trade official was disturbed with the Netflix deal. He says, “Ali Abbas Zafar is a commercial director who makes pan-India, massy films. He’s the only director besides Rajkumar Hirani who has two Rs. 300 crore grossers. It’s shocking that someone like him couldn’t get a producer on board. These studios have no issues blowing off Rs. 100 crore on films like Bombay Velvet (2015) and Rangoon (2017), both of which were backed by directors who make niche films. And then they refuse to fund Ali’s vision. Unbelievable!”
He further adds, “Agreed that female-centric films may not find an audience. But times have changed. Films like Raazi (2018) and Manikarnika – The Queen Of Jhansi (2019) were huge grossers. I am sure Ali’s Katrina Kaif film has enough masala and that it would have become a box office hit. Let’s not also forget that Katrina is also very popular and the casting would have also added to the hype.”
Besides these films, Ali Abbas Zafar is also looking forward to the release of his first film as a producer Khaali Peeli, starring Ishaan Khatter, Ananya Panday and Jaideep Ahlawat. Today it was revealed it would be released on the Zee Plex platform. It is directed by Maqbool Khan.
In an interview a few months back, Ali also revealed that he’s planning a superhero universe, on the lines of Marvel Cinematic Universe. The universe begins with Katrina’s film. This will be followed by Mr India, which will carry forward bits from Katrina’s film. The third superhero will be mythology-rooted and the fourth one will be from the Indian army.
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