Bollywood superstar Salman Khan has laid claim to Christmas 2017 with the announcement of a December 22 release for Tiger Zinda Hai. The pic from Yash Raj Films is a sequel to the star’s 2012 smash Ek Tha Tiger and will reunite him with leading lady Katrina Kaif. It also reteams him with Ali Abbas Zafar, who directed Khan’s Sultan this year to an $88M worldwide gross, making it the No. 3 biggest Bollywood title ever.
Shooting begins in March on Tiger Zinda Hai (which translates to Tiger Is Alive). The first Ek Tha Tiger was a thriller romance that mixed genres and centered on Indian spy Tiger (Khan) who falls for Pakistani spy Zoya (Kaif). Since the 2012 original both Khan’s and Kaif’s stars have risen. Along with this year’s Sultan, which is the No. 1 movie of 2016 in India, Khan had the top two grossers in 2015 with Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. In total, he has four movies in the all-time top 10.
How Yash Raj Rallied Support For The Indian Film Industry Workers During Shut-Down: "Our Hearts Go Out To Them"
— Yash Raj Films (@yrf) September 13, 2016
Kaif for her part has added some big titles to her résumé including Fox’s local Knight and Day remake Bang Bang opposite Hrithik Roshan, and Dhoom 3, which released at Christmas in 2013 to smash Bollywood records at the time.
Watch on Deadline
That film was toplined by Aamir Khan and is one of the star’s two major recent Christmas box office hits. His 2014 title PK remains the biggest-grossing Bollywood movie ever with about $120M worldwide. Dhoom 3 is No. 4 with $80M. Those films sandwich Salman Khan’s Bajrangi and Sultan.
Bollywood stars have strong ties to particular holidays. Salman Khan is primarily identified with the Eid summer holiday, so it’s interesting to see him land on Christmas next year, which has become something of a coveted hot potato. In 2015, Aamir Khan sat out Christmas, leaving the frame to Shah Rukh Khan and his Dilwale.
Upcoming this Christmas, Aamir Khan returns with Dangal. The biographical sports drama centered on former wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat and his two wrestler daughters’ struggle toward glory at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. The story is especially timely given Sakshi Malik’s bronze medal in Rio this summer, which made her the first female wrestler from India to medal at an Olympics.
Meanwhile, Shah Rukh Khan — who is closely associated with the Diwali holiday and is next up in Fox Star Studios’ Ae Dil Hai Mushkil with Aishwarya Rai and Ranbir Kapoor on October 28 — also is taking another shot at Christmas. He’s just announced an untitled pic from director Aanand L Rai in 2018. SRK’s Red Chilies recently tweeted the news:
— Red Chillies Ent. (@RedChilliesEnt) August 30, 2016
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.