In Theaters: February 27, 2015

Yash Raj Films is taking a wait-and-see approach regarding the international release of its latest film, Dum Laga Ke Haisha. As a result, there are no new Hindi movies opening in the Chicago area on Friday, February 27, 2015.

Badlapur carries over for a second week at the Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. The South Barrington 30 also gives a Roy a third weekend.

Other Indian movies showing at MovieMax this weekend include Ram Leela (Telugu), Kaaki Sattai (Tamil), Bham Bolenath (Telugu), Fireman (Malayalam), Temper (Telugu), Anegan (Tamil).

Bollywood Box Office: February 20-22

During the weekend of February 20-22, the thriller Badlapur posted one of the better opening weekends for a Bollywood movie in North America in 2015 so far. From 92 theaters, Badlapur earned $225,250, a per-screen average of $2,448. Its per-screen average is second highest for the year after the $4,393 average posted by Baby in its opening weekend.

Other Hindi movies in North American theaters:

  • Roy: Week 2; $19,009 from 33 theaters; $576 average; $230,599 total
  • Shamitabh: Week 3; $847 from four theaters; $212 average; $295,691 total
  • PK: Week 10; $121 from one theater; $10,550,569 total

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Movie Review: Badlapur (2015)

Badlapur_Poster3.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the soundtrack at Amazon

Badlapur is a jaw-dropping thriller that examines the perils of revenge. After a pair of delightful comic performances in his two previous films, Varun Dhawan shines as a grieving husband who becomes a monster.

Heed the tagline at the end of the Badlapur trailer: “Don’t miss the beginning.” The movie opens with a bank robbery and carjacking. The owner of the car (played by Yami Gautam) and her young son are killed in gruesome — if somewhat accidental — fashion during the escape attempt. One of the robbers (played by Vinay Pathak) flees with the loot, while the other, Liak (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), turns himself in to the police.

Badlapur‘s plot follows two parallel stories: Liak’s life behind bars, and the quest for revenge undertaken by Raghu (Dhawan), husband of Misha (Gautam) and father of their son.

The movie is clearly inspired by the Korean film I Saw the Devil — most obviously in a scene in which a man in a car pulls up to a stranded female motorist — which was remade in India last year as Ek Villain. Badlapur is a more fitting successor to the Korean film than the acknowledged remake.

What differentiates Badlapur‘s lead character from the secret service agent at the core of I Saw the Devil is that Raghu has no special skills to aid his revenge quest. He works in advertising before the murders, and takes a job as a factory foreman after Liak is imprisoned.

Because he’s just a regular guy, Raghu’s plans seem a little disorganized. It’s not clear when he will feel his vengeance complete. He intends to wait until Liak’s twenty-year prison sentence is over, then follow Liak when he retrieves his share of the money from Harman (Pathak), his accomplice. Raghu’s timetable is accelerated when a well-meaning-but-naive charity worker, Shoba (Divya Dutta), asks Raghu to petition for Liak’s early release so he can seek medical treatment.

Raghu is content to wait to enact his revenge upon Liak and Harman, but he has far less patience for the women who willingly maintain relationships with the criminals. This goes for Shoba, Harman’s wife, Koko (Radhika Apte), and especially Liak’s girlfriend, Jimli (Huma Qureshi).

Jimli is first to experience Raghu’s rage. Because she is a prostitute, Raghu has no compunction about raping her, thus “ruining” her for Liak. That Raghu feels his money can compensate Jimli for the rape is the sign that he’s gone off the deep end. When Liak asks him what makes the two of them so different, Raghu doesn’t have a good answer.

Every performance in Badlapur is pitch perfect. Dutta and Apte are sympathetic, and Qureshi is superb. Pathak doesn’t get as much screentime as Siddiqui, but he features in the movie’s best scene, in which Harman and Raghu silently size each other up as they ride in an elevator.

Siddiqui is great, but Liak’s character is tricky to embrace. There’s only so much he can do since he spends much of the film in jail, and every scene reinforces that he’s a bad guy. The volume of storytime devoted to Liak has less to do with the character and more to do with a desire to keep Siddiqui on screen for as long as possible.

In only his fourth film, Dhawan extends his acting range in impressive fashion. His portrayal of Raghu is chilling. He’s far scarier than Liak or Harman, but he also has the capacity to act normal when it serves his purpose.

Badlapur has trouble maintaining momentum early on. Raghu’s brutalization of Jimli is followed by flashbacks to his romance with Misha and low-key scenes of Liak’s exploits in jail. Raghu feels a bit absent from the film’s ultimate resolution, but perhaps that fits given that he isn’t a criminal mastermind capable of engineering a dramatic climax.

One thing director Sriram Raghavan excels at is sound design. There isn’t much in the way of background music in Badlapur, and the movie is often punctuated by street noise like barking dogs. The undercurrent of everyday sounds makes the film feel more realistic, heightening its impact.

Not a movie for the faint of heart, Badlapur rewards its audience with great performances and a nuanced take on the revenge genre. If nothing else, it establishes Varun Dhawan as the most exciting young actor in Bollywood today.

Links

Opening February 20: Badlapur

My most hotly anticipated Bollywood film of 2015 hits Chicago area theaters on February 20. Varun Dhawan anchors the revenge thriller Badlapur, whose fantastic supporting cast includes Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Divya Dutta, Yami Gautam, and my girl Huma Qureshi.

Badlapur opens on Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 15 min.

Roy carries over for a second week at the South Barrington 30, Cantera 17, and MovieMax, which also holds over Shamitabh for a third week.

Other Indian movies playing in the Chicago area this weekend include Temper (Telugu w/no subtitles) at Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge and MovieMax, which also carries Bandipotu (Telugu), Anegan (Tamil), Malli Malli Idi Rani Roju (Telugu), and Yennai Arindhaal (Tamil).

Bollywood Box Office: February 13-15

Ranbir Kapoor’s return to the big screen (not counting his cameo in PK) wasn’t the resounding success one would’ve hoped for. During its debut weekend of February 13-15, 2015, Kapoor’s Roy earned $165,203 from 83 theaters ($1,990 average) in the United States and Canada.

Kapoor’s last major role was in 2013’s Besharam. That film was branded a total flop after earning just $504,000 from 217 theaters in North America. While Besharam‘s extravagant theater count magnified its degree of failure, it still averaged more per screen — $2,323 — than Roy.

Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:

  • Shamitabh: Week 2; $23,936 from 36 theaters; $665 average; $289,133 total
  • Baby: Week 4; $5,491 from three theaters; $1,830 average; $730,288 total
  • PK: Week 9; $264 from one theater; $10,550,310 total
  • Dolly Ki Doli: Week 4; $90 from one theater; $173,887 total

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Streaming Video News: February 17, 2015

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with three new additions to the catalog. After a few months’ absence, Ek Tha Tiger and Ladies vs Ricky Bahl are once more available for streaming. Also, just two months after its theatrical release in the U.S., Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain is now on Netflix. The English-language drama featuring Hollywood stars like Martin Sheen and Kal Penn alongside Bollywood vets like Rajpal Yadav and Tannishtha Chatterjee depicts the true, tragic events of a 1984 industrial disaster. It’s worth watching.

For everything else new on Netflix, check Instant Watcher.

Streaming Video News: February 15, 2015

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix because two older films directed by Yash Chopra were just added to the catalog. 1989’s Chandni and 1993’s Darr are now available for streaming.