Bollywood Box Office: September 13-15, 2019

Dream Girl had a great opening weekend in North America, especially considering its modest theater count. From September 13-16, 2019, Ayushmann Khurrana’s latest comedy earned $717,458 from 116 theaters ($6,185 average), according to Bollywood Hungama. That average ranks fourth best for the year among opening weekend per-screen averages.

At the other end of the spectrum, Section 375 opened with less-than-stellar results. The courtroom drama took in $52,610 from 50 theaters ($1,052 average). That’s the ninth worst opening weekend per-screen average among the 38 Hindi films to release here this year.

Chhichhore had a terrific first-to-second weekend holdover of 73%, earning $449,240 from 195 theaters ($2,304 average), according to Box Office Mojo. Its total stands at $1,347,815.

Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:

  • Mission Mangal: Week 5; $41,381 from 43 theaters; $962 average; $3,644,155 total
  • Saaho: Week 3; $31,534 from 45 theaters; $701 average; $3,215,975 total
  • Batla House: Week 5; $251 from one theater; $543,207 total

Sources: 143 Cinema, Bollywood Hungama, and Box Office Mojo

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Streaming Video News: September 16, 2019

It’s last call for movies from the Yash Raj Films catalog at Amazon Prime. YRF is taking its library to Hotstar, and Prime has started posting expiration dates for the 60+ films on the way out. Most titles — including Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge — will be gone in the next two weeks. The most recent releases will be the last to go, with no departure dates announced for films like Thugs of Hindostan and Sui Dhaaga: Made In India. I’ll update this post when their dates are announced. Here are the expiration dates we know so far:

September 25

September 27

September 29

September 30

I added eleven Indian titles to my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime over the weekend, including gems like Hisss and Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with the addition of the 2019 Telugu comedy Oh! Baby, a remake of the Korean film Miss Granny.

Streaming Video News: September 13, 2019

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with more than two dozen Indian films added in the last week, including the following 2019 releases:

In other big Amazon Prime news, looks like we have confirmation that the Yash Raj Films catalog really is leaving Prime, with a handful of movies departing in the next two weeks. Kabhi Kabhie, Salaam Namaste, and Vijay all expire on September 25, followed by Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year on September 27. I’ll post expiration dates as they appear. In the meantime, if you’d like to prioritize watching YRF movies on Prime before they migrate to their new home (probably Hotstar), here’s a Wikipedia list of YRF releases.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix because a bunch of Indian movies are set to expire on September 15:

Kabir Singh comes to Netflix in India on September 19, but I haven’t seen confirmation of its US availability yet, so stay tuned. In other Netflix news, Karan Johar signed a multi-year contract to produce fiction and non-fiction content exclusively for the streaming service.

Opening September 13: Dream Girl and Section 375

Two new Hindi films hit Chicago area theaters September 13, 2019, including Ayushmann Khurrana’s latest comedy — Dream Girl.

Dream Girl opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 17 min. Dream Girl‘s streaming partner is Zee5, which is not available in the United States, so catch it in the theater while you can.

Also new is the courtroom drama Section 375, named for the portion of the Indian Penal Code that governs rape. It stars Richa Chadda and Akshaye Khanna.

Section 375 opens Friday at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, and Cantera. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 4 min. Section 375 is scheduled to join Amazon Prime in November.

Chhichhore carries over for a second week at the River East 21, MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera, CMX Old Orchard Market in Skokie, AMC Niles 12 in Niles, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, and AMC Naperville 16 in Naperville.

Saaho holds over in Hindi at the Niles 12, South Barrington 24, and Cantera, and in Telugu at the South Barrington 24, Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale, and Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge.

Mission Mangal gets a fifth week at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera, and AMC Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

Other Indian movies playing in the Chicago area this weekend (all films have English subtitles):

Movie Review: Notebook (2019)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Watch Notebook on Amazon Prime

A reluctant teacher at a remote schoolhouse finds a diary left by his predecessor, leading him to fall in love with the author and the profession of teaching in the charming drama Notebook.

Based on Thailand’s entry for Best Foreign Language film at the 2014 Oscars — The Teacher’s DiaryNotebook sets its story in Kashmir in 2008. Kabir (Zaheer Iqbal) is struggling to readjust to civilian life, following a stint in the army that ended when he inadvertently caused a child’s death. Haunted and directionless, he’s summoned to his ancestral home in Srinagar by his uncle. The elementary school Kabir’s deceased father founded is in danger of closing because it has no teacher, and Kabir agrees to fill in, despite his lack of experience.

The school is a collection of small buildings built on rafts, lashed together and floating on a wide lake. Though the school is six hours from the nearest town and only accessible by boat, it offers the only educational opportunity for children in the region. The gorgeous setting is an ideal place for introspection, but Kabir finds the practicalities hard to handle. There’s no cell network, running water, or electricity. A frog lives in the cistern.

Kabir’s students don’t make his job easy on him, disappointed as they are at the loss of their beloved teacher, Firdaus (Pranutan Bahl). After a disastrous first day, Kabir almost calls it quits, until he finds a diary Firdaus left behind. Her writings and drawings give Kabir insight into his students, and they lead him to fall in love with her — or at least with who he imagines her to be. Yet even as he immerses himself in the lives of his students, the camera often shoots Kabir through windows or reflected in mirrors, while flashbacks of Firdaus feature her fully in frame. The technique symbolizes Kabir’s yet unrealized sense of self and his still-developing connection to the school.

Notebook is whimsical in the best possible ways. There’s the novelty of a love story involving two people who’ve neither met nor seen each other. The school’s isolation forces both Firdaus and Kabir to embrace what’s truly important to them, and in doing so, steers them toward each other. Then there’s the school’s magical setting, floating on a lake covered in lily pads and surrounded by mountains. It’s straight out of a fairy tale.

Notebook released theatrically in the spring of 2019, several months before the Indian government cut off Kashmir’s cell network and internet access (which has been ongoing for over a month at the time of this writing). A boatman who ferries Kabir to the school explains that the unreliable cell phone network only works “when weather is good and peace prevails,” hinting at the region’s long-standing instability.

While the film isn’t political to the point of taking sides, it depicts the suffering of the people who live there. Every character in Notebook is traumatized by violence and death, including the children. Kabir’s undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder points to the fact that soldiers in the region are vulnerable to psychological damage as well. The constant military presence and threat of militant action creates an unhealthy situation for everyone living there.

Director Nitin Kakkar is the right person to tell this touching love story set in a fraught region, giving the main narrative its due while providing thoughtful context on its surroundings. Kakkar showed his capabilities with the 2012 comedy Filmistaan, in which a kidnapped Indian man doesn’t realize he’s been brought to Pakistan because of the strong similarities between both countries and their citizens. Notebook is just as sensitive in the way it stresses its characters’ shared humanity.

Iqbal and Bahl acquit themselves well in their film debuts, giving Kabir and Firdaus enough warmth to sustain Notebook‘s romantic feel, even though their characters spend little time together on-screen. They help to create a movie that is sweet yet substantial, and gorgeous to look at.

Sources

Bollywood Box Office: September 6-8, 2019

Chhichhore had a nice opening weekend in North America. From September 6-8, 2019, the comedy-drama earned $614,335 from 195 theaters ($3,150 average), according to Box Office Mojo. Such a wide opening-weekend release — the eighth highest theater count for the year so far — may have been a touch ambitious, given that it posted the sixteenth highest opening weekend average. Still, it should clear $1 million here, no problem.

Saaho fell off dramatically in its second weekend, pulling in less than 15% of what it made in its opening weekend. The action flick earned $216,800 from 225 theaters — an average of just $964 per theater, according to Bollywood Hungama. Its total stands at $3,090,643, slotting it in at fourth place for the year so far among Hindi films and multilingual releases.

Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:

  • Mission Mangal: Week 4; $111,158 from 94 theaters; $1,183 average; $3,570,506 total
  • Batla House: Week 4; $4,047 from six theaters; $675 average; $542,042 total

Sources: 143 Cinema, Bollywood Hungama, and Box Office Mojo

Streaming Video News: September 6, 2019

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with the addition of the excellent 2019 thriller Article 15. Based on my experience, it’s a good movie to recommend to people who don’t normally watch Hindi films. Other recent additions include the 2019 Tamil release Watchman and the 2018 Telugu movies C/o Kancharapalem and Ee Nagaraniki Emaindi.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with almost two dozen Indian and Pakistani films added in the last week, including these 2019 releases:

In other streaming video news, Super 30 comes to Hotstar on September 10.

For everything else new on Netflix and Amazon Prime — Bollywood or not — check Instant Watcher.

Opening September 6: Chhichhore

The decade-spanning Hindi drama Chhichhore opens in Chicago area theaters on September 6, 2019.

Chhichhore opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC Niles 12 in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, Regal Cantera in Warrenville, and AMC Naperville 16 in Naperville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 23 min. Chhichhore‘s streaming video partner is Hotstar.

Saaho carries over for a second week at the following theaters in two languages:

Telugu — MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Marcus Addison, Naperville 16, Century 12 Evanston in Evanston, Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale, Cinemark Tinseltown USA in North Aurora, and Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge

Hindi — River East 21, MovieMax, Niles 12, Cantera, and AMC Woodridge 18 in Woodridge

Mission Mangal gets a fourth week at the River East 21, MovieMax, Cantera, Naperville 16, Woodridge 18, Regal Round Lake Beach in Round Lake Beach, and South Barrington 24, which also holds over Balta House.

Other Indian movies playing in the Chicago area this weekend (all films have English subtitles):

Bollywood Box Office: August 30-September 1, 2019

Prabhas’s multilingual action thriller Saaho earned a lot of money in its opening weekend in North America: $1,447,349 from 381 theaters ($3,799 average) across all language versions of the film, according to Box Office Mojo. Thursday preview showings accounted for another $923,677, and Monday’s Labor Day holiday earnings of $255,258 brought its five-day total to $2,626,284. 35% of its total earnings came from its Thursday showings, which didn’t start until the afternoon (4:30 p.m. here in Chicago).

Mission Mangal closed out its third weekend with $375,143 from 151 theaters ($2,484 average), bringing its total to $3,316,146.

Also in its third week, Batla House earned $29,882 from 22 theaters ($1,358 average), according to Bollywood Hungama. That brings its total to $523,112.

Sources: 143 Cinema, Bollywood Hungama, and Box Office Mojo

Streaming Video News: August 30, 2019

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with a bunch of Indian films added in the last several days, including the following 2019 releases:

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with a new season of the cartoon Mighty Little Bheem.

Have a great Labor Day weekend!