Bollywood Box Office: May 18-20, 2018

Raazi had another outstanding weekend in North America. From May 18-20, 2018, it earned $511,635 from 120 theaters ($4,264 average), according to Bollywood Hungama. The spy drama tied with Sonu Ki Titu Ke Sweety for the year’s best Weekend 1-Weekend 2 holdover, retaining 62% of its opening weekend business. Raazi‘s total already stands at $1,795,109. 143 Cinema posts daily box office grosses, so we can track exactly when Raazi passes the $2 million mark.

Come next weekend, North American theaters will have two Indian films featuring solo female leads that have earned more than $2 million bucks here: Raazi and the Telugu biopic Mahanati. That’s pretty cool. (Also, Telugu movies make a ton of money here, holy crap!)

102 Not Out continued its strong showing into a third weekend, earning $115,746 from 102 theaters* ($1,135 average). Its total earnings of $1,194,551 rank it in fifth place for the year, just $125k behind Baaghi 2.

October earned $203 from one theater, bringing its total to $517,870.

*Bollywood Hungama routinely counts Canadian theaters twice in its weekly reporting, at least for a movie’s first few weekends of release (although they seem to be right about Raazi this week). When possible, I try to verify the correct theater count with other sources, like Box Office Mojo or 143 Cinema. The above figures represent what I believe to be the actual theater counts. Bollywood Hungama’s reporting technically puts 102 Not Out in 116 theaters (making for a $998 per-theater average).

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

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In Theaters: May 18, 2018

There are no new Hindi movies releasing into Chicago area theaters the weekend beginning May 18, 2018, which is just as well since the two Bollywood films showing locally have been lighting up the North American box office.

The terrific spy drama Raazi gets a second week at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

The enjoyable family comedy 102 Not Out carries over for a third week at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, and AMC Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, and debuts at the Goodrich Randall 15 in Batavia.

Other Indian movies playing in the Chicago area this weekend:

Streaming Video News: May 16, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with several new/returning additions to the catalog. After yesterday’s expected mid-month catalog refresh, Action Replayy, Andaz Apna Apna, Rishtey, and Singh Is Kinng randomly showed up on the service today. With the exception of Rishtey, all of them have been available on Netflix previously and are back after a hiatus.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with two new additions: the 2016 Tamil film Aagam and the 2018 Bengali romance Noor Jahaan, an Indo-Bangladeshi joint production. For everything else new on Prime — Bollywood or not — check Instant Watcher.

Bollywood Box Office: May 11-13, 2018

Raazi had a terrific opening weekend in North American theaters — the second best of the year after Padmaavat, in fact. From May 11-13, 2018, the spy thriller earned $829,795 from 110 theaters* ($7,544 average), according to Bollywood Hungama. The three other Hindi films to have officially earned more than $1 million here so far ended their theatrical runs with total earnings that ranged from 2.38 (Baaghi 2) to 2.89 (Padmaavat) times the amount each film earned in its opening weekend, so a final tally north of $2 million for Raazi is on the table.

102 Not Out also performed really well, hanging onto 60% of its opening weekend business. Bollywood Hungama reports second weekend earnings of $265,800 from 102 theaters ($2,606 average), while Box Office Mojo reports a higher weekend tally of $293,584 ($2,878 average). Box Office Mojo further reports Monday, May 14 earnings of $22,943 — enough to push the film’s total earnings past the seven-digit mark to $1,007,916.

Other Bollywood movies still showing in US theaters:

  • October: Week 5; $1,111 from four theaters; $$278 average; $517,423 total
  • Blackmail: Week 6; $56 from one theater; $300,270 total

*Bollywood Hungama routinely counts Canadian theaters twice in its weekly reporting, at least for a movie’s first few weekends of release. When possible, I try to verify the correct theater count with other sources, like Box Office Mojo. The above figures represent what I believe to be the actual theater counts. Bollywood Hungama’s reporting technically puts Raazi in 129 theaters (making for a $6,433 per-theater average) and 102 Not Out in 120 theaters ($2,215 average).

Sources: Bollywood Hungama and Box Office Mojo

Streaming Video News: May 15, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with a few new additions to the catalog. The Malayalam film Aadu 2 and the Urdu movie Chalay Thay Saath are now available for streaming, as is the February Bollywood release Aiyaary. It’s not a great movie, but any Manoj Bajpayee is better than no Manoj Bajpayee.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with several 2018 releases, including Hate Story 4, the Telugu action drama Rangasthalam, the Bengali romcom Raja Rani Raji, and the Hindi kids film Chakarghinni, that I can’t seem to find any information about. I cleaned up the list a bit as well, removing titles that expired. Dil, Listen… Amaya, Mann, Shootout at Lokhandwala, and Shor in the City are all still available to watch with an Amazon Channels subscription to Eros Now (free 7-day trial), and Ocean of Pearls is available with a subscription to the Gaia channel (free 7-day trial).

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

Movie Review: Raazi (2018)

3.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the soundtrack at iTunes

A young Indian spy marries into a Pakistani military family in the gripping period thriller Raazi, the latest in a string of hit performances by leading lady Alia Bhatt.

Bhatt plays Sehmat, a Delhi college student in 1971 summoned home at the behest of her father, Hidayat (Rajit Kapur), to receive two shocking pieces of news. First, Hidayat reveals that he has just months to live. Second, as a spy himself, Hidayat has spent years cultivating a friendship with Pakistani Brigadier Syed (Shishir Sharma), who hinted that the military is planning an attack against India. In order to uncover the plot, Hidayat fixed Sehmat’s marriage to Syed’s son, Iqbal (Vicky Kaushal), so that she may act as a spy in her father’s stead.

The movie’s very title (“Raazi” translates to “Agree”) informs us that this isn’t an order but a plan that requires Sehmat’s consent. Hidayat’s fatherly instincts kick in, and he encourages her to go back to college just hours after his revelation. There’s also a sense from Hidayat and other characters of his generation that young people deserve to make their own choices — in contrast to their own youth when the buildup and aftermath of Partition forced them to act out of necessity.

Sehmat agrees to the marriage plan, assuring her father that she’s acting out of an inherited sense of patriotism, not obedience. She undertakes a month of training under Khalid Mir (Jaideep Ahlawat), who also wants to be sure that she’s doing this of her own volition. He’s hard on Sehmat because — even though there’s a plan in place to rescue her in case of trouble — she’ll be largely on her own, responsible for finding intel and relaying it to Mir in secret via a convoluted spy network.

It’s worth noting in relation to Mir that the film’s story — at least initially — is kind of confusing, at least for those whose history education focused on countries other than India or Pakistan. A lot of characters with secret allegiances are introduced right away, and there are mentions of separatist groups — which Mir may have been a part of, I’m not sure — that most of the audience will get, but that flew past white, American me.

After the initial information overload, the story itself and the relationships between characters simplify. Most of the action takes place at the spy training ground or in and around Sehmat’s in-laws’ house, and details of the brewing military conflict are less important than what’s happening to Sehmat. The 2017 multilingual film The Ghazi Attack deals with events in the same time period, and watching it beforehand gave me enough background information for me to walk out of Raazi feeling like I understood what happened.

Raazi is ultimately about its characters more than the military conflict. Sehmat not only faces challenges as a rookie spy but as a new bride as well, forced to integrate into a new family. Pure luck finds her married to a good man who is as surprised by their abrupt betrothal as she is. Iqbal’s compassion allows their relationship to develop naturally, and their romance adds a layer of complexity that Sehmat did not anticipate.

Every actor in this movie is terrific — from key players like Sharma as Sehmat’s kind father-in-law to the guy working at the flower stall and the sympathetic military wives — enabling Raazi to cast a spell that never breaks. Kapur and Kaushal are stellar, whether they are in the background of a scene or if they’re sobbing with the young woman they both love.

Alia Bhatt’s star power is beyond question. She effortlessly portrays Sehmat’s youthful inexperience and her fierce determination, provoking the same protective instincts from the audience that Sehmat inspires in her mentors in espionage. This is a wonderful performance by Bhatt in a thoroughly engrossing film.

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Opening May 11: Raazi

Alia Bhatt stars in the period spy thriller Raazi, directed by Talvar‘s Meghna Gulzar, co-written by Lootera scribe Bhavani Iyer, and based on the book Calling Sehmat by Harinder Sikka. Raazi releases in Chicago area theaters on May 11, 2018.

Raazi opens on Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 20 min.

After a great opening weekend, the comedy-drama 102 Not Out carries over for a second week at the River East 21, MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Marcus Addison, Cantera 17, and AMC Rosemont 18 in Rosemont.

Other Indian and Pakistani movies playing in the Chicago area this weekend:

Bollywood Box Office: May 4-6, 2018

102 Not Out emerged as a surprise hit over the weekend. According to Bollywood Hungama, the geriatric comedy earned $446,304 from 102 theaters* ($4,376 average) in North America during the weekend of May 4-6, 2018. Box Office Mojo reported slightly higher weekend earnings of $483,681, with further Monday returns of $44,065 bringing the film’s total to $527,746 so far. Before its release, I would not have predicted 102 Not Out to eventually hit the $1 million mark here, but that result looks more likely than not right now.

Other Indian movies showing in North American theaters (no data for Baaghi 2):

  • October: Week 4; $5,353 from ten theaters; $535 average; $514,375 total
  • Blackmail: Week 5; $2,378 from seven theaters; $340 average; $299,590 total

*Bollywood Hungama routinely counts Canadian theaters twice in its weekly reporting, at least for a movie’s first few weekends of release. When possible, I try to verify the correct theater count with other sources, like Box Office Mojo. The above figures represent what I believe to be the actual theater counts. Bollywood Hungama’s reporting technically puts 102 Not Out in 120 theaters (making for a $3,719 per-theater average).

Sources: Bollywood Hungama and Box Office Mojo

Streaming Video News: May 7, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with the addition of new seasons of a couple of Hindi cartoons for kids: Prince Jai Aur Dumdaar Viru and Sab Jholmaal Hai.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with several new additions, including Anushka Sharma’s horror movie Pari, which released into theaters on March 2. Other new offerings include the Hindi films Accident on Hill Road, Deadline: Sirf 24 Ghante, Dehraadun Diary, Kuchh Meetha Ho Jaye, and Rudraksh. For everything else new on Prime and Netflix — Bollywood or not — check Instant Watcher.

Movie Review: 102 Not Out (2018)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the soundtrack at Amazon or iTunes

A centenarian father tries to loosen up his grumpy, geriatric son in 102 Not Out, a funny, poignant take on parent-child relationships.

102-year-old Dattatraya Vakharia (Amitabh Bachchan) announces to his 75-year-old son Babulal (Rishi Kapoor) his intention to become the world’s longest-lived man, breaking a record held by a Chinese man who lived to 118. Dattatraya claims that the current record holder said in an interview that “old, boring, unenthusiastic people are more injurious to health than cigarettes.”

That description fits Babulal to a tee. He’s cautious and cranky, and nothing makes him happy — a perfect foil to his fun-loving, curious father. Dattatraya believes the best way to protect his own health and beat the record is to remove Babulal’s negative influence from his life. Dattatraya hands Babulal a brochure for an old folks’ home and tells him to pack his bags.

When a flustered Babulal protests, Dattatraya offers him a way out. Babulal can stay if he agrees to perform a series of tasks determined by his father, designed to shake Babulal out of his routine. To make the agreement official, the tasks are logged and witnessed by Dhiru (Jimit Trivedi), a 30-something pharmacy delivery man Dattatraya adopts as his sidekick.

Fulfilling Dattatraya’s conditions initially brings the three men closer together, but as they get closer to the heart of Babulal’s unhappiness, Dattatraya’s unorthodox prescriptions threaten to drive a permanent wedge between them.

Director Umesh Shukla’s picturization of Saumya Joshi’s play touches on a number of interesting themes, some of which seem in opposition to one another. Dattatreya demands that Babulal change, but he also wants Babulal to accept people as they are — chiefly Babulal’s absent son, Amol. While he’s busy wishing for a more gratifying relationship with Amol, Babulal ignores the fact that there’s a young man, Dhiru, who’s happy to accompany him on Dattatreya’s quests.

One aspect that could’ve been explored further is the idea that, even though Babulal is himself a grandparent, Dattatreya has sole claim to the maxim “father knows best” so long as he lives. Babulal just mentions it once, grousing about Dattatreya’s luck that his own father died while Dattatreya was young enough to enjoy the perks of being the head of the household. The story offers only two options for parent-child relationships — total deference to the parent or estrangement — and it would’ve been interesting to see if the characters could reach some middle ground.

The comfortable rapport Bachchan and Kapoor have developed after more than four decades of experience working together peeks through in small gestures, like the grin on Babulal’s face as Dattatreya lip-syncs old movie tunes to him. Trivedi fits in perfectly with the veteran duo.

102 Not Out is brief enough never to lose momentum, the story flowing between comedy and drama as it addresses family dynamics that are often times as comical as they are dramatic.

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