Opening June 23: Tubelight

Salman Khan’s annual Eid release hits theaters on June 23, 2017. Tubelight is an official remake of the 2015 faith-based film Little Boy, with Salman essaying a role played by an 8-year-old in the original. Chinese actress Zhu Zhu costars in the movie.

Tubelight opens Friday in 342 theaters across North America, including the following Chicagoland theaters: AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Century 12 Evanston in Evanston, Regal Round Lake Beach Stadium 18 in Round Lake Beach, AMC Showplace Niles 12 in Niles, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC Dine-In Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, AMC Showplace Naperville 16 in Naperville, Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge, AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge, and AMC Loews Crestwood 18 in Crestwood. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs 15 min.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend:

Advertisements

Streaming Video News: June 21, 2017

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with a major new addition to the catalog. Aamir Khan’s 2016 smash hit Dangal is now available for streaming. If you’re looking for a movie the whole family can enjoy, Dangal fits the bill perfectly. The London-set Desi comedy Amar Akbar & Tony was also recently added to the service. For everything else new on Netflix (Bollywood or not), check Instant Watcher.

Movie Review: The Ghazi Attack (2017)

2.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the DVD at Amazon

This is a review of the Hindi version of The Ghazi Attack.

The novelty factor of an Indian submarine movie is plenty of reason to watch The Ghazi Attack, though the film itself is only so-so.

Set in 1971, when Bangladesh was East Pakistan, the film follows an Indian submarine as it tracks the Pakistani sub PNS Ghazi through the Bay of Bengal. The story is based on real-life events, though both countries differ on what actually happened.

Tensions are high as Pakistan cracks down on suspected Bengali militants in East Pakistan. India sends an aircraft carrier to the Bay of Bengal to disrupt the seaward supply route, and Pakistan dispatches the Ghazi in response. With all of its vessels otherwise occupied, the Indian Navy sends its own sub — the S21 — to investigate.

The S21 isn’t the Navy’s first choice, because its captain — Ranvijay Singh (Kay Kay Menon) — has a reputation for a hair-trigger. Singh is under orders not to fire on the Ghazi, but the admiral (played by Om Puri) doesn’t trust the captain. The admiral sends Lt. Commander Arjun Verma  (Rana Daggubati) on the mission to stop Singh from starting a war, no matter what.

Cynicism regarding institutions is expected in Hindi movies, with the government, the police, and the judiciary frequently portrayed as inept or callous, if not outright hostile to ordinary citizens. The Navy brass aren’t depicted that way in The Ghazi Attack. The admiral and his staff take a wide view of the conflict that seeks to minimize civilian casualties by avoiding war, if possible.

Captain Singh is cut from the same cloth as many Bollywood heroes: a man of action whose inherent righteousness empowers him to define morality as it suits him. He sees his only job as killing the enemy — the enemy being anyone in a Pakistani military uniform.

Singh’s sense of purpose stems from personal revenge, not any virtuous higher calling. He’s not fundamentally at odds with his military superiors — he just sees them as overly cautious — but his vendetta against Pakistan compels him to ignore the chain of command. Anyone harmed in his pursuit is collateral damage.

Verma’s presence serves not only as a check on Singh’s actions but provides an alternative moral point-of-view. Verma risks his own life to rescue two refugees from the wreckage of a merchant vessel sunk by the Ghazi: a little girl and a doctor named Ananya (Taapsee Pannu).

As debutant director Sankalp Reddy’s film progresses, Singh’s “shoot first” morality is unexpectedly endorsed as the preferred code of conduct, at least in terms of dealings between India and Pakistan. Singh is not only willing to risk the lives of the soldiers under his command in order to sink the Ghazi, he doesn’t care what happens as a result of his actions: not to himself, and not to the hundreds of thousands of civilians who would be endangered in the event of all-out war.

Things get downright silly when Indian patriotism is weaponized. The captain of the Pakistani sub (played by Rahul Singh) is driven into a blind rage just by hearing the Indian National Anthem.

Despite the movie’s questionable moral compass, The Ghazi Attack is enjoyable, thanks to compelling performances by Menon and Daggubati. Atul Kulkarni also deserves kudos as Executive Officer Devraj, a man whose personal views have more in common with those of Verma, but who trusts Singh enough to follow his dangerous orders. Pannu is wasted as a token female character who doesn’t even get to use her medical expertise when a pivotal emergency cries out for a doctor’s assistance.

It’s especially fascinating to see the kind of technology that powered Indian Naval submarines in the early 1970s. Maneuvers are executed by turning wheels and opening valves, which all looks ancient by contemporary post-digital standards (even though military submarine technology was already more than half-a-century old by the time of the events in the film). It’s a poignant reminder of the uniquely challenging conditions under which sailors wage war.

Links

Bollywood Box Office: June 16-18, 2017

The bad news keeps piling up for Raabta. After a disastrous opening weekend in North America, Raabta‘s business fell by 90% in its second weekend of release. From June 16-18, 2017, the reincarnation drama took in just $7,732 from eighteen theaters — a per theater average of $430. Raabta‘s total stands at $116, 328. It’s the only Bollywood movie this year to open in more than 80 theaters in North America but fail to earn $200,000 over the course of its run.

The rest of the Hindi films still showing in the U.S. and Canada fared as follows:

  • Hindi Medium: Week 5; $24,626 from twelve theaters; $2,052 average; $757,549 total
  • Baahubali 2: Week 8; $15,185 from fourteen theaters; $1,085 average; $20,780,017 total
  • Sachin — A Billion Dreams: Week 4; $3,251 from five theaters; $650 average; $607,038 total
  • Sarkar 3: Week 6; $222 from one theater; $244,826 total
  • Hanuman Da’ Damdaar: Week 3; $90 from one theater; $358 total
  • Dobaara — See Your Evil: Week 3; $65 from one theater; $11,002 total

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Split Screen Podcast, Episode 30: The Tubelight Trailer vs. The Little Boy Trailer

In a first for the Split Screen Podcast, Shah Shahid and I spent an entire episode comparing two movie trailers! That’s because the trailer for Salman Khan’s upcoming flick Tubelight is almost beat-for-beat the same as the trailer for the movie on which it’s based: Little Boy. Check out the two trailers at the bottom of this post for yourself, then listen to the podcast to hear our thoughts.

You can subscribe to the Split Screen Podcast at iTunes, or you can listen to Episode 30 in your browser on this page at Shah’s website, Blank Page Beatdown. Every episode of the Split Screen Podcast can be found here. I’m featured in the following episodes:

Streaming Video News: June 16, 2017

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with nineteen new additions to the catalog. Along with the 2017 Tamil movie Kanavu Variyam (“Dream Factory“), the following Hindi films are all now available for streaming:

Confession: I’m not really jazzed about anything in this collection. Kidnap was just okay, and I hated Golmaal Returns so much that I named it my Worst Bollywood Movie of 2008. This seems like a lot of filler material meant to bulk up Netflix’s Indian catalog to compete with the huge collections of Eros Now and Amazon’s Heera channel.

Speaking of the Amazon channel, I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Heera with one new addition to its Hindi catalog. The 2016 anthology movie Shor Se Shuruaat features short films by rookie directors mentored by veterans like Zoya Akhtar and Imtiaz Ali.

In Theaters: June 16, 2017

With Tubelight looming over next weekend’s horizon, no new Hindi movies open in Chicago area theaters the weekend beginning Friday, June 16, 2017. There aren’t many Bollywood flicks sticking around, either.

After tanking hard in its debut weekend, Raabta only carries over at the AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington. MovieMax Cinemas in Niles holds over Hindi Medium, Sachin: A Billion Dreams, and Baahubali 2: The Conclusion in Hindi, Telugu, and Tamil. That’s it.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend: