Bollywood Box Office: December 7-9, 2018

Kedarnath had quite a good opening weekend in North America — fifteenth best in a field of 53 Hindi and multilingual films released here this year, in fact. From December 7-9, 2018, the romantic drama earned $374,964 from 117 theaters ($3,205 average), according to Bollywood Hungama.

It’s showing was all the more impressive given that 2.0 had another great weekend as well, taking in $788,976 from 288 theaters ($2,740 average). The multilingual sci-fi sequel is on the brink of crossing the $5 million mark here, with $4,870,335 in total earnings across all languages so far.

Ayushmann Khurrana’s two films are still going strong, with Badhaai Ho earning $16,181 from 13 theaters ($1,245 average) in its eighth weekend of release. Its total stands at $3,312,100. In its tenth weekend of release, Andhadhun took in $6,398 from five theaters ($1,280 average), bringing its total to $1,368,448.

And then there’s Thugs of Hindostan. In its fifth weekend, it earned $770 from two theaters — one in the United States and one in Canada. The US’s contribution to that total? $10. Imagine a weekend of screenings at that US theater, all empty except for one person sitting alone in one of those showings (okay, maybe two people if it was a matinée). Thugs of Hindostan is stuck just shy of $2 million, with $1,982,112 in total North American earnings.

Source: Bollywood Hungama

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Opening December 7: Kedarnath

Saif Ali Khan’s daughter Sara makes her film debut opposite Sushant Singh Rajput in the romantic drama/disaster movie Kedarnath, opening in Chicago area theaters December 7, 2018. It looks kinda awesome.

Kedarnath opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. It has a listed runtime of 1 hr 59 min.

After a $3 million opening weekend in the United States, 2.0 carries over in 3D in Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi at the River East 21, MovieMax (2D only), South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, Woodridge 18, AMC Showplace Niles 12 in Niles, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale, AMC Naperville 16 in Naperville, and Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge.

Badhaai Ho gets an eighth week at the South Barrington 24.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend:

Bollywood Box Office: November 30-December 2, 2018

Rajinikanth’s 2.0 did blockbuster numbers in its opening weekend in North America, as expected. From November 30-December 2, 2018, the multilingual sci-fi sequel took in $2,770,738 from 315 theaters ($8,796 average), according to 143 Cinema. Adding in returns from Wednesday night preview shows and a full day of screenings on Thursday brought its total to $3,753,667 by the end of Sunday. By this point, 2.0 has already cleared $4 million here.

Other Hindi movies still showing in North American theaters:

  • Badhaai Ho: Week 7; $25,002 from 17 theaters; $1,471 average; $3,284,458 total
  • Andhadhun: Week 9; $9,437 from seven theaters; $1,348 average; $1,356,669 total
  • Thugs of Hindostan: Week 4; $2,865 from six theaters; $478 average; $1,978,868 total

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

Movie Review: The Price of Free (2018)

3.5 Stars (out of 4)

Watch The Price of Free on YouTube

The fantastic 2013 drama Siddharth follows a poor family’s search for their son, a victim of child trafficking. 12-year-old Siddharth takes a factory job in a distant city for a month to earn money for his younger sister’s dowry. When the boy doesn’t return, his parents have to search for him with scant information of his whereabouts, extremely limited funds, and no picture of their son to show to the authorities.

For parents facing a similar crisis to the family in Siddharth, Delhi’s Bachpan Bachao Andolan (“BBA”) is there to help. The documentary The Price of Free gives a look at the organization and its devoted leader, Kailash Satyarthi, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his part in freeing more than 87,000 Indian children from slavery. (The film debuted at the Sundance film festival under the title Kailash and was renamed before its streaming video release on YouTube.)

The keys to Satyarthi’s success are his complete commitment to the principle that every child should have a childhood and his optimism that this is an achievable goal — albeit an incredibly difficult one. The Price of Free explains just how complex the problem really is, with Satyarthi himself admitting to underestimating the scope the first time he tried to free a man’s daughter from sex slavery and failed.

Actually rescuing a child from forced labor is somewhere in the middle of a process that begins with trying to stop trafficking from happening in the first place, through a combination of laws and corporate pressure to poverty eradication efforts. After a child is trafficked, the BBA team attempts to locate and release the child — and any other children present — hopefully arresting their captors in the process.

What to do with the children they rescue is a whole other problem, one that Satyarthi and his wife Sumedha discovered early in their activism as their apartment filled with traumatized children far from home. The solution was Mukti Ashram, a temporary boarding school run by Sumedha as a place where recently freed kids could live, play, and learn while BBA workers track down their parents.

The Price of Free opens with footage of a harrowing factory raid that liberates sixty-three boys, the most frightened of whom is little Karim. Given the presence of police alongside BBA activists, the boys assume they are in trouble, and Karim won’t stop crying. In a surprisingly intimate gesture, Satyarthi sits with Karim and has the boy touch his beard, joking with Karim that he’s missing a beard of his own. It pays off days later, when Satyarthi hears that Karim is still nervous at the ashram. He asks, “Is this the friend who touched my beard? Show me how you did it.” Little Karim beams as he reaches up to give Satyarthi’s cheek a familiar pet.

A heartbreaking problem BBA addresses is the reality that some of the children they reunite with their families will just wind up in forced labor again, such is the depth of their poverty. One father admits to accepting a bribe from a trafficker of as little as 2000 rupees — less than $30.

The challenges and rewards of BBA’s activism are presented fairly by filmmaker Derek Doneen, without being manipulative or melodramatic, as befitting Satyarthi’s own can-do attitude. BBA’s work requires a great deal of bravery — one never knows if the police assigned to accompany them on raids have been bribed by traffickers — and Doneen and crew deserve credit for following the activists into potentially dangerous situations for the sake of documenting their work.

If there’s one complaint about The Price of Free, it’s the inconsistency of the English subtitles. Most of the banter and other background chatter like police radios isn’t subtitled at all. If multiple people are speaking at once, only one person’s dialogued is subbed. I know documentaries don’t have lavish budgets, but the film feels incomplete without full subs.

Even with over 150 million kids worldwide still engaged in child labor, The Price of Free and Kailash Satyarthi’s work with BBA give hope that this really is a problem we can tackle. If you’d like to get involved in the movement to end child labor, check out The Price of Free‘s website, Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation, or 100Million.org.

You can watch The Price of Free in its entirety below:

Links

Streaming Video News: December 1, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with the addition of the October release Loveyatri, starring Salman Khan’s brother-in-law. The streaming service added a number of older Telugu titles as well.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with the addition of some new kids cartoons, the Punjabi flick Faraar, the Tamil film Power Paandi, and a few shows from the cable channel Discovery Jeet. One of those shows is Man vs Wild with Sunny Leone, which — as far as I can tell — is just the regular Bear Grylls show dubbed into Hindi with Sunny occasionally interjecting from a fake jungle set. I’d be more interested if Sunny was out in the woods with Bear eating worms and stuff.

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

Streaming Video News: November 30, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with two Hindi films released this year: Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s biographical drama Manto and director Leena Yadav’s Rajma Chawal, which skipped theaters to launch worldwide on Netflix.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with the exciting streaming debut of the 2018 horror film Tumbbad. In addition to the original Hindi audio, Tamil and Telugu audio options are available for Tumbbad. A bunch of older Tamil and Telugu films were also added in recent days.

After the great Prime Purge, I found another 30 or so Indian titles that were expunged in addition to the 285 I had advanced warning about. I’ll revisit the list of expired titles in the coming days to make sure they weren’t re-added to the service, but I’m confident most of them are gone for good. Many of the older films that disappeared — such as 1963’s Parasmani — are still available on Eros Now, which you can subscribe to through Amazon Channels.

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

Streaming Video News: November 25, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with some HUGE news: the streaming service loses 25% of its Indian catalog in the next few days. 285 movies will expire between now and November 29. Most of the films on the way out are older Bengali, Tamil, and Hindi titles, including the whole NFDC catalog. Sadly, the purge wipes out Prime’s entire selection of Bhojpuri, Oriya, and Sanskrit movies.

One caveat is that Amazon’s expiration dates aren’t always as hard-and-fast as Netflix‘s expiration dates. It could be that Amazon’s dates simply indicate the end of existing contracts, with new contracts set to kick in the following day. But if any of the films below are in your Watchlist, better watch ’em while you can.

Update: It looks like this purge is really happening after all. I’m in the process of pulling the expired titles out of my main Prime list. The good news is that a lot of the older Hindi titles are still available on Eros Now (which you can try for free for 7 days through Amazon channels).

Here’s the full list of everything set to expire from Amazon Prime, organized first by date and then alphabetically:

 

Streaming Video News: November 24, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with three new properties from 2018. Along with the Telugu film Hello Guru Prema Kosame and the Zakir Khan stand-up comedy special Kaksha Gyarvi, director Vishal Bhardwaj’s rowdy comedy Pataakha is now available for streaming. Bhardwaj is great at world-building, and his tale of two feuding sisters is no exception. I enjoyed it.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with one expiration date and one premiere date. The fantastic crime drama Talvar leaves the streaming service on December 1 (so catch it quick, and then listen to the episode of the Split Screen Podcast in which Shah Shahid and I compare it to Rahasya, which is also currently on Netflix). The Netflix original cricket series Selection Day debuts on December 28. Its trailer is kinda intense:

Movie Review: Karwaan (2018)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Watch the movie on Amazon Prime
Buy the soundtrack on iTunes

The dehumanizing nature of modern office culture is ideal movie fodder. Companies tout their soul-crushing policies as necessary for the sake of “efficiency” — code for cutting labor costs to increase the profits of shareholders and executives. Karwaan (“Caravan“) beautifully puts the lie to this vision of efficiency, showing instead how interpersonal connections and generosity are often better tools for getting things done than cold bureaucracy.

Dissatisfied IT worker Avinash (Dulquer Salmaan) learns of his father Prakash’s (Akash Khurana) death via a curt phone call from a travel agent informing him where to pick up the body. The two men hadn’t spoken in years, since Prakash forced his son to abandon a promising photography career for a job offering financial stability. Avinash followed his father’s wishes but never forgave him, ground down by a boring job in an office where posters touting the employees’ replaceability are considered motivational.

The body shipped to the airport in Bangalore is not that of Avinash’s father but of a woman who died in the same bus accident. The airport’s cargo supervisor isn’t keen to track down Dad’s body, leaving it to Avinash to arrange a swap with Tahira (Amala Akkineni), the daughter of the dead woman who received Prakash’s body by mistake. Avinash hops in a van with his jaded friend Shaukat (Irrfan Khan), and they drive to Kochi to make the exchange.

The road trip gives Avinash opportunities to showcase just how much one man can accomplish with a generous spirit — and a van. Tahira calls in panic when she can’t reach her daughter at college, prompting a side trip to Ooty to pick up free-spirited Tanya (Mithila Palkar). Conservative, grumpy Shaukat almost calls off the caravan when he sees Tanya wearing a dress that hits above the knee, but Avinash prevails, giving the trio further opportunities to do good on their way to Kochi.

Tanya’s youthful exuberance affirms Avinash’s altruism but highlights the rut he’s fallen into after years demoralizing office work. He judges Tanya irresponsible for her drinking, smoking, and casual flings, only to realize how much he must sound like his own dad to someone younger.

Though Shaukat’s attitude toward Tanya and some of Avinash’s own behavior are sexist, the movie itself isn’t. Akarsh Khurana’s screenplay and direction always side with Tanya’s right to make her own choices, especially since she’s not hurting anyone else and isn’t that irresponsible in the first place. Given that Tanya’s the one who instigates a side trip to return the belongings of another bus crash victim, she’s a net positive for the world.

Irrfan Khan is typically charismatic, but he never hogs the spotlight from his co-stars. Salmaan and Palkar are at their best during their scenes together. In an industry where 50-something actors routinely romance women in their 20s onscreen, it’s refreshing that Khurana’s script precludes a romance between Avinash and Tanya because of their age difference. It allows for a greater variety of scenes than we normally get when two attractive young performers are paired together.

Karwaan isn’t an explosive film — there’s exactly one action sequence, and it’s not handled that well — but sometimes you just want a movie about nice people doing nice things. Karwaan is that movie. Enjoy it.

Links

In Theaters: November 22, 2018

Pickin’s are slim for Chicago area Bollywood fans this long Thanksgiving weekend. For the holiday period beginning Thursday, November 22, 2018, there are just two options: Thugs of Hindostan and Badhaai Ho, both showing at MovieMax Cinemas in Niles and AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington. That’s it.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend: