Author Archives: Kathy

Streaming Video News: July 22, 2017

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Heera with an exciting new addition to the catalog. The reincarnation drama Raabta — which just released in theaters on June 9 — is now available for streaming!

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with two American movies from 2011: Bobby Khan’s Ticket to Hollywood and When Harry Tries to Marry, starring Zenobia Shroff, best known for playing Kumail’s mom in The Big Sick.

Lastly, I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with a bunch of new additions, including the Pakistani movies Ho Mann Jahaan, Waar, and Wrong No., as well as the comedy special Aditi Mittal: Things They Wouldn’t Let Me Say and the India-set Swedish TV show Delhis vackraste Händer. For everything else new on Netflix or Amazon Prime, check Instant Watcher.


Opening July 21: Munna Michael

One new Bollywood movie gets a limited release in the Chicago area on July 21, 2017. Munna Michael stars Tiger Shroff as a dancer who teaches a gangster (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) how to cut a rug.

Munna Michael opens Friday at MovieMax Cinemas in Niles and AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 29 min.

After a slow opening weekend in North America, Jagga Jasoos carries over locally at the South Barrington 24, AMC River East 21 in Chicago, AMC Showplace Niles 12 in Niles, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

Mom gets a third week at MovieMax, Woodridge 18, and South Barrington 24, which also holds over Guest Iin London for one show daily.

In honor of its 15th anniversary, Devdas is showing locally on Sunday, July 23 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the River East 21, Niles 12, South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, AMC Dine-In Rosemont 18 in Rosemont (already sold out), AMC Showplace Naperville 16 in Naperville, and Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend:

Movie Review: Jagga Jasoos (2017)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Jagga Jasoos is an ambitious movie that I’d love to rate more highly. There were portions of the film that I liked very much, and I appreciate the world director Anurag Basu built and the way he told his story. Yet Jagga Jasoos is bloated with material and far too long.

Jagga Jasoos opens with a framing device featuring Katrina Kaif’s character Shruti as a children’s entertainer and author of a comic book series about her friend Jagga, a teenage detective. A troop of kids under her direction reenact scenes from the comics, before the action transitions to the world of the books, starting with Jagga’s childhood and his adoption by a man he calls TutiFuti (Saswata Chatterjee, best known to Bollywood fans for playing the unassuming assassin Bob Biswas in Kahaani).

TutiFuti coaches young Jagga to sing as a way to overcome the boy’s stutter, a device that enables Jagga Jasoos to be a traditional musical, with much of the plot and dialogue sung rather than spoken. The movie is punctuated by standalone tunes to accompany dance numbers and montages, with the best of those songs being the forlorn “Phir Wahi.”

TutiFuti is called away on a secret mission by a man known as Blackmail Sinha (Shaurab Shukla), leaving Jagga to grow up alone in a boarding school. By the time he reaches his teenage years, Jagga (now played by Ranbir Kapoor) has developed a knack for solving mysteries.

He stumbles onto an arms-smuggling caper with international implications, involving a journalist — Shruti — and possibly even TutiFuti. Shruti and Jagga travel to Africa to find TutiFuti and uncover the secret mission he’s been on for so many years.

The whimsy factor is high in Jagga Jasoos, not only because of all the singing but because of a visual style reminiscent of director Wes Anderson (whom Jagga Jasoos cinematographer Ravi Varman praises in the interview linked to below). Basu incorporates a number of comparatively low-tech special effects — such as deliberately using obvious stock footage of African animals or showing a plane flying over a map instead of actual land — for a fresh take on retro movie-making. The modern CGI effects that aim for realism and fall short draw more attention to themselves than effects that are intentionally outmoded.

Jagga Jasoos is at its best when Jagga and Shruti are together in his hometown along the border with Myanmar. The town and school have their own charms that help to create an immersive environment. When the duo leave town, they leave that quaintness behind for a plot that is grander in scale but less engrossing.

Removing geographical boundaries frees Basu to inject untold (and unnecessary) amounts of quirkiness into the film, particularly regarding the unseen criminal mastermind Bashir Alexander. By the time Jagga and Shruti board Bashir Alexander’s personal circus train, I had reached my limit.

Disney India would’ve been better off splitting its swan song into two films, a la Baahubali, rather than making one film to serve as both a setup for a hopeful sequel and a catch-all in case box office numbers deem a sequel unwarranted. Forcing Basu to cram as many ideas as possible into one film not only inflates the runtime beyond a reasonable limit, but it cuts short plot development in favor of visual spectacle. I’m still not sure what Blackmail Sinha’s goal was or who he was working for, and the framing device isn’t well explained either. Shruti’s students sing a song about not caring about the world’s troubles because they are protected by a “sign on the door,” but it’s unclear to what they refer.

For all its ambition and innovative ideas, Jagga Jasoos isn’t the movie — or movies — it could have been.


Bollywood Box Office: July 14-16, 2017

Things didn’t go so well for Jagga Jasoos in North America. From July 14-16, 2017, it earned $482,887 from 210 theaters ($2,299 average). That average barely puts it in the top half of Hindi films for the year here, just behind Tubelight, which was also considered a disappointment. Still, Jagga Jasoos‘s total was good enough to rank in 15th place at the overall US box office for the weekend, and its per-theater average was better than the averages of the movies ranked 8th-14th.

There are numerous reasons to explain why Jagga Jasoos wasn’t a blockbuster here, from the movie’s unique concept to it being a family oriented film opening during peak season for big-budget superhero flicks and animated fare. Jagga Jasoos‘s earnings fall within the expected parameters for recent films featuring its two stars. It earned more than Ranbir Kapoor’s Bombay Velvet in its first weekend but less than his Tamasha; it earned more than Katrina Kaif’s Fitoor but less than her Baar Baar Dekho.

Mom held up great in its second weekend in theaters, retaining nearly 40% of its opening weekend audience. It earned $99,535 from 63 theaters ($1,580 average), bringing its total to $493,245 — already nearly double its opening weekend total of $260,433.

Guest Iin London fared much worse, losing 85% of its opening weekend audience and taking in $4,494 from eight theaters ($562 average). Its total stands at $49,161.

Tubelight closed out its fourth weekend in theaters with earnings of just $200 — $138 from one Canadian theater and $62 from one theater in the US. It has total earnings of $1,575,849.

Source: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Streaming Video News: July 17, 2017

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon’s Heera channel with four new additions to the catalog. Three movies starring Salman Khan — Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Jai Ho, and Kick — are now available for streaming, as is Hero, which Khan produced. Bajrangi Bhaijaan is good, but Hero is unoriginal, Jai Ho is lazy, and Kick is unbelievably stupid.

Streaming Video News: July 15, 2017

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with a bunch of new additions to the catalog. The Hindi films Halla Bol and Singh Saab the Great are now available for streaming. My brother was (un)lucky enough to watch Singh Saab the Great with me in the theater, and we agreed that it had some gloriously terrible moments. Also new to the streaming service is the Marathi movie Vitti Dandu and the Malayalam films Kanyaka Talkies, Ottakolam, The Painted House, and Shavam: The Corpse. Fair warning that Kal Ho Naa Ho expires from the service on July 22, 2017. For everything else new on Netflix — Bollywood or not — check Instant Watcher.

Opening July 14: Jagga Jasoos

Disney India’s final production, Jagga Jasoos, opens in the Chicago area on July 14, 2017. Director Anurag Basu’s detective film reunites former lovers Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif onscreen.

Jagga Jasoos opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Century 12 Evanston in Evanston, AMC Showplace Niles 12 in Niles, AMC Dine-In Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, AMC Showplace Naperville 16 in Naperville, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 15 min. [Update: Fandango’s runtime is wrong. Jagga Jasoos is more like 2 hrs. 45 min.]

Mom carries over for a second week at MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, River East 21, Cantera 17, Woodridge 18, and South Barrington 24, which also holds over Guest Iin London.

On Saturday night at 7 p.m., MovieMax hosts a live broadcast of the 2017 IIFA Awards.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area over the weekend: