Author Archives: Kathy

Bollywood Box Office: March 22-24, 2019

From March 22-24, 2019, Akshay Kumar’s Kesari took in $836,065 from 178 North American theaters ($4,697 average), according to Bollywood Hungama. Adding in the $88,308 it earned on its opening day (March 21) brings Kesari‘s four-day total to $924,373.

It took Luka Chuppi four weekends, but the romantic comedy finally crossed the $1 million mark. The $18,920 it earned from 26 theaters over the weekend ($728 average) brought its total to $1,005,283.

With Kesari having passed the $1 million mark itself during the course of the week, Luka Chuppi‘s achievement means that eight of the twelve Hindi movies to release in North America in 2019 have earned at least $1 million. That’s kind of mind-boggling. I expect that ratio to even out a bit with the upcoming weekend’s releases — Junglee and Notebook — likely to fall well short $1 million (though I’m crossing my fingers for Junglee‘s success).

Other Hindi movies still showing in North American theaters:

  • Badla: Week 3; $237,547 from 97 theaters; $2,449 average; $1,712,624 total
  • Gully Boy: Week 6; $49,473 from 40 theaters; $1,237 average; $5,381,387 total
  • Total Dhamaal: Week 5; $4,049 from one theater*; $2,167,632 total
  • Uri: Week 11; $904 from three theaters; $301 average; $4,185,825 total

*Bollywood Hungama’s report only includes Total Dhamaal‘s Canada earnings for the weekend, not its US earnings. The film’s total is from Box Office Mojo.

Sources: Bollywood Hungama and Box Office Mojo

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Opening March 29: Junglee and Notebook

Two new Hindi films hit Chicago area theaters on March 29, 2019. Martial artist Vidyut Jammwal plays a veterinarian fighting elephant poachers in the action movie Junglee, directed by American filmmaker Chuck Russell, who previously directed Dwayne Johnson in The Scorpion King and Jim Carrey in The Mask.

Junglee opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 1 hr. 55 min.

Also new this weekend is the Salman Khan Films production Notebook, starring newcomers Pranutan Bahl and Zaheer Iqbal.

Notebook opens Friday at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, and Cantera 17. It has a listed runtime of 1 hr. 52 min.

Opening in wide release across Chicagoland this weekend is Hotel Mumbai, an English-language fictional retelling of the 26/11 terror attacks starring Dev Patel, Anupam Kher, and Armie Hammer. It sounds problematic.

Kesari carries over at the River East 21, MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, AMC Niles 12 in Niles, AMC Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, and AMC Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

Badla gets a fourth week at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, and AMC Naperville 16 in Naperville.

MovieMax holds over Luka Chuppi, the South Barrington carries over Total Dhamaal, and the Woodridge 18 hangs on to Gully Boy.

Other Indian movies showing in Chicago area theaters (all films have English subtitles):

Streaming Video News: March 22, 2019

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with dozens of recent additions to the streaming catalog. Kangana Ranaut’s January theatrical release Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi now available in the original Hindi as well as Tamil and Telugu.

One strange bit of Amazon housekeeping is that Yash Raj Films added new versions of several movies that were already on Prime, and the old links no longer work at all. It’s not that the listing remains and says the movie isn’t available on Prime — you get a “Page Not Found” error when you follow the link. I updated my list with the new links I’ve found, but here they are just in case you’ve got the old links in your bookmarks (if you find any other YRF Amazon Prime links in my list that no longer work, please leave a comment and let me know):

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with a new original Hindi series to binge this weekend: Delhi Crime, starring Shefali Shah, Adil Hussain, and Denzil Smith.

Opening March 21: Kesari

In time for Holi, Akshay Kumar’s historical war drama Kesari opens in Chicago area theaters on Thursday, March 21, 2019.

Kesari opens Thursday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, AMC Naperville 16 in Naperville, and AMC Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. It expands to the AMC Niles 12 in Niles on Friday. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 30 min.

On Friday, March 22, Badla starts its third week at the River East 21, MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, and Naperville 16.

Gully Boy gets a sixth week at the South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, and Woodridge 18.

Luka Chuppi holds over for a fourth week at MovieMax and the South Barrington 24, while Total Dhamaal gets a fifth week at the South Barrington 24 and Cantera 17.

In news of movies that aren’t playing in Chicago right now, I’m super bummed that we didn’t get Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (“The Man Who Feels No Pain“). I also expected The Wedding Guest to expand out from Chicago into suburban theaters, but that didn’t happen either. In better news, it looks like Dev Patel & Anupam Kher’s Hotel Mumbai will open wide across the Chicago area next weekend, so that’s cool.

Other Indian movies showing in Chicago area theaters (all films have English subtitles unless indicated):

Bollywood Box Office: March 15-17, 2019

Badla held up extremely well in its second weekend in North America. It retained almost 80% of its opening weekend business after expanding into 21 more theaters, earning $465,342 from 115 theaters ($4,046 average) during the weekend of March 15-17, 2019, according to Box Office Mojo. Its $1,313,740 total currently ranks fifth for the year among Hindi films released in North America, but it will pass Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi and move into fourth place before next weekend.

Other Bollywood movies still showing in North America:

  • Gully Boy: Week 5; $103,572 from 60 theaters; $1,726 average; $5,300,978 total
  • Luka Chuppi: Week 3; $66,815 from 54 theaters; $1,237 average; $963,904 total
  • Total Dhamaal: Week 4; $59,133 from 54 theaters; $1,095 average; $2,151,507 total
  • Uri: Week 10; $6,586 from five theaters; $1,317 average; $4,183,341 total

Sources: Bollywood Hungama and Box Office Mojo

Streaming Video News: March 18, 2019

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with about twenty Indian films added today and over the weekend, including what I think is Prime’s first Hindi theatrical release of 2019. Fraud Saiyaan debuted in Indian theaters on January 18th, but it didn’t open internationally. The comedy features Arshad Warsi romancing a bunch of much younger women, including Barkhaa‘s Sara Loren. The trailer isn’t subtitled, but we all get the gist:

Streaming Video News: March 15, 2019

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with several recent additions to the catalog. Two 2018 Hindi films — the LGTBQ family drama Evening Shadows and Radhika Apte’s Bombairiya — are now available for streaming, as is 2017’s Bhasmasur. Other newly added 2018 releases include the Tamil movie Genius and the Tamil and Telugu versions of Sarkar.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with more than 50 new additions in the last week. I’m really excited that the 2013 spy thriller D-Day is available for streaming again, because it hasn’t been for a couple of years. It has one of my all-time favorite song picturizations and great performances by Irrfan Khan, Arjun Rampal, and Huma Qureshi. Prime also added a number of 2019 theatrical releases to its streaming catalog:

In Theaters: March 15, 2019

The March 15, 2019, release date for Ritesh Batra’s Photograph is for India only. We won’t get it in the States until May 17. Looks like Chicago area Bollywood fans will have to make due with the films already available this weekend.

Last weekend’s new release Badla, carries over at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, and expands to the AMC Naperville 16 in Naperville.

Gully Boy gets a fifth week at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, AMC Niles 12 in Niles, and AMC Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

MovieMax, South Barrington 24, and Cantera 17 all hold over Luka Chuppi and Total Dhamaal.

Other Indian movies showing in Chicago area theaters (all films have English subtitles unless indicated):

Movie Review: Gully Boy (2019)

3.5 Stars (out of 4)

Watch the movie on Amazon Prime
Buy the soundtrack at iTunes
Watch Gully Boy: Live in Concert on Amazon Prime

Aspiring filmmakers should study Gully Boy as a masterclass in character creation. Every character has a place in the story’s social fabric, and we see how they fit into the wider world — not just how they relate to the protagonist.

Murad (Ranveer Singh) is the spoke around which the rest of the characters in Gully Boy turn, but there’s always a sense that they have lives that continue when he’s not around. Murad suspects his criminal friend Moeen (Vijay Varma) is up to something dangerous, but he isn’t sure, since they’re not together all the time. The parents of their buddy Salman (Nakul Roshan Sahdev) are looking for a bride for him — something Murad’s fiery girlfriend Safeena (Alia Bhatt) uses to her advantage when the couple are on the outs.

Too often, Hindi movies with a male protagonist played by a big star consider the hero’s love interest only in terms of how she relates to him. Director Zoya Akhtar and writer Reema Kagti make sure that Safeena’s character is fully developed, showing her relationships with her parents and Murad’s friends. This doesn’t take away from Murad’s importance to the story, but instead emphasizes how he fits into his world. Giving all the characters agency adds to the movie’s realism and reinforces the notion that Murad’s actions have consequences for other people.

He and Safeena have kept their relationship secret from their parents for years, assuming that they’ll announce their intention to married when she finishes medical school and he earns a business degree. When Murad begins participating in the local rap scene, it changes the trajectory of his life and Safeena’s. Even though she supports his new endeavor, it means adjusting the plans for their future, since rapper isn’t an occupation that any of their conservative parents would approve of. A powerful scene in which Safeena asks her parents for the freedom to go places other than school highlights what she and Murad are up against, if he strays from the safe path to follow his dream.

Murad’s lyrics are born out of anger at the injustice that defines his world and limits his opportunities. His father, Aftab (Vijay Raaz in a chilling performance), accepts the limits imposed on poor Muslims and views educating Murad as a waste of money, since he’ll likely just end up a driver like his father anyway. Quashing Murad’s aspirations is a way of protecting himself from the truth that his own life might be better had he allowed himself to dream, instead of accepting what was forced upon him.

Gully Boy doesn’t pretend that Murad can succeed on desire alone, given the enormous societal forces he has to contend with at both the top and bottom of India’s economic ladder. He hones his craft under the tutelage of MC Sher (star-in-the-making Siddhant Chaturvedi), an established local rapper who understands Murad’s frustration and sees him as a voice for the underdogs in their neighborhood.

Ranveer Singh did his own rapping in the film, and the music overall is really good. (It would have been nice if the lyrics of the incidental music had been subtitled, and not just the lyrics from Murad’s scenes.) The lone weak points in Gully Boy are rap battle scenes — insult contests that have little in common with Murad’s introspective lyric-writing. I don’t know if one must be adept at rap battles to be considered a good rapper — or how one even wins a rap battle — but the sequences are dull.

Although Gully Boy isn’t an ensemble picture like Akhtar’s two most recent feature films — 2015’s Dil Dhadakne Do and 2011’s Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara — it almost feels as though it is, given how much care went into fleshing out the characters in orbit around the protagonist. Akhtar’s fascination with the connections between people sets her apart from her contemporaries and makes her one of India’s most compelling filmmakers.

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Bollywood Box Office: March 8-10, 2019

Badla had the second-best opening-weekend per-screen average for the year so far in North America. From March 8-10, 2019, the thriller earned $596,446 from 94 theaters ($6,345 average), according to Box Office Mojo. That opening-weekend per-screen average ranks just ahead of Uri: The Surgical Strike‘s $6,249 but well behind Gully Boy‘s $7,927.

Luka Chuppi held steady in its second weekend, per Bollywood Hungama’s reporting, earning $179,166 from 103 theaters ($1,739 average) and bringing its total to $814,426. Last weekend‘s other new release — Sonchiriya — continued on its tragic path, holding over just 5% of its opening weekend business. Box Office Mojo reports earnings of just $2,880 from eight theaters ($360 average), for total earnings of $85,148.

Other Hindi movies still showing in North American theaters:

  • Gully Boy: Week 4; $192,665 from 106 theaters; $1,818 average; $5,117,529 total
  • Total Dhamaal: Week 3; $156,180 from 118 theaters; $1,324 average; $2,020,732 total
  • Uri: Week 9; $13,020 from nine theaters; $1,447 average; $4,173,302 total
  • Manikarnika: Week 7; $204 from one theater; $1,385,664 total

Sources: Bollywood Hungama and Box Office Mojo