Streaming Video News: July 1, 2019

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with the addition of Kalank, the first big release in Amazon Prime Video India’s extended Prime Day event. I thought Kalank was fine, but if you’re only interested in it for Madhuri Dixit’s dancing, skip ahead in the video to 2:06:11. Another dozen Indian movies were added in the last several days, including the 2019 releases Daivam Sakshi (Malayalam) and Falaknuma Das (Telugu).

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with a pair of 2019 releases added over the weekend. John Abraham’s spy thriller Romeo Akbar Walter is now available for streaming, as is the Tamil film Super Deluxe.

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


Streaming Video News: June 27, 2019

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with three additions to the streaming catalog. Kahaani is back, which makes sense since director Sujoy Ghosh’s Badla is likely to join Netflix in early July. The Aamir Khan-hosted documentary Rubaru Roshini is also now available, as is director Aditya Kripalani’s Tottaa Pataaka Item Maal. Like Kripalani’s previous film — Tikli and Laxmi BombTottaa Pataaka Item Maal also deals with sexual violence against women, using it as the basis for a revenge drama. I found the new film too upsetting to finish, so be forewarned.

In addition to all of the Bollywood movies expiring from Netflix on July 1, five non-fiction TV series will depart the service on July 25: Buddha Sutra, The Great Escape, Ithihas Ki Thali Se, Kissa Currency Ka, and Samagri, Sampatti Aur Sauda.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with a dozen Indian films added in the last two days, including the 2019 Telugu release Bottu.

Opening June 28: Article 15

Following its world premiere at the London Indian Film Festival, Ayushmann Khurrana’s crime thriller Article 15 opens in Chicago area theaters on June 28, 2019.

Article 15 opens Friday at MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hours.

After a very good opening weekend, Kabir Singh adds theaters in its second weekend of release. As of Friday, it will show in all three of the above theaters, plus the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, AMC Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, and AMC Naperville 16 in Naperville.

Bharat holds over for a fourth week at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, and AMC Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

Other Indian and Pakistani movies playing in the Chicago area this weekend (all films have English subtitles):

Movie Review: Music Teacher (2019)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Watch Music Teacher on Netflix

Music Teacher is a melancholy exploration of the consequences of blowing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Beni (Manav Kaul) is a middle-aged vocal instructor and part-time lounge singer in Shimla, where he lives with his mother Madhavi (Neena Gupta) and younger sister Urmi (Niharika Lyra Dutt). He dreamed of being a playback singer for the movies, but his father’s death called him back from Mumbai years ago, before he could land any film gigs.

Adding salt to Beni’s still-open wound is the success of one of his former students, Jyotsna (Amrita Bagchi), who herself is now a popular playback singer. Beni must confront his jealousy and anger toward her when Jyotsna returns to Shimla for a concert after eight years in Bollywood.

But is the story Beni’s been telling himself about Jyotsna’s fame and their falling out true, or does he view the past through a lens that paints her as the villain (corroborated by his mother’s hostility toward her)? He reexamines the narrative as he tells it to his new neighbor, Geeta (Divya Dutta), a lonely wife who’s been ditched by her husband and banished to Shimla to care for her ailing father-in-law.

The present and past timelines in Music Teacher are differentiated by the color of Beni’s sideburns: black in the past, grey in the present. It’s subtle and easy to miss at first. Beni himself was more upbeat when he first meet Jyotsna, as opposed to the terse curmudgeon he’s become since she left. Their relationship was about more than music, but both had different dreams for the future.

Beni’s challenge is to realize how his own actions led him to his present unhappy state, and then either chart a new course or find a way to accept things the way they are. He’s spent his whole life waiting for his big break, thinking it could only come in the form of a show business career. He never considered that loving Jyotsna could be a life-changing opportunity in its own right.

Kaul plays Beni as more sad than angry, although the sense of having been wronged is what keeps him in stasis. Kaul convincingly portrays Beni as a decent guy who blew his big chance and never learned how to cope with it.

Bagchi is touching as Jyotsna, both in flashbacks as a young woman desperate for love and in an impactful present-day sequence in which she hints that the lessons she’s learned have been hard won.

While Jyotsna embodies all of Beni’s opportunities lost, Dutta’s Geeta represents the idea of accepting life’s hardships and finding pleasure where one can. Were Beni further along in his emotional journey, maybe he and Geeta could be happy together, damaged but at least not alone.

Though Music Teacher‘s story focuses on Beni’s growth, there’s an interesting theme about the lack of control women have over their own lives. Geeta is the most obvious example, fulfilling the edicts of a husband who lives in a distant city and no longer loves her. But Beni himself has undue influence over the lives of the women in his family. He selects a groom for his sister Urmi, and while we can assume that he wouldn’t make her marry against her will, he clearly has veto power when it comes to groom choice. Beni’s insistence forces Jyotsna to make a choice she doesn’t want to, and the repercussions destroy their relationship.

The men in Music Teacher don’t deserve the power they have. Geeta’s husband — who doesn’t even appear onscreen — is a bad guy for ditching her and offloading the care of his sick father onto her. Beni is guilty of myopic self-interest and a tragic lack of foresight, and loneliness is the consequence. Music Teacher is a big improvement over writer-director Sarthak Dasgupta’s first film, 2007’s The Great Indian Butterfly. There’s a lot to relate to and appreciate about this cautionary tale.


Streaming Video News: June 25, 2019

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with sixteen newly added Indian films, including the 2019 releases Nedunalvaadai (Tamil), Romantic Criminals (Telugu), and Varikkuzhiyile Kolapathakam (Malayalam). The Amazon Prime Video India Twitter account published a list of Indian films coming to Prime in July as part of Amazon’s extended Prime Day promotions. Be on the lookout for Kalank on July 1.

Bollywood Box Office: June 21-23, 2019

Kabir Singh got off to a good start, posting the sixth best opening weekend total and per-theater average for a Hindi film in North America this year. From June 21-23, 2019, the Arjun Reddy remake earned $639,994 from 144 theaters ($4,444 average), according to Bollywood Hungama.

Other Bollywood movies still showing in North American theaters:

  • Bharat: Week 3; $63,816 from 46 theaters; $1,387 average; $2,856,353 total
  • Game Over: Week 2; $5,518 from 12 theaters; $460 average; $143,894 total
  • Photograph: Week 6; $2,135 from three theaters; $712 average; $339,441 total
  • De De Pyaar De: Week 6; $678 from one theater; $1,048,952 total

Sources: 143 Cinema and Bollywood Hungama

Streaming Video News: June 24, 2019

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix because a bunch of films are set to expire next week. With the completion of their two-year streaming contract, these fifteen Hindi titles leave Netflix on July 1, 2019:

Ishqiya, Dedh Ishqiya, Ankhon Dekhi, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, Hunterr, and Aankhen were added to Amazon Prime in recent months. Piku, Shahid, Filmistaan, Heropanti, and Youngistaan are all available with Eros Now, and you can sign up for a free 7-trial through Amazon by following this link. As for the fates of the other four titles, who knows?

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with a handful of Indian films added over the weekend, including the 2019 Telugu release Sita.

Streaming Video News: June 21, 2019

Vacation’s over! I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with a bunch of new additions in the last two weeks. Besides lots of cartoons for kids, a trio of 2019 releases were just added: the Marathi film Luckee and the Hindi movies Rakkhosh and Luka Chuppi. Also new are the Netflix original series Leila and last year’s delighfully clever horror comedy Stree.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with more than 50 Indian titles added in the last two weeks. 2019 releases added include the Amazon original series Mind the Malhotras, Anu Menon’s standup comedy special Wonder Menon, and the following films:

Thanks to everyone who wished me well during my time off. It was great to spend time with my nieces and nephew. Have a great weekend! — Kathy

Streaming Video News: June 6, 2019

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with the addition of nineteen Indian and Desi films in the last three days, including four 2019 releases:

While there are no new additions to my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix, the original Hindi series Leila — a futuristic dystopian show starring Huma Qureshi, Siddharth, and Rahul Khanna — debuts June 14, and you can add it to your queue now by following this link. The series trailer is intriguing and grim.

I’m on vacation for the next couple of weeks, and I won’t be updating the site. I will still be on Twitter, however, so if anything cool becomes available for streaming, I’ll mention it there. You can follow me on Twitter at @kathyfgibson. Talk to you soon! — Kathy

Opening June 5: Bharat

Salman Khan’s annual Eid release for 2019 is Bharat. The history-spanning drama — based on the Korean film Ode to My Father — hits Chicago theaters on June 5 and co-stars Katrina Kaif.

Bharat opens on Wednesday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Century 12 Evanston in Evanston, Regal Round Lake Beach in Round Lake Beach, AMC Niles 12 in Niles, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, AMC Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, Regal Cantera in Warrenville, AMC Naperville 16 in Naperville, AMC Woodridge 18 in Woodridge, and AMC Crestwood 18 in Crestwood. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 30 min.

Also new on Wednesday are the Urdu films Wrong No. 2 — opening at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, and Cantera — and Chhalawa, which opens at the South Barrington 24 on Wednesday and Cantera on Thursday.

De De Pyaar De gets a fourth week at the South Barrington 24 and MovieMax, which also holds over India’s Most Wanted.

Other Indian movies playing in the Chicago area this weekend (all films have English subtitles):