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

Advertisements

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:

Bollywood Box Office: June 9-11, 2017

Raabta‘s release was greeted by crickets here in North America. During its opening weekend of June 9-11, 2017, it earned $76,244 from 82 theaters ($930 average; adjusted average of $1,059 from 72 theaters*). Raabta‘s earnings were well below those of other movies that opened in a similar number of North American theaters this year: movies like Phillauri ($259,250 from 87 theaters); The Ghazi Attack ($394,269 from 89 theaters); and Naam Shabana ($157,655 from 90 theaters). For Raabta to earn less than $100,000 and average under $1,000 per screen is hugely disappointing.

Other Hindi movies playing in North America:

  • Hindi Medium: Week 4; $39,782 from 25 theaters; $1,591 average; $716,503 total
  • Baahubali 2: Week 7; $35,657 from 34 theaters; $1,049 average; $20,753,072 total
  • Sachin — A Billion Dreams: Week 3; $14,823 from 24 theaters; $618 average; $599,593 total
  • Half Girlfriend: Week 4; $1,514 from three theaters; $505 average; $442,605 total
  • Jattu Engineer: Week 3; $1,435 from one theater; $17,652 total
  • Sarkar 3: Week 5; $232 from one theater; $244,456 total
  • Hanuman Da’ Damdaar: Week 2; $134 from one theater; $226 total
  • Dobaara — See Your Evil: $127 from two theaters; $64 average; $10,937 total

*Bollywood Hungama frequently counts Canadian theaters twice in when they report figures for a film’s first few weeks of release. When possible, I verify theater counts at Box Office Mojo, but I use Bollywood Hungama as my primary source because they provide a comprehensive and consistent — if flawed — data set.

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Movie Review: Hindi Medium (2017)

3.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the soundtrack on iTunes

Hindi Medium strikes a perfect balance between the academic and the emotional, humorously illustrating how the class system impacts education.

While the title refers to the language of instruction — Hindi versus English — the film’s lessons translate internationally. The story is as relevant to America as it is to India, so audiences worldwide can easily connect with the material.

Raj (Irrfan Khan) and Mita Batra (Saba Qamar) own a successful bridal store in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk neighborhood. Though they have plenty of money, overprotective Mita worries that their middle-class status will limit future opportunities for their preschool-aged daughter, Pia (cute Dishita Sehgal). Mita convinces her reluctant husband to move to a fancier neighborhood, hoping that will help Pia gain entrance to one of the city’s prestigious elementary schools.

While the family has the money to afford their lifestyle upgrade, they lack the cultural and social capital to take advantage of it. Raj’s local tastes in music and food embarrass Mita in front of the Continental types she wants to befriend. Kids ignore Pia because she’s not English-fluent. When the Batras ask the few influential people they do know for help, they’re told that personal recommendations are taboo among this set. Bribery? Don’t even think about it.

There are myriad codes and status signifiers that Raj and Mitra don’t know about and have no hope of mastering, even with the help of a professional school-placement coach (Tillotama Shome). On top of that is an absurd layer of bureaucracy instituted by the schools simply because they can.

The most damning indictment of the class system is when the coach shares with them a common placement interview question for parents: “How will you introduce the concept of poverty to your child?” The children at these elite schools are so privileged and sheltered that they’ve never encountered a poor person, even in a city as crowded as Delhi.

The poor people from a nearby neighborhood already know that the system is rigged against anyone not from the upper crust, something Raj and Mita gradually realize for themselves. The couple finds a loophole when they learn that twenty-five percent of the spots at the elite schools are reserved for economically underprivileged students, who compete for spots via a lottery. The Batras decide to pose as poor temporarily in order to win one of the lottery spots, shifting house once again.

Writer-director Saket Chaudhary depicts the Batra’s behavior as reprehensible, but almost logical, using humor to ensure that the audience never loses affection for the characters. The Batra’s economic and social standing puts them in a uniquely desperate situation, especially within India where job inheritance within families is common. They’re successful enough to envision a broader future for their daughter beyond the walls of a Chandi Chowk bridal boutique, but doing so means breaking out of entrenched class hierarchy.

Chaudhary deserves kudos for the way he illustrates complex ideas like class and social capital, but particularly so for how he explains the importance of public schools — an ideal that mainstream American conservatives and liberals alike have forgotten, thanks to intense marketing by the for-profit charter school industry. The head of the local government school explains to the Batras that, when middle- and upper-class families put their children in private schools, it deprives the public schools of resources.

The director also makes an important point about poverty through the character of Shyam (Deepak Dobriyal), a kind neighbor who helps the Batras adjust to their newly “poor” status. “Living in poverty is an art,” he explains, as he and his wife Tulsi (Swati Das) teach Raj and Mita a whole new set of social skills appropriate for their diminished standing. Shyam insists that the poor don’t want charity, they want their rights. Just using the word “rights” scoffs at the idea that “opportunity” is enough.

Hindi Medium falls prey to some of the pitfalls of the Bollywood “issue movie” formula. There’s an awkwardly placed song number that interrupts the build-up to the climax, which is Raj giving a speech that no one has any reason to listen to. Chaudhary tries to invert the cliché with a twist on the requisite audience “slow clap,” but that’s trying to have it both ways.

Thanks to his immense talent, Khan comes out of this speech unscathed, the movie cementing his status as the thinking-person’s leading man of choice. Qamar handles Mita’s complexities beautifully, making even her most maddening qualities understandable. Yet another thing director Chaudhary does well is writing every character with their own goals and motivations. Having accomplished performers like Dobriyal and Amrita Singh (as the prep school principal) in supporting roles certainly helps.

Links

Streaming Video News: June 10, 2017

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon’s Heera channel with one new addition to the catalog. Sonakshi Sinha’s Noor is now available for streaming, just seven weeks after its theatrical release. Sonakshi is better than the material she’s given to work with in Noor.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with the addition of the 2011 documentary The Highest Pass. The footage of the Indian Himalayas is beautiful, but I found the narrative a little too self-helpy for my tastes. For everything else new on Amazon Prime — Bollywood or not — check Instant Watcher.