Opening December 1: Firangi

Kapil Sharma jumps into the spot vacated by Padmavati, releasing his period comedy Firangi (“Foreigner“) in Chicago area theaters on December 1, 2017.

Firangi opens on Friday at 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. 38 min.

All three of the above theaters hold over Tumhari Sulu for a third week. Secret Superstar carries over at the AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodrige and MovieMax, which also holds on to Golmaal Again.

Other Indian and Pakistani movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend:

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Streaming Video News: November 29, 2017

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with three new additions to the catalog. Atul Kulkarni’s Manasarovar and the Tamil film Endrendrum Punnagai are both available for streaming, as is DISCO DANCER! For everything else new on Prime, check Instant Watcher.

Streaming Video News: November 27, 2017

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with one new addition to the catalog. The September theatrical release Poster Boys — starring the Deol brothers and directed by Shreyas Talpade — is now available for streaming. Also note that the 2016 Marathi film Sairat expires from Netflix on December 1.

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime as well to include the Hindi-dubbed version of the 2001 Tamil film Citizen, which is available for free with ads to non-subscribers. For everything else new on Netflix and Amazon Prime — Bollywood or not — check Instant Watcher.

Bollywood Box Office: November 24-26, 2017

With no new Bollywood films for competition, Tumhari Sulu held up great in its second weekend in North American theaters. From November 24-26, 2017, the Vidya Balan film earned $96,544 from 46 theaters ($2,099 average). Its 55% holdover from Weekend 1 to Weekend 2 is fifth best for the year. Most Americans had Thursday off for Thanksgiving — with many off work on Wednesday as well — helping to boost Tumhari Sulu‘s take to $396,900 after ten days of release. Not bad for a film that opened in fewer than sixty theaters.

The other notable performance of the weekend came from Golmaal Again, now in its sixth weekend of release. It earned $6,912 from five theaters, but its per-theater average of $1,382 doesn’t tell the whole story. Golmaal Again earned $3,820 from one theater in Canada — more than the $3,092 combined it earned from four US theaters, which averaged earnings of $773 per theater. The comedy’s total stands at $2,354,534.

Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:

  • Ittefaq: Week 4; $15,901 from eleven theaters; $1,446 average; $719,564 total
  • Secret Superstar: Week 6; $6,963 from nine theaters; $774 average; $2,143,554 total
  • Qarib Qarib Singlle: Week 3; $5,205 from five theaters; $1,041 average; $231,628 total

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Streaming Video News: November 23, 2017

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with some new additions to the catalog. Kumail Nanjiani’s thoughtful Hollywood hit The Big Sick is now available for streaming. The 2017 Marathi/English film Shank’s is also now available, as is the 2003 Tamil film Aparichit 2.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with a couple of new additions to the streaming catalog: the Hindi films Dharm and Teen Thay Bhai. For everything else new on Netflix and Amazon Prime — Bollywood or not — check Instant Watcher. Happy Thanksgiving!

Streaming Video News: November 21, 2017

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Heera with one important new addition to the catalog. India’s official submission to next year’s Oscars — Newton — is now available for streaming. Critics who want to watch Newton in advance of year-end-awards voting can follow this link for a free 7-day trial of Heera.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix to include the addition of another Krish Trish and Baltiboy cartoon — Face Your Fears — plus the news that Gangs of Wasseypur will depart the service on December 18, 2017. Netflix broke the 5-hour-plus epic into eight 40-minute-long episodes, so there’s no excuse not to watch this gripping gangster drama.

Finally, I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with the addition of three Hindi-dubbed films that can be watched with ads even without a Prime subscription: the Tamil movies Billa 2 and Ek Dumdaar The Powerful, and the Punjabi film Jatt James Bond. For everything else new on Amazon Prime and Netflix — Bollywood or not — check Instant Watcher.

Movie Review: Tumhari Sulu (2017)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the soundtrack at iTunes

Actors Vidya Balan and Manav Kaul carry Tumhari Sulu, a task made more difficult by the story’s lack of perspective. It’s hard to tell how first-time feature filmmaker Suresh Triveni expects the audience to feel about his characters and their journey.

Balan plays Sulu, a bored housewife who entertains herself by entering radio contests. Her husband, Ashok (Kaul), ekes out a meager paycheck managing a dysfunctional tailoring shop. Their eleven-year-old son Pranav (Abhishek Sharma) earns money on the side by selling dirty DVDs and magazines to his classmates.

Sulu’s more successful sisters delight in their sibling’s lower-middle-class status, chiding Sulu for not having a job while reminding her that her lack of a degree precludes her from getting a reputable gig, anyway.

When Sulu goes to the radio station to collect her latest prize — a pressure cooker — she notices an ad for a late-night radio show host. She finagles a meeting with the station manager, Maria (Neha Dhupia), who gives Sulu a shot, if only for the chance to laugh at the frumpy, naive housewife. However, Sulu’s sultry delivery is just what Maria is looking for, and a new radio star is born.

Triveni’s story — which he wrote and directed — takes a long time to get to this point without advancing the characters’ development. The plot meanders, never lingering long enough to develop any of the potential themes — topics like Sulu’s self-worth, women’s financial independence, or the challenges of a two-income household — beyond a surface level examination.

Even if one assumes that Triveni is leaving it to the audience to draw their own conclusions, he doesn’t give them enough information to do so, chiefly because the characters don’t have meaningful conversations. Sulu doesn’t take her husband seriously, and she has no friends to confide in. Without substantive dialogues — or even internal monologues — it’s hard to infer what is important to the characters, and there’s only so much meaning we can derive from their actions alone.

Triveni also takes for granted the notion that a family’s ability to function is ultimately a woman’s responsibility. When complications arise concurrent with Sulu’s new job, it’s implied that, even if the problem’s aren’t specifically Sulu’s fault, they are her responsibility to fix. Nevermind that Ashok’s work situation was hardly ideal or that Pranav was already a junior pornographer before Sulu started her radio gig.

As is the case with every movie starting Vidya Balan, she is Tumhari Sulu‘s greatest asset, always fun and engaging. Yet, Kaul’s performance enables Balan to be her best. During Sulu’s and Ashok’s happier moments, the pair are adorable together — an unexpected delight, given that Kaul usually plays villains. Dhupia is a great choice to play a hip radio station manager, but her character is too easygoing to be convincing, given the competitive nature of that industry.

Songs are weirdly integrated into Tumhari Sulu, and the inclusion of random parkour stunts into one of them almost hints at an insecurity about whether the film itself is exciting and cool enough to grab the audience’s attention. Perhaps a co-writer for Triveni would have mitigated some of the burden on Balan’s and Kaul’s shoulders.

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