Opening October 25 and 26: Baazaar and 5 Weddings

Chicago area Bollywood fans get two new films to choose from the weekend beginning October 26, 2018. Saif Ali Khan’s Wall Street-esque thriller Baazaar gets a head start, opening in local theaters on October 25.

Baazaar opens Thursday 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 2 hrs. 20 min.

On Friday, the English-language, American-produced romantic comedy 5 Weddings — starring Rajkummar Rao and Nargis Fakhri — opens at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago. It has a listed runtime of 1 hr. 30 min.

After a great opening weekend, Badhaai Ho carries over at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, and Cantera 17 and expands to the AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. Andhadhun carries over at MovieMax and the South Barrington 24, which also holds onto Namaste England a second week.

Other Indian movies showing in Chicago area theaters this weekend:

Advertisements

English Version of Baahubali on Netflix

Netflix just added an English-dubbed version of Baahubali: The Beginning to its streaming catalog. My first instinct was to joke about it, but I think my husband had the right reaction:

Our nieces and nephews would love Baahubali but aren’t up to reading subtitles, and now I can share it with them! Hopefully we’ll get an English-dubbed version of The Conclusion soon. I haven’t been able to find a cast list for the dubbing artists yet, but I’ll post it here if I do.

Movie Review: Once Again (2018)

2.5 Stars (out of 4)

Watch Once Again on Netflix

A reclusive movie star pursues a romance with the woman who cooks for him in Once Again.

Comparisons between Once Again and 2013’s The Lunchbox are inevitable. Both films are about lonely Mumbaikars who form a romantic attachment to one another through the medium of food. While The Lunchbox chronicles the development of attraction, Once Again pushes its lead couple forward into a relationship.

There are some critical differences between the two films. The duo in The Lunchbox have a significant age difference working against them: she’s a young mother with a child, he’s days away from retirement. In Once Again, the obstacles are economic class and gender expectations. Amar (Neeraj Kabi) is one of the nation’s most popular stars. Tara (Shefali Shah) runs a restaurant, which she’s done for the twenty years since her husband died, as a means to support her family.

Recently divorced, Amar lives alone. He has a standing order with Tara’s restaurant to supply dinner to his high-rise apartment. Calls to Tara for meal requests became more intimate in nature over time, and Once Again begins with Amar asking the restaurateur to finally meet in person.

Tara has her hands full. Her son Dev (Priyanshu Painyuli, who played the title character in Bhavesh Joshi Superhero) is getting married, and she’s fighting with the bank to secure a loan for restaurant repairs. On top of that are all the questions of what a romantic relationship would mean for her after decades alone, always putting her own wants and needs second to those of her children.

Amar is more impulsive and less introspective, showing up outside of Tara’s restaurant unannounced one day. It’s the push the fledgling romance needs, and the two find they share a crackling chemistry. But of course things can’t go smoothly for the middle-aged lovebirds. When paparazzi take photos of them on a date, it creates havoc, especially for Tara.

Once Again acknowledges the greater burden borne by Tara. She’s suddenly an item of public interest, followed by reporters once she steps out of the sanctuary of her kitchen. Dev and his future in-laws fret about the perception of impropriety among their social circle — as if a woman is only allowed one romantic relationship in her life, even if her husband dies when her children are very young, as in Tara’s case.

Amar himself seems less understanding of Tara’s predicament than filmmaker Kanwal Sethi’s script is. Amar is used to being famous, and no one bats an eye at when a man reenters the dating scene in middle age. Plus Amar’s wealth affords him a kind of social protection that doesn’t apply to a struggling small business owner like Tara.

Once Again‘s great failing is that, even though it raises issues on Tara’s behalf, it seems to side with Amar’s “who cares what anyone else thinks” romantic notions. Amar is allowed to chart the course of their relationship, driven by his own wants and without any course corrections to make things easier for Tara.

The subplot about Tara’s bank loan is badly mismanaged. Its inclusion seems to inevitably point toward a conversation between Tara and Amar about his possible financial assistance and the effect of their economic inequality on their relationship, but she never even mentions the loan to him. The loan is a big issue for Tara and Dev, so for her to not even mention it to Amar is weird.

Elements working in Once Again‘s favor include endearing performances by Shah, Kabi, and Painyuli. The movie’s MVP is Director of Photography Eeshit Narain, who shoots delectable footage of Tara cooking in her restaurant and positively hypnotic footage of Mumbai at night, shot from inside Amar’s car as he drives restlessly around the city.

Links

Bollywood Box Office: October 19-21, 2018

It’s time to officially declare 2018 Ayushmann Khurrana’s year, right? Two weeks after scoring a surprise hit with Andhadhun, his followup release Badhaai Ho took the North American box office by storm. From October 19-21, the family comedy earned $822,801 from 107 theaters ($7,690 average), according to 143 Cinema. That’s the third-best opening weekend average for the year. Andhadhun is still going strong, taking in $147,779 from 62 theaters* ($2,384 average), according to Box Office Mojo, which puts the thriller’s total at $959,504 thus far.

The weekend’s other new release — Namaste England — was crushed by the Khurrana juggernaut. Per Box Office Mojo, the romantic comedy sequel earned just $67,612 from 71 theaters. That’s a per-screen average of $952. I’m curious to see how Namaste England‘s failure affects the release plans for another film starring the movie’s lead duo of Parineeti Chopra and Arjun Kapoor — Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar, currently on the calendar for a March, 2019 debut.

Helicopter Eela has the dubious distinction of posting the worst second-weekend per-screen average for the year. It made $535 from seven theaters — an average of $76 per theater. Oy. It has total earnings of $70,966, according to Bollywood Hungama.

Other Bollywood movies still in North American theaters (per Bollywood Hungama):

  • Sui Dhaaga: Week 4; $2,391 from ten theaters; $239 average; $1,160,677 total
  • Loveyatri: Week 3; $83 from one theater; $119,084 total

*Concerns about the accuracy of Bollywood Hungama’s reporting led me to switch to Box Office Mojo’s data for Andhadhun. BOM reported that Andhadhun actually added six theaters last weekend, which contradicts one of my main points in last week’s box office report (based on Bollywood Hungama’s info). Oops. Nevertheless, Andhadhun and Queen are still the only Hindi movies in the last decade to earn more in their second weekend’s while following a traditional release format in North America.

Sources: 143 Cinema, Bollywood Hungama, and Box Office Mojo

Streaming Video News: October 19, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with two new additions to the catalog. The 2013 Telugu movie Naa Bangaaru Talli is now available for streaming, which is significant because Netflix only has three other Telugu films (plus the Hindi-dubbed version of Eega). Also new is the 2018 Tamil film Mr. Chandramouli. For everything else new on Netflix — Bollywood or not — check Instant Watcher.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with the addition of John Abraham’s August action flick Satyameva Jayate.

A gander through my massive Amazon Watchlist revealed that more than 25% of Prime’s Bengali catalog will expire by October 25. There are a handful of Hindi movies expiring, too, and the some titles depart the service as early as tomorrow. It’s not unusual for movies to disappear from Prime only to return the next day after Amazon negotiates a new contract with the distributors, but if one of the titles on the chopping block is in your Watchlist, best get to it toot sweet, just in case. For the full list of 44 movies on their way out, check the “Expiring Soon” section of my Amazon page, right underneath the “Newly Added” section.

Opening October 19: Badhaai Ho and Namaste England

Two new Hindi movies release in Chicago area theaters on October 19, 2018. First up is Badhaai Ho, a family comedy about an unexpected pregnancy starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Sanya Malhotra.

Badhaai Ho opens 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 2 hrs 3 min.

Also new this weekend is the Arjun Kapoor-Parineeti Chopra romantic comedy Namaste England, a sequel to 2007’s Namastey London (which starred Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif).

Namaste England opens on Friday in all three of the above theaters. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs 21 min.

All three theaters carry over Andhadhun for a third weekend. (Go see it, BTW.) The South Barrington 24 also holds onto Sui Dhaaga: Made in India, as does the AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. Helicopter Eela is out of local theaters after one week.

Other Indian movies showing in Chicago area theaters this weekend:

Movie Review: Andhadhun (2018)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the soundtrack at iTunes

Neo-noir filmmaker Sriram Raghavan made his best movie yet: the black comedy Andhadhun (“Blindly“).

Ayushmann Khurrana stars as Akash, a talented blind musician living in Pune. He gets a gig as the piano player at trendy restaurant after the owner’s beautiful daughter, Sophie (Radhika Apte), runs into him with her scooter. The job puts Akash in touch with some high rollers, including former film star Pramod Sinha (Anil Dhawan). Pramod hires Akash to serenade him and his young wife Simi (Tabu) on their anniversary, and things don’t go as planned.

Raghavan’s script — co-written with Yogesh Chandekar, Hemanth Rao, and frequent collaborators Arijit Biswas and Pooja Ladha Surti (who also edited Andhadhun) — rewards fans of crime thrillers with familiar genre nods like femmes fatales and characters who aren’t what they seem. Yet the story veers in unexpected ways, forcing the audience into a giddy series of emotional pivots, from shock to uneasy chuckles to horror to hysterical laughter, all in a matter of seconds. It’s astonishing how well Andhadhun pulls this off.

Khurrana’s filmography is full of nice-guy roles, and the sympathy he inspires serves Akash well early on, before we discover that the pianist has his own secrets. His more complicated character contrasts with that of Sophie, who has the movie’s “sunshine role”, according to Ladha Sutri. A love scene between Akash and Sophie is wonderfully steamy despite its brevity.

Then there’s Tabu. She’s glorious in this, so much fun to watch as the ambitious trophy wife (who is shown at one point reading a book titled Anita: A Trophy Wife). She’s charming and chilling, and also hilarious as the movie’s main source of dark humor.

Raghavan and his co-writers ensure that every supporting character has their own clear motivations, which not only elevates the overall quality of the story, but makes it that much easier to get great performances from the whole cast. Ashwini Kalsekar is a laugh riot as the enthusiastic-but-out-of-the-loop wife of a police officer, played by Manav Vij.

Sound design plays a huge role in Andhadhun, as it has in Raghavan’s previous movies. Here, Raghavan expertly deploys tunes to shock the audience or punctuate a joke. Amit Trivedi’s terrific original songs are interspersed with Bollywood hits from the 1970s (ostensibly from the soundtracks of Pramod Sinha’s films).

Khurrana learned to play the piano well enough that cinematographer K. U. Mohanan could shoot Akash playing in full frame, instead of filming him from the chest up and inserting shots of a real pianist’s hands doing the playing. It’s an example of the cast & crew’s dedication that helps make Andhadhun so darned fun to watch.

Links

Bollywood Box Office: October 12-14, 2018

Andhadhun just did something incredible. In its second weekend of release, it earned more money than it did in its opening weekend! And on five fewer screens, no less! From October 12-14, 2018, Andhadhun earned $267,719 from 49 theaters in North America ($5,464 average), according to Bollywood Hungama. That’s almost $16,000 more than last weekend.

In the last decade, I found two other Hindi movies that also out-earned their opening weekend in their second weekend in North America, both in 2014 and both with mitigating factors. The Lunchbox had a slow theatrical rollout, starting out in three theaters and finally reaching its peak theater count of 176 in its ninth week of release. Queen — which employed a more traditional release strategy, like Andhadhun — also earned more in its second weekend, but it added eleven theaters to do so. The only other movies to come close — Kahaani and Pink, which held on to 97% and 99% of their opening weekend business in their second weekends, respectively — also added theaters after strong first weekends. For Andhadun to out-earn its opening weekend while actually losing theaters is a really big deal. Its total stands at $702,335.

The weekend’s lone new release, Helicopter Eela, failed to take off, bringing in $47,299 from 70 theaters in the United States and Canada. That’s a per-screen average of just $676.

Bollywood Hungama didn’t post data from the five Canadian theaters showing Sui Dhaaga: Made in India, but the film earned $34,067 from 40 US theaters ($852 average) in its third weekend of release. That means its total is somewhere north of the $1,101,594 we can officially account for.

Other Hindi movies still showing in North America:

  • Loveyatri: Week 2; $8,234 from 15 theaters; $549 average; $116,388 total
  • Stree: Week 7; $278 from two theaters; $139 average; $843,430 total

Source: Bollywood Hungama

Streaming Video News: October 15, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with three new additions to the catalog. One of the year’s biggest box office hits — Sanju — is now available for streaming. The 2017 Bengali movie Meghnadbodh Rohoshyo is also new to the list, as is the TV series Devlok with Devdutt Pattanaik, which explores the origins of Indian mythology. For everything else new on Netflix — Bollywood or not — check Instant Watcher.

Streaming Video News: October 13, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with the addition of the 2018 sports biopic Soorma to the streaming catalog.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with several 2018 theatrical releases. The lone Hindi film among them is Fanney Khan, which was disappointing in spite of its stellar cast. The Marathi movies Me Yetoy…Chhota Pudhari and Take Care Good Night are now available for streaming, as are the Tamil and Telugu versions of the thriller U Turn. (If you want to watch the 2016 Kannada film of the same name on which the new versions are based, find it here on Netflix.)

There are still more titles on the way in October. Sanju is supposedly coming to Netflix this month, and Prime announced that it will add John Abraham’s Satyameva Jayate on October 19.