Bollywood Box Office: August 31-September 2, 2018

One new Hindi film benefited from the long holiday weekend in North America, and the other did not. From August 31-September 2, 2018, the horror comedy Stree earned $203,915 from 60 theaters* ($3,399 average), according to Bollywood Hungama — pretty good for a movie I wasn’t even sure would release here. Even with Monday’s Labor Day holiday theoretically boosting Sunday’s business, Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se only mustered $56,553 from 38 theaters ($1,488 average), with more than half its total coming from 14 Canadian theaters.

Other Hindi movies still showing in the US and Canada:

  • Gold: Week 3; $46,674 from 33 theaters; $1,414 average; $1,088,007 total
  • Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi: Week 2; $15,367 from 15 theaters; $1,024 average; $121,689 total
  • Satyameva Jayate: Week 3; $8,926 from six theaters; $1,488 average; $216,619 total

*Bollywood Hungama routinely counts Canadian theaters twice in its weekly reporting, at least for a movie’s first few weekends of release. When possible, I try to verify the correct theater count with other sources. The above figures represent what I believe to be the actual theater counts. Bollywood Hungama’s reporting technically puts Stree in 68 theaters (making for a $2,999 per-theater average).

Source: Bollywood Hungama


Streaming Video News: September 4, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with some titles added over the Labor Day holiday weekend. Besides the 2018 TV series Yeh Meri Family, all of them are Hindi films from the last year that didn’t release in US theaters, including director Q’s Garbage, the marital drama Love and Shukla, director Onir’s Kuchh Bheega Alfaaz, Nasseruddin Shah’s family flick Hope Aur Hum, and the romance Once Again, starring Shefali Shah and Neeraj Kabi.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with the addition of last month’s Tamil theatrical release Ghajinikanth, along with a few other Marathi, Bengali, and Telugu titles. For everything else new on Prime and Netflix, check Instant Watcher.

Opening August 31: Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se

Update: When I published this on the afternoon of August 29, all the theaters had posted their full weekend schedules. Check again on Friday, and Stree is showing at the AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It’s showing in 60 theaters across North America, and it has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 8 min.

One new Hindi film opens in Chicago area theaters on August 31, 2018, and sadly it’s not Stree. It’s the third installment in Dharmendra & Sons comedy franchise: Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se.

YPDPS 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 25 min.

Gold and Satyameva Jayate carry over for a third week at MovieMax and the South Barrington 24, which also gives a second week to Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi.

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

Streaming Video News: August 28, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with three movies from last year. The action spin-off Naam Shabana is now available for streaming, as are Qarib Qarib Singlle and the Telugu thriller Spyder. I found Naam Shabana kinda slow. For everything else new on Netflix — Bollywood or not — check Instant Watcher.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with a bunch of titles set to expire in early September. Catch these while you can:

Bollywood Box Office: August 24-26, 2018

Turns out there wasn’t much appetite for a Happy Bhag Jayegi sequel after all. From August 24-26, 2018, Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi earned $66,179 from 39 theaters ($1,697 average) in North America, according to Bollywood Hungama. That’s less than half as much as the original earned during its opening weekend in August of 2016: $156,110 from 77 theaters ($2,027 average).

The weekend was uneventful for the other Hindi films showing in North America. Gold finished its second weekend with $146,645 from 115 theaters ($1,275 average), bringing its total to $968,377. Also in its second weekend, Satyameva Jayate took in $23,609 from 14 theaters ($1,686 average). Its total stands at $194,022.

After August 31’s two new releases — Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se and Stree — hit theaters, early September looks pretty quiet on the Bollywood front. Of the three films that were supposed to open on September 7, just one — Paltan — will debut on time, with Helicopter Eela pushed to October 12 and Drive postponed (and possibly heading straight to Netflix). September 14 also saw a schedule change, with Arjun Patiala shifting to next year, leaving just Manmarziyan in theaters. The month closes out with 5 Weddings and Batti Gul Meter Chalu on September 21 and Sui Dhaaga: Made in India on September 28 — assuming they don’t pull a last-minute switcheroo. You can follow the changing whims of the Bollywood calendar on my Upcoming Releases page.

Source: Bollywood Hungama

Movie Review: Gold (2018)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the soundtrack at iTunes

Director Reema Kagti and screenwriter Rajesh Devraj took some liberties with Gold, their fictionalized account of India’s 1948 Olympic field hockey victory, changing the names of players and minor details while keeping the core of the story intact. Yet the story’s predetermined ending seems to have stumped the filmmakers, as almost every attempt to create tension in Gold feels forced and inorganic.

The events of Gold are told from the perspective of Tapan Das (Akshay Kumar), an assistant manager on the British Indian field hockey team that won gold at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. As the world’s most formidable hockey team for many years running, frustration builds among the team at being forced to share their glory with their British oppressors. But with the independence movement growing in strength, Tapan and the team’s captain, Shankar (Kunal Kapoor), hope to one day win the gold for India alone.

World War II cancels the Olympics in 1940 and again in 1944. This is addressed in a song montage that shows Tapan spiraling into despair and alcoholism, but it warranted further exploration. What was it like for those athletes who spent their prime competitive years on the sidelines, particularly those in countries far removed from the theater of war? We learn from Tapan that Shankar became a coach and that another player, Imtiaz Ali Shah (Vineet Kumar Singh), became a freedom fighter, but not how they felt about being unable to compete.

Gold’s greatest fault is that it is too focused on Akshay Kumar’s character. His emotional journey is the only one shown in any real depth, and events are shown exclusively from his perspective. It’s a stark contrast to 2007’s Chak De! India — another patriotic field hockey movie — which managed to establish about a dozen other memorable characters, in addition to a manager played by a superstar actor (in that case, Shah Rukh Khan).

When the war ends and a new Olympic games is announced for 1948 in England, Tapan rushes to assemble a team. With independence from Britain right around the corner, it’s the perfect opportunity to beat the Brits on their home soil. The sports commissioner Mr. Wadia gives his consent, with the provision that Tapan share managerial duties with Mr. Mehta (Atul Kale).

With the former superstar Shankar comfortably retired, Tapan enlists Imtiaz to serve as captain, bringing veteran leadership to a squad of young players with no international experience. Two hopeful new stars include a Punjabi policeman named Himmat (Sunny Kaushal) and Raghubhir Pratap Singh (Amit Sadh), a prince from a noble family.

Yet the plans Tapan and Imtiaz make in anticipation of independence are destroyed by the surprise implementation of Partition. Violence forces Imtiaz and several other Muslim players to flee with their families to the newly formed Pakistan, and the team’s British-Indian players head to Australia. Gold‘s best sequence is the heart-wrenching moment when Imtiaz decides to leave the nation whose independence he fought for, saying: “My country is different now.” His character’s particular struggles warrant a standalone movie.

Sadly, Gold heads downhill from here. The newly assembled team’s training is plagued by problems that promise to generate dramatic tension. Only that tension never really manifests — since the problems are all solved as quickly as they start. Mehta undermines Tapan, but Wadia immediately endorses Tapan’s approach. The team won’t work together, but then they learn to do so in a matter of minutes.

It’s a shame that Kagti and Devraj abandon politics at this point, since it could have been a good source of intra-team conflict, especially since the characters aren’t strictly based on any of the real-life team members. How do working class team members feel about playing with a prince, who seems unaffected by the fallout from Partition? Is Himmat worried about the violence in Punjab while he’s in training? How do any of the other dozen or so unnamed players feel about… well, anything? Instead, the climactic tension is created by one character needlessly withholding information from others — a silly shortcut, given all the potential sources of conflict available.

The acting is uniformly decent, with Singh giving the film’s standout performance. Shah and Kaushal are good as well. Kumar is fine, but the film’s uneven mix of drama and comedy keeps this from being one of his more memorable roles. Mouni Roy — who plays Tapan’s wife, Monobina — likewise suffers for having to perform comedy scenes that aren’t especially funny. Roy is seventeen years younger than Kumar, which makes one wonder why her young, attractive character would marry a much older, intermittently-employed drunk — a question that could have been avoided by casting an actress closer in age to Kumar.

Many of Gold‘s shortcomings could be forgiven if its hockey scenes were exciting, but they aren’t (the few that exist anyway). The Olympic scenes are also hampered by distracting CGI crowds in the background. Contrast that with the thrilling, beautifully-shot hockey scenes in Chak De! India, and Gold is strictly average.


Streaming Video News: August 24, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix because the horror series Ghoul is now available for streaming. The Netflix original series stars Radhika Apte and Manav Kaul, and it consists of three 45-minute episodes. On behalf of my fellow cowards, I appreciate that the whole series can be finished in one sitting with plenty of daylight hours to spare.

In other Netflix news, Chennai Express is set to expire on August 30, which is weird since it was just added on August 7. I’m not sure what’s up with that, but if it’s in your queue, you’d best watch it while you can in case it really disappears for good. Netflix also announced its acquisition of the movie Garbage by the director Q (Quashiq Mukherjee), with an anticipated premiere date later this year (possibly as early as September).

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with some newly added Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu films, joining Race 3 on the service for your weekend viewing pleasure. For everything else new on Prime — Bollywood or not — check Instant Watcher.

Opening August 24: Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi

The romantic comedy sequel Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi is the only new Bollywood film opening in the Chicago area on August 24, 2018. The 2016 original — Happy Bhag Jayegi — was just okay, but maybe the addition of Sonakshi Sinha to the cast can liven up the second film.

Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi opens Friday at the AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 16 min.

Gold carries over for a second week at the South Barrington 24, AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville.

Satyameva Jayate also gets a second week at MovieMax and the South Barrington 24.

Other Indian and Pakistani movies playing in Chicago area theaters this weekend:

Bollywood Box Office: August 17-19, 2018

2018’s two Indian Independence Day releases turned in middling performances in their first weekend at the North American box office. Leading the way was Gold, which opened in about five times as many theaters as Satyameva Jayate and made about five times as much money. From August 17-19, 2018, Gold earned $444,267 from 190 theaters ($2,338 average), according to Bollywood Hungama. Including earnings from August 15-16, Gold‘s total after five days stood at $578,617. This is down a bit from the performance of star Akshay Kumar’s 2017 Independence Day release — Toilet: Ek Prem Katha — which earned $670,447 in its opening weekend in North America.

Satyameva Jayate earned $84,772 from 39 theaters ($2,174 average), for a 5-day total of $111,632.

Most of the attention over the weekend went to the Telugu movie Geetha Govindam, which made $760,765 from 161 theaters ($4,725 average), bringing its 5-day total to $1,492,256. The rest of the Hindi films still showing in US and Canadian theaters are clearly on their way out:

  • Vishwaroop 2: Week 2; $12,885 from 32 theaters; $403 average; $42,834 total
  • Karwaan: Week 3; $3,601 from four theaters; $900 average; $177,859 total
  • Mulk: Week 3; $2,202 from five theaters; $440 average; $112,644 total
  • Fanney Khan: Week 3; $1,085 from five theaters; $217 average; $264,808 total
  • Sanju: Week 8; $339 from two theaters; $170 average; $7,873,779 total
  • Dhadak: Week 5; $172 from three theaters; $57 average; $853,878 total

Sources: 143 Cinema and Bollywood Hungama

Streaming Video News: August 21, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with some really exciting new additions to the catalog, including two Akshay Kumar social issue flicks: 2017’s Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and 2018’s Pad Man. I missed Pad Man in the theater, so I’m eager to finally check it out; Toilet was okay. Also new are the Tamil film Mersal and the revenge drama Mom, featuring Sridevi in her final starring role (she’s terrific in it, of course). I’m most excited about the addition of Bareilly Ki Barfi, one of my favorite movies of 2017. I can’t believe we had to wait a whole year for it to show up on a streaming service! Of the new additions that I’ve seen, I recommend watching Bareilly Ki Barfi first, followed by Mom, then Toilet, then Bareilly Ki Barfi again.

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