Opening March 1: Luka Chuppi and Sonchiriya

Two new Hindi films hit Chicago area theaters on March 1, 2019. First up is the romantic comedy Luka Chuppi, starring Kriti Sanon and Karthik Aaryan.

Luka Chuppi opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, and AMC Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 7 min.

Also new this weekend is Sonchiriya, from Udta Punjab director Abhishek Chaubey. The action film stars Bhumi Pednekar, Sushant Singh Rajput, and Manoj Bajpayee.

Sonchiriya opens Friday at the River East 21, MovieMax, South Barrington 24, and Cantera 17. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 15 min.

After a great opening weekend, Total Dhamaal carries over at the River East 21, MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, Arclight Chicago in Chicago, AMC Niles 12 in Niles, Arclight Glenview in Glenview, Buffalo Grove Theater in Buffalo Grove, AMC Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, and AMC Naperville 16 in Naperville.

Gully Boy gets a third weekend at the River East 21, MovieMax, Niles 12, Rosemont 18, South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, Naperville 16, Woodridge 18, and Regal Round Lake Beach Stadium 18 in Round Lake Beach.

Uri: The Surgical Strike carries over at the South Barrington 24 and Cantera 17.

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

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Movie Review: Period. End of Sentence. (2018)

3.5 Stars (out of 4)

Watch Period. End of Sentence. on Netflix

Netflix’s Oscar-winning short documentary Period. End of Sentence. (PEoS hereafter) is a feel-good story about a group of Indian women empowering themselves and their community through better access to menstrual hygiene products.

Feminine hygiene has been a popular film subject in India for several years, starting with Menstrual Man, the 2013 documentary about Arunchalam Muruganatham, inventor of a low-cost machine for making sanitary pads. Muruganatham then inspired two fictional Hindi films: 2017’s Phullu and 2018’s Pad Man, starring Akshay Kumar. (Kumar’s 2017 movie Toilet: Ek Prem Katha also addressed the related need for clean, safe bathroom facilities for women in rural India.)

American-produced PEoS is a succinct primer on the subject of feminine hygiene in India — an ideal entry point for those new to the topic, particularly in the West. Director Rayka Zehtabchi and editor Sam Davis had to be choosy about what elements to include, given the film’s 25-minute runtime, so the film focuses less on the dangers faced by rural women and more on the positive outcomes for one village when they receive one of Muruganatham’s pad-making machines.

Thankfully, the village where PEoS filmed is populated by a bunch of funny, smart, and eager women who make great documentary subjects. Kathikhera in Hapur district is only 60 kilometers from Delhi, but local women find their opportunities limited without ready access to feminine hygiene products. Rekha dropped out of school because there was nowhere to change the old cloths she uses during her cycle. Shabana is tired of the taboos surrounding menstruation. Sneha wants to be able to work during her period so she can become a police officer.

When they receive one of Muruganatham’s machines — and instructions from the man himself on how to use it — the women of Kathikhera get more than just a reliable supply of sanitary pads for themselves. The machine spawns a new business, with the women selling their products under the name “Fly” — the name chosen to inspire women to soar on their newfound freedom.

Money generated by the business is the most obvious benefit, but the soft skills it teaches the women may be of more importance in the long run. One elderly woman says that making pads is her first paying job. Sneha’s novice saleswoman duties will make her a better communicator as a police officer. Shabana is in her element leading the feminine hygiene version of a Tupperware party, demonstrating the quality of their products while humorously comparing sanitary pads to husbands.

The reason this works best as a starter film is that it simply isn’t long enough to cover the topic in depth, though it does allude to many of the challenges. Overcoming embarrassment about discussing the topic is the first step, which enables the correction of misinformation (some young men in Kathikhera think menstruation is an illness). Safe toilet facilities for women and reliable electricity infrastructure are critical elements, too.

Another reason for PEoS‘s positive tone is its affiliation with the charitable endeavor The Pad Project, which aims to provide more rural women with pad-making machines. Donors — such as the Los Angeles private school students who financed both the film and Kathikhera’s machine — are more incentivized to contribute to immediately successful endeavors, as the one in the movie is shown to be.

When faced with a large problem with multiple, entrenched causes, one must ultimately choose a starting point and go from there. In the case of access to feminine hygiene products in rural India, Period. End of Sentence. shows that women’s human capital is there to be utilized if given the means to do so, and pad-making machines are as good a place to start as any. Click here to support The Pad Project.

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Bollywood Box Office: February 22-24, 2019

Total Dhamaal made nearly $1 million in its opening weekend in North America. From February 22-24, 2019, the comedy sequel earned $989,387 from 202 theaters ($4,898 average), according to Box Office Mojo.

That was just enough to steal the crown from Gully Boy, which earned $976,466 from 269 theaters ($3,630 average, and eleven more theaters than last weekend). After eleven days, Gully Boy has earned an impressive $4,216,437.

Uri: The Surgical Strike also crossed the $4 million mark thanks to the $73,360 from 38 theaters ($1,931 average) in nabbed in its seventh weekend. It’s North American total stands at $4,098,102.

Manikarnika closed out its fifth weekend with $9,066 from thirteen theaters ($697 average; $1,382,558 total), while Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga earned $1,557 from three theaters ($519 average; $1,172,088 total) in its fourth weekend, per Bollywood Hungama.

The first two months of 2019 have been terrific for Bollywood movies in North America. All of the titles above have made over $1 million here (assuming that Total Dhamaal made more than $11,000 on Monday), with two having earned more than $4 million. Besides these titles, the two biographical political dramas that released here — The Accidental Prime Minister and Thackeray — both earned over $100,000. (25% of Hindi films released here last year failed to hit that benchmark.) The only flop has been the horror movie Amavas, which only played in seven theaters. This year is off to a heckuva start!

Sources: Bollywood Hungama and Box Office Mojo

Streaming Video News: February 25, 2019

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with the addition of the 2018 Hindi indie Life of an Outcast. One of last night’s most inspiring Oscar wins went to the Netflix Original documentary short film Period. End of Sentence., about a group of women in Hapur, India working to improve local access to menstrual hygiene products. Check out the winners’ speech:

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with the exciting new additions of two 2019 releases: the Telugu film Vinaya Vidheya Rama (also in 4K Ultra HD) and the Tamil picture Viswasam (also in 4K UHD). Here are the other Indian flicks added in the last few days:

 

Streaming Video News: February 22, 2019

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with two new additions to the catalog. The 2018 Bengali film Shonar Pahar is now available for streaming, as is the Netflix original Marathi courtroom drama Firebrand, produced by Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s Purple Pebble Pictures.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with four dozen new additions in the last three days. Two 2019 releases were just added — the Punjabi film Kaka Ji: Son of Royal Sardar and the Telugu movie Kothaga Maa Prayanam — along with these titles from 2018:

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

Opening February 22: Total Dhamaal

The latest release in the Dhamaal franchise — Total Dhamaal — hits Chicago area theaters February 22, 2019. Series regulars Riteish Deshmukh, Arshad Warsi, and Javed Jaffrey are joined by Madhuri Dixit Nene, Anil Kapoor, and Ajay Devgn in this adventure comedy.

Total Dhamaal opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Arclight Chicago in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC Niles 12 in Niles, Arclight Glenview in Glenview, Buffalo Grove Theater in Buffalo Grove, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, AMC Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, and AMC Naperville 16 in Naperville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 6 min.

After a stellar opening weekend, Gully Boy carries over at the River East 21, MovieMax, Niles 12, South Barrington 24, Rosemont 18, Cantera 17, Naperville 16, Regal Round Lake Beach Stadium 18 in Round Lake Beach, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, and AMC Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

Uri: The Surgical Strike keeps going strong at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, and Woodridge 18. Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi carries over at MovieMax and the South Barrington 24, which also holds over Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga.

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

*The first film in the NTR series — NTR: Kathanayakudu — is available on Amazon Prime.

Bollywood Box Office: February 15-17, 2019

I’ve missed a few North American box office reports in recent weeks due to some family health problems, so let’s catch up on the big stories:

Gully Boy just had a monster opening weekend, bringing in $1,833,035 from 255 theaters ($7,188 average) from February 15-17, 2019, according to Bollywood Hungama. Including opening day returns from February 14 makes its total officially $2,129,483, but Monday’s Presidents Day holiday in the United States surely pushed that past the $2.5 million mark.

What the heck is going on with Uri: The Surgical Strike? It just finished its sixth weekend in North America with earnings of $169,506 from 51 theaters ($3,324 average), per Box Office Mojo. Wanna know how many 2018 releases earned more than $100K in their sixth weekend? Zero. Uri‘s continued popularity is remarkable. It closed out the weekend with total earnings of $3,958,534, but it’s past $4 million now thanks to Monday’s holiday.

On the flip side, Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga fell off FAST. With Uri still making good money for exhibitors, Ek Ladki dropped 150 theaters going into its third weekend in order to make room for Gully Boy. As a consequence, Ek Ladki earned just $50,000 from 43 theaters ($1,163 average) over the weekend. With total earnings of $1,172,088 (including Presidents Day), it looks like Ek Ladki will struggle to hit $1.2 million here.

Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi trailed just behind, with $30,625 from 24 theaters ($1,276 average) in its fourth weekend. It has total earnings of $1,358,850 thus far.

Simmba stuck around in one theater, adding $72 to its $5.1 million total.

And while I know Amavas played in at least one US theater over the weekend, I don’t have any earnings numbers for it. Suffice it to say, the numbers would certainly be worse that the horror film’s opening weekend last weekend: $606 from seven theaters ($87 average). Truly terrifying.

Sources: Bollywood Hungama and Box Office Mojo

Streaming Video News: February 19, 2019

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with fifteen additions in the last few days. Notable new additions include the Hindi version of K.G.F: Chapter 1 and the 2018 releases:

Bade Changay Ne Mere Yaar Kaminey, CityLights, and Dum Laga Ke Haisha were already available for streaming, so I’m not sure why Prime now needs two versions.

Amazon Prime Video India tweeted a couple of upcoming release dates today. The 2019 Tamil action film Viswasam comes to Prime on February 25, followed by the original series Made in Heaven from Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti on March 8. There’s even a billboard advertising Made in Heaven in Gully Boy:

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

Streaming Video News: February 15, 2019

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with nine newly added Indian films, including the 2018 Telugu movies Awe and Neevevaro. Kalki Koechlin’s 2017 Hindi release Candyflip is now available, as is Kareena Kapoor Khan’s Chameli. Ranvir Shorey fans can choose from Fatso, Pyaar Ke Side Effects, and Ugly Aur Pagli.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime today with seven new additions, which amounts to a slow day for Prime. Fifty-two Indian movies in total have been added in the four days since my last streaming video update, among them a new comedy special featuring Kanan Gill and Kenny Sebastian — Sketchy Behaviour — and Gully Boy: Live in Concert.

In other Prime news, the Hindi version of K.G.F: Chapter 1 will be available for streaming February 16.

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

Streaming Video News: February 11, 2019

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with more than 40 titles added in the last three days. In addition to half a dozen releases from last year — Kaali, Kala Viplavam PranayamMohini, Naachiyaar, Nartansala, and Yuddha Bhoomi — Prime also added two movies that release theatrically in 2019: the Tamil film Kuthoosi and the Telugu comedy F2 — Fun and Frustration, which is still playing in one Chicago area theater! Katrina Kaif & Ranbir Kapoor’s amusing 2009 comedy Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani is also now available for streaming.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with some titles I discovered via the  service’s recently created Indian TV Shows genre category. I found the reality show Queens of Comedy, the horror series Fear Files: Har Mod Pe Darr and Darr Sabko Lagta Hai (hosted by Bipasha Basu!), and several animated shows for kids: