Tag Archives: 2017

Opening February 17: Running Shaadi, Irada, and The Ghazi Attack

Three(!) new Hindi films open in Chicago area theaters on February 17, 2017. The new movie getting the widest local release is the romantic-comedy Running Shaadi, starring Amit Sadh and the omnipresent Taapsee Pannu.

Running Shaadi opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 1 hr. 55 min.

Also new this weekend is the eco-thriller Irada, starring Arshad Warsi and Naseeruddin Shah. It opens Friday at MovieMax and the South Barrington 30 and has a runtime of 1 hr. 49 min.

The third new film of the weekend is the submarine drama The Ghazi Attack, which stars Taapsee Pannu (again) opposite Rana Daggubati, Kay Kay Menon, and Atul Kulkarni. The film — alternatively titled Ghazi — was shot simultaneously in both Hindi and Telugu, and both (English subtitled) versions are showing at Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge and MovieMax, which also carries the Tamil-dubbed version of the film. The Ghazi Attack has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 3 min.

Last weekend’s big new release, Jolly LLB 2, gets a second week at all four of the theaters carrying Running Shaadi, plus the Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

Raees gets a fourth week at MovieMax, South Barrington 30, and Cantera 17.

Other Indian movies showing at MovieMax this weekend include Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol (Malayalam), Om Namo Venkatesaya (Telugu w/English subtitles), Singam 3 (Tamil w/English subtitles), Yamudu 3 (Telugu w/no subtitles), Nenu Local (Telugu w/English subtitles), Kirik Party (Kannada), and  Jomonte Suvisheshangal (Malayalam).

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Bollywood Box Office: February 10-12, 2017

There’s something fascinating going on with Akshay Kumar’s box office returns in North America, and I’m not sure how to make sense of it. His latest film — Jolly LLB 2 — earned $743,719 from 197 theaters ($3,775 average) in the United States and Canada during its opening weekend of February 10-12, 2017. (Box Office Mojo lists the film as opening in 173 total theaters, making for an average of $4,299 per theater.) This total is consistent with the opening weekend returns of Kumar’s three 2016 releases — Airlift, Housefull 3, and Rustom — which ranged from $674,890 for Housefull 3 on the low-end and $815,933 for Airlift on the high-end. The only difference is that Jolly LLB 2 opened in sixty more theaters than Housefull 3, Kumar’s biggest release of last year, so one would’ve expected larger returns with Jolly LLB 2‘s wider release.

Here’s where things get weird. Kumar released four films in 2015: Baby, Gabbar is Back, Brothers, and Singh Is Bliing. Those four films opened in an average of 140 theaters — ranging from 99 for Baby to 181 for Brothers — so their opening weekend theatrical footprint was slightly larger than the average opening weekend theater count of 122 for his three 2016 releases (though still smaller than Jolly LLB 2‘s 197 theaters). The average total earnings for Kumar’s four 2015 releases was $721,024. Yet, Kumar’s three 2016 releases plus Jolly LLB 2 earned an average of $747,887 in their opening weekends! In the span of a year, Kumar became popular enough in North America than his films now earn the same amount in one weekend as they earned over their entire theatrical lifespan in 2015! How the heck does that happen?!

Those earnings aren’t just front-loaded, either. Kumar’s films have seen their box office longevity increase as well. In 2015, the average Kumar movie finished its theatrical run with a total that was 1.91 times the amount it earned in its opening weekend. In 2016, that average multiplier jumped to 2.26.

The other impressive anomaly at the North American box office this weekend is Dangal‘s performance in its eighth weekend in theaters. It earned $11,441 from six theaters ($1,907 average), bringing its total to $12,329,706. This is notable because Bollywood movies don’t earn more than $10,000 in a weekend by this point in their life-cycles. Even though Kapoor & Sons hung around theaters for ten weeks last spring, it stopped earning five figures after its sixth weekend.

Other Hindi movies showing in US and Canadian theaters:

  • Raees: Week 3; $105,069 from 63 theaters; $1,668 average; $3,508,519 total
  • Kaabil: Week 3; $40,343 from 34 theaters; $1,187 average; $1,373,722 total

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Opening February 10: Jolly LLB 2

Akshay Kumar takes over the lead role from Arshad Warsi in the comedy sequel Jolly LLB 2, which opens in Chicago area theaters on February 10, 2017. Inconsistent subtitles made the original Jolly LLB incomprehensible for the Hindi illiterate (like me), but I’m confident that won’t be an issue in the followup, which co-stars my girl Huma Qureshi.

Jolly LLB 2 opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 16 min.

Raees carries over for a third week at MovieMax, South Barrington 30, Woodridge 18, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. Kaabil gets a third week at MovieMax and South Barrington 30, which also holds over Growing Up Smith.

The English-subtitled Pakistani romantic-comedy Balu Mahi debuts Friday at the South Barrington 30 and Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend:

Bollywood Box Office: February 3-5, 2017

2017 is just over a month old, and two Hindi films have already earned more than $1 million in the United States and Canada! Here’s how Bollywood movies fared in North American theaters during the weekend of February 3-5, 2017:

  • Raees: Week 2; $510,661 from 226 theaters; $2,260 average; $3,269,479 total
  • Kaabil: Week 2; $221,814 from 142 theaters; $1,562 average; $1,256,860 total
  • Dangal: Week 7; $35,899 from 15 theaters; $2,393 average; $12,312,239 total

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

In Theaters: February 3, 2017

After a very good opening weekend for Raees and a not so good opening weekend for Kaabil, both films stick around Chicago area theaters for a second week. Starting Friday, February 3, 2017, both movies carry over at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, Regal Round Lake Beach Stadium 18 in Round Lake Beach, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

Additionally, Raees gets a second weekend at Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, while Kaabil carries over at  Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison and Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale. Dangal gets a seventh weekend at the South Barrington 30.

Growing Up Smith — a cute story about an Indian-American boy’s childhood in Oklahoma in 1979 — opens on Friday at the South Barrington 30. Stars Roni Akurati and Anjul Nigam will be at the South Barrington 30 for two special screenings of the film on Monday, February 6, at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. The specific theater for the screenings only holds 36 people (including two spaces for wheelchairs), so buy your tickets in advance.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend:

Bollywood Box Office: January 27-29, 2017

There was a decisive winner in the first Bollywood box office battle of 2017. Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees bested the collections of Hrithik Roshan’s Kaabil in North America by a factor of 3:1. During the weekend of January 27-29, 2017, Raees earned $1,742,565 from 289 theaters* ($6,030 average). Including collections from Wednesday and Thursday — both films opened on January 25 — Raees‘s total stands at $2,313,656.

Kaabil‘s total earnings since Wednesday are $781,064, with $631,923 of that coming from 253 theaters ($2,498 average) over the weekend.

The problem for Roshan isn’t that Kaabil failed to match Raees‘s earnings. It’s that this is the second consecutive box office showdown he’s lost. Last year, Roshan’s Mohenjo Daro finished second to Akshay Kumar’s Rustom despite opening in over 100 more theaters than Kumar’s film. In fact, Kaabil‘s opening weekend per-theater average of $2,498 is worse than Mohenjo Daro‘s $3,073 average. Even including earnings from Wednesday and Thursday, Kaabil‘s 5-day per-theater average is just $3,087. Given that Mohenjo Daro was widely derided as a flop, what does that make Kaabil?

Kaabil is going to earn more than $1 million here in the United States and Canada, which is good, but each battle lost diminishes Roshan’s perceived star-power. He’s not on the same level as the Three Khans, and last year’s battle shows him to be less popular here than Kumar at the moment. Even though Kaabil fared better in India relative to Raees, it still finished second. The scheduled Christmas, 2018 box office rematch between Roshan and Khan seems like another battle Roshan is destined to lose.

Other Hindi films still in North American theaters:

  • Dangal: Week 6; $77,817 from 30 theaters; $2,594 average; $12,255,617 total
  • OK Jaanu: Week 3; $131 from one theater; $351,054 total

*In the event that Bollywood Hungama’s North American theater figure actually counts Canadian theaters twice (as has happened in the past), the revised averages are $6,576 at 265 theaters for Raees and $2,772 at 228 theaters for Kaabil.

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Movie Review: Kaabil (2017)

kaabil0.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the soundtrack at Amazon or iTunes

Kaabil (“Capable“) is stupid and gross. The movie’s biggest problem is that Yami Gautam’s character exists solely to be raped, an act which serves as a catalyst to transform Hrithik Roshan’s character into an avenging hero.

Roshan plays Rohan, a blind voice actor. One of his producers wonders how Rohan is able to deliver his dialogue in sync with the cartoon characters he voices when he can’t see the footage, but the question is offered as praise rather than a legitimate plot concern writer Vijay Kumar Mishra and director Sanjay Gupta simply ignore.

Gupta and Mishra also elect not to explain what preexisting relationship Rohan has with Amit (Rohit Roy) — a politician’s sleazy brother — and his toady, Wasim (Sahidur Rahaman). Events of the second half of the film make no sense unless Rohan has extensive background information about the two men and their families, which we’re not given any reason to believe he would have. It would also go a long way to explain why Amit and Wasim terrorize Rohan and his new wife, Supriya (Gautam), in the first place.

Most of the film’s first half is the establishment of Rohan’s romantic relationship with Supriya, with whom he’s setup by a mutual acquaintance based on the couple’s mutual blindness. They’re both kind people, but Supriya emphasizes how much she values her job and her independence, and says she is loath to sacrifice either for marriage. If only she’d stuck to her guns.

Instead, Supriya marries Rohan, with whom she enjoys a brief period of happiness before Amit and Wasim rape her because of some unexplained animosity toward Rohan. Throughout her ordeal, the movie gives no consideration to Supriya’s feelings, focusing instead on how her assault affects Rohan. She tells her husband, “Now I am not the same person for you.” Rohan doesn’t contradict her, his silence confirming her worst fears. He later claims he needed time to process what happened. You’d almost think he was the one who’d been raped.

Not long after Supriya’s assault, director Gupta inserts an item number into the film. The audience is supposed to pivot from being disgusted by a rape to now being titillated by closeups of Urvashi Rautela’s thighs and cleavage while Amit sings. It’s repulsive.

Rohan’s revenge is built on a number of conveniences, including his aforementioned intimate knowledge of Amit’s and Wasim’s families derived from who knows where. Rohan is also a master of hiding in the shadows, which is pretty amazing considering that he’s blind! He’s been blind since birth, so he’s never so much as seen a shadow, let alone learned how to use them to conceal his whereabouts.

Kaabil is so dumb that it would be tempting to laugh it off, were it not guilty of creating a confident female character just for the purposes of turning her into a plot device. It’s a textbook example of the offensive “Women in Refrigerators” trope, explained brilliantly in the video below:

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