Tag Archives: 2021

Streaming Video News: June 11, 2021

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with today’s additions of the Tamil comedy Sarbath and the Hindi/English coming-of-age film Skater Girl. The skatepark that was constructed in Rajasthan for the filming of Skater Girl was left up and is free for public use.

This month’s paucity of new Indian releases got me wondering about the fate of the titles from Netflix’s big March 3 announcement of their slate of upcoming projects. The announcement included 13 feature films, 15 new and returning series, and 13 unscripted movies, series, and comedy specials.

Five of the films — Ajeeb Daastaans, The Disciple, Milestone, Pagglait, and Sardar Ka Grandson — have released so far, with Jagame Thandhiram and Haseen Dillruba set to join them in the coming weeks. Bombay Begums and Ray (coming out later this month) are the only series to be added. Two unscripted titles have been released as well: Searching for Sheela and The Big Day, Collection 2. In all, that’s only 11 of 41 titles accounted for.

Even though fiction series made up the bulk of the titles announced, only two have gotten release dates. I’m not sure if this was always the plan or if this is a result of pandemic-related production delays. It could be the former — a series starring Mike Myers just started filming, two years after it was announced — but recent COVID-19 shutdowns had to affect at least some of the shows (not to mention the five stand-up comedy specials that were announced).

Despite a whole lineup of series and shows, could this month’s anemic offerings be the start of an Indian content drought at Netflix? The answer is… maybe? Most of 2021’s few theatrical releases — like Roohi and Madam Chief Minister — are already on Netflix or another streaming service. But maybe the titles from the March 3 announcement are further along in production than I assume. Still, I won’t be surprised if Netflix starts throwing cash at distributors to acquire some of the titles that have been waiting for a theatrical release since last spring. The theatrical release calendar is awfully crowded, and several movies have been postponed more than once. Might be time for distributors to cash in and help bulk up Netflix’s catalog.

Hotstar has today’s other new Hindi feature release: the road trip musical Shaadisthan.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with a handful of Indian titles that have been added in the last week. I’m undertaking a massive weeding effort on the Amazon page, pulling entries that are no longer available free with a Prime membership. By the time I’m done, the page will be less than half the length of its peak several months ago.

Have a nice weekend!

Streaming Video News: April 9, 2021

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with today’s debut of the new Hindi comedy Hello Charlie, starring Jackie Shroff and a gorilla. The Kannada film Yuvarathnaa landed on Prime yesterday, even though it’s still playing in theaters in the United States and India. Another film that recently ended its theatrical run — Jathi Ratnalu — joins Prime on April 11, followed by the Malayalam movie The Priest on April 14.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with yesterday’s surprise addition of the horror comedy Roohi, starring Janhvi Kapoor and Rajkummar Rao. Earlier this week, Netflix added a second collection of episodes of the wedding reality series The Big Day and the 2021 Tamil film Mandela. New Indian titles coming to Netflix next week include a bunch of cartoons for kids on April 12, the Telugu movie Uppena on April 13, and the premiere of the Netflix Original Hindi film Ajeeb Daastaans on April 16.

Last but not least, yesterday Hotstar debuted Abhishek Bachchan’s semi-biographical stock market drama The Big Bull. With Hindi theatrical releases on hold for the time being, it’s nice to have a weekend with multiple new Bollywood movies to choose from!

[Disclaimer: my Amazon links include an affiliate tag, and I may earn a commission on purchases made via those links. Thanks for helping to support this website!]

Opening March 11, 2021: Roohi

With the Bollywood theatrical release calendar filling up, the Janhvi Kapoor-Rajkummar Rao horror comedy Roohi is first out of the gate, opening in Chicago area theaters on March 11, 2021.

Roohi opens on Thursday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, and AMC Naperville 16 in Naperville. (Streaming partner: Netflix) It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 15 min. All three theaters offer Roohi as a Private Rental option, priced at $249 at the River East 21 and South Barrington 24 and $199 at the Naperville 16.

I am avoiding movie theaters until I get the COVID-19 vaccine, which likely won’t be until this summer. I look forward to reviewing Roohi and other upcoming Hindi theatrical releases when they become available for streaming in the US.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend:

Movie Review: The Girl on the Train (2021)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Watch The Girl on the Train on Netflix
Buy the novel at Amazon

It seemed strange for actor Parineeti Chopra and others associated with the Hindi adaptation of The Girl on the Train to tweet a message the day before the film’s release asking people to avoid spoiling the ending of the film on social media. This is a movie based upon another movie based upon a book, all sharing the same name. It’s easy to find plot summaries of the previous two versions of The Girl on The Train online. What could there be to spoil?

In an effort to distinguish this version of The Girl on the Train (TGOTT, henceforth), writer-director Ribhu Dasgupta added and changed elements of the original novel and the Hollywood film based on it. The results of those alterations make TGOTT feel as though it was written for the sake of its plot twists, and not for the purpose of telling a meaningful story.

Parineeti Chopra plays Mira Kapoor, a lawyer living in London and coping with tragedy. Mira and her husband Shekhar (Avinash Tiwary) were in a car accident three years earlier that left her with mild amnesia and caused her to lose the baby she was carrying. She turned to alcohol to deal with the grief, and Shekhar left and married someone new, compounding Mira’s loss.

Every day, Mira takes the train past her old house to torment herself. She’s also become obsessed with a woman who lives a few doors down from her old place who looks like she has the perfect life. Nusrat (Aditi Rao Hydari) is pretty, a beautiful dancer, and has a handsome husband. When Mira rides past the house and sees Nusrat hugging a man other than her husband one day, Mira becomes incensed. She drunkenly goes to Nusrat’s home, determined to stop her from ruining her marriage the way that Mira feels she did with her own relationship with Shekhar.

When Mira wakes up the next day, she has a massive wound on her forehead and no memory of how it got there. Police inspector Dalbir Kaur (Kirti Kulhari) questions Mira, whose identification card was found near the scene of a violent crime that occurred during Mira’s blackout. As Kaur and the cops try to link Mira to the crime, Mira undertakes her own investigation. Could Mira really have been capable of violence, even if she doesn’t remember it?

The success of the movie hinges on Chopra’s performance. Bless her heart, she tries. To be fair, Mira is drunk and angry for most of the film, so it’s not a role that requires much subtlety. But Chopra’s yelling, snorting, and stuporous lolling about push Mira into something more darkly comical than befits the film.

Let’s revisit Mira’s head wound. It covers half of her forehead, and it is disgusting. Why Mira opts not to cover it with a bandage to prevent infection or at least spare others from having to look at it, no one knows. Then again, it doesn’t much matter since only one person even remarks on it — and then only after she’s greeted Mira and hugged her. That no one asks Mira normal questions like “How do you feel?” or “Do you need a doctor?” defies explanation.

The bones of the the story are good, providing director Dasgupta with themes of psychological trauma, women’s fertility, substance abuse, and toxic relationships to draw upon. But in the end he discards them all for a finale that has nothing to say about anything. If the goal of TGOTT is purely to deceive the audience, then mission accomplished, I guess.

Links

[Disclaimer: my Amazon links include an affiliate tag, and I may earn a commission on purchases made via those links. Thanks for helping to support this website!]

In Theaters: January 29, 2021

Movie theaters across the Chicago area are once again allowed to reopen with restricted capacity. Some theaters have chosen to remain closed for the time being, but plenty are back in business. That said, opportunities to watch Indian movies in Chicago area theaters are few and far between the weekend beginning January 29, 2021.

The Tamil film Master — which became available for streaming on Amazon Prime today — opens Friday at the ShowPlace ICON at Roosevelt Collection in Chicago, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, and Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge. The ShowPlace ICON offers Master as one of the options in its “Private Showing” theater rental program for a price of $166.88. The cost of private rental — which accommodates a group of up to 20 people — is less than the cost of 12 regular priced adult tickets ($14.50).

Also starting Friday, the Seven Bridges theater carries the Telugu movie 30 Rojullo Preminchadam Ela, which is available in the theater’s “Private Watch Party” program for $149. Cinemark’s private rental program has the same 20-person limit and costs about the same as 17 regular priced tickets ($8.75) or 26 matinee tickets ($5.75).