Tag Archives: Aishwarya Rai

Opening October 1: Anjaana Anjaani and Enthiran (The Robot)

This is a big weekend for South Asian cinema in the Chicago area. The new Hindi romantic comedy Anjaana Anjaani, starring Priyanka Chopra and Ranbir Kapoor, opens on Friday, October 1, 2010 at four area theaters: AMC Loews Pipers Alley 4 in Chicago, Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington and Regal Cantera Stadium 30 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 35. min.

But the bigger deal is the opening of Enthiran, the most expensive Indian movie ever made. Its budget of just over $35 million doesn’t seem large by Hollywood standards, but it’s a huge amount for an Indian movie. The movie, which features a soundtrack by Oscar-winner A. R. Rahman, stars Rajnikanth as a cyborg, with Aishwarya Rai as his heroine. A Slate article described the Superstar: “If a tiger had sex with a tornado and then their tiger-nado baby got married to an earthquake, their offspring would be Rajinikanth.”

To reach the widest audience possible, the Tamil-language movie is being dubbed in Hindi (this version is titled “Robot”) and Telugu (“Robo”). The Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 will show the Tamil and Telugu versions of Enthiran beginning on Thursday, September 30, with the Hindi version opening on Friday. Sathyam Cinemas in Downers Grove also begins its run of the original Tamil version on Thursday night. The South Barrington 30 will carry the Hindi version, “Robot,” beginning Friday. The movie has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 35 min.

Dabanng carries over for a fourth week at the South Barrington 30 and Cantera Stadium 30.

This weekend also marks the inaugural Chicago South Asian Film Festival, which starts on Friday. The festival lineup includes the terrific Bengali/English movie The Japanese Wife, with screenings being held at the Chicago Cultural Center and at Columbia College. I’m planning on attending the screening of Raspberry Magic on Saturday.

If you’re in the mood for a stage show, the Auditorium Theatre presents The Merchants of Bollywood on Friday and Saturday night. The Australian musical features songs like “Shava Shava” from Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham and “It’s The Time To Disco” from Kal Ho Naa Ho.

Retro Review: Dhoom 2 (2006)

3.5 Stars (out of 4)

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Abhishek Bachchan plays a cop trying to take down master thief Mr. A (Hrithik Roshan), with the help of petty criminal Sunehri (Aishwarya Rai). Mr. A’s capers would be impossible in reality. But this is a film where police are able to wait underwater on jet skis for several minutes in order to ambush the bad guys. Ignore everything you’ve ever learned about physics and the properties of the human body and enjoy this goofy, good-humored action flick.

Movie Review: Sarkar Raj (2008)

Zero Stars (out of 4)

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The considerable acting talents of Bollywood’s royal family, the Bachchans (Abhishek, wife Aishwarya Rai, and father Amitabh), are wasted in Sarkar Raj, a sequel to the 2005 gangster flick Sarkar. Absent a compelling script, director Ram Gopal Varma has to alert the audience when anything of even minor significance happens, using absurdly dramatic music and close-up shots of the actors’ most mundane reactions. Varma’s homage to The Godfather is as subtle as a horse head in your bed.

This review originally appeared in The Naperville Sun on June 12, 2008

Movie Review: Jodhaa Akbar (2008)

3.5 Stars (out of 4)

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The controversial marriage of 16th-century Mughal emperor Jalaluddin (Hrithik Roshan) to Hindu princess Jodhaa (Aishwarya Rai) exposes the deep division between the Indian populace and its Muslim conquerors. Director Ashutosh Gowariker devotes equal time to the empire’s political intrigue and the love story of Jodhaa and Jalaluddin, justifying the movie’s long run time. Jodhaa Akbar is gorgeous, and hundreds of real actors give its battle scenes more authenticity than today’s CGI-heavy Hollywood epics.

No rating (violence); 193 minutes

This review originally appeared in The Naperville Sun on February 22, 2008