Tag Archives: Arjun Patiala

Movie Review: Arjun Patiala (2019)

1.5 Stars (out of 4)

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In the course of spoofing Bollywood cop movies, Arjun Patiala takes a grim turn that it doesn’t reckon with, making it no fun to watch.

Arjun Patiala” is the title of a movie being narrated to a producer played by Pankaj Tripathi, whose only requirement is that sexy actress Sunny Leone be cast in the film. The director (Abhishek Banerjee, who was great in Stree) works Leone into his narration of his movie about an upright Punjabi policeman.

The director’s description is visualized onscreen as the movie within the movie begins. Arjun (Diljit Dosanjh) finally achieves his childhood dream of becoming a police chief. On his first day in command of Ferozpur station, he disciplines two young men for sexually harassing a woman and helps lovely beautician Baby (Leone) evict some tenants from her salon.

When he first speaks with Baby — and any other good-looking woman who needs his help — Arjun imagines holding a microphone and serenading her. The other men in the room can see it, but Baby can’t. It’s one of various visual gags that remind the audience that this is just a movie. There’s also on-screen text providing additional information about the characters, but it’s written in Hindi and not translated in the English subtitles.

Such sight gags keep the audience emotionally distant from the story — which is probably good, given what’s to come.

Arjun is tasked by his superior officer (played by Ronit Roy) with eradicating crime in the district. Arjun asks Ritu (Kriti Sanon) — a gorgeous local reporter he wants to marry — to explain to him and his sidekick Onida (Varun Sharma) exactly how the local crime syndicates are organized, since apparently the police don’t know.

To this point, Arjun Patiala is a good-natured spoof of cop flicks. It maintains a lighthearted tone throughout, but the plan Arjun concocts to clean up his district is disturbing and at odds with the tone. Arjun starts by having a low-ranking criminal named Sakool (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub) shoot and kill one of the underworld bigwigs. This sparks a string of retaliatory murders until there are no criminals left to commit any crimes.

There’s nothing comical about the way the murders are carried out. One guy is stabbed with a fork, and another is poisoned. There are montages of mass killings by machine gun. Arjun and Onida sit next to one of Sakool’s victims as he breathes his last, waiting until the crook is dead to call the station — giving Sakool time to get away and making it seem as though the cops arrived too late to stop the murder.

This wanton slaughter is only acceptable if one believes the criminals are not really people, as Arjun and Onida clearly do. It’s a grotesque endorsement of unchecked police power, especially since the goal is not mass incarceration but extermination.

Ritu suspects that Arjun is behind the bloodshed and is bothered by it, but she’s conflicted by her love for him and doesn’t seriously pursue it. One would hope that she’d be more dogged–not just as a journalist, but also because she was orphaned as a result of gun violence. The movie doesn’t pause to consider that the dead criminals might have children, too. When the story tries to make the case that the politicians are the real villains, it just makes the extrajudicial killings feel all the more cruel.

The dark turn doesn’t work because the characters don’t seem to realize it’s happened. Arjun, Ritu, and Onida are all generally cheerful from start to finish, which feels weird as the body count rises. Dosanjh, Sanon, and Sharma all give likeable performances, so the tonal shift does a disservice to them, too.

With a smaller death toll or more appropriate tone changes, Arjun Patiala could’ve been a perfectly enjoyable comedy. As it is, there’s not enough quality to make up for its disagreeable aspects.

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Streaming Video News: September 19, 2019

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with dozens of new additions in recent days. The highest profile newcomer is the Amazon Original Hindi series The Family Man, starring Manoj Bajpayee as a spy struggling to balance his work and family life. Amazon is so confident of the series’ international breakout potential that they had the cast record an English dub of the dialogue as well. It’s also available in 4K Ultra HD in both Hindi and English. Other 2019 releases just added include:

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with the addition of Kabir Singh. The 2016 horror film 1920 London is poised to expire on September 24.

Bollywood Box Office: August 2-4, 2019

Sonakshi Sinha’s comedy Khandaani Shafakhana had a disastrous opening weekend in North America, earning just $29,631 from 50 theaters ($593 average), according to Bollywood Hungama. This is the latest in a string of disappointing performances by Sinha’s comedies here, starting last winter with Welcome to New York ($111,044 opening; $225,366 total), and followed in the summer by Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi ($66,179 opening; $135,815 total).

Judgementall Hai Kya held up well in its second weekend, earning $106,624 from 52 theaters ($2,050 average) and bringing its total to $456,252. Last weekend’s other new release — Arjun Patiala — fell hard, its business dropping by almost 95%. It earned just $4,091 from 12 theaters ($341 average). Its total stands at $106,804.

In its seventh weekend, Kabir Singh earned $13,275 from eight theaters ($1,659 average), bringing its total to $2,604,106. One interesting note about Kabir Singh‘s strong box office performance is that 40% of its North American total has come from Canada. Even big Hindi releases only open in 20-40 theaters in Canada, compared to 100-300 theaters in the United States, meaning that most Bollywood films derive about 20% of their combined North American total from Canada. 40% — over $1 million in Kabir Singh‘s case — is huge!

Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:

  • Super 30: Week 4; $82,767 from 75 theaters; $1,104 average; $2,266,658 total
  • Article 15: Week 6; $980 from two theaters; $490 average; $1,058,891 total
  • Photograph: Week $50 from one theater ;$351,408 total

Source: Bollywood Hungama

Opening August 2: Khandaani Shafakhana

Just one new Hindi movie opens in the Chicago area on August 2, 2019. Sonakshi Sinha runs a fertility clinic in the comedy Khandaani Shafakhana.

Khandaani Shafakhana opens Friday at the AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington and Regal Cantera in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 16 min.

The South Barrington 24 and MovieMax Cinemas in Niles hold over last weekend’s new releases Arjun Patiala and Judgementall Hai Kya, which also gets a second week at Cantera.

All three of the above theaters give a fourth week to Super 30, as do the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, AMC Niles 12 in Niles, AMC Naperville 16 in Naperville, and AMC Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. Kabir Singh gets a seventh week at MovieMax.

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

Bollywood Box Office: July 26-28, 2019

Two new Hindi releases met very different fates at the North American box office during the weekend of July 26-28, 2019. The Kangana Ranaut-Rajkummar Rao dark comedy Judgementall Hai Kya scored big, earning $248,781 from 59 theaters ($4,217 average), according to Bollywood Hungama. I’m surprised it didn’t open in more theaters, given the popularity of its lead actors.

The weekend’s other new release — Arjun Patiala — appears to have been a victim of theatrical overreach or bad timing (or both). The Diljit Dosanjh-Kriti Sanon romantic comedy earned just $67,407 from 73 theaters ($923 average). Two Punjabi-language releases — Chal Mera Putt and Ardaas Karan — performed really well here over the weekend, siphoning off much of Dosanjh’s core fanbase despite both Punjabi films showing on less than half as many screens as Arjun Patiala.

Super 30 held strong in its third weekend, earning enough to push it past the $2 million mark. The biographical drama earned $189,224 from 128 theaters ($1,478 average), bringing its total to $2,111,832, according to Box Office Mojo.

Other Hindi movies still showing in North America:

  • Kabir Singh: Week 6; $19,378 from 18 theaters; $1,077 average; $2,573,373 total
  • Article 15: Week 5; $7,705 from nine theaters; $856 average; $1,054,918 total
  • Photograph: Week 11; $111 from one theater; $351,358 total

Sources: 143 Cinema, Bollywood Hungama, and Box Office Mojo

Opening July 26: Arjun Patiala and Judgementall Hai Kya

Two new Hindi movies hit Chicago area theaters on July 26, 2019. First up is the romantic comedy Arjun Patiala, starring Diljit Dosanjh and Kriti Sanon.

Arjun Patiala opens Friday at MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera in Warrenville. It has a quick runtime of 1 hr. 47 min.

Kangana Ranaut and Rajkummar Rao play antagonists in the weekend’s other new release, Judgementall Hai Kya. The psychological black comedy opens Friday at all three of the above theaters and has a runtime of 2 hrs. 2 min.

Super 30 carries over for a third week at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera, AMC River East 21 in Chicago, AMC Niles 12 in Niles, AMC Naperville 16 in Naperville, and AMC Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

Article 15 and Kabir Singh both hold over at MovieMax and the South Barrington 24.

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