Tag Archives: Bewakoofiyaan

Bollywood Box Office: January 30-February 1

Poor, poor Hawaizaada. Family friendly Hindi movies don’t stand much of a chance at the North American box office as it is, but the historical fantasy performed especially poorly here. During its debut weekend — January 30-February 1, 2015Hawaizaada earned $16,546 from 66 theaters for a dismal per-screen average of $251.

Hawaizaada‘s failure strikes another blow against leading man Ayushmann Khurrana’s once promising career. His debut film, 2012’s Vicky Donor, was a surprise hit, taking in $169,209 from 50 North American theaters ($3,384 average) in its first weekend, with final earnings of $549,001. Its success owed more to its racy subject matter — sperm donation — than its leading man, however.

Khurrana’s subsequent films didn’t fare nearly as well here. 2013’s Nautanki Saala! opened with $92,851 from 61 theaters ($1,522 average), ultimately earning $127,844. 2014’s Bewakoofiyaan fared even worse, with first-weekend earnings of $67,738 from 66 theaters ($1,026 average), and total earnings of $106,800.

I’ve enjoyed all of Khurrana’s films, so his ability isn’t the problem. The Bollywood fan base in North America is motivated by name recognition, which Khurrana doesn’t yet have. His best bet for earning it would be to pair with another notable male star, maybe for a buddy comedy. Unfortunately, his next two projects — Dum Laga Ke Haisha and Agra Ka Daabra (which is a great title) — feature him as the solo male lead. I don’t see his international box office prospects turning around any time soon.

Other Hindi movies still in theaters include:

  • Baby: Week 2; $165,732 from 77 theaters ($2,152 average); $694,509 total
  • Dolly Ki Doli: Week 2; $22,155 from 14 theaters ($1,583 average); $164,186 total
  • PK: Week 7; $16,627 from 13 theaters ($1,279 average); $10,535,369 total
  • Tevar: Week 4; $16 from one theater; $166,342 total

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

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Streaming Video News: January 14, 2015

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix to reflect one change. After just five days, Daawat-e-Ishq has disappeared from the streaming service. The same thing happened to Mardaani and Bewakoofiyaan, two other movies produced by Yash Raj Films. It took a few months for Bewakoofiyaan to return for its official run on the Netflix, so I expect it will be a while before we see Mardaani or Daawat-e-Ishq on the service again.

This serves as a warning that, whenever YRF’s most recent theatrical release, Kill Dil, hits Netflix, you’d better watch it right away.

If you just can’t wait to watch Kill Dil, Daawat-e-Ishq, or Mardaani, all three are currently available for rent on YouTube for $2.99 apiece.

Update: Mike of The Arts blog may have solved the mystery: no English subtitles. At least that was his experience watching Daawat-e-Ishq on Netflix the other day. It’s unknown (at least to me) if the YouTube videos have English subtitles, so rent with caution if you don’t speak Hindi.

Update 2: Thanks again to Mike for noticing that Daawat-e-Ishq is back on Netflix again, now with subtitles. Still not sure what happened to Mardaani, though.

Streaming Video News: November 25, 2014

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix to include one new addition to the catalog and one expiration date. The 2014 comedy Bewakoofiyaan is now available for streaming. The movie tanked at the theater, but it’s one of my favorite films of the year.

You’ve got until December 1 to watch Dangerous Ishhq, but you can probably find better ways to use your time.

Bollywood Box Office: November 14-16

This has been a lousy year for Yash Raj Films. Hopes were undoubtedly high after the titanic success of Dhoom 3 at the end of 2013, but none of the five films released by the company in 2014 has made much of a blip on the radar in North America.

Kill Dil‘s performance from November 14-16, 2014, cements that trend. During its opening weekend in the United States and Canada, Kill Dil earned $172,001 from 87 theaters, a per-screen average of $1,977.

To put this performance in context, the median number of opening weekend theaters for Hindi films in North America this year is 70, and the median per-screen average earnings are $2,022. All but one of the films released by Yash Raj Films this year opened in more theaters than the median (Bewakoofiyaan didn’t), but only one earned more than the median per-screen average (Gunday). Here’s how each Yash Raj film performed in its opening weekend in the U.S. and Canada this year:

  • Gunday: $548,350 from 150 theaters; $3,656 average
  • Bewakoofiyaan: $67,738 from 66 theaters; $1,026 average
  • Mardaani: $168,997 from 86 theaters; $1,965 average
  • Daawat-e-Ishq: $204,950 from 113 theaters; $1,814 average
  • Kill Dil: $172,001 from 87 theaters; $1,977 average

While none of these performances — except for Bewakoofiyaan — is disastrous, the studio and theaters surely expected more. Even Gunday was likely expected to earn $1 million (it fell short with $887,675 total). The name Yash Raj carries enough clout to command a significant number of screens, but the return on those screens should be higher given the studio’s profile and the emerging young stars and veteran talent the company casts.

Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:

  • Happy New Year: Week 4; $64,792 from 45 theaters; $1,440 average; $3,702,530 total
  • Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain: Week 2; $5,794 from two theaters; $2,897 average; $12,110 total
  • The Shaukeens: Week 2; $735 from six theaters; $123 average; $75,546 total

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: April 4-6

Few young actors’ careers have been watched as closely as those of the breakout stars of 2012’s Student of the Year: Alia Bhatt, Sidharth Malhotra, and Varun Dhawan. The sophomore efforts of all three released theatrically in the last two months, the most recent being Dhawan’s Main Tera Hero on April 4, 2014. Here’s how their North American box office returns compare to one another, as well as to the film that launched three careers.

Student of the Year — directed by Karan Johar — released in 106 theaters in the U.S. and Canada on October 19, 2012. It earned $326,508 in its first weekend ($3,080 average), going on to earn a total of $670,086.

Malhotra was the first of the three stars to release his follow-up effort. Hasee Toh Phasee opened on February 7, 2014, earning $334,397 from eighty-six theaters ($3,895 average) in its first weekend. That this was the best opening weekend of the three new films — better even than the first weekend of SOTY — shouldn’t be a surprise. A romantic comedy co-produced by Johar, co-starring Parineeti Chopra, and released a week before Valentine’s Day is a safe bet.

Bhatt’s film, Highway — which opened two weeks later — was a more ambitious venture, despite having an A-List director like Imtiaz Ali at the helm. Bhatt shouldered most of the load for the movie — a largely improvised road flick about a kidnapped woman — and her efforts paid off. Highway earned $325,522 from ninety-three theaters ($3,500 average) in its opening weekend.

Dhawan’s Main Tera Hero didn’t fare as well in its opening weekend as his former co-stars’ films. It earned $161,846 from seventy theaters. Its $2,312 average is significantly less than those of the other two films released this year and SOTY.

In his defense, Dhawan’s film presented the biggest challenge. Action-comedies aren’t guaranteed hits in North America, and his co-stars — Ileana D’Cruz and Nargis Fakhri — have good looks but not much name recognition here. Matching the final tallies of either Hasee Toh Phasee ($642,632) or Highway ($529,449) seems unlikely.

The best-performing Hindi film in U.S. and Canadian theaters during the weekend of April 4-6, 2014, was The Lunchbox. Now showing in 100 theaters, it earned $307,076, bringing its total earnings to $1,266,478.

For one week, Queen reigns as 2014’s overall highest-earning Hindi film in North America (it will lose this crown to The Lunchbox next weekend). In its fifth week in theaters, it earned $92,933 from forty-nine screens ($1,897 average), bringing its total to $1,327,223.

Lingering in one last American theater, Bewakoofiyaan earned $20. Its total stands at $106,800.

Note: All earnings figures except those of Student of the Year are courtesy of Bollywood Hungama.

Bollywood Box Office: March 28-30

Queen‘s box office run continues to amaze. The weekend of March 28-30, 2014, marked Queen‘s fourth weekend in North American theaters, during which it showed in more theaters and earned more money than it did in its first weekend (according to Bollywood Hungama).

To put this in perspective, compare Queen‘s North American box office performance to that of Jai Ho, currently the highest earning Hindi film released in the U.S. and Canada in 2014. Jai Ho opened in 183 theaters on January 24, earning $817,744. Its earnings fell by almost 80% in its second weekend. In its fourth and final weekend, it earned $2,396 from just three theaters.

Queen started out more slowly, earning $161,998 from thirty-nine theaters. Its earnings nearly doubled in its second week and held steady in week three. It expanded into its largest number of theaters in week four (sixty-four), whence it earned $212,550.

The way Queen has added just a few theaters per week mirrors the gradual roll-out of The Lunchbox in North America. The difference is that roll-out of The Lunchbox was planned, whereas Queen‘s growth has been due to audience demand.

With only Main Tera Hero likely to release in North America this upcoming weekend, Queen should retain much of its current theatrical footprint for a fifth weekend. With a total haul of $1,179,491 currently, that footprint should allow Queen to supplant Jai Ho ($1,256,275) as the highest earning Hindi film of 2014, so far.

Now showing in Canada as well as the U.S., The Lunchbox earned $277,853 from sixty-nine theaters ($4,027 average) in its fifth week of release. It’s total earnings stand at $848,990.

Dishkiyaoon made barely a peep in its opening weekend in theaters. It opened in just eleven theaters in the U.S. and Canada and earned $7,341 ($667 average). That’s still better than the first weekend returns of Gang of Ghosts, Ya Rab, and Karle Pyaar Karle, despite opening in fewer theaters than any of those films.

Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters include:

  • Total Siyapaa: Week 4; $1,207 from four screens, $125,743 total
  • Bewakoofiyaan: Week 3; $477 from two screens; $106,710 total
  • Gulaab Gang: Week 4; $426 from one screen; $98,475 total
  • Highway: Week 6; $160 from one screen; $529,449 total
  • Gang of Ghosts: Week 2; $72 from two screens; $5,978 total
  • Shaadi Ke Side Effects: Week 5; $48 from two screens; $947,787 total

Note: Figures courtesy of Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: March 21-23

Despite two new Hindi films hitting theaters on March 21, 2014, the North American box office performances of all Bollywood films were dominated by a movie in its third week in theaters.

Queen continues its remarkable run, expanding into a total of fifty-seven theaters in its third week of release. According to Bollywood Hungama, it earned $284,030 in the U.S. and Canada for the weekend of March 21 through March 23, putting it in twentieth place in the general U.S. box office. With total earnings of $895,130 so far, Queen is poised to bypass Shaadi Ke Side Effects as the second highest earner among Bollywood films this year (behind Jai Ho).

The weekend’s two new releases fared dismally at the North American box office. Both movies opened in twenty theaters in the U.S. and Canada. Ragini MMS 2 earned $16,317 (an $815 average per screen), while Gang of Ghosts earned just $4509 ($225 average).

Bewakoofiyaan performed just about as miserably in its second weekend. It earned $12,589 from twenty-one theaters ($599 average). Its total stands at $105,025. Given that Bewakoofiyaan is a better movie than its numbers would indicate, I hope Yash Raj Films gets it on Netflix quickly to help it find an audience there.

The Lunchbox continues to perform well in the U.S., though figures differ on how well, based on the source. Now showing in thirty-six theaters, Bollywood Hungama lists The Lunchbox‘s fourth-weekend earnings as $139,033, while Box Office Mojo tallies them higher at $183,986. Bollywood Hungama reports the film’s total earnings as $468,043 so far, compared to Box Office Mojo’s total of $525,363.

Among older Hindi films still in theaters, Shaadi Ke Side Effects continues to best more recent offerings. In its fourth weekend — according to Bollywood Hungama — SKSE earned $3578 from eight theaters ($447 average), bringing its total to $946,659.

In its third weekend, Total Siyapaa earned $1,918 from 5 theaters ($383 average; $123,755 total earnings), while Gulaab Gang earned $1,334 from 4 theaters ($334 average; $97,630 total earnings).

Opening March 21: Ragini MMS 2 and Gang of Ghosts

Two spooky new Hindi movies arrive in Chicago area theaters on March 21, 2014. First up is the erotic horror sequel Ragini MMS 2, starring Sunny Leone.

Ragini MMS 2 opens on Friday at the AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 1 hr. 50 min.

On the other end of the supernatural spectrum is the comedy Gang of Ghosts.

Gang of Ghosts also opens on Friday at the South Barrington 30. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 9 min.

After a dismal opening weekend performance at the North American box office, the smartly written rom-com Bewakoofiyaan is only sticking around for a second week at the South Barrington 30.

The delightful comedy Queen continues to build on its great word of mouth, carrying over for a third week at the South Barrington 30 and Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles and expanding to the AMC River East 21 in Chicago on Friday.

The Lunchbox carries over for another week at the Century Centre Cinema in Chicago, Century 12 Evanston in Evanston, and Renaissance Highland Park in Highland Park.

Shaadi Ke Side Effects gets a fourth week at the South Barrington 30 and Golf Glen 5, which is also carrying over Total Siyapaa.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend include Balyakalasakhi (Malayalam) and Cuckoo (Tamil) at the Golf Glen 5 and Kaum De Heere (Punjabi) at the Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale.

Box Office: March 14-16

Something fascinating happened at the North American box office during the weekend of March 14-16, 2014. A movie in its second weekend not only won the weekend over the lone new Hindi release, but also nearly doubled its own first weekend earnings.

Following an unexpectedly strong box office performance last weekend, driven by positive word of mouth, twelve more theaters in the U.S. and Canada added the charming coming-of-age film Queen to their rosters. With a total of fifty-one theaters in North America now showing Queen, it earned $299,592, nearly double the $161,998 it earned last weekend, according to Bollywood Hungama. Its $5874 per-screen average put it ahead of all of the movies in the general U.S. top twenty besides The Grand Budapest Hotel and Veronica Mars.

Queen‘s growing success put a major dent in the returns for the weekend’s only new release, Bewakoofiyaan. The romantic comedy took in just $67,738 from sixty-six screens for an appalling average of $1,026.

Bewakoofiyaan‘s underperformance is almost as surprising as Queen‘s overperformance. The rom-com had the backing of a major studio (Yash Raj Films), featured two rising stars in Ayushmann Khurrana and Sonam Kapoor, and the trailer was heavily promoted in theaters. On top of that, it’s an entertaining and very accessible movie.

Bollywood Hungama attributes the film’s poor performance in India to low overall theater attendance before the start of Holi and student exams. Given that neither of those reasons apply to the same degree in North America, why did Bewakoofiyaan fail here?

  • Too Many Romantic Comedies
    There have been a glut of romantic comedies released recently: Hasee Toh Phasee on February 7, Shaadi Ke Side Effects on February 28, and Total Siyapaa on March 7. By the time Bewakoofiyaan hit theaters on March 14, I know I was much more in the mood to see some dudes fight than to watch another couple fumble their way to the altar.
  • Misleading Title
    Total Siyapaa is guilty of this, too. Which one of these titles would you assume belongs to a romantic comedy: Stupidities, Total Chaos, or The Side Effects of Marriage? The target audience for a rom-com may not be interested in stupidity or chaos. Also, with American multiplexes presently awash in action flicks, cartoons, and months-old Oscar nominees, Bewakoofiyaan could’ve drawn in mainstream moviegoers desperate for something new if it had an English title (like Queen).
  • Misleading Trailer
    The marketing for Bewakoofiyaan is as guilty of misrepresentation as the title. The trailer promises wackiness and stupidity that (thankfully) aren’t present in the movie. Why promote a film about the effects of the global recession on a romance between executives to the same crowd that would be happy to watch Sanjay Dutt and Ajay Devgn slap each other for two hours?

As for the rest of this weekend’s box office returns, The Lunchbox continued its strong performance. Now in eighteen theaters, it earned $77,044 ($4,280 average), bringing its U.S. total to $290,526.

Shaadi Ke Side Effects earned $32,005 from thirty-two theaters ($1,000 average) in its third weekend. Its total North American earnings stand at $933,225.

The other films in their second weekend in the theaters fared far worse than Queen. Total Siyapaa earned $13,525 from twenty-one theaters ($644 average), while Gulaab Gang earned $11,048 from nineteen theaters ($581 average). Their total earnings — $116,241 and $92,203, respectively — are nothing to brag about.

Holding out in one remaining theater, Highway earned $1,511 to bring its four-week total earnings to $528,721.

Sources:

Movie Review: Bewakoofiyaan (2014)

Bewakoofiyaan_Poster3.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy or rent the movie at iTunes
Buy the DVD at Amazon
Buy the soundtrack at Amazon

Do not be fooled by the title of Bewakoofiyaan (“Stupidities“). There’s nothing stupid about this movie. Director Nupur Asthana and writer Habib Faisal use a familiar romantic comedy formula to tell an unexpectedly thoughtful story about how economics affect romantic relationships and one’s sense of self-worth.

Life is sweet for marketing executive Mohit (Ayushmann Khurrana). He’s got a new job, a new car, and a beautiful, successful banker girlfriend, Mayera (Sonam Kapoor). Mohit’s driving instructor/life coach warns that one never knows what problems lie down the road, but as long as Mohit has Mayera, everything will be okay.

Mohit’s plans to marry Mayera hit a roadblock when he meets her stubborn father, V.K. Sehgal (Rishi Kapoor). After struggling to raise his daughter on the modest salary of a government bureaucrat, Sehgal believes that Mayera must marry a man with a lot more money than Mohit.

Just when Sehgal decides to give Mohit a probationary run as a candidate for future son-in-law, the real disaster strikes: Mohit loses his job. His pride keeps him from taking jobs he considers beneath his MBA status, and the financial stress of keeping up with their free-spending social circle wears on both Mohit and Mayera. All this while they hide Mohit’s unemployment from Sehgal.

Asthana establishes the appropriate humorous tone for Bewakoofiyaan given the characters. These people are executives, so scenes are funny without devolving into clownish wackiness, reliant more upon sly facial expressions than slapstick.

The secret of Bewakoofiyaan‘s success is Faisal’s story construction. The story never drags, and scenes don’t outstay their welcome. Themes are stated early and recur throughout the story. Faisal really, really knows how to write a screenplay.

One of my favorite aspects of the screenplay is a B-story that puts Sehgal in a similar position to Mohit, even though he doesn’t know it. Forced to retire at age sixty, Sehgal feels — like Mohit — that his skills that aren’t being utilized. He secretly enlists Mohit to help him find a job, over Mayera’s objections. Seghal’s introduction to the wonders of email, Google, and video games is very amusing.

The two jobless men form a bond, but they don’t suddenly become best pals. That wouldn’t make sense. Seghal is still stubborn, and Mohit still hates the idea of begging Seghal for anything, even Mayera’s hand. Yet their bond pays dividends for both by movie’s end.

Khurrana and Rishi Kapoor both do a great job at making their flawed characters sympathetic from the beginning and showing slow but steady growth. Both characters — united in their love for Mayera — must come to terms with the fact that they can’t provide for Mayera as well as she can for herself and decide what that means for them as men.

During an argument with Mohit, Mayera complains that she’s had to curtail her shopping since he lost his job. It’s a testament to Sonam Kapoor’s talent that she’s able to make this complaint sound reasonable rather than whiny. Mayera’s no less affected by Mohit’s job loss than he is, just in different way.

All this exploration of male ego and the side effects of job loss aside, Bewakoofiyaan is still a Yash Raj Films romantic comedy. There are exotic locations, a pair of flashy dance numbers, and an easily accessible story. It just deserves extra credit for being smarter than it needed to be.

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