Tag Archives: Bollywood

Bollywood Box Office: December 7-9, 2018

Kedarnath had quite a good opening weekend in North America — fifteenth best in a field of 53 Hindi and multilingual films released here this year, in fact. From December 7-9, 2018, the romantic drama earned $374,964 from 117 theaters ($3,205 average), according to Bollywood Hungama.

It’s showing was all the more impressive given that 2.0 had another great weekend as well, taking in $788,976 from 288 theaters ($2,740 average). The multilingual sci-fi sequel is on the brink of crossing the $5 million mark here, with $4,870,335 in total earnings across all languages so far.

Ayushmann Khurrana’s two films are still going strong, with Badhaai Ho earning $16,181 from 13 theaters ($1,245 average) in its eighth weekend of release. Its total stands at $3,312,100. In its tenth weekend of release, Andhadhun took in $6,398 from five theaters ($1,280 average), bringing its total to $1,368,448.

And then there’s Thugs of Hindostan. In its fifth weekend, it earned $770 from two theaters — one in the United States and one in Canada. The US’s contribution to that total? $10. Imagine a weekend of screenings at that US theater, all empty except for one person sitting alone in one of those showings (okay, maybe two people if it was a matinée). Thugs of Hindostan is stuck just shy of $2 million, with $1,982,112 in total North American earnings.

Source: Bollywood Hungama

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Opening December 7: Kedarnath

Saif Ali Khan’s daughter Sara makes her film debut opposite Sushant Singh Rajput in the romantic drama/disaster movie Kedarnath, opening in Chicago area theaters December 7, 2018. It looks kinda awesome.

Kedarnath opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. It has a listed runtime of 1 hr 59 min.

After a $3 million opening weekend in the United States, 2.0 carries over in 3D in Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi at the River East 21, MovieMax (2D only), South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, Woodridge 18, AMC Showplace Niles 12 in Niles, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale, AMC Naperville 16 in Naperville, and Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge.

Badhaai Ho gets an eighth week at the South Barrington 24.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend:

Bollywood Box Office: November 30-December 2, 2018

Rajinikanth’s 2.0 did blockbuster numbers in its opening weekend in North America, as expected. From November 30-December 2, 2018, the multilingual sci-fi sequel took in $2,770,738 from 315 theaters ($8,796 average), according to 143 Cinema. Adding in returns from Wednesday night preview shows and a full day of screenings on Thursday brought its total to $3,753,667 by the end of Sunday. By this point, 2.0 has already cleared $4 million here.

Other Hindi movies still showing in North American theaters:

  • Badhaai Ho: Week 7; $25,002 from 17 theaters; $1,471 average; $3,284,458 total
  • Andhadhun: Week 9; $9,437 from seven theaters; $1,348 average; $1,356,669 total
  • Thugs of Hindostan: Week 4; $2,865 from six theaters; $478 average; $1,978,868 total

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

Movie Review: Karwaan (2018)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Watch the movie on Amazon Prime
Buy the soundtrack on iTunes

The dehumanizing nature of modern office culture is ideal movie fodder. Companies tout their soul-crushing policies as necessary for the sake of “efficiency” — code for cutting labor costs to increase the profits of shareholders and executives. Karwaan (“Caravan“) beautifully puts the lie to this vision of efficiency, showing instead how interpersonal connections and generosity are often better tools for getting things done than cold bureaucracy.

Dissatisfied IT worker Avinash (Dulquer Salmaan) learns of his father Prakash’s (Akash Khurana) death via a curt phone call from a travel agent informing him where to pick up the body. The two men hadn’t spoken in years, since Prakash forced his son to abandon a promising photography career for a job offering financial stability. Avinash followed his father’s wishes but never forgave him, ground down by a boring job in an office where posters touting the employees’ replaceability are considered motivational.

The body shipped to the airport in Bangalore is not that of Avinash’s father but of a woman who died in the same bus accident. The airport’s cargo supervisor isn’t keen to track down Dad’s body, leaving it to Avinash to arrange a swap with Tahira (Amala Akkineni), the daughter of the dead woman who received Prakash’s body by mistake. Avinash hops in a van with his jaded friend Shaukat (Irrfan Khan), and they drive to Kochi to make the exchange.

The road trip gives Avinash opportunities to showcase just how much one man can accomplish with a generous spirit — and a van. Tahira calls in panic when she can’t reach her daughter at college, prompting a side trip to Ooty to pick up free-spirited Tanya (Mithila Palkar). Conservative, grumpy Shaukat almost calls off the caravan when he sees Tanya wearing a dress that hits above the knee, but Avinash prevails, giving the trio further opportunities to do good on their way to Kochi.

Tanya’s youthful exuberance affirms Avinash’s altruism but highlights the rut he’s fallen into after years demoralizing office work. He judges Tanya irresponsible for her drinking, smoking, and casual flings, only to realize how much he must sound like his own dad to someone younger.

Though Shaukat’s attitude toward Tanya and some of Avinash’s own behavior are sexist, the movie itself isn’t. Akarsh Khurana’s screenplay and direction always side with Tanya’s right to make her own choices, especially since she’s not hurting anyone else and isn’t that irresponsible in the first place. Given that Tanya’s the one who instigates a side trip to return the belongings of another bus crash victim, she’s a net positive for the world.

Irrfan Khan is typically charismatic, but he never hogs the spotlight from his co-stars. Salmaan and Palkar are at their best during their scenes together. In an industry where 50-something actors routinely romance women in their 20s onscreen, it’s refreshing that Khurana’s script precludes a romance between Avinash and Tanya because of their age difference. It allows for a greater variety of scenes than we normally get when two attractive young performers are paired together.

Karwaan isn’t an explosive film — there’s exactly one action sequence, and it’s not handled that well — but sometimes you just want a movie about nice people doing nice things. Karwaan is that movie. Enjoy it.

Links

In Theaters: November 22, 2018

Pickin’s are slim for Chicago area Bollywood fans this long Thanksgiving weekend. For the holiday period beginning Thursday, November 22, 2018, there are just two options: Thugs of Hindostan and Badhaai Ho, both showing at MovieMax Cinemas in Niles and AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington. That’s it.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend:

In Theaters: November 16, 2018

Despite a lackluster $1 million opening weekend, Thugs of Hindostan is still the main game in town for Chicago area Bollywood fans the weekend beginning Friday, November 16, 2018. Thugs carries over (in standard format only) at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC Showplace Niles 12 in Niles, Regal Round Lake Beach Stadium 18 in Round Lake Beach, AMC Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge, and AMC Loews Crestwood 18 in Crestwood.

Badhaai Ho gets a fifth week at MovieMax and Cantera 17, and South Barrington 24, which also holds over Andhadhun for an amazing seventh week.

Other Indian and Bangladeshi movies showing in Chicago area theaters:

Bollywood Box Office: November 9-11, 2018

Thugs of Hindostan‘s opening weekend was not great considering it released in the most theaters of any Hindi movie in North America this year. From November 9-11, 2018, it earned $1,185,386 from 377 theaters ($3,144 average), according to Box Office Mojo. Adding $264,462 from opening day collections on Thursday brings the swashbuckler’s 4-day total to $1,449,848. Its Friday-Sunday total is only fourth best for the year, even though 35 of those theaters charged higher ticket prices to show Thugs on their IMAX screens.

Thugs‘ per-screen average reveals the extent of audience disinterest in this title. $3,144 is just the 16th best opening weekend per-screen average for a Hindi film in North America this year. Adding in the returns from Thursday only brings the average up to $3,846. While one might dismiss this as a case of over-saturation, none of the other Hindi movies to release in more than 300 theaters this year fared as poorly. Padmaavat had an opening weekend PSA of $11,860. Sanju averaged $7,650 per screen. Even Race 3 averaged $5,385 per screen in its first weekend.

Will this poor performance affect the release calendar for the rest of the month? Other studios had all but ceded the territory between now and 2.0‘s release on November 29, assuming that Thugs of Hindostan would be a hot ticket for at least the next two weeks. The Sunny Deol-Preity Zinta comedy Bhaiaji Superhit looks even more likely to release here now on November 23, which would make it the only new release to take advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. Last-minute release date changes aren’t unusual in Bollywood, so maybe some scrappy distributor can pull things together in a jiff to take advantage of this unexpected lull.

Other Hindi movies still showing in North American theaters (per Bollywood Hungama):

  • Badhaai Ho: Week 4; $153,098 from 59 theaters; $2,595 average; $2,961,841 total
  • Andhadhun: Week 6; $28,791 from 14 theaters; $2,057 average; $1,244,833 total
  • Baazaar: Week 3; $3,312 from eight theaters; $414 average; $324,616 total
  • Namaste England: Week 4; $24 from one theater; $107,951 total

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

Movie Review: Thugs of Hindostan (2018)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the soundtrack at iTunes

Despite its novelty as a rare Bollywood seafaring epic, Thugs of Hindostan is done in by  predictable character development and a familiar plot focused too heavily on its male protagonists.

The film begins promisingly enough, with Ronit Roy playing the leader of the last Indian kingdom to resist takeover by the British East India Company in 1795. After instructing his young daughter Zafira (played by fierce little Deshna Dugad) on the importance of protecting her homeland, King Mirza plans to attack the Brits at dawn, but the Company’s merciless lead officer Clive (Lloyd Owen) attacks first. Only Zafira escapes with the help of the royal family’s devoted bodyguard, Kattappa…er, Khudabaksh (Amitabh Bachchan).

Fast-forwarding eleven years introduces the swaggering trickster Firangi (Aamir Khan). Firangi’s name means “foreigner,” explaining his willingness to pit Indians against Indians and Brits against Indians, all in the name of making a buck. He has no allegiance to the burgeoning resistance movement threatening the Company, making him the perfect spy to gather information on behalf of Clive’s second-in-command, Officer Powell (Gavin Marshall, who coordinated the circus acts for Dhoom 3, which also starred Khan and was directed by Thugs director Vijay Krishna Acharya).

The rebel leader “Azaad” (“Free”) is really Khudabaksh, assisted by grown up Zafira (Fatima Sana Shaikh), who’s become a deadly fighter. The name Azaad is confusing, because it’s hard to tell when the rebel army shouts the word if they’re cheering for the man specifically or the concept of freedom, generally. This is significant because the first character we see in the movie is Zafira as a girl. Thugs should be her revenge saga, but Khudabaksh appears to get all the credit for attacking the Brits — unless the masses really are cheering for freedom and not just for him. Either way, crown princess Zafira winds up playing second fiddle to her bodyguard.

As is the case for many Hindi films, the challenge in Thugs is weighing the needs of the story against the needs of the stars. The stars’ needs clearly trump the narrative in this case. Without Khan or Bachchan — and perhaps with an actress with a longer resume than Shaikh’s — Zafira would be the main character. But one feels a calculus governing the whole plot, and that’s ensuring that the biggest stars get the most screentime. For example, Khan must be onscreen for three-fourths of the movie (I’m estimating), Bachchan for less (but he gets more dramatic entrances), etc. That limits the scope of what other characters are able to do and diminishes their importance.

That calculus is responsible for the absurdly lazy incorporation of Katrina Kaif’s dancer character Suraiyya into the plot. She’s summoned out of the ether as the screenplay demands, with no attempt to make her feel like a person who exists when she’s not onscreen. She’s a character designed for item numbers, nothing more. It’s a shame because Kaif is captivating in her brief dialogue scenes, and there had to have been some way to further utilize the grace and athleticism she displays in the songs “Suraiyya” and “Manzoor-e-Khuda”.

Shaikh is likewise underutilized, despite having the most compelling emotional arc. She and Kaif share a nice moment in which their characters discuss the dangers of revolutionary action (after telling Khan’s chatterbox character to shut up). The film’s high point is a touching scene in which Zafira mourns her family, and Khudabaksh sings her to sleep as he did when she was a girl. The film is lessened for putting Zafira’s thirst for vengeance second to the question of whether Khan’s Captain Jack Sparrow-lite character will finally become a good person (of course he will).

One point in Thugs of Hindostan‘s favor is that they cast British actors who don’t sound ridiculous speaking Hindi, which is not common practice in Bollywood. There are good supporting performances by Roy, Sharat Saxena, and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub as Firangi’s psychic sidekick. Ila Arun has the only other female role of note, giving a funny turn as Jaitumbi, a potion-maker with a crush on the much-younger Firangi.

Thugs of Hindostan has one of the biggest budgets of all time for a Bollywood film, and it gets quite a lot of value for the money. Battle scenes are fun and clever, set against stunning backdrops. The leather armor worn by Zafira and Khudabashk is gorgeous, designed by Manoshi Nath and Rushi Sharma. Dance numbers are grand in scale.

High production values coupled with decent story pacing are enough to maintain interest while watching Thugs of Hindostan, even if its narrative deficiencies make it ultimately forgettable.

Links

Opening November 8: Thugs of Hindostan

One of the year’s most lavish Bollywood productions hits Chicago area theaters on November 8, 2018. The sea-faring adventure Thugs of Hindostan stars Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Fatima Sana Shaikh, and Katrina Kaif as pirates.

Thugs of Hindostan opens Thursday at MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC Showplace Niles 12 in Niles (IMAX only), Regal Round Lake Beach Stadium 18 in Round Lake Beach, AMC Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington (IMAX and Standard), Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, AMC Showplace Naperville 16 in Naperville, Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge, AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge, and AMC Loews Crestwood 18 in Crestwood. On Friday, Thugs opens at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago and AMC Oakbrook Center 12 in Oak Brook. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 55 min.

Badhaai Ho carries over for a fourth week at the Cantera 17, Woodridge 18, and South Barrington 24, which also holds onto Baazaar and Andhadhun.

Other Indian movies showing in Chicago area theaters this weekend:

Bollywood Box Office: November 2-4, 2018

Badhaai Ho dominated the box office for a third consecutive weekend, earning $329,042 from 107 theaters ($3,075 average) from November 2-4, 2018, according to Bollywood Hungama. With $2,653,882 in earnings so far, it needs another $360,000 to move past Raazi into third place for the year.

Erin Fraser of the Bollywood Is For Lovers podcast chides me on Twitter whenever I point out instances of poorly reviewed films performing better in Canada than in the United States (as I did last week regarding Namaste England). Well, Erin, you’ll be happy to know that 5 Weddings made just $34 from one Canadian theater over the weekend, but a whopping $156 from the lone US theater showing it. You win this round, Canada! The romantic comedy has a ten-day total of $12,622.

Other Hindi movies still showing in North American theaters:

  • Baazaar: Week 2; $40,188 from 40 theaters; $1,005 average; $292,994 total
  • Andhadhun: Week 5; $66,524 from 22 theaters; $3,024 average; $1,193,046 total
  • Namaste England: Week 3; $474 from three theaters; $158 average; $107,851 total
  • Helicopter Eela: Week 4; $123 from one theater; $71,651 total

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