Tag Archives: Cocktail

Best Bollywood Movies of 2012

2012 was a good year for Hindi movies. Of the fifty 2012 releases that I reviewed this year, thirty-one earned positive reviews of 2.5-stars or higher. The ten films below were the best of the best. (Click on the title of each movie to read my original review.)

My favorite movies of the year were almost exclusively dramas, whether the subject matter was political (e.g., Shanghai and Chakravyuh), social (e.g., Ishaqzaade and Talaash), or personal (e.g., Cocktail and Patang).

English Vinglish — a personal drama about a mother’s quest to regain her self-worth — proved to be one of the years most delightful surprises, thanks to a triumphant return to the big screen by Sridevi.

I awarded a perfect four-stars to three movies this year — movies that could not be more different from one another. Supermen of Malegaon is one of the most fun and fascinating documentaries I’ve ever seen. While it never released theatrically in the U.S., the whole movie is available for free with English subtitles on YouTube.

Evaluated in a vacuum, Barfi! is a wonderful and heart-wrenching movie. But given director Anurag Basu’s apparent lifting of whole scenes from other films, I have trouble recommending it with a clear conscience. Therefore, I instead recommend the (unfortunately-titled) Jism 2, a movie so bad, it’s good. There’s no movie I had more fun watching in 2012.

The best film of the year was a meticulously crafted thriller with character development to spare and a magnificent, evocative setting. My best Bollywood movie of 2012 is Kahaani.

This is a movie I could watch over and over again. Vidya Balan reaffirms that she’s the most talented actress working in Hindi films at the moment. Her co-star, Parambrata Chatterjee, holds his own alongside her, playing a police officer with a crush that’s doomed to go nowhere.

One aspect of Kahaani I particularly appreciate is its positive take on marriage. Balan plays Vidya, a pregnant woman from London searching for her husband, Arnab, who’s gone missing in Kolkata. Everyone tries to tell her that he has probably just run out on her, but she refuses to believe them. She knows in her heart that not only would he never leave their unborn baby, but he wouldn’t leave her, either.

So often, we’re confronted with cultural tropes that portray marriage negatively. Husbands are depicted as either incorrigible philanderers or hapless morons barely tolerated by wives who only need them for baby-making and yardwork.
Isn’t it more satisfying to see an onscreen marriage in which both partners really know and value each other? That’s what makes Vidya’s search so frustrating and engrossing: there’s real love at stake.

Best Bollywood Movies of 2012

  1. Kahaani — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  2. Barfi! — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  3. Supermen of Malegaon — Buy at Amazon
  4. Talaash — Buy at Amazon
  5. English Vinglish — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  6. Patang — Buy/rent at iTunes
  7. Ishaqzaade — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  8. Chakravyuh — Buy at Amazon
  9. Shanghai — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  10. Cocktail — Buy at Amazon

Honorable MentionJism 2 — Buy at Amazon

Previous Best Movies Lists

 

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In Theaters August 10, 2012

With the guaranteed blockbuster Ek Tha Tiger set to open next Wednesday, there are no new Hindi movies opening in Chicago area theaters on Friday, August 10. However, the options that remain are pretty good.

The inept yet deliriously fun Jism 2 carries over for a second week at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles and AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington. The South Barrington 30 also carries over the compelling romantic drama Cocktail for a fifth week. Last weekend’s largely unheralded new release, Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai, gets another week at the Golf Glen 5.

Other Indian movies playing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include Andala Rakshasi (Telugu), Julayi (Telugu), Mirattal (Tamil), and Vaadhyar (Malayalam).

The trailers for two October 5, 2012, releases went public today. Preity Zinta’s Ishkq in Paris:

… and Vivek Oberoi’s Kismet Love Paisa Dilli:

Some other noteworthy trailers released recently include those for Raaz 3 (opening September 7):

… and Student of the Year (October 19):

Opening August 3: Jism 2 and Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai

Another new Hindi sequel opens in the Chicago area on August 3, 2012. Jism 2 isn’t a direct follow-up to the 2003 erotic thriller Jism and features new characters played by Randeep Hooda and Sunny Leone. Given that “jism” (Hindi for “body”) is a crude slang term in English, I will ask for my ticket using the film’s subtitle: To Love Her is to Die.

Jism 2: To Love Her is to Die opens on Friday at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles and AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington. It has a runtime of 2 hrs. 12 min. Read my review here.

Also new at the Golf Glen 5 on Friday is the romantic drama Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai.

The comedy Kya Super Kool Hain Hum carries over for a second week at both of the above theaters and the Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. The South Barrington 30 is also holding over Cocktail and Bol Bachchan.

Other Indian movies showing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include Mirattal (Tamil), Uu Kodathara? Ulikki Padathara? (Telugu), and Vaadhyar (Malayalam).

Opening July 27: Kya Super Kool Hain Hum

New in Chicago area theaters on July 27, 2012, is the comedy Kya Super Kool Hain Hum, starring Ritesh Deshmukh and Tusshar Kapoor.

Kya (or Kyaa) Super Kool Hain Hum opens on Friday at the AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington and the Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 16 min.

Thanks to impressive earnings of $1,027,121 from its first two weeks in the U.S., Cocktail gets a third week at both of the above theaters. Bol Bachchan — also performing well in the States, with earnings of $1,155,696 so far — gets a fourth week at the South Barrington 30.

Other Indian movies showing at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles this weekend include Eega (Telugu), Karnan (Tamil film from 1964), Onamalu (Telugu), and Ustad Hotel (Malayalam).

On Tuesday, July 31, the DVD of Kahaani becomes available to Netflix subscribers. If you missed the superb thriller in the theater, be sure to add it to your DVD queue.

Trailers for a pair of high-profile upcoming releases went public recently. Heroine hits theaters September 21, while Son of Sardaar debuts on November 13.

In Theaters June 20, 2012

With seemingly every available screen allotted to The Dark Knight Rises, there are no new Hindi movies opening in the Chicago area this weekend. However, Trishna makes its local theatrical debut on June 20, 2012, at Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema in Chicago.

Cocktail‘s impressive opening weekend returns of $647,956 from U.S. theaters earn it a second week at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville.

Bol Bachchan gets a third week at all of the above theaters, with earnings of $1,004,174 in the U.S. so far.

Other Indian movies showing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include Billa 2 (Tamil), Eega (Telugu), and Tuniga Tuniga (Telugu).

Movie Review: Cocktail (2012)

3.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the DVD at Amazon
Buy the soundtrack at Amazon

An attractive cast and raucous party scenes are the lure Cocktail uses to draw the audience into an exploration of modern romance and female friendship. It’s a frothy concoction that packs a punch.

Country girl Meera (Diana Penty) arrives in London to reunite with her husband Kunal (Randeep Hooda), only to learn that the marriage was a scam to cheat her out of her dowry money. Alone in an unfamiliar city, Meera meets Veronica (Deepika Padukone), a party girl. Veronica’s decadent lifestyle is financed by her wealthy absentee father, and she offers Meera a place to stay without a second thought. Though opposites in temperament, the women become best friends.

During a night on the town, Veronica plays a prank on Gautam (Saif Ali Khan), a serial flirt who hit on Meera when she first arrived in London. Veronica and Gautam become romantically involved, and he moves into Veronica’s house as well, forming a truce with Meera.

In order to get his mother (Dimple Kapadia) to stop pressuring him about marriage, Gautam admits that he’s in a relationship. When Mom arrives unexpectedly from India, Gautam says that prim, proper Meera is his girlfriend, not drunk, half-naked Veronica. The charade continues on a South African vacation where things get predictably complicated.

The story is organized as a classic Bollywood tale-of-two-halves. The first half of the film is lighthearted as the friends get to know each other. Some of the best laughs come courtesy of Gautam’s uncle, played by Boman Irani.

The second half of the film becomes an interesting character study with meaningful dialog. Writers Imtiaz Ali and Sajid Ali offer insightful commentary on modern, hook-up culture through the characters of Gautam and Veronica.

As soon as Gautam starts his sham relationship with Meera, everyone in the audience knows that things will end badly, but Gautam honestly doesn’t. He thinks he can say sweet things to Meera and that she won’t fall for him, and that he can do this in front of Veronica without making her jealous. He treats his “no strings attached” status with Veronica as a contract, a shield from future emotional attachment. Khan is very good in the scenes when Gautam finally realizes that this is not the case.

Padukone is likewise captivating when Veronica finally appreciates the hollowness of her party lifestyle. “I know what everyone thinks of me,” she says, heartbreakingly. Veronica fights dirty for the life she thinks she wants, a life that seems destined for Meera but not her. As misguided as she is, Veronica is very relatable.

Debutant actor Penty jumps into the deep end with Cocktail. Khan and Padukone are talented and sexy and have an established rapport, having worked together as romantic leads in Imtiaz Ali’s Love Aaj Kal. Even Hooda, Irani, and Kapadia are superb in their supporting roles. Penty’s performance isn’t quite as nuanced as those of her fellow cast members — she needs to learn to emote with her eyes and work on her dance moves — but she’s not a distraction. Meera isn’t as flashy as Veronica or Gautam, and Penty’s restrained performance suits her character.

The few complaints I have about the movie have to do with the sound design. There’s a paucity of background music in the first half, making it feel as though the scenes lack a connective thread. Also, the music that is there gets mixed very loud relative to the dialog, like when television commercials are significantly louder than the shows they interrupt.

If you watch enough movies, it becomes easy to predict how a plot will progress. With about thirty minutes remaining in Cocktail, I wrote the note: “How will this end?” It’s a lot of fun to be taken along for the ride for a change.

Links

Opening July 13: Cocktail

The romantic comedy Cocktail — starring Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, and newcomer Diana Penty — is the only new Hindi movie opening in Chicago area theaters the weekend beginning July 13, 2012.

Cocktail opens on Friday at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a runtime of 2 hrs. 28 min.

After posting solid opening weekend returns of $561,996 in the U.S., the comedy Bol Bachchan gets a second weekend at all of the above theaters.

Other Indian movies showing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include Billa 2 (Tamil), Diamond Necklace (Malayalam), Eega (Telugu), and Thattathin Marayathu (Malayalam).

Though it isn’t opening in any Chicago area theaters yet, the Frieda Pinto starrer Trishna opens on a handful of U.S. screens on July 13 as well. Based on the Thomas Hardy novel “Tess of the D’Urbervilles,” Trishna takes place in India but features English dialog.

 

Opening December 10: No Problem and Band Baaja Baaraat

There’s no let up in new Hindi releases in the Chicago area. Two new comedies open on Friday, December 10, 2010: Band Baaja Baaraat and No Problem, which gets the wider release of the two. No Problem stars Anil Kapoor as a bumbling cop trying to solve a bank robbery. Pop star Shakira makes a special appearance in the movie.

No Problem opens on December 10 at the 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. Click here for a national list of theaters carrying No Problem, which has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 23 min.

The romantic comedy Band Baaja Baaraat (“Wedding Music Band”) follows the exploits of two friends trying to run a wedding planning business.

Band Baaja Baaraat opens on Friday at the Golf Glen 5, South Barrington 30 and Cantera 30. Check this incomplete list for nationwide theaters carrying Band Baaja Baaraat, which has a runtime of 2 hrs. 35 min.

Last weekend’s new release, Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, gets a second week at the Golf Glen 5 and South Barrington 30. The South Barrington 30 is also carrying over Break Ke Baad and Guzaarish, which has earned $989,527 in the three weeks it’s been in U.S. theaters.

Starting Friday, the Golf Glen 5 is carrying one other Hindi movie I haven’t found much information on: Family Pack.

Other Indian movies playing in the area this weekend include Rakht Charitra 2 (Tamil and Telugu) and Cocktail (Malayalam) at the Golf Glen 5. Sathyam Cinemas in Downers Grove also has both versions of Rakht Charitra 2, as well as the Telugu movies Manasara and Orange.