Tag Archives: Dil Dhadakne Do

Best Bollywood Movies of 2015

2015 offered up a satisfying mix of sweet, intimate stories and dark thrills and chills. Here are my picks for the best Bollywood movies of 2015. (Click on the title of each movie to read my original review.)

The year ended on a triumphant note with the release of the historical epic romance Bajirao Mastani. Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s colorful, lavish style demands to be seen on the big screen.

Two smaller Hindi films that played at the Chicago South Asian Film Festival prove that big budgets aren’t necessary to make a great movie. Haraamkhor and Dhanak depict the struggles of childhood in very different ways, with Dhanak being easily the sweetest film of the year.

Early 2015 saw the release of two great revenge thrillers: Badlapur and NH10. While Badlapur explores the toll that a lingering desire for vengeance takes on a grieving husband (Varun Dhawan), NH10 is a race against the clock for a woman (Anushka Sharma) trying to defeat the men out to kill her.

In contrast to such dark fare, Piku lovingly and humorously explores the tense relationship between an adult daughter (Deepika Padukone) who hits the road with her ailing father (Amitabh Bachchan).

A pair of top-notch crime thrillers also made the list. Talvar‘s unique story structure sets apart this real-life murder mystery. Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! put a modern, stylish twist on a classic Indian literary detective.

Dum Laga Ke Haisha is as charming as can be, telling the tale of a loser (Ayushmann Khurrana) rebelling against his marriage to an accomplished woman (Bhumi Pednekar) who fails to fit his beauty standards. So much care went into the story that it is impossible not to fall in love with these young adults trying to grow under enormous family pressure.

My favorite movie of 2015 is a big budget, multi-starrer that nevertheless tells a smart, contemporary family story. Too often, Bollywood spectacle films are “check your brain at the door” affairs, full of bombast but devoid of substance. Director Zoya Akhtar brings together an A-list cast — including Priyanka Chopra, Anushka Sharma, Ranveer Singh, Farhan Akhtar, and Anil Kapoor — for a film that is fun and romantic, but also contains insightful critiques of the respect (or lack thereof) accorded women in modern Indian society. Director Akhtar takes the opportunity this big-budget blockbuster affords her and uses the platform to inform as well as entertain. For that reason, my favorite Hindi film of 2015 is Dil Dhadakne Do.

(Update: I watched Masaan after posting this list. Were I to re-do my rankings, I’d place Masaan in 9th place, between Dhanak and Haraamkhor.)

Kathy’s Top Ten Bollywood Movies of 2015

  1. Dil Dhadakne Do — Buy/rent at iTunes or Amazon
  2. Dum Laga Ke Haisha — Buy/rent at iTunes or Amazon
  3. Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! — Buy/rent at iTunes or Amazon
  4. Talvar — Buy at Amazon
  5. Piku — Buy/rent at iTunes or Amazon
  6. NH10 — Buy at Amazon
  7. Badlapur — Buy at Amazon
  8. Dhanak
  9. Haraamkhor
  10. Bajirao Mastani

Previous Best Movies Lists

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Bollywood Box Office: January 4, 2016

Bajirao Mastani and Dilwale closed out their third weekend in theaters, finalizing the North American box office rankings for Bollywood films released in 2015. From January 1-3, 2016, Bajirao Mastani earned $772,775 from 304 theaters ($2,542 average). During the same period, Dilwale earned $308,149 from 133 theaters ($2,317 average).

The ten highest earning Bollywood films of 2015 in North America were:

  1. Bajrangi Bhaijaan: $8,114,714
  2. Bajirao Mastani: $5,832,266 (to date)
  3. Dilwale: $4,696,841 (to date)
  4. Prem Ratan Dhan Payo: $4,420,019
  5. Dil Dhadakne Do: $3,062,095
  6. Tanu Weds Manu Returns: $3,022,611
  7. Tamasha: $2,243,582
  8. Piku: $2,220,648
  9. Welcome Back: $1,379,668
  10. Singh Is Bliing: $909,399

Bajrangi Bhaijaan had the best opening weekend in 2015, both in terms of total gross ($2,613,192) and per-screen average ($9,468). Bajirao Mastani has already proven to have the best longevity of any 2015 release, having nearly quadrupled its opening weekend total in just three weeks.

2015 set a new benchmark for blockbuster releases, with both Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo opening in more than 300 theaters in North America (304 and 310, respectively). Though PK (296) and Bang Bang (292) came close in 2014, it’s worth noting how rapid this increase in theater counts has been. The widest release in 2013 was Dhoom 3 on 239 screens, and 2012’s biggest release, Talaash, opened in just 172 theaters. More people than ever before can watch Bollywood films on the big screen in the United States and Canada.

It’s also worth noting that all of the films in the 2015 top ten were released between May and December. Shahrukh Khan’s Fan — scheduled for release on April 15 — should easily make it into the 2016 top ten, but it remains to be seen if any of the other Bollywood flicks opening in the first third of the year will prove to be breakout hits. Do any of the films on this list seem like contenders to you?

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: July 24-26

Bajrangi Bhaijaan turned in another stupendous performance in its second weekend in North American theaters. From July 24-26, 2015, it earned $1,561,179 from 277 theaters ($5,636 average), bringing its total earnings to $5,558,910.

In its third weekend, Baahubali earned a combined total of $621,706 from its Telugu and Tamil versions plus the newly released Hindi-dubbed version (which contributed $192,622 from 60 theaters to the total). The movie’s total North American earnings stand at $7,454,170.

It’s worth emphasizing just how rare it is that both Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Baahubali earned more than $1 million in the US and Canada in their second weekends of release. In the last ten years, only three other Hindi films — which have a much greater market share than movies made in other Indian languages — have earned more than $1 million in their second weekend here: PK, Dhoom 3, and 3 Idiots. PK went on to earn more than $10 million in North America, Dhoom 3 more than $8 million, and 3 Idiots more than $6.5 million.

July 31’s only new release is Ajay Devgn’ Drishyam, a fact that should make the producers of Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Baahubali very confident about continued box office dominance. Given past performances by Ajay-led action flicks without a prominent male co-star, Drishyam could conceivably earn less than $200,000 in its opening weekend in the US and Canada.

Dil Dhadakne Do hung around for an eighth weekend in two theaters, earning $1,202 ($601 average). Its North American total stands at $3,063,095.

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: July 17-19

Business is booming for Indian movies in North America. Baahubali took the continent by storm last weekend, and Salman Khan just posted his biggest opening weekend ever in the United States and Canada.

From July 17-19, 2015, Salman’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan earned $2,613,192 from 276 theaters ($9,468 average) in North America, according to Rentrak figures supplied to Bollywood Hungama. That opening weekend per-screen average is ridiculous, given the high theater count and considering that the second highest average in 2015 trails it by almost $3,000 (Piku‘s $6,673). The average becomes even more interesting when the figures are broken down by country. The average from the 256 US theaters is $8,628, while the 20 Canadian theaters averaged $20,221.

Bajrangi Bhaijaan‘s success is a big deal for Salman’s brand in North America. Collections for his movies have consistently lagged behind those of the other two reigning Khans: Aamir and Shahrukh. Bajrangi Bhaijaan is Salman’s first release in more than 200 theaters in the US and Canada, the new threshold for aspiring blockbusters.

Not only did Bajrangi Bhaijaan more than double the collection of Salman’s previously most successful opening weekend — $1,139,340 for 2012’s Ek Tha Tiger — it already eclipsed the total earnings of his formerly most successful film in North America: 2012’s Dabangg 2, which earned $2,519,190. This is great news for Salman, who will hopefully take to heart the message that international fans are sending: choose good scripts, and you will be rewarded.

Baahubali continued its impressive run. Adding the second weekend earnings from both the Telugu ($966,329 from 162 theaters) and Tamil ($168,985 from 53 theaters) versions, Baahubali‘s North American total stands at $6,509,343. Amazing!

Two other Hindi films showed in the US over the weekend:

  • Dil Dhadakne Do: Week 7; $3,888 from four theaters; $972 average; $3,059,773 total
  • ABCD 2: Week 5; $352 from two theaters; $176 average; $881,302 total

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: July 10-12

The weekend of July 10-12, 2015, belonged to Baahubali. In just three days (four if you count Thursday night preview showings separately), it became the highest grossing Indian film of 2015 in North America! It even cracked the US box office top ten!

According to Rentrak figures supplied to Bollywood Hungama, the combined total for both the Telugu and Tamil versions of Baahubali earned $4,526,526 from 241 theaters in the US and Canada, for a per-screen average of $18,782. $4,281,338 came from the 172 theaters showing the Telugu version, while $245,188 came from the Tamil version on 69 screens. Many theaters in the US cancelled showings of the Tamil version of the film because it failed to arrive, so that part of the theater count could be high.

(As an aside, part of the explanation for Baahubali‘s terrific earnings in the US is that it benefited from “special event” pricing that never applies to Hindi films released in major chain theaters. All three of the theaters showing Baahubali in Chicago charged $20 per adult ticket, even for showings on weekdays before noon, which are almost always priced at reduced rates. Compare the special price of $20 for a Baahubali ticket to each theater’s standard weekend night adult ticket price: $12 at MovieMax; $11.25 at Muvico; and $7.25 at Seven Bridges. Makes you wonder what Dhoom 3‘s totals would’ve looked like if it had opened with similarly inflated ticket prices. Update: Click here for a great summary of how tickets for South Indian movies are priced in the US compared to Hindi movies.)

It’s also worth noting that Rentrak’s total is significantly higher than the $3,575,000 estimate released by Box Office Mojo on Sunday. I’ll update this post when Mojo releases their final total. I suspect Baahubali‘s real earnings lie somewhere in between. Regardless, its performance is remarkable. [Update: Box Office Mojo doesn’t have a final total beyond the posted estimate. Many other sites are using the Rentrak total, so we’ll stick with that.]

No new Bollywood movies released in local theaters over the weekend, and the only significant development was that Dil Dhadakne Do finally overtook Tanu Weds Manu Returns to become the highest earning Hindi film of 2015 in North America. Here’s how the Bollywood movies still in theaters fared over the weekend:

  • Dil Dhadakne Do: Week 6; $18,249 from 12 theaters; $1,521 average; $3,049,636 total
  • Second Hand Husband: Week 2; $16,215 from 24 theaters; $676 average; $150,017 total
  • ABCD 2: Week 4; $7,349 from eight theaters; $919 average; $878,514 total
  • Tanu Weds Manu Returns: Week 8; $944 from two theaters; $472 average; $3,022,611 total

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

In Theaters: July 10, 2015

Apparently, Kangana Ranaut’s recently revived I Love New Year isn’t making the journey to North America. As a result, there are no new Bollywood movies opening in the Chicago area on Friday, July 10, 2015. The remaining options in theaters are limited to Dil Dhadakne Do at the Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville and AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, which also holds over ABCD 2.

The weekend’s major Indian release is Baahubali, which opens on Thursday in both Telugu and Tamil (both versions have English subtitles) at the Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge, and MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, which also holds over Papanasam (Tamil) and Premam (Malayalam).

Bollywood Box Office: July 3-5

I confess, the North American box office figures from July 3-5, 2015, have me stumped. How did Second Hand Husband — a movie with no must-see stars and no advanced local promotion — earn nearly $100,000 in North America?

The exact figures for Second Hand Husband‘s opening weekend, according to Bollywood Hungama, are $99,838 from 74 theaters ($1,349 average). That’s more than Hamari Adhuri Kahani earned in its first weekend in the US and Canada ($94,005), and that movie starred Vidya Balan and Emraan Hashmi. Second Hand Husband also vastly out-performed a few other 2015 releases with (marginally) viable stars in their opening weekends: Welcome 2 Karachi with Arshad Warsi ($26,013); Hashmi’s Mr. X ($24,806); and Hawaizaada with Ayushmann Khurrana ($16,546).

So how exactly does a movie that currently has only 17 user ratings, one user review, and two critic reviews — one by yours truly; the other link doesn’t even lead to a review — at IMDb earn almost six figures in North America? The most obvious answer is desperation. It’s been two weeks since a new Bollywood film released here, and there’s a chance we won’t get another until Salman Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan opens on July 16. There could be untold legions of devoted Dharmendra fans, or lots of people morbidly curious to see the Bollywood debut of Govinda’s daughter. There could also be a large number of non-Bollywood fans who bought a ticket for Second Hand Husband based on its English title, who then walked out when they realized it was a foreign movie and went to see Jurassic World instead.

Whatever the reason, kudos to Second Hand Husband for turning in an opening weekend that was shockingly not disastrous.

Dil Dhadakne Do crossed the $3 million mark in North America its fifth weekend of release. It earned $48,788 from 27 theaters ($1,807 average) to bring its total to $3,013,736. That’s less than $8,000 behind Tanu Weds Manu Returns‘ total of $3,021,287. TWMR earned $2,782 from two theaters ($1,391 average) in its seventh weekend.

In its third weekend, ABCD 2 added another $27,807 from 22 theaters ($1,231 average), bringing its North American total to $865,222.

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: June 26-28

With no new Bollywood films in theaters, the North American box office depended on older releases during the weekend of June 26-28, 2015. The 3D dance sequel ABCD 2 led the weekend, earning another $154,260 from 123 theaters ($1,254 average). Its 10-day total of $768,435 ranks it the fourth highest earning Bollywood movie in the US and Canada in 2015.

In its fourth week of release, Dil Dhadakne Do added another $104,838 from 247 theaters ($424 average) to bring its total earnings to $2,925,626. Even though the movie’s foot traffic is slowing down, the lack of a marquee release during the upcoming Independence Day holiday weekend should enable DDD to clear the $3 million mark in North America.

Tanu Weds Manu Returns‘ impressive run nears its end. In its sixth weekend, it earned $14,248 from 141 theaters ($101 average), bringing its North American total to $3,015,069. Even if DDD overtakes TWMR in terms of total earnings, the fact that TWMR earned nearly as much while opening on over 100 fewer screens than DDD gives TWMR the moral victory.

Hamari Adhuri Kahani lingered for a third weekend on just four screens, taking in another $1,306 ($327 average). Its North American total stands at $171,778.

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Opening July 3: Second Hand Husband

One new Bollywood movie opens in Chicago area theaters on July 3, 2015. Second Hand Husband features the Hindi-film debuts of Punjabi singer/actor Gippy Grewal and Govinda’s daughter, Tina Ahuja. With no other new Bollywood films to compete with, Independence Day  weekend is a perfect time to launch two untested stars in the US. It also helps that the story — a lawyer (Tina) tries to find a new husband for her fiance’s ex-wife in order to get him out of his alimony payments — is accessible and ripe for comedy.

Second Hand Husband opens on Friday at MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale. It has a listed runtime of 1 hr. 44 min.

ABCD 2 gets a third weekend at MovieMax, South Barrington 30, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. Dil Dhadakne Do gets a fifth weekend at the South Barrington 30 and Cantera 17.

Other Indian movies showing at MovieMax this weekend include Papanasam (Tamil), Chandrettan Evideya (Malayalam), Tiger (Telugu), Indru Netru Naalai (Tamil), and Premam (Malayalam).

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Bollywood Box Office: June 19-21

ABCD 2 turned in the fourth highest opening weekend of the 2015, nearly doubling the earnings of ABCD‘s 2013 run in just three days. During the weekend of June 19-21, ABCD 2 earned $438,539 from 166 theaters in the US and Canada ($2,642 average).

Strong numbers aside, the dance sequel fell short of expectations. Its per-screen average was only the seventh highest of the year, despite releasing into the third highest number of theaters and charging premium 3D ticket prices. With little else of note releasing in the coming weeks, and with most American students finally out of school for the summer, ABCD 2 could still double its opening weekend take over the course of its run.

Hamari Adhuri Kahani fell off significantly in its second weekend, earning $18,255 from 26 theaters ($702 average). Its North American total stands at $161,038.

Dil Dhadakne Do added another $225,998 from 111 theaters ($2,036 average), bringing its three-week total to $2,732,535.

Tanu Weds Manu Returns inched closer to a $3 million North American total, earning $35,777 from 20 theaters ($1,789 average) in its fifth weekend. Its total presently stands at $2,986,278.

Piku held on for a seventh weekend in two theaters, earning another $1,997 ($999 average) to bring its total to $2,220,648.

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama