Tag Archives: Fanney Khan

Worst Bollywood Movies of 2018

As with my Best Bollywood Movies post, I’m only including five titles in my Worst Bollywood Movies list for 2018. There simply weren’t enough Hindi films terrible enough to warrant such a dubious distinction. But believe me, those that did make the list earned their spots.

In fifth place is Fanney Khan, a dull but mostly harmless family film, except for one very troublesome subplot. The parents of aspiring teenage singer Lata (Pihu Sand) fret that their daughter will be pressured to trade sex for stardom. Yet her father Fanney (Anil Kapoor) has no problem trading another woman’s body in exchange for Lata’s success, kidnapping Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s pop star character to do so. That sound you hear is me smacking myself in the forehead.

Aiyaary makes the list due to its muddled writing. Filmmaker Neeraj Pandey belabors obvious points while glossing over complicated conspiracies in this bland, slow spy thriller, starring Sidharth Malhotra and Manoj Bajpayee.

Race 3 is another bloated narrative mess. I’m a fan of director Remo D’Souza’s movies ABCD and A Flying Jatt, but this franchise outing proves how hard it can be to include a superstar actor in an ensemble picture, while still allotting said superstar a disproportionately large portion of screentime. It also proves that Salman Khan’s star power doesn’t guarantee a movie’s box office success (more on that to come).

The two worst Hindi films of 2018 are bad for many of the same reasons. Both bungle their handling of traumatic injury and disability. Both feature loathsome male protagonists who depend on the suffering of women in order to grow emotionally — only the protagonists don’t actually undergo any emotional growth.

That’s how October wound up in second place for the year. Varun Dhawan plays the awful male lead in question. His character is obsessed with a comatose co-worker because he thinks she may have harbored feelings for him before the accident that injured her. The premise is plain gross, made all the worse by Varun’s character inserting himself into the finer details of her medical care (he LOVES checking her catheter bag). Even after the co-worker regains consciousness, her brain and body are so damaged that she can’t tell him to leave her alone if she wishes him to do so, let alone physically push him away. He takes advantage of her vulnerability, and he ends the movie no more morally improved than he was at the beginning.

As demoralizing as October is, first place goes to a movie that failed on a grander scale. Zero is my Worst Bollywood Movie of 2018. Granted, Shah Rukh Khan’s film wasn’t the biggest box office flop by one of the Three Khans for the year (in North America, that honor belongs to Aamir Khan’s Thugs of Hindostan). But Zero was easily the most offensive of the year’s disappointing films. Khan plays Bauua, a man with dwarfism —  his diminutive stature achieved using CGI and camera techniques — who falls in love with Aafia (Anushka Sharma), a woman with cerebral palsy. Writer Wendy Lu posted a piece on Huffington Post just yesterday explaining the problems with able-bodied actors playing disabled characters in Hollywood, and the same problems apply to the two lead actors in Zero. This is a movie that should never have gotten off the drawing board.

Yet Zero went ahead, and the resultant movie is even worse than feared. Not only is the movie out-of-step in the way it treats disability, it’s also sexist. Bauua thinks Aafia is his equal since they’re the same height when she’s in her wheelchair — never mind that she’s a rocket scientist and he’s an almost-40 high school dropout who’s never held a job. The rest of the story is utterly ridiculous. The only person who emerges from Zero with an unblemished reputation is Katrina Kaif, whose excellent performance stands to be overlooked, as everyone else tries to pretend that Zero never happened.

Kathy’s Worst Bollywood Movies of 2018

  1. Zero
  2. October — Buy at Amazon/watch on Prime
  3. Race 3 — watch on Prime
  4. Aiyaary — Buy at Amazon
  5. Fanney Khan — watch on Prime

Previous Worst Movies Lists

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Streaming Video News: October 13, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with the addition of the 2018 sports biopic Soorma to the streaming catalog.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with several 2018 theatrical releases. The lone Hindi film among them is Fanney Khan, which was disappointing in spite of its stellar cast. The Marathi movies Me Yetoy…Chhota Pudhari and Take Care Good Night are now available for streaming, as are the Tamil and Telugu versions of the thriller U Turn. (If you want to watch the 2016 Kannada film of the same name on which the new versions are based, find it here on Netflix.)

There are still more titles on the way in October. Sanju is supposedly coming to Netflix this month, and Prime announced that it will add John Abraham’s Satyameva Jayate on October 19.

Streaming Video News: October 1, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with more than fifty Indian titles that are now available for streaming. Most of the new films are in Hindi (23 titles), Punjabi (22), or Tamil (7), with one new addition each in Marathi and Bengali (as well as one Urdu movie from Pakistan). The full list of titles is available in the “Newly Added” section at the top of my Netflix page. Here are all of the Bollywood films that were just added:

Supposedly, Soorma is scheduled to join Netflix in India on October 20, with Sanju set to join the catalog this month as well, so we’ll keep an eye on that. For everything else new on Netflix — Bollywood or not — check Instant Watcher.

I also update my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with one new addition to the streaming catalog: the road trip movie Karwaan, which hit in theaters back on August 3, 2018. The July, 2018 theatrical release Dhadak comes to Prime in India on October 4, so hopefully we’ll get it here in the US as well.

Update: Thanks to my Twitter pal Gaurav for letting me know that Fanney Khan debuts on Amazon Prime on October 12, and Sanju hits Netflix on October 15.

Bollywood Box Office: August 17-19, 2018

2018’s two Indian Independence Day releases turned in middling performances in their first weekend at the North American box office. Leading the way was Gold, which opened in about five times as many theaters as Satyameva Jayate and made about five times as much money. From August 17-19, 2018, Gold earned $444,267 from 190 theaters ($2,338 average), according to Bollywood Hungama. Including earnings from August 15-16, Gold‘s total after five days stood at $578,617. This is down a bit from the performance of star Akshay Kumar’s 2017 Independence Day release — Toilet: Ek Prem Katha — which earned $670,447 in its opening weekend in North America.

Satyameva Jayate earned $84,772 from 39 theaters ($2,174 average), for a 5-day total of $111,632.

Most of the attention over the weekend went to the Telugu movie Geetha Govindam, which made $760,765 from 161 theaters ($4,725 average), bringing its 5-day total to $1,492,256. The rest of the Hindi films still showing in US and Canadian theaters are clearly on their way out:

  • Vishwaroop 2: Week 2; $12,885 from 32 theaters; $403 average; $42,834 total
  • Karwaan: Week 3; $3,601 from four theaters; $900 average; $177,859 total
  • Mulk: Week 3; $2,202 from five theaters; $440 average; $112,644 total
  • Fanney Khan: Week 3; $1,085 from five theaters; $217 average; $264,808 total
  • Sanju: Week 8; $339 from two theaters; $170 average; $7,873,779 total
  • Dhadak: Week 5; $172 from three theaters; $57 average; $853,878 total

Sources: 143 Cinema and Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: August 10-12, 2018

It was a slow weekend for Bollywood movies at the North American box office, with audiences holding off in anticipation of Wednesday’s Independence Day releases (or maybe everyone was watching The Meg). The only new Hindi release was Vishwaroop 2, accompanied by its Tamil counterpart, Vishwaroopam 2. Most Indian movies that release in multiple languages don’t publish separate earnings figures for each language, but Viswaroop(am) 2 did. According to Bollywood Hungama, Vishwaroop 2 (Hindi) made $17,865 from 41 theaters in North America ($436 average), a figure I assume includes earnings from Thursday night previews. 143 Cinema reports Thursday-Sunday earnings for Vishwaroopam 2 (Tamil) of $353,321 from 127 theaters ($2,782 average).

Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:

  • Fanney Khan: Week 2; $24,164 from 32 theaters; $756 average; $253,831 total
  • Karwaan: Week 2; $21,424 from 16 theaters; $1,339 average; $164,766 total
  • Mulk: Week 2; $12,192 from 13 theaters; $938 average; $104,408 total
  • Sanju: Week 7; $5,958 from eight theaters; $745 average; $7,872,912 total
  • Dhadak: Week 4; $5,072 from eight theaters; $634 average; $851,588 total
  • Soorma: Week 5; $488 from one theater; $378,637 total
  • Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster 3: Week 3; $36 from one theater; $44,445 total

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

Movie Review: Fanney Khan (2018)

1.5 Stars (out of 4)

Watch Fanney Khan on Amazon Prime
Buy the soundtrack at iTunes

The corny family drama Fanney Khan lacks the self-awareness to notice its obvious thematic flaws.

Anil Kapoor’s title character is the only one that really matters in the film. Fanney traded in his life as a small-time band leader for a steady factory job following the birth of his daughter, Lata, whom he named after his favorite singer in the hopes that little Lata would one day achieve the stardom he never could himself.

Stardom proves hard to come by for Lata, however. As a teenager (played by Pihu Sand), Lata is repeatedly booed off stage at talent competitions by audiences and judges more interested in teasing her about her weight than listening to her sing. She finds her dad’s musical taste cheesy, but performing racy pop songs isn’t working for her either. Instead of allowing Lata to find her own way, the movie leaves it to Fanney to chart Lata’s course for her.

A chance encounter with the famous pop star Baby Singh (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) inspires Fanney’s boldest plan for Lata’s success. He kidnaps Baby and holds her for ransom — not for the money his family desperately needs, but in exchange for getting Lata in the recording studio with Baby’s manager, Kakkad (Girish Kulkarni). Fanney recruits his jobless friend, Adhir (Rajkummar Rao) to keep watch over Baby, but Adhir’s crush on the star makes him an ineffective guard.

Fanney Khan might have succeeded as a pedestrian-yet-heartwarming family film were it not for a bizarre minor theme that alters the movie’s moral message in a way that debutant writer-director Atul Manjrekar appears not to have noticed.

The theme is first introduced when Lata plans her next live performance with her best friend, Rhea (Barbie Rajput, who is fantastic in her few scenes). When Rhea speculates that many top female stars slept with producers or other benefactors in order to become famous, Lata’s mother, Kavita (Divya Dutta), slowly enters the room, accompanied by music as somber as the expression on her face. She forbids the two girls from discussing the topic, even though were Rhea and Lata were both grossed out by the prospect and not actually considering it.

The same somber musical accompaniment reappears when Fanney asks Baby if she’d ever been pressured into sex for the sake of her career, when Kakkad is alone in a hotel room with Lata, and when Kavita sees Lata dressed in a (modest) one shoulder gown that Kavita nevertheless finds too revealing.

This repeated focus on women’s bodies and sexuality as they relate to fame is meant to convey the moral that women’s bodies are not tradeable commodities.

How, then, does director Manjrekar fail to notice the irony that his protagonist kidnaps a woman in order to trade her body for his own daughter’s success?

Fanney Khan is not a black comedy, and the sex-for-fame cautionary subplot isn’t explicitly juxtaposed against the main plot. Fanney is unquestionably a hero, slow-clapped by the very cops who come to arrest him as a way of praising his fatherly devotion.

Perhaps the point of the subplot is to convey that men may do what they like with women’s bodies, but women themselves may not treat their bodies as commodities. None of the men in the film face any repercussions for mistreating or intending to mistreat women’s bodies. Not Fanney or Adhir for kidnapping Baby, and not the studio head who wants Baby to have an “accidental” wardrobe malfunction in order to garner publicity. The character of a female recording engineer is invented specifically so that Kakkad can leer at her, thus making it appear as though Lata is in moral jeopardy when she’s alone in a room with him later. That Kavita doubts for a second whether Lata actually slept with Kakkad shows how little the film’s writers think of women’s ability to make their own moral judgements.

Fanney Khan lets down its main cast, who are all very good in the movie. Sand acquits herself well in her film debut, and she shares a nice mother-daughter rapport with Dutta. Rai Bachchan is natural in the role of a superstar, of course, and Rao is entertaining as always. Kapoor is flat-out terrific as the ultimate family man, making Fanney all the more endearing through his enthusiasm and cheerfulness. One way Kapoor could turn Fanney Khan into a positive is by taking Fanney’s band and backup dancers on the road, because they are a hoot.

Links

Opening August 10: Vishwaroop II

Kamal Haasan’s multilingual action film Vishwaroop 2 hits Chicago area theaters on August 10, 2018. Shot simultaneously in Hindi and Tamil (as Vishwaroopam 2), the film’s Telugu-dubbed version releases locally as well.

Vishwaroop 2 (Hindi) opens on Friday at MovieMax Cinemas in Niles and the AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, with preview shows starting Thursday night. Vishwaroopam 2 (Tamil and Telugu-dubbed) opens Thursday night at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale, and Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge. All versions have English subtitles and listed runtimes of 2 hrs. 25 min.

Fanney Khan gets a second week at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, and the Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. Karwaan and Mulk also carry over at the South Barrington 24 and MovieMax, which holds on to Dhadak and Sanju as well.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend:

Bollywood Box Office: August 3-5, 2018

Three new Bollywood releases, three lackluster opening weekends. Fanney Khan, Karwaan, and Mulk struggled during the weekend of August 3-5, 2018, with all three posting totals well below $200,000, the median opening weekend total for Hindi films in North America for the year so far. Fanney Khan scored the widest release, giving it the biggest returns: $139,584 from 69 theaters* ($2,023 average), according to Bollywood Hungama. Karwaan was next with $91,108 from 58 theaters ($1,571 average), followed by Mulk, with $53,747 from 25 theaters ($2,150 average). Those low totals aren’t just a result of modest theater counts. All of the films’ per-theater averages were far below this year’s median average of approximately $3,000, indicating a lack of audience interest.

Other Hindi movies still showing in North American theaters:

  • Dhadak: Week 3; $28,154 from 25 theaters; $1,126 average; $831,378 total
  • Sanju: Week 6; $22,731 from 16 theaters*; $1,421 average; $7,852,209 total
  • Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster 3: Week 2; $529 from five theaters; $106 average; $43,910 total
  • Soorma: Week 4; $450 from one theater; $378,148 total

*Bollywood Hungama routinely counts Canadian theaters twice in its weekly reporting, at least for a movie’s first few weekends of release. When possible, I try to verify the correct theater count with other sources. The above figures represent what I believe to be the actual theater counts. Bollywood Hungama’s reporting technically puts Fanney Khan in 83 theaters (making for a $1,682 per-theater average), Karwaan in 68 theaters ($1,340 average), Mulk in 31 theaters ($1,734 average), and Sanju in 22 theaters ($1,033 average).

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

Opening August 3: Fanney Khan, Karwaan, Mulk, and Puzzle

It’s a busy weekend for Chicago are Bollywood fans with three new Hindi films opening locally. The movie getting the widest release on August 3, 2018, is Fanney Khan, starring Anil Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao, and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

Fanney Khan opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 9 min.

Also new this week is the road trip flick Karwaan, featuring Irrfan Khan and Malayalam-film star Dulquer Salmaan in his Bollywood debut. Karwaan opens Friday at the River East 21, MovieMax, and South Barrington 24. It has a listed runtime of 1 hr. 54 min.

Last among the new releases is the courtroom drama Mulk, starring Taapsee Pannu and Rishi Kapoor. Mulk opens Friday at MovieMax and the South Barrington 24. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 20 min.

Sanju carries over for a sixth week at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, and the AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodrige. Dhadak gets a third week at the South Barrington 24 and MovieMax, which also holds over Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster 3.

Karwaan isn’t Irrfan Khan’s only new local release this weekend. He co-stars in the English-language film Puzzle, a drama about a New England housewife whose life changes after receiving a puzzle as a gift. It debuts Friday at the River East 21, Century Centre Cinema in Chicago, and Century 12 Evanston in Evanston before it opens region-wide on August 24. I haven’t stopped thinking about Puzzle since I watched it.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend: