I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with five additions to the streaming catalog: Aiyyaa, Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap, Gabbar Is Back, Madras Cafe, and Michael, starring Naseeruddin Shah. Madras Cafe is the most interesting of the new additions that I’ve seen. Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap is underdeveloped, and Gabbar Is Back‘s narrative is a disaster. For everything else new on Netflix (Bollywood or not), check Instant Watcher.
While the majority of the worst Bollywood films of 2015 are guilty of garden variety stupidity, a pair of movies were especially loathsome. Here are my picks for the worst Bollywood movies of 2015. (Click on the title of each movie to read my original review.)
The dual-narrative romantic drama Roy wound up on the list due to an excess of ennui and emotionally immature dialogue.
Jazbaa managed to make talented actors Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Irrfan Khan look ridiculous (and green-tinted).
Two awful examples of Bollywood nepotism made the list. Producer-offspring Jackky Bhagnani’s inevitable rise to super-stardom was deferred yet again by his awful performance in Welcome 2 Karachi. In her Bollywood debut, Govinda’s daughter Tina single-handedly ruins Second Hand Husband with her squinty delivery and nonexistent dance moves.
The most painful theater-going experience of the year was Shamitabh, a movie so annoying that I was literally begging out loud for it to end.
Dirty Politics is a textbook example of how not to make a movie.
The offensive Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 came in a close second place for suggesting that all women who report being raped are liars. That such a hateful movie purports to be a comedy makes it all the more disturbing.
My worst movie of 2015 struck a nerve, going beyond just offending and veering into moral recklessness. Director Umesh Shukla and writers Sumit Arora and Niren Bhatt should be ashamed for claiming that Alzheimer’s disease is a result of filial neglect that can easily be cured if children are nicer to their parents. Given that a lack of awareness about Alzheimer’s persists in India, using a film to offer bogus medical advice and assign undeserved blame is irresponsible. For those reasons — in addition to it being just a plain old sucky movie — my worst Bollywood film of 2015 is All Is Well.
Kathy’s Ten Worst Bollywood Movies of 2015
- All Is Well — Buy/rent at iTunes or Amazon
- Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 — Buy at Amazon
- Dirty Politics — Buy/rent at iTunes or Amazon
- Shamitabh — Buy at Amazon
- Second Hand Husband
- Welcome 2 Karachi
- Jazbaa — Buy/rent at Amazon
- Welcome Back — Buy at Amazon
- Gabbar Is Back — Buy/rent at iTunes or Amazon
- Roy — Buy/rent at iTunes or Amazon
Previous Worst Movies Lists
Brothers got off to a good — but not great — start in North America. From August 14-16, 2015, Brothers earned $348,036 from 181 theaters ($1,923 average). Almost a quarter of its earnings came from the 17 Canadian theaters that carried the film.
The per-screen average is the key to appreciating how well Brothers fared compared to star Akshay Kumar’s two previous releases in 2015. January’s Baby remains Kumar’s best performer this year: $4,393 average in 99 theaters. Even May’s Gabbar Is Back fared better in that metric than Brothers: $2,251 average in 120 theaters. It’s as though distributors attributed Baby‘s success entirely to Kumar, prompting them to open his subsequent films in more and more theaters. More likely, Baby over-performed thanks to its patriotic theme and its release during winter’s cinematic dead zone. Kumar’s opening weekend sweet spot in North America is right around 100 theaters.
In its fifth weekend, Bajrangi Bhaijaan took in another $130,081 from 65 theaters ($2,001 average), bringing its North American total to $7,871,909. For some perspective, the year’s next best fifth weekend performance — belonging to Dil Dhadakne Do — is $48,788 from 27 theaters. Demand for Bajrangi Bhaijaan is still awfully high here.
Poor old Bangistan hung around for a second weekend in just two American theaters, whence it earned $164. Its total stands at $44,177, fifth worst for the year in the US and Canada.
Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama
I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with one new addition to the catalog. 1999’s Taal — starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Anil Kapoor, and Akshaye Khanna — is now available for streaming. Another of Aishwarya’s movies — 2004’s Bride and Prejudice — was added to the catalog last week. These new additions almost balance out the recent departures of Besharam, Boss, and Jab We Met. For everything else new on Netflix, check out Instant Watcher.
Eros Now recently added several 2015 releases to its streaming lineup, some of which are available for free. (If you need English subtitles, however, you have to upgrade to the $7.99 monthly premium subscription.) Here’s the fare from the current year available on Eros Now:
Tanu Weds Manu Returns got off to an amazing start in the United States and Canada, posting the best opening weekend of 2015 so far. According to Bollywood Hungama, TWMR earned $957,976 from 150 theaters ($6,387 average) in North America. Box Office Mojo reports that TWMR took in another $265,275 on Monday’s Memorial Day holiday, putting the total from its first four days at $1,223,251.
Despite the intense competition, Piku added another $284,750 from 90 theaters ($3,164 average) to bring its three-week total to $1,933,247. That weekend total is astounding given that the year’s second best third-weekend total is Detective Byomkesh Bakshy‘s $50,038. The fact that Piku is still showing in 90 theaters after three weeks is amazing in itself.
In its second weekend, Bombay Velvet carried over in 107 theaters but earned just $36,090 ($337 average). That’s appalling. It’s North American total stands at $423,003.
My favorite thing about the box office figures over the last four weeks has been tracking the disparity in Gabbar is Back‘s popularity in the US and Canada. The movie’s fourth weekend earnings — $2,637 from three theaters ($879 average) — don’t tell the whole story. Of those three theaters still carrying Gabbar is Back, only one was in the US, and it earned just $10 during the whole weekend! So only one person in the US watched Gabbar is Back in the theater last weekend (okay, maybe two people, if they bought matinee priced tickets)! Gabbar is Back‘s total North American earnings stand at $570,556.
Tanu Weds Manu Returns — the sequel to 2011’s Tanu Weds Manu — hits Chicago area theaters on May 22, 2015. Kangana Ranaut and R. Madhavan are back as the title characters, with Ranuat taking on an additional role as Tanu’s doppelgänger, an athlete named Kusum.
Tanu Weds Manu Returns opens on Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, Regal Round Lake Beach Stadium 18 in Round Lake Beach, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 8 min.
Bombay Velvet — which opened in twelve Chicago area theaters last weekend — carries over for a second week at the River East 21, MovieMax, South Barrington 30, Cantera 17, and Woodridge 18. The same five theaters also hold over Piku for a third week, while Gabbar is Back gets a fourth week at MovieMax.
Other Indian movies showing at MovieMax this weekend include 365 Days (Telugu), Lailaa O Lailaa (Malayalam), Demonte Colony (Tamil), Mosagallaku Mosagadu (Telugu), 36 Vayadhinile (Tamil), Chirakodinja Kinavukal (Malayalam), and Lion (Telugu).
Piku dominated the North American box office for a second weekend, overshadowing the new Bollywood release Bombay Velvet. After an unexpectedly strong performance in its opening weekend, Piku opened in an additional five theaters, bringing its total theater count to 124 during the weekend of May 15-17, 2015. It earned $595,308 to bring its North American total so far to $1,801,807. Its per-screen average of $4,801 is the second highest of the year, besting the opening weekend per-screen averages of every other Hindi film released here in 2015.
Bombay Velvet bombed in its opening weekend. Despite opening in 239 theaters — the first 2015 release to cross the 200-theater mark in North America — it only earned $297,437. Its disappointing per-screen average of $1,245 is well below this year’s median opening weekend average of $1,565.
For a third consecutive weekend, Akshay Kumar’s Gabbar is Back proved vastly more popular in Canada that the US. $13,215 of its third-weekend earnings came from just six Canadian theaters ($2,203 average), with 17 US theaters contributing $9,977 ($587 average) to a weekend total of $23,192. Its total earnings of $556,032 are the fourth highest for the year so far.
May 15 sees the biggest Bollywood release of 2015 so far, when Bombay Velvet opens on 218 screens in North America. It’s also Ranbir Kapoor’s biggest career release in the US and Canada, besting the opening of 2013’s Besharam by one theater.
Bombay Velvet opens on Friday in twelve Chicago area theaters: AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC Showplace 12 Niles in Niles, Marcus Gurnee Mills Cinema in Gurnee, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, Marcus Addison in Addison, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, AMC Showplace Naperville 16 in Naperville, AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge, and Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, and AMC Showplace Schererville 16 in Schererville, IN. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 29 min.
Piku carries over for a second week at the River East 21, Regal Gardens 1-6, MovieMax, South Barrington 30, Cantera 17, and Woodridge 18.
Gabbar is Back gets a third week at MovieMax and the South Barrington 30.
Other Indian movies showing at MovieMax this weekend include Mythri (Kannada), 36 Vayadhinile (Tamil), Purampokku Engira Podhuvudamai (Tamil), Chirakodinja Kinavukal (Malayalam), Dongata (Telugu), Lion (Telugu), Uttama Villain (Tamil).
Piku just knocked the pants off of every other Hindi movie to open in North America in 2015 so far and set a high bar for future releases. During its first weekend — from May 8-10, 2015 — Piku earned $938,938 from 117 theaters, an average of $8,025 per screen.
Mother’s Day Sunday drove huge crowds to the theater for the family comedy starring Amitabh Bachchan and Deepika Padukone. At least one showing at my local cinema sold out of tickets, which is almost unheard of. In one weekend, Piku earned $200,000 more than Baby — now the second highest earner of 2015 — earned from four weeks in North American theaters. Piku‘s strong earnings and positive word of mouth should make the team behind Bombay Velvet nervous ahead of its release on Friday, May 15.
[Rentrak reports to Bollywood Hungama weekend earnings figures for Piku that are about $150,000 less than the above figures reported by Box Office Mojo. I tend to prioritize Box Office Mojo’s figures when they have them available for Hindi movies. Either way, Piku earned a helluva a lot of money.]
In its second weekend, Gabbar is Back took in another $109,705 from 92 theaters ($1,192 average), bringing its North American total to $490,385.
Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:
- Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!: Week 6; $2,200 from six theaters ($367 average); $608,751 total
- Dharam Sankat Mein: Week 5; $160 from one theater; $13,545 total
Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama
One new Hindi movie opens in the Chicago area on May 8, 2015. Piku stars Amitabh Bachchan and Deepika Padukone as a father and daughter on a road trip, chauffeured by Irrfan Khan.
Piku opens on Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 15 min.
Gabbar is Back gets a second weekend at all of the above theaters except the River East 21.
Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend include Uttama Villain (Tamil w/English subtitles) at the Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge, and MovieMax, which also carries the Telugu version of Uttama Villain, India Pakistan (Tamil), Bhaskar the Rascal (Malayalam), Oru Vadakkan Selfie (Malayalam), OK Kanmani (Tamil), OK Bangaram (Telugu), and S/O Satyamurthy (Telugu).