Tag Archives: Hindi Movies on Netflix

Streaming Video News: November 18, 2022

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with today’s additions of the Hindi thriller Dhokha: Round D Corner and the political drama Godfather, available in its original Telugu and in Hindi. Yesterday, Netflix added the Malayalam horror movie Kumari for streaming.

In other Netflix news, though the streamer hasn’t officially announced it, Pinkvilla reports that Sidharth Malhotra’s forthcoming movie Mission Majnu is releasing directly on Netflix on January 18, 2023. What’s on Netflix noticed that the Excel Entertainment movies will expire on December 15. Netflix just released a trailer for Randeep Hooda’s undercover series CAT, which debuts December 9.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Hulu with Wednesday’s addition of the Telugu film Iravatham. Disney+ Hotstar announced that Vicky Kaushal’s comedy Govinda Naam Mera will premiere directly on Disney+ Hotstar/Hulu on December 16.

Finally, I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with the addition of the Tamil film Iravin Nizhal. Have a great weekend!

[Disclaimer: my Amazon links include an affiliate tag, and I may earn a commission on purchases made via those links. Thanks for helping to support this website!]

Movie Review: Monica, O My Darling (2022)

3.5 Stars (out of 4)

Watch Monica, O My Darling on Netflix

Sometimes, getting everything you ever wanted just isn’t worth it. Monica, O My Darling — based on mystery author Keigo Higashino’s story “Burûtasu No Shinzou” — explores the dangers that lurk at the top of the socioeconomic ladder.

Jay (Rajkummar Rao) worked his way up from nothing to become an engineer. He’s just been named to the board of directors of Unicorn Robotics, and he’s engaged to Niki (Akansha Ranjan Kapoor), the bubbly daughter of Unicorn’s founder and CEO.

Jay’s also about to lose everything thanks to an affair with the CEO’s assistant, Monica (Huma Qureshi). She tells Jay she’s pregnant with his baby, which she wants to keep. She’ll happily stay quiet about it so long as he pays her.

Jay considers confessing his infidelity to Niki. But when Niki relays a story about a man who cheated on her cousin and says her family will likely kill him or send him to jail, Jay believes her and says nothing.

The thing about Jay is, he’s ambitious but not ruthless. Not in the way rich people are. Not in the way his jealous future brother-in-law Nishi (Sikander Kher) is.

Nishi arranges a meeting with Jay and Arvind (Bagavathi Perumal) — the company’s head of accounting — at a seedy motel. (Special kudos to whoever is responsible for the delightfully bizarre animal art on the walls of the motel.) Apparently, Monica has told all three men that they are the father of her baby and demanded money from each of them. Nishi’s solution is to kill Monica and have Jay and Arvind dispose of the body. If they’re all involved, then none of them will rat on the others. There’s no way regular guys like Jay and Arvind would come up with something so dastardly on their own.

Of course, there are hiccups in the plan’s execution. People die, and Jay falls under suspicion from an unusual detective, ACP Naidu (Radhika Apte).

The tone of Monica, O My Darling isn’t that of a straightforward mystery, but it’s not as colorful and brash as another Netflix Original comic thriller, Ludo. Director Vasan Bala strikes a balance where the film feels simultaneously realistic and unrealistic. The audience is aware they’re watching a film — in particular in scenes when a frame appears around the edges of the screen to mimic the shape of an old TV console and the men imagine Monica scheming like a movie villain — but the stakes feel high nonetheless.

Perhaps the best example of this is in the film’s fight scenes. There are only a few fights in Monica, O My Darling, but they are the movie’s most emotionally impactful sequences. The fight choreography is loose to the point that it appears at first like the actors are just goofing around. As the fight drags on, the gravity of the situation builds and becomes oppressive.

The casting in Monica, O My Darling is outstanding. Rao is the perfect normal guy and Qureshi an ideal vamp. Perumal provides great comic relief. Sukant Goel is creepy as Gaurya — a childhood acquaintance of Jay who wants to be more important than he is. Kher and Apte chew through their scenery like a couple of sharks. They are so fun to watch.

The mystery driving the story forward is compelling, but the payoff is a little unsatisfying. It doesn’t meet Aristotle’s standard of “surprising yet inevitable.” Nevertheless, Monica, O My Darling is an engrossing film with a killer soundtrack. It’s a wonderful followup to Bala’s previous feature film: the excellent karate movie Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (“The Man Who Feels No Pain.”)

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Streaming Video News: November 4, 2022

I updated my list of Bollywood movies streaming on Hulu with today’s addition of Brahmāstra, Part 1: Shiva (sometimes called Shiva No. 1). The superhero flick has Hindi and English dialogue options.

Also new today is the straight-to-streaming film Tadka on Zee5. This Hindi remake of the Malayalam film Salt N’ Pepper stars Nana Patekar, Taapsee Pannu, and Ali Fazal. (Update: if you’re trying to watch Tadka via the Zee5 app on Apple TV and use subtitles, the subtitles will appear at the top of the screen, obscuring the picture. See the photo below for an example.)

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime yesterday with the streaming debut of Ponniyin Selvan: 1. Mani Ratnam’s latest has Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada audio options.

Finally, I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with a few new additions this week: the Tamil-dubbed films David and Uyire and the 2022 Telugu action flick The Ghost (also available in Tamil and Hindi). If you missed any of the Indian films added to Netflix in October, check out my monthly roundup for What’s on Netflix.

[Disclaimer: my Amazon links include an affiliate tag, and I may earn a commission on purchases made via those links. Thanks for helping to support this website!]

Movie Review: Dobaaraa (2022)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Science fiction films are rare in Bollywood, so when a sci-fi Hindi film doesn’t quite work, it’s extra disappointing. Dobaaraa — a remake of the 2018 Spanish film Mirage — doesn’t lean hard enough into sci-fi genre tropes, making it feel identity-less.

Night closes in on a subdivision in Pune in 1996, bringing with it a powerful electrical storm. 12-year-old Anay (Aarrian Sawant) consoles himself by watching old videos of his dad, who’s working abroad. As Anay switches the camera to record himself, he sees a commotion through the window of the house next door. He goes to investigate and winds up dead.

25 years later, new occupants move in to Anay’s old house. Antara (Taapsee Pannu) is unhappy in her marriage to Vikas (Rahul Bhat), but she’s trying to keep things civil for the sake of their 6-year-old daughter Avanti (Myra Rajpal). The couple’s college pal Abhishek (Sukant Goel) still lives in the neighborhood, and he tells them over dinner the story of what happened to Anay, his childhood best friend.

Vikas mentions later that it’s weird that Abhishek didn’t mention this when they bought the house, which is true. The movie ignores Abhishek’s omission, missing a chance to build tension by putting suspicion on him for the events to come.

After dinner, Abhishek explains more about Anay’s video camera, which Antara found in a closet in the boy’s old room. This information comes in handy later that night, when Antara is woken by an eerily similar electrical storm. Rather than head back to bed, she turns on Anay’s camera. She sees him in 1996, he sees her in 2021, and they are able to talk to each other. When he hears the commotion next door, she convinces him not to investigate. She saves his life but turns her own upside down in the process.

At this point (about a quarter of the way through the film), I was so sold on Dobaaraa that I turned it off so that I could watch it from the beginning with my husband. Whether in books, shows, or films, time-space anomalies are our jam. We recently finished watching the great 2016 Korean series Signal, which also features characters communicating across time via outdated tech, so Dobaaraa seemed like a great pick for a Saturday night movie.

Unfortunately, after we caught up the point where I’d stopped watching, the movie all but abandons its sci-fi trappings to become a lukewarm mystery in which the audience figures out what’s happening long before the main character does. Antara spends a ton of time grilling the people in her life about why they remember things differently, bogging down the story in dialogue that fails to progress the plot or develop the characters.

With a more traditional sci-fi approach to the story, Antara would try to figure out how to recreate the conditions that led her to contact Anay in the first place, and there might be more details about the nature of the electrical storm. If this were a true thriller, Antara would be up against a deadline or in peril herself. Without genre hooks or a true sense of urgency, Dobaaraa‘s conventional drama approach doesn’t really work, because the characters are less interesting than their situation.

A few scenes of Anay in the altered timeline where he survived have the level of danger associated with the thriller genre. But even then, it gets the beats wrong, putting Anay in harm’s way, only to change scenes before we see how he gets out of it.

There’s not a ton the actors can do with the script. Young Aarrian Sawant is pretty good as Anay. Taapsee Pannu builds sympathy for Antara in the early parts of the film but stalls out as her character’s emotional range shrinks. Antara may be frustrated in Dobaaraa‘s second act, but not as frustrated as the audience waiting for her to connect the dots.

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[Disclaimer: my Amazon links include an affiliate tag, and I may earn a commission on purchases made via those links. Thanks for helping to support this website!]

Movie Review: Laal Singh Chaddha (2022)

2.5 Stars (out of 4)

Laal Singh Chaddha — an official remake of Forrest Gump — was released with the expectation that it would be yet another blockbuster for Aamir Khan, along the lines of 3 Idiots and PK. Such a high bar was always going to be tough to clear. Laal Singh Chaddha is a perfectly nice movie, but that’s it.

In this version, the Forrest Gump character is Laal Singh Chaddha (Khan). He admits that he’s not too smart, but his life has been full of twists and turns. He recounts his story to his neighbors in a train carriage — an unwilling audience at first, but they wind up riveted by the end.

Young Laal (Ahmad Ibn Umar) grows up in a small farming town where he’s teased for wearing leg braces. His only friend is a girl named Rupa (Hafsa Ashraf). Laal follows every order from Rupa to the letter, so when she orders him to run from bullies, he does so, discovering that he no longer needs his braces.

When Rupa’s father murders her mother during a spat over money, Rupa comes to live with her aunt at Laal’s house, where the older woman works as a housekeeper. Rupa vows to get very rich when she grows up so that she never has to be on the receiving end of the kind of abuse that killed her mom.

Rupa (played as an adult by Kareena Kapoor) is a much more interesting character than Laal. Rupa’s motivations are understandable, and she’s willing to take risks to get what she wants. Those risks come with high-stakes consequences she’s forced to deal with.

Laal, on the other hand, floats through life like a feather on the wind — an obvious visual metaphor the film uses during the opening credits. He doesn’t want anything other than to be with Rupa, and when he can’t be, stuff just happens to him.

A selling point for both Forrest Gump and Laal Singh Chaddha is that both lead characters accidentally wind up in proximity to pivotal events in national history. When Forrest Gump released in 1994, the technology used to put Tom Hanks’ character into historical footage was cutting edge. Thanks to the advent of Photoshop and proliferation of deepfakes in the twenty years since Atul Kulkarni started his Indian adaptation of the screenplay, the altered archival videos in Laal Singh Chaddha are no longer so novel.

There’s also the fact that the movie has little to say about the historical events it features. They exist more as name checks, and Laal’s proximity is often no more consequential than a fan’s attendance at a sporting event.

The magnitude of these historical events belie the film’s themes, which are actually quite small and personal in nature. The moral lessons are things like loyalty and following through on promises even when there’s no one around to hold you accountable. This isn’t a movie about a man who changes the world.

There’s nothing wrong with Laal Singh Chaddha‘s modest goals. It’s a totally watchable film, if a bit too long. Mona Singh is sweet as Laal’s loving mother. Aamir Khan’s wide-eyed performance is not dissimilar from his turn in PK, although that was a better movie.

Kareena Kapoor turns in a masterclass in acting in every scene she’s in. It’s almost unimaginable that she wasn’t first choice for the role (which was reputedly supposed to go to Manushi Chhillar). She may not play the title character, but Laal Singh Chaddha belongs to Kareena Kapoor.

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Streaming Video News: October 21, 2022

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with yesterday’s addition of the Tamil family film Senior Super Heroes. Look for the Telugu movie Krishna Vrinda Vihari to become available for streaming some time tomorrow afternoon. And just a reminder that tons of Hindi flicks are set to leave Netflix on November 1, so plan your weekend viewing accordingly.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with yesterday’s additions of the Marathi film Boyz 3 and a third season of Four More Shots Please!.

Finally, I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Hulu with the addition of the 2012 flick Filmistaan, which I really enjoyed.

One note about Hulu is that it seems like they’re the streaming service with the most disparate regional restrictions on marquee content. With some regularity, stuff that they promote on their social media channels is ultimately available in India, but not in the United States. For example, Liger is now streaming in Hindi in India, but not here. [Update: Liger in Hindi was added to Hulu over the weekend. I guess the other lesson is: stuff isn’t added to Hulu as quickly as it’s added to Disney+Hotstar.]

Plenty of titles are available on Amazon Prime in India that aren’t free with Prime in the US, but they aren’t usually titles that are promoted in advance. All this is just to say that, while I try to be accurate in the “Coming Soon” section on each of my three streaming pages, don’t be surprised if some titles mentioned on the Hulu page never make their way to the USA.

[Disclaimer: my Amazon links include an affiliate tag, and I may earn a commission on purchases made via those links. Thanks for helping to support this website!]

Movie Review: Plan A Plan B (2022)

1.5 Stars (out of 4)

Watch Plan A Plan B on Netflix

The lack of effort that went into making Plan A Plan B is readily apparent. Stars Tamannaah Bhatia and Riteish Deshmukh are occasionally able to elevate the poor material they’re given to work with, but much of the movie is forgettable.

Fault for the film lies at the feet of director Shashanka Ghosh (who made much better films like Veere Di Wedding and Khoobsurat) and writer Rajat Arora (who has a more mixed track record). All of the dialogue feels like a first draft, with characters saying the most obvious things and repeating conversational patterns over and over again. Because the movie was made for a streaming service and thus subject to less stringent Indian censorship requirements, the characters make frequent sex references, but in the most juvenile ways.

Bhatia plays Nirali Vora, a matchmaker taking over a successful business from her mother Kiran (Poonam Dhillon). Kiran announces her retirement by saying, “From now on, it’s just me and my pussy” — by which she means her friend Pushpa. See what I mean about juvenile sex references?

Deshmukh plays divorce attorney Kosty Chougule, who is as enthusiastic about marriages ending as Nirali is about marriages beginning. However, Kosty won’t agree to his own wife Runjhan’s (Bidita Bag) divorce request because he hates to lose and is still in love with her.

That doesn’t stop Kosty from finding plenty of hookups on dating apps. He meets the Indian women he connects with on the apps in public places like restaurants, while the white women he finds come to his apartment in revealing outfits. The harmful oversexed-white-woman trope has fallen out of fashion in recent years, so including it is more evidence of the laziness that went into writing Plan A Plan B.

Nirali and Kosty have offices next to each other in a co-working space in Mumbai. Their personalities clash, resulting in loads of noisy bickering. (If I was one of the other workers renting office space, I’d demand a refund.) The things they fight about are dumb and trivial, as are the reasons why most of Kosty’s clients want divorces. It’s all tidy vs. messy, dogs vs. cats — elementary school examples of opposites, basically. One reason Runjhan wants to divorce Kosty is because he won’t let her help in the kitchen when he prepares gourmet meals for her. Like, is that really a problem?

When Kiran enlists Kosty’s help preparing for her sixtieth birthday party, Kosty and Nirali agree to a truce. (The birthday party triggers some cringe-worthy “Look at these inspirational old ladies” observations from Kosty.)  The truce finally allows Deshmukh and Bhatia the chance to show why they are such likeable actors, as their characters finally try to connect with one another.

That said, there isn’t much chemistry between them, although they may not be at fault. The movie’s lone intimate scene plays out like combat rather than romance. The characters yank on each other’s clothes while strategically holding their heads to hide the fact that their lips aren’t actually touching.

There’s far more sensuality in a dance number Kosty and Nirali perform at Kiran’s birthday party. In fact, just watch their performance to the song “Keh Do Ke” and skip the rest:

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Streaming Video News: October 3, 2022

I just updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with yet another massive list of films that will soon expire from Netflix. Following the big purge of UTV titles on October 1, most of the rest of the UTV catalog will expire on November 1. Because of the ways that films are co-produced by multiple studios, I suspect a lot of this activity is due to a realignment of streaming video contracts. Many of these titles may wind up on Netflix again, although some will likely make their way other streamers (such as Disney+/Hotstar/Hulu in the case of movies produced by Disney India, like ABCD 2 or Zokkomon.)

Here are all of the movies leaving Netflix on November 1, with titles I’ve reviewed at the top followed by other titles in alphabetical order:

In other streaming news, the mass exodus of Yash Rash Films content from Amazon Prime that I wrote about last week turns out to have been more of a housekeeping matter. Previously, every YRF title had two separate catalog IDs: one from the initial time they were added to the Amazon Prime catalog and then when the movies were added again (for some reason). All of the original YRF catalog entries were wiped out on October 1, but the newer catalog IDs remain. So for now, the vast majority of YRF movies are still available on Amazon Prime. You can find all of them on my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime.

Streaming Video News: September 26, 2022

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with links to teasers for all of the titles featured in last weekend’s Tudum event. You can watch recaps of all of the global Tudum events on Netflix itself (India’s segment is hosted by Anil Kapoor), or you can watch a video of the full Netflix India event hosted by Prajakta Koli and Zakir Khan on Netflix India’s YouTube page.

Unfortunately, no release dates were announced at the Tudum event. While every other show or movie got a new official teaser, Monica, O My Darling got a music video. If I had to bet, that’s the one I’d pick as next to release. Here are all of the shows that got new promo material:

In other Netflix news, @CinemaRareIN on Twitter found a bunch of other UTV titles set to expire from Netflix on October 1 beyond the initial list I posted on September 2. The new batch makes a total of 28 titles on their way out in the next week. Update your watch priorities accordingly.

Here are all the additional titles expiring from Netflix October 1, with titles I’ve reviewed at the top followed by other titles in alphabetical order:

Streaming Video News: September 6, 2022

I just updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with the return of 28 titles from Red Chillies Entertainment. (Thanks to @CinemaRareIN on Twitter for posting the list!) A few of the returning titles expired as recently as September 1. Here’s a list of all of the Red Chillies movies that are available on Netflix once again:

Though the impending theatrical release of Brahmastra: Part One — Shiva is dominating headlines right now, it’s actually a pretty busy week on the streaming services. Here’s what’s debuting on Netflix and Amazon Prime in the next several days: