Tag Archives: Hindi

Bollywood Box Office: September 17, 2018

After its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Manmarziyaan — aka “Husband Material” — had a good opening weekend in North America. From September 14-16, 2018, Manmarziyaan earned $292,463 from 100 theaters ($2,925 average), according to figures provided by Sumit Chadha. The weekend’s other new release — the Jackky Bhagnani comedy Mitron — fared predictably poorly, bringing in $7,674 from 13 theaters ($590 average).

Forty Hindi films (including a few multilingual movies) have released in North America in so far in 2018, making it a convenient time to establish benchmarks for success by separating those movies into quartiles (figures below are estimates because I like round numbers). Based on total North American earnings, the bottom quartile includes titles that earned less than $80,000. The second quartile ranges from $80,000 to about $300,000, with the next ranging from $300,000 up to $1.1 million. Essentially, a movie needs to earn more than $1 million to make it into the top quartile here, but just $300,000 to make it into the top half.

Other Hindi films still showing in North American theaters:

  • Stree: Week 3; $96,170 from 41 theaters; $2,346 average; $665,464 total
  • Gold: Week 5; $2,118 from two theaters; $1,059 average; $1,127,974 total
  • Paltan: Week 2; $470 from three theaters; $157 average; $17,923 total

Sources: Bollywood Hungama and Sumit Chadha

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Opening September 14: Manmarziyaan and Mitron

After its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Manmarziyaan — known internationally as “Husband Material” — hits Chicago area theaters on September 14, 2018. The romantic drama from director Anurag Kashyap stars Taapsee Pannu, Vicky Kaushal, and Abhishek Bachchan.

Manmarziyaan opens Friday at the AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a runtime of 2 hrs. 36 min.

Also new this weekend is the Jackky Bhagnani comedy Mitron, which no one outside of the Bhagnani family is excited about. It opens Friday at the South Barrington 24 and MovieMax Cinemas in Niles.

Stree and Paltan carry over at MovieMax and the South Barrington 24, which also holds over Gold.

Other Indian and Pakistani movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend:

Bollywood Box Office: September 7-9, 2018

Stree is on fire in North America. The delightful horror comedy just posted the best Weekend 1-Weekend 2 holdover for the year so far, hanging onto nearly 80% of its opening weekend business despite dropping a handful of theaters. From September 7-9, 2018, Stree earned $162,044 from 52 theaters ($3,116 average), bringing its total to $504,448 after ten days — a wonderful accomplishment for a movie that opened in just 60 theaters.

The weekend’s two new Hindi releases would’ve been better off not opening here at all, combining to earn less than $20,000. The war drama Paltan earned $13,418 from 14 theaters ($958 average) in the United States and Canada. The romance Laila Majnu — which only opened in the US — earned $4,090 from eleven theaters ($372 average), setting a new low for the year for opening weekend total and opening weekend average.

Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se — which released with Stree two weeks ago — fared poorly as well, taking in $12,236 from 21 theaters ($583 average), bringing its total to $103,691.

Other Hindi movies still showing in North American theaters:

  • Gold: Week 4; $10,840 from twelve theaters; $903 average; $1,124,374 total
  • Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi: Week 3; $4,397 from seven theaters; $628 average; $135,815 total
  • Satyameva Jayate: Week 4; $3,103 from three theaters; $1,034 average; $224,707

Source: Bollywood Hungama

Movie Review: Stree (2018)

3.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the soundtrack at iTunes

A female ghost teaches the men of a small town to respect women in the hilarious horror comedy Stree, from the filmmaking duo Raj & DK.

Legend has it that, every night during a four-day holy festival, a ghost known only as “stree” — which translates as “woman” — steals any man wandering the town of Chanderi alone at night, leaving only his clothes behind. Residents write “Oh stree, come back tomorrow” on the walls of their homes, hoping to deter the ghost until the festival ends and she disappears until the next year.

Some of Chanderi’s young men doubt the story’s truth, none more so than Vicky (Rajkummar Rao), a gifted tailor of ladies’ clothing. He and his cronies Bittu (Aparshakti Khurana) and Janna (Abhishek Banerjee) attend a raucous guys-only house party where one of guests is snatched — right after Vicky pees on the outside wall, washing away the protective writing.

Earlier that day, Vicky met a beautiful woman (Shraddha Kapoor) in need of a new dress, falling in love “at first eyesight,” he brags in English. The woman — who never gives her name — says she’s only in town for the festival, so she needs the dress completed quickly. After the disappearance at the party, Bittu and Janna assume that this mystery woman is “stree”, driving a wedge between the friends right when their survival depends on them sticking together.

My chief complaint about one of Raj & DK’s earlier horror comedies — the 2013 zombie flick Go Goa Gone — is that the jokes dragged on too long, but Stree‘s jokes are crisp and well-timed (as was the humor in the duo’s 2017 action comedy A Gentleman). Perhaps it helped that the duo ceded directorial duties to Amar Kaushik, who does a wonderful job interpreting their screenplay in his feature debut.

The superb cast deserves a ton of credit as well. Rao is charming as a lovestruck dope, and Kapoor gets her character’s befuddlement at Vicky’s naiveté just right. Banerjee primarily works in films as a casting director, but he’s hysterical as Janna. Khurana is great as well, as is the always reliable Pankaj Tripathy as the town’s ghost expert, Rudra. Atul Srivastava — who plays Vicky’s father —  gets a stand-out scene opposite Rao. Dad tries to talk to his son about sexual responsibility, but Dad is so uncomfortable he resorts to euphemisms for everything. Sensing the discomfort, Vicky plays dumb, goading his father to explain exactly what he means by the advice: “Be self-reliant.”

The real surprise of Stree is how deftly it conveys its message of respect for women within such a funny movie. The men of Chanderi — young and old — are all losers in love, too immature to be able to form the kinds of romantic relationships with women that might actually lead to sex (without having to pay for it). It’s a legacy that’s haunted the town for centuries, when “stree” was murdered before her wedding night. Though Stree doesn’t pass the Bechdel test, there’s a narrative justification for it, since this is a story of men learning from one another how to stop objectifying women.

Two of the film’s song numbers help illustrate the men’s progress. “Kamariya” features Nora Fatehi in a more traditional item number, dancing at the house party just before the first man is snatched. The camera focuses on specific features and body parts as she performs in the living room among all the rowdy men. This kind of item number in which a woman dances at the center of a group of male audience members — as opposed to out of reach on a stage — is intimidating, yet the number ends with Fatehi escorted from the party by two bodyguards, letting the movie’s audience know that she was never in any danger. It’s an important cue that most other filmmakers neglect to include in similar numbers.

Contrast “Kamariya” with the closing credits song “Milegi Milegi”. The men in the audience are along the sides of the room while Kapoor dances in the middle of a group of female backup dancers. There are no closeups of specific parts of Kapoor’s body. When Rao joins in, Kapoor first manipulates his body to dance the moves she wants him to before he starts dancing alongside her. It’s a clever way to show the characters’ moral development while also making sure there are enough catchy tunes to fill out the soundtrack.

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Opening September 7: Paltan and Laila Majnu

Two new Bollywood films get limited releases in Chicago area theaters on September 7, 2018. The historical war drama Paltan features an ensemble cast that includes Arjun Rampal, Jackie Shroff, and Sonu Sood.

Paltan opens Friday at MovieMax Cinemas in Niles and AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs 30 min.

Also opening Friday at MovieMax is the romance Laila Majnu, with a screenplay by Imtiaz Ali.

After a good opening weekend in North America, Stree carries over at the South Barrington 24 and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se also gets a second week at MovieMax and the South Barrington 24.

Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi sticks around a third week at MovieMax and the South Barrington 24, which holds over Gold and Satyameva Jayate as well.

Other Indian, Pakistani, and Bengali movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend:

Bollywood Box Office: August 31-September 2, 2018

One new Hindi film benefited from the long holiday weekend in North America, and the other did not. From August 31-September 2, 2018, the horror comedy Stree earned $203,915 from 60 theaters* ($3,399 average), according to Bollywood Hungama — pretty good for a movie I wasn’t even sure would release here. Even with Monday’s Labor Day holiday theoretically boosting Sunday’s business, Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se only mustered $56,553 from 38 theaters ($1,488 average), with more than half its total coming from 14 Canadian theaters.

Other Hindi movies still showing in the US and Canada:

  • Gold: Week 3; $46,674 from 33 theaters; $1,414 average; $1,088,007 total
  • Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi: Week 2; $15,367 from 15 theaters; $1,024 average; $121,689 total
  • Satyameva Jayate: Week 3; $8,926 from six theaters; $1,488 average; $216,619 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 Stree in 68 theaters (making for a $2,999 per-theater average).

Source: Bollywood Hungama

Opening August 31: Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se

Update: When I published this on the afternoon of August 29, all the theaters had posted their full weekend schedules. Check again on Friday, and Stree is showing at the AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It’s showing in 60 theaters across North America, and it has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 8 min.


One new Hindi film opens in Chicago area theaters on August 31, 2018, and sadly it’s not Stree. It’s the third installment in Dharmendra & Sons comedy franchise: Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se.

YPDPS opens Friday at 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 25 min.

Gold and Satyameva Jayate carry over for a third week at MovieMax and the South Barrington 24, which also gives a second week to Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi.

Other Indian and Pakistani movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend:

Bollywood Box Office: August 24-26, 2018

Turns out there wasn’t much appetite for a Happy Bhag Jayegi sequel after all. From August 24-26, 2018, Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi earned $66,179 from 39 theaters ($1,697 average) in North America, according to Bollywood Hungama. That’s less than half as much as the original earned during its opening weekend in August of 2016: $156,110 from 77 theaters ($2,027 average).

The weekend was uneventful for the other Hindi films showing in North America. Gold finished its second weekend with $146,645 from 115 theaters ($1,275 average), bringing its total to $968,377. Also in its second weekend, Satyameva Jayate took in $23,609 from 14 theaters ($1,686 average). Its total stands at $194,022.

After August 31’s two new releases — Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se and Stree — hit theaters, early September looks pretty quiet on the Bollywood front. Of the three films that were supposed to open on September 7, just one — Paltan — will debut on time, with Helicopter Eela pushed to October 12 and Drive postponed (and possibly heading straight to Netflix). September 14 also saw a schedule change, with Arjun Patiala shifting to next year, leaving just Manmarziyan in theaters. The month closes out with 5 Weddings and Batti Gul Meter Chalu on September 21 and Sui Dhaaga: Made in India on September 28 — assuming they don’t pull a last-minute switcheroo. You can follow the changing whims of the Bollywood calendar on my Upcoming Releases page.

Source: Bollywood Hungama

Movie Review: Gold (2018)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the soundtrack at iTunes

Director Reema Kagti and screenwriter Rajesh Devraj took some liberties with Gold, their fictionalized account of India’s 1948 Olympic field hockey victory, changing the names of players and minor details while keeping the core of the story intact. Yet the story’s predetermined ending seems to have stumped the filmmakers, as almost every attempt to create tension in Gold feels forced and inorganic.

The events of Gold are told from the perspective of Tapan Das (Akshay Kumar), an assistant manager on the British Indian field hockey team that won gold at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. As the world’s most formidable hockey team for many years running, frustration builds among the team at being forced to share their glory with their British oppressors. But with the independence movement growing in strength, Tapan and the team’s captain, Shankar (Kunal Kapoor), hope to one day win the gold for India alone.

World War II cancels the Olympics in 1940 and again in 1944. This is addressed in a song montage that shows Tapan spiraling into despair and alcoholism, but it warranted further exploration. What was it like for those athletes who spent their prime competitive years on the sidelines, particularly those in countries far removed from the theater of war? We learn from Tapan that Shankar became a coach and that another player, Imtiaz Ali Shah (Vineet Kumar Singh), became a freedom fighter, but not how they felt about being unable to compete.

Gold’s greatest fault is that it is too focused on Akshay Kumar’s character. His emotional journey is the only one shown in any real depth, and events are shown exclusively from his perspective. It’s a stark contrast to 2007’s Chak De! India — another patriotic field hockey movie — which managed to establish about a dozen other memorable characters, in addition to a manager played by a superstar actor (in that case, Shah Rukh Khan).

When the war ends and a new Olympic games is announced for 1948 in England, Tapan rushes to assemble a team. With independence from Britain right around the corner, it’s the perfect opportunity to beat the Brits on their home soil. The sports commissioner Mr. Wadia gives his consent, with the provision that Tapan share managerial duties with Mr. Mehta (Atul Kale).

With the former superstar Shankar comfortably retired, Tapan enlists Imtiaz to serve as captain, bringing veteran leadership to a squad of young players with no international experience. Two hopeful new stars include a Punjabi policeman named Himmat (Sunny Kaushal) and Raghubhir Pratap Singh (Amit Sadh), a prince from a noble family.

Yet the plans Tapan and Imtiaz make in anticipation of independence are destroyed by the surprise implementation of Partition. Violence forces Imtiaz and several other Muslim players to flee with their families to the newly formed Pakistan, and the team’s British-Indian players head to Australia. Gold‘s best sequence is the heart-wrenching moment when Imtiaz decides to leave the nation whose independence he fought for, saying: “My country is different now.” His character’s particular struggles warrant a standalone movie.

Sadly, Gold heads downhill from here. The newly assembled team’s training is plagued by problems that promise to generate dramatic tension. Only that tension never really manifests — since the problems are all solved as quickly as they start. Mehta undermines Tapan, but Wadia immediately endorses Tapan’s approach. The team won’t work together, but then they learn to do so in a matter of minutes.

It’s a shame that Kagti and Devraj abandon politics at this point, since it could have been a good source of intra-team conflict, especially since the characters aren’t strictly based on any of the real-life team members. How do working class team members feel about playing with a prince, who seems unaffected by the fallout from Partition? Is Himmat worried about the violence in Punjab while he’s in training? How do any of the other dozen or so unnamed players feel about… well, anything? Instead, the climactic tension is created by one character needlessly withholding information from others — a silly shortcut, given all the potential sources of conflict available.

The acting is uniformly decent, with Singh giving the film’s standout performance. Shah and Kaushal are good as well. Kumar is fine, but the film’s uneven mix of drama and comedy keeps this from being one of his more memorable roles. Mouni Roy — who plays Tapan’s wife, Monobina — likewise suffers for having to perform comedy scenes that aren’t especially funny. Roy is seventeen years younger than Kumar, which makes one wonder why her young, attractive character would marry a much older, intermittently-employed drunk — a question that could have been avoided by casting an actress closer in age to Kumar.

Many of Gold‘s shortcomings could be forgiven if its hockey scenes were exciting, but they aren’t (the few that exist anyway). The Olympic scenes are also hampered by distracting CGI crowds in the background. Contrast that with the thrilling, beautifully-shot hockey scenes in Chak De! India, and Gold is strictly average.

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Opening August 24: Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi

The romantic comedy sequel Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi is the only new Bollywood film opening in the Chicago area on August 24, 2018. The 2016 original — Happy Bhag Jayegi — was just okay, but maybe the addition of Sonakshi Sinha to the cast can liven up the second film.

Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi opens Friday at the AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 16 min.

Gold carries over for a second week at the South Barrington 24, AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville.

Satyameva Jayate also gets a second week at MovieMax and the South Barrington 24.

Other Indian and Pakistani movies playing in Chicago area theaters this weekend: