Tag Archives: Hindi

Bollywood Box Office: November 2-4, 2018

Badhaai Ho dominated the box office for a third consecutive weekend, earning $329,042 from 107 theaters ($3,075 average) from November 2-4, 2018, according to Bollywood Hungama. With $2,653,882 in earnings so far, it needs another $360,000 to move past Raazi into third place for the year.

Erin Fraser of the Bollywood Is For Lovers podcast chides me on Twitter whenever I point out instances of poorly reviewed films performing better in Canada than in the United States (as I did last week regarding Namaste England). Well, Erin, you’ll be happy to know that 5 Weddings made just $34 from one Canadian theater over the weekend, but a whopping $156 from the lone US theater showing it. You win this round, Canada! The romantic comedy has a ten-day total of $12,622.

Other Hindi movies still showing in North American theaters:

  • Baazaar: Week 2; $40,188 from 40 theaters; $1,005 average; $292,994 total
  • Andhadhun: Week 5; $66,524 from 22 theaters; $3,024 average; $1,193,046 total
  • Namaste England: Week 3; $474 from three theaters; $158 average; $107,851 total
  • Helicopter Eela: Week 4; $123 from one theater; $71,651 total

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

Advertisements

In Theaters: November 2, 2018

No new Hindi movies open in Chicago area theaters the weekend beginning November 2, 2018, in anticipation of next Thursday’s release of Thugs of Hindostan. Advanced tickets for the sea-faring epic are already on sale at MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, Regal Round Lake Beach Stadium 18 in Round Lake Beach, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge, AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge, and AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, which shows Thugs on both its IMAX screen and in standard format.

Local theatrical options for Bollywood fans as of this Friday include Badhaai Ho at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, and Woodridge 18, with MovieMax and the South Barrington 24 holding over Baazaar and Andhadhun as well.

Other Indian movies showing in Chicago area theaters this weekend:

TV Review: Ghoul (2018)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Watch Ghoul on Netflix

Ghoul pulls no punches in its depiction of the dangers of state-sanctioned religious intolerance. The show’s monsters are scary, but not as terrifying as the vision of the future presented by writer-director Patrick Graham.

The miniseries comprises three episodes, each with a runtime between 40-45 minutes (excluding closing credits). In all, Ghoul is about as long as a feature film. I appreciated the built-in breaks, which occur at logical points in the plot. This is a perfect kind of storytelling format for a streaming video platform, and I won’t be surprised to see it become more common as filmmakers adapt to changing audience viewing habits.

Graham keeps the scares to a minimum in the first episode: “Out of the Smokeless Fire,” establishing a world where every day is a nightmare for those on the wrong side of new societal divisions. A fascist Indian government cracks down on homegrown terrorism by outlawing certain religious texts and practices, burning books and whisking away citizens believed to harbor anti-nationalist sentiments for “re-education.” The only people targeted in crackdowns are Muslims, although the show doesn’t specifically identify the government as Hindu nationalist.

Naive patriotism inspires Nida Rahim (Radhika Apte) to enlist in the military, despite being the daughter of an Islamic scholar (played by S.M. Zaheer). She’s convinced that the government’s harsh tactics truly are about national security and not religious oppression, as her father believes — so much so that she turns in her own father for re-education. Soon after, she’s posted at a secret government prison to aid the interrogation of notorious terrorist Ali Saeed (Mahesh Balraj), who is captured in the show’s opening, half-dead and surrounded by the corpses of his followers. But why would the military assign Nida, a junior interrogator, to such a high-profile case?

The last two episodes draw from any number of horror films in which the characters are trapped in a remote location with a monster, their terror turning them against one another when their survival depends on them working together. Few of the soldiers and prisoners get any meaningful character development other than Colonel Sunil Dacunha (Manav Kaul), whose idea it was to bring Nida in, and Lieutenant Laxmi Das (Ratnabali Bhattacharjee), Dacunha’s skeptical second-in-command.

Although the relative anonymity of the other soldiers signals their expendability, it also highlight’s the shows message that any agent of a fascist government is liable for its crimes. Not every soldier in Dacunha’s prison personally tortured prisoners, but all of them knew about it and did nothing to stop it. The jail’s cremation room is a stark visualization of the parallels to Nazism present throughout Graham’s screenplay.

When Ghoul‘s namesake creature finally appears, the story becomes quite scary, playing on the fears of those within the prison. Several of the soldiers, including Dacunha, are haunted by the way engaging in torture has warped their sense of morality — not enough to stop torturing people, unfortunately — allowing the monster to play on their guilt. The scares in Ghoul are more psychological than surprise driven, and there’s a considerable amount of blood.

Nida is plagued by her own guilt, and she has no allies in her new surroundings. Apte is compelling in the lead role, showing both Nida’s grit and vulnerability. Bravely, the series doesn’t downplay her commitment to the totalitarian government. She’s willing to follow orders until the moment she’s absolutely convinced that she’s been duped. Nor does Ghoul try to make Dacunha more sympathetic than he should be. Kaul depicts Dacunha as conflicted, but unquestionably a bad person. Ghoul knows which way its moral compass points, and it’s not afraid to show it.

Links

Bollywood Box Office: October 26-28, 2018

The weekend’s new Bollywood releases were overshadowed by the behemoth Badhaai Ho. From October 26-28, 2018, Baazaar earned $139,316 from 87 North American theaters ($1,601 average), according to Bollywood Hungama — not terrible, but nothing to write home about. 5 Weddings opened with a wretched $5,218 from eleven theaters ($474 average).

Right now, Badhaai Ho is where it’s at. The family comedy added twenty theaters in its second weekend of release, taking in $688,627 from 127 theaters ($5,422 average), according to 143 Cinema. In ten days, it has amassed an amazing $1,891,984. It needs another $800,000 or so to break into the Top 5 for the year in North America, but with no new Bollywood movies releasing here this coming weekend, that’s totally possible.

Andhadhun is still going strong as well, with 143 Cinema reporting fourth-weekend earnings of $99,499 from 26 theaters ($3,827 average). Its total stands at $1,104,601.

Namaste England‘s second-weekend returns are kinda tragic: $4,378 from twelve theaters ($365 average), according to Bollywood Hungama. Four Canadian theaters are responsible for $3,733 of that total, meaning that Namaste England earned a measly $645 from eight US theaters. That’s a per-screen average of $933 in Canada versus just $81 in the United States. Yikes! Namaste England has total earnings of $98,710.

Sources: 143 Cinema and Bollywood Hungama

Opening October 25 and 26: Baazaar and 5 Weddings

Chicago area Bollywood fans get two new films to choose from the weekend beginning October 26, 2018. Saif Ali Khan’s Wall Street-esque thriller Baazaar gets a head start, opening in local theaters on October 25.

Baazaar opens Thursday 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. 20 min.

On Friday, the English-language, American-produced romantic comedy 5 Weddings — starring Rajkummar Rao and Nargis Fakhri — opens at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago. It has a listed runtime of 1 hr. 30 min.

After a great opening weekend, Badhaai Ho carries over at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, and Cantera 17 and expands to the AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. Andhadhun carries over at MovieMax and the South Barrington 24, which also holds onto Namaste England a second week.

Other Indian movies showing in Chicago area theaters this weekend:

Movie Review: Once Again (2018)

2.5 Stars (out of 4)

Watch Once Again on Netflix

A reclusive movie star pursues a romance with the woman who cooks for him in Once Again.

Comparisons between Once Again and 2013’s The Lunchbox are inevitable. Both films are about lonely Mumbaikars who form a romantic attachment to one another through the medium of food. While The Lunchbox chronicles the development of attraction, Once Again pushes its lead couple forward into a relationship.

There are some critical differences between the two films. The duo in The Lunchbox have a significant age difference working against them: she’s a young mother with a child, he’s days away from retirement. In Once Again, the obstacles are economic class and gender expectations. Amar (Neeraj Kabi) is one of the nation’s most popular stars. Tara (Shefali Shah) runs a restaurant, which she’s done for the twenty years since her husband died, as a means to support her family.

Recently divorced, Amar lives alone. He has a standing order with Tara’s restaurant to supply dinner to his high-rise apartment. Calls to Tara for meal requests became more intimate in nature over time, and Once Again begins with Amar asking the restaurateur to finally meet in person.

Tara has her hands full. Her son Dev (Priyanshu Painyuli, who played the title character in Bhavesh Joshi Superhero) is getting married, and she’s fighting with the bank to secure a loan for restaurant repairs. On top of that are all the questions of what a romantic relationship would mean for her after decades alone, always putting her own wants and needs second to those of her children.

Amar is more impulsive and less introspective, showing up outside of Tara’s restaurant unannounced one day. It’s the push the fledgling romance needs, and the two find they share a crackling chemistry. But of course things can’t go smoothly for the middle-aged lovebirds. When paparazzi take photos of them on a date, it creates havoc, especially for Tara.

Once Again acknowledges the greater burden borne by Tara. She’s suddenly an item of public interest, followed by reporters once she steps out of the sanctuary of her kitchen. Dev and his future in-laws fret about the perception of impropriety among their social circle — as if a woman is only allowed one romantic relationship in her life, even if her husband dies when her children are very young, as in Tara’s case.

Amar himself seems less understanding of Tara’s predicament than filmmaker Kanwal Sethi’s script is. Amar is used to being famous, and no one bats an eye at when a man reenters the dating scene in middle age. Plus Amar’s wealth affords him a kind of social protection that doesn’t apply to a struggling small business owner like Tara.

Once Again‘s great failing is that, even though it raises issues on Tara’s behalf, it seems to side with Amar’s “who cares what anyone else thinks” romantic notions. Amar is allowed to chart the course of their relationship, driven by his own wants and without any course corrections to make things easier for Tara.

The subplot about Tara’s bank loan is badly mismanaged. Its inclusion seems to inevitably point toward a conversation between Tara and Amar about his possible financial assistance and the effect of their economic inequality on their relationship, but she never even mentions the loan to him. The loan is a big issue for Tara and Dev, so for her to not even mention it to Amar is weird.

Elements working in Once Again‘s favor include endearing performances by Shah, Kabi, and Painyuli. The movie’s MVP is Director of Photography Eeshit Narain, who shoots delectable footage of Tara cooking in her restaurant and positively hypnotic footage of Mumbai at night, shot from inside Amar’s car as he drives restlessly around the city.

Links

Bollywood Box Office: October 19-21, 2018

It’s time to officially declare 2018 Ayushmann Khurrana’s year, right? Two weeks after scoring a surprise hit with Andhadhun, his followup release Badhaai Ho took the North American box office by storm. From October 19-21, the family comedy earned $822,801 from 107 theaters ($7,690 average), according to 143 Cinema. That’s the third-best opening weekend average for the year. Andhadhun is still going strong, taking in $147,779 from 62 theaters* ($2,384 average), according to Box Office Mojo, which puts the thriller’s total at $959,504 thus far.

The weekend’s other new release — Namaste England — was crushed by the Khurrana juggernaut. Per Box Office Mojo, the romantic comedy sequel earned just $67,612 from 71 theaters. That’s a per-screen average of $952. I’m curious to see how Namaste England‘s failure affects the release plans for another film starring the movie’s lead duo of Parineeti Chopra and Arjun Kapoor — Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar, currently on the calendar for a March, 2019 debut.

Helicopter Eela has the dubious distinction of posting the worst second-weekend per-screen average for the year. It made $535 from seven theaters — an average of $76 per theater. Oy. It has total earnings of $70,966, according to Bollywood Hungama.

Other Bollywood movies still in North American theaters (per Bollywood Hungama):

  • Sui Dhaaga: Week 4; $2,391 from ten theaters; $239 average; $1,160,677 total
  • Loveyatri: Week 3; $83 from one theater; $119,084 total

*Concerns about the accuracy of Bollywood Hungama’s reporting led me to switch to Box Office Mojo’s data for Andhadhun. BOM reported that Andhadhun actually added six theaters last weekend, which contradicts one of my main points in last week’s box office report (based on Bollywood Hungama’s info). Oops. Nevertheless, Andhadhun and Queen are still the only Hindi movies in the last decade to earn more in their second weekend’s while following a traditional release format in North America.

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

Opening October 19: Badhaai Ho and Namaste England

Two new Hindi movies release in Chicago area theaters on October 19, 2018. First up is Badhaai Ho, a family comedy about an unexpected pregnancy starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Sanya Malhotra.

Badhaai Ho 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 3 min.

Also new this weekend is the Arjun Kapoor-Parineeti Chopra romantic comedy Namaste England, a sequel to 2007’s Namastey London (which starred Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif).

Namaste England opens on Friday in all three of the above theaters. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs 21 min.

All three theaters carry over Andhadhun for a third weekend. (Go see it, BTW.) The South Barrington 24 also holds onto Sui Dhaaga: Made in India, as does the AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. Helicopter Eela is out of local theaters after one week.

Other Indian movies showing in Chicago area theaters this weekend:

Movie Review: Andhadhun (2018)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the soundtrack at iTunes

Neo-noir filmmaker Sriram Raghavan made his best movie yet: the black comedy Andhadhun (“Blindly“).

Ayushmann Khurrana stars as Akash, a talented blind musician living in Pune. He gets a gig as the piano player at trendy restaurant after the owner’s beautiful daughter, Sophie (Radhika Apte), runs into him with her scooter. The job puts Akash in touch with some high rollers, including former film star Pramod Sinha (Anil Dhawan). Pramod hires Akash to serenade him and his young wife Simi (Tabu) on their anniversary, and things don’t go as planned.

Raghavan’s script — co-written with Yogesh Chandekar, Hemanth Rao, and frequent collaborators Arijit Biswas and Pooja Ladha Surti (who also edited Andhadhun) — rewards fans of crime thrillers with familiar genre nods like femmes fatales and characters who aren’t what they seem. Yet the story veers in unexpected ways, forcing the audience into a giddy series of emotional pivots, from shock to uneasy chuckles to horror to hysterical laughter, all in a matter of seconds. It’s astonishing how well Andhadhun pulls this off.

Khurrana’s filmography is full of nice-guy roles, and the sympathy he inspires serves Akash well early on, before we discover that the pianist has his own secrets. His more complicated character contrasts with that of Sophie, who has the movie’s “sunshine role”, according to Ladha Sutri. A love scene between Akash and Sophie is wonderfully steamy despite its brevity.

Then there’s Tabu. She’s glorious in this, so much fun to watch as the ambitious trophy wife (who is shown at one point reading a book titled Anita: A Trophy Wife). She’s charming and chilling, and also hilarious as the movie’s main source of dark humor.

Raghavan and his co-writers ensure that every supporting character has their own clear motivations, which not only elevates the overall quality of the story, but makes it that much easier to get great performances from the whole cast. Ashwini Kalsekar is a laugh riot as the enthusiastic-but-out-of-the-loop wife of a police officer, played by Manav Vij.

Sound design plays a huge role in Andhadhun, as it has in Raghavan’s previous movies. Here, Raghavan expertly deploys tunes to shock the audience or punctuate a joke. Amit Trivedi’s terrific original songs are interspersed with Bollywood hits from the 1970s (ostensibly from the soundtracks of Pramod Sinha’s films).

Khurrana learned to play the piano well enough that cinematographer K. U. Mohanan could shoot Akash playing in full frame, instead of filming him from the chest up and inserting shots of a real pianist’s hands doing the playing. It’s an example of the cast & crew’s dedication that helps make Andhadhun so darned fun to watch.

Links

Bollywood Box Office: October 12-14, 2018

Andhadhun just did something incredible. In its second weekend of release, it earned more money than it did in its opening weekend! And on five fewer screens, no less! From October 12-14, 2018, Andhadhun earned $267,719 from 49 theaters in North America ($5,464 average), according to Bollywood Hungama. That’s almost $16,000 more than last weekend.

In the last decade, I found two other Hindi movies that also out-earned their opening weekend in their second weekend in North America, both in 2014 and both with mitigating factors. The Lunchbox had a slow theatrical rollout, starting out in three theaters and finally reaching its peak theater count of 176 in its ninth week of release. Queen — which employed a more traditional release strategy, like Andhadhun — also earned more in its second weekend, but it added eleven theaters to do so. The only other movies to come close — Kahaani and Pink, which held on to 97% and 99% of their opening weekend business in their second weekends, respectively — also added theaters after strong first weekends. For Andhadun to out-earn its opening weekend while actually losing theaters is a really big deal. Its total stands at $702,335.

The weekend’s lone new release, Helicopter Eela, failed to take off, bringing in $47,299 from 70 theaters in the United States and Canada. That’s a per-screen average of just $676.

Bollywood Hungama didn’t post data from the five Canadian theaters showing Sui Dhaaga: Made in India, but the film earned $34,067 from 40 US theaters ($852 average) in its third weekend of release. That means its total is somewhere north of the $1,101,594 we can officially account for.

Other Hindi movies still showing in North America:

  • Loveyatri: Week 2; $8,234 from 15 theaters; $549 average; $116,388 total
  • Stree: Week 7; $278 from two theaters; $139 average; $843,430 total

Source: Bollywood Hungama