Tag Archives: Indian Movies on Hulu

Movie Review: Cuttputlli (2022)

0.5 Stars (out of 4)

Watch Cuttputlli on Hulu

Cuttputlli (“Puppet“) is a prime example of one of Bollywood’s biggest problems at present: taking films that were successful elsewhere and remaking them without improving the story or remediating problematic elements.

The remake of the 2018 Tamil thriller Ratsasan stars Akshay Kumar as Arjan, a wannabe filmmaker who is obsessed with serial killers. We are told that Arjan is 36, driving audience members to immediately Google how old Akshay Kumar is (he’s 54). Arjan can’t find any takers for his slasher screenplay, so he uses Compassionate Appointment rules to take over his deceased father’s job as a police officer (with proper training first).

Arjan’s fledgling movie career is hardly mentioned again, which is a missed opportunity. The whole point of introducing it is to establish Arjan as an amateur profiler, differentiating him from the members of the police force in the small town where Arjan is assigned to work, alongside his brother-in-law Narinder (Chandrachur Singh).

When a missing teenage girl’s mutilated body is discovered, Arjan quickly recognizes the similarities to another murder that occurred in a nearby town a month earlier. But police chief Gudia Parmar (Sargun Mehta) ignores Arjan’s suggestion because he’s a rookie. She defaults to her usual method of beating anyone who can be loosely connected to the victim until they confess, whether they’re guilty or not.

Arjan is upset by the chief’s preference of violence over investigation. This could have led to an interesting examination of the problems with contemporary policing and its unbalanced incentive structure, but Cuttputlli isn’t that kind of movie. It has a conventional plot whereby one good guy must catch one bad guy, giving no airtime to the structures and systems that make such crimes possible.

Take for example a subplot about one potential suspect. A high school math teacher is able to sexually abuse his female students by threatening to report their poor class performance to their parents. Arjan’s own niece Payal (Renaye Tejani)–who exists in this movie solely to be victimized repeatedly–says that her parents were once so angry when she brought home a bad report card that they broke a television set. The film treats the line about the broken TV as a throwaway, rather than proof that unrealistic parental expectations actually might contribute to an environment that allows the predatory teacher to thrive.

Arjun stops the teacher before he’s able to assault Payal, kicking the man in the junk so ferociously that it sends him to the hospital. Arjun has become the thing that once disgusted him — a violent cop — but his reaction is condoned because he’s the hero of the story, granting him the right to mete out extrajudicial punishment as needed.

Cuttputlli‘s approach to violence is troublesome. The first victim’s mutilated face is shown for shock value, but lingering on each successive dead girl’s scarred visage feels exploitative. The film also follows the discovery of the first victim with a wacky scene in which Arjan chats with a forgetful grandpa who is delighted to discover that his wife is dead. The juxtaposition is uncomfortable, and the joke isn’t even funny (plus grandpa is never mentioned again either).

The conclusion to Cuttputlli is ridiculous. There was no reason to keep it the same as filmmaker Ram Kumar’s original film, but director Ranjit Tewari and writer Aseem Arrora seem determined not to make any improvements in their reboot. Mission accomplished, I guess.

Links

Streaming Video News: September 2, 2022

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with today’s premiere of Season 2 of The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives. Yesterday, Netflix added the 2022 Tamil film Katteri.

A bunch of Indian movies are set to leave Netflix on October 1. The films I’ve reviewed are at the top of the list below, followed by the rest of the expiring titles in alphabetical order:

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Hulu with yesterday’s premiere of the Akshay Kumar crime flick Cuttputlli. My review is still in progress, but this is not a film to prioritize.

Vidyut Jammwal’s action sequel Khuda Haafiz 2: Agni Parkisha made its streaming debut on Zee5 yesterday.

Streaming Video News: August 11, 2022

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with today’s addition of the Taapsee Pannu sports biopic Shabaash Mithu. Yesterday marked the debut of Indian Matchmaking Season 2 and the return of Season 1 villain Aparna. A new season of Never Have I Ever drops on Friday, followed by the Hindi action movie Nikamma on Saturday.

Netflix India announced the details on their slate of non-fiction content set to debut before the end of 2022, including release dates for two of the titles. Season 2 of The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives launches on September 2, and the second entry in the Indian Predator series — The Diary of a Serial Killer — comes out September 7.  Other titles mentioned in the reveal video (embedded below) include the previously announced series Social Currency, the new series IRL: In Real Love, and two new documentaries — Mumbai Mafia: Police vs The Underworld and Nayanthara: Beyond the Fairytale.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with today’s debut of Mind the Malhotras Season 2. Other new additions this week include Malayankunju (Malayalam) and Thank You (Telugu).

Finally, I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Hulu with today’s premiere of the Tamil film Cadaver (also available in Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, and Telugu). Another new addition to Hulu this week is the Telugu movie The Warriorr.

Bonus: Aditya Roy Kapur’s action flick Rashtra Kavach Om is now streaming on Zee5.

[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: Good Luck Jerry (2022)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Watch Good Luck Jerry on Hulu

The vibe of director Siddharth Sen’s debut feature Good Luck Jerry feels like a toned-down Ludo or Looop Lapeta. But trendy aesthetics can’t compensate for a disorganized screenplay and a lack of character development.

Janhvi Kapoor lends her undeniable charisma to Jerry Kumari, a young woman willing to do whatever it takes to provide for her family after her father’s death. Jerry’s mom Sharbati (Mita Vashisht) isn’t happy about her daughter’s job at a massage parlor, but the family needs the money, especially while Jerry’s younger sister Cherry (Samta Sudiksha) finishes school.

Their financial situation gets worse when Sharbati is diagnosed with lung cancer. Unable to get a loan for Sharbati’s treatment, Jerry uses a serendipitous connection to put a risky scheme into action.

While shopping at a market with Cherry, Jerry is forced by a neck-brace-wearing gangster named Timmy (Jaswant Singh Dalal) to recover a packet of drugs hidden in the men’s restroom. There are police all over the market, but they won’t suspect a young woman of carrying drugs. Jerry succeeds, and Timmy lets the sisters go. The next day, Jerry finds Timmy and convinces him to hire her as a drug runner on a permanent basis.

The new gig earns Jerry more than enough money, but it earns her enemies among the drug dealers as well. Timmy’s boss sets her up to fail with a job that’s too big to pull off — at least not without the help of her family.

In keeping with the colorful dark comedy style of movies like Ludo and Looop Lapeta, Good Luck Jerry‘s world is populated by weirdos. Jerry has to fend off romantic overtures from 40-something wannabe rapper Rinku (Deepak Dobriyal), and Cherry has her own suitor who hounds her while dressed in a groom’s attire. The criminals she meets are quirky, though not as memorable as Pankaj Tripathi’s neck-brace-wearing gangster Sattu from Ludo.

If anything, Good Luck Jerry seems like a watered-down version of other films in the same genre. It’s not as visually interesting, the characters are forgettable, and the comedy isn’t edgy enough. Also, Jerry’s final scheme seems overly complex, and the movie makes no attempt to explain how she, her mom, and her sister were able to pull it off.

Even though it’s based on the Tamil film Kolamaavu Kokila, the screenplay feels like an early draft. Jerry doesn’t grow at all; she begins and ends the movie as a woman who will do anything for her family. Sheer volume of characters — and the inflated runtime that comes with them — is treated as more important than fewer, more impactful ones. Dobriyal’s Rinku suffers particularly from this. He and Jerry don’t have much of a relationship, so including him in a climactic shootout doesn’t actually raise the stakes for Jerry. He just takes up space and screentime.

Kapoor, Sudiksha, and Vashisht share a delightful rapport and make a really cute family. Good Luck Jerry needed more of them and less of everybody else.

Links

Streaming Video News: May 9, 2022

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with upcoming expiration dates for a bunch of films from Shah Rukh Khan’s production house, Red Chillies Entertainment:

Other titles like Dear Zindagi have also expired in recent weeks, but I don’t think this necessarily means that Netflix’s deal with Red Chillies is done for good and that the films are headed to another streaming service. Chennai Express returned to Netflix in August 2021, and Yodha and two other titles returned in January of this year. This could just be a reset before the start of a new streaming contract. However, there’s no guarantee that the above titles will return to Netflix, or that they will return quickly if they do, so prioritize watching them if you’re so inclined.

Last week, Netflix added a pair of Hindi movies, including Radhe Shyam and the Original film Thar, which is really good. The Tamil action flick Beast — starring Vijay and Pooja Hegde — debuts on Netflix May 10 (in the afternoon in the US). And Netflix recently moved Masaba Masaba into the “Worth the Wait” row on their New & Popular page, joining She. No Season 2 release dates for either series yet, though.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with a bunch of additions in the last week:

The Amazon Original anthology series Modern Love: Mumbai premieres in the afternoon on Thursday, May 12.

Finally, I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Hulu with the debut of the Hotstar Special Hindi series Home Shanti, which is also available in Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu.

[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!]

Streaming Video News: April 8, 2022

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with two new Hindi films added this week: the comedy Dasvi and the LGBTQ drama Cobalt Blue (which was not very good). Also new this week is the social justice action flick Etharkkum Thunindhavan, available in its original Tamil plus dubbed versions in Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, and Telugu.

In other Netflix news, the Malayalam film Night Drive debuts on the service in the US in the early afternoon on April 9. Also, the title of the upcoming Netflix Original Hindi film Jaadugar — which I wrote about in my 2022 preview for What’s on Netflix — has been changed to Love Goals.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with the streaming premiere of the Malayalam film Naradan. Amazon just released the trailer of their upcoming Hindi legal drama Guilty Minds, which debuts on April 22:

Finally, I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Hulu with the worldwide premiere of the Tamil police drama Taanakkaran, also available in Kannada, Malayalam, and Telugu.

[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: Bhoot Police (2021)

3.5 Stars (out of 4)

Watch Bhoot Police on Hulu

Bhoot Police (“Ghost Police“) is a really satisfying, high-concept horror comedy.

Brothers Vibhooti (Saif Ali Khan) and Chiraunji (Arjun Kapoor) are exorcists for hire, carrying on the legacy inherited from their father, the renowned spiritual healer Ullat Babu (Saurabh Sachdeva, in flashbacks). However, the brothers’ business is a grift. Non-believer Vibhooti rationalizes their work as harmless since their sham spells put peoples’ minds at ease, but Chiraunji isn’t so sure. He’s convinced that their father’s encoded spellbook holds some key to the spirit realm, if only he could figure out how to read it.

Chiraunji asks his dearly-departed father for a sign, and Dad delivers. Chiraunji drops the spellbook, and a hidden scroll unlocking the book’s code pops out. The book lands at the feet of a woman named Maya (Yami Gautam) who needs the brothers’ help. Decades ago, Ullat Babu banished a ghost from her family’s tea estate, but the ghost seems to have returned. Now that Chiraunji can decipher his father’s book, perhaps he can perform a real exorcism and save Maya’s business.

The performances in Bhoot Police are a lot of fun. Khan’s opportunistic cad Vibhooti is contrasted against Kapoor’s earnest, sentimental Chiraunji. Gautam’s warmhearted Maya is balanced by her party girl sister Kanu (Jacqueline Fernandez, whose energetic performance is slightly over the top). Amit Mistry and Javed Jaffrey do exactly what needs doing in their supporting roles.

Because Bhoot Police feels silly and fun, it’s easy to miss how much thought went into its construction. Making the brother’s disparate personalities the main driver of conflict and then doubling it by adding two sisters with a similar dynamic adds depth to the story. There’s a goofy subplot with Jaffrey as a police inspector who’s hunting the brothers that has an unexpected payoff. The story behind the ghost haunting the estate is surprisingly emotional. All these layers give the actors a lot to work with and keep the plot moving along.

None of this should be a surprise given the team behind Bhoot Police. Director Pavan Kirpalani previously directed the excellent psychological thriller Phobia, starring Radhika Apte. That film required a great understanding of character, which is present in the characters in Bhoot Police as well. Both of the brothers suffered from the trauma of their father’s death but found different ways of coping with it. Revisiting the scene of their dad’s most famous exorcism forces the brothers to finally confront their feelings about him.

Kirpalani wrote both Phobia and Bhoot Police with Pooja Ladha Surti, who also edited both movies. She’s Sriram Raghavan’s go-to co-writer and editor, too, having worked with him in those capacities on Andhadhun and Badlapur (among other films).

Bhoot Police‘s other co-writer and assistant director — Sumit Batheja — wrote the dialogue for the hilarious action comedy A Gentleman.

With such talented people behind the camera, it’s no wonder that Bhoot Police is as enjoyable and well thought out as it is. The cast in front of the camera brings the story to life with a seeming effortlessness. If only every comedy could be made with this much care and deliberation.

Links

Streaming Video News: February 10, 2022

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with today’s global premiere of Deepika Padukone’s new film, Gehraiyaan. Yesterday, Prime launched the new Tamil thriller Mahaan in all its various formats:

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with the newly released trailer for Madhuri Dixit’s series The Fame Game (formerly Finding Anamika), which debuts February 25:

And I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Hulu with the trailer for the new Hindi film A Thursday, premiering February 17:

[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!]

Streaming Video News: January 21, 2022

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with today’s additions of the North American Desi diaspora films Definition Please and Donkeyhead and yesterday’s streaming debut of the Telugu movie Shyam Singha Roy.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with this week’s premiere of the Hindi anthology series Unpaused: Naya Safar, starring Saqib Saleem. Other recently added 2021 releases include Jhimma (Marathi) and Shava Ni Girdhari Lal (Punjabi).

Lastly, I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Hulu with today’s OTT debut of the 2021 Telugu film Akhanda. The Hindi romance Tadap comes to Hulu on January 28.

The first new Hindi films of 2022 are out on streaming. 36 Farmhouse — starring Sanjay Mishra and Vijay Raaz — premiered on Zee5 today, while ShemarooMe released the drama Sorry Day last week.

[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!]

Streaming Video News: December 23, 2021

Christmas 2021 might be one of the busiest periods on streaming video ever, with a mix of new original content and OTT debuts of theatrical releases. Satyameva Jayate 2 — which released in theaters on November 25 — was first out of the gate, dropping on Amazon Prime in the afternoon on December 22.

This afternoon saw the release of two more titles: the OTT debut of Salman Khan’s Antim: The Final Truth on Zee5 and the worldwide launch of the Bollywood romance Atrangi Re — starring Sara Ali Khan, Dhanush, and Akshay Kumar — on Hulu (new home for Hotstar content in the US).

Finally, the new Malayalam superhero flick Minnal Murali premieres on Netflix in the early hours of December 24.

And those are just the Indian movies releasing in time for Christmas. Other December 24 streaming releases that I’m looking forward to include the new Netflix premieres Don’t Look Up and The Silent Sea and the OTT debut of Encanto on Disney+.

If you plan to use the holiday break to catch up on movies you missed this year, Zee5 made a helpful page just for their 2021 releases. You can also check my Bollywood Movies on Netflix, Bollywood Movies on Amazon Prime, and Bollywood Movies on Hulu pages and use the Command-F/Ctrl-F keyboard shortcuts to search for “2021.” When I searched “2021,” it returned 113 entries on my Netflix page, 233 entries on my Prime page, and 168 entries on my Hulu page. That’s a lot to catch up on!

If you’re already up-to-date with this year’s biggest Indian releases, check out the massive 2022 Netflix preview I wrote for What’s on Netflix. There’s a lot of good Indian content to look forward to on Netflix next year!

Have a safe and happy holiday! — Kathy

[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!]