Tag Archives: Indian

In Theaters: October 18, 2019

Eros International opted not to release Saif Ali Khan’s Laal Kaptaan here, so there are no new Hindi films opening in the Chicago area on October 18, 2019. The Sky Is Pink holds over for a second week at MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, Regal Cantera in Warrenville, and AMC Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

War gets a third week at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera, Woodridge 18, Regal Round Lake Beach in Round Lake Beach, AMC Niles 12 in Niles, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, and AMC Naperville 16 in Naperville.

Dream Girl holds over for a sixth week at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, and Cantera.

Other Indian and Pakistani movies playing in the Chicago area this weekend (all films have English subtitles):

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Bollywood Box Office: October 11-13, 2019

The Sky Is Pink had a fine opening weekend in North America. From October 11-13, 2019, the family drama earned $336,620 from 163 theaters ($2,065 average), according to Bollywood Hungama.

It was never going to best War, which had a good enough second weekend to finish in 12th place at the overall North American box office. The action flick earned $866,421 from 270 theaters ($3,209 average), according to Box Office Mojo. Its total earnings of $3,640,355 currently rank in 4th place among Hindi films in North America this year — just $17,453 behind Mission Mangal in 3rd and about $545,000 behind Uri: The Surgical Strike in 2nd.

Also in its second weekend of release, Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy earned $191,257 from 156 theaters ($1,226 average), bringing the multilingual’s total to $2,527,853.

Dream Girl finished its fifth weekend with $33,124 from 26 theaters ($1,274 average). Its total earnings stand at $2,277,724.

Sources: Bollywood Hungama and Box Office Mojo

Opening October 11: The Sky Is Pink

New in Chicago area theaters October 11, 2019, is the Hindi family drama The Sky Is Pink. Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Farhan Akhtar play parents to a terminally ill daughter, played by Zaira Wasim in her last film before her retirement from the entertainment industry.

The Sky Is Pink opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Arclight Glenview in Glenview, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC Niles 12 in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, Regal Cantera in Warrenville, AMC Naperville 16 in Naperville, and AMC Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 15 min. There’s no information on The Sky Is Pink‘s streaming partner yet.

After a great opening weekend, War carries over for a second week at the River East 21, MovieMax, Niles 12, South Barrington 24, Cantera, Naperville 16, Woodridge 18, Regal Round Lake Beach in Round Lake Beach, and Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison.

Dream Girl gets a fifth weekend at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, and Cantera.

Other Indian movies playing in the Chicago area this weekend (all films have English subtitles):

Bollywood Box Office: October 4-6, 2019

Mammoth new releases War and Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy closed out their first full weekend in North American theaters with War winning the box office battle by just $262. From October 4-6, 2019, War earned $1,607,627 from 305 theaters ($5,271 average), according to Box Office Mojo — good enough to rank 9th at the overall North American box office. Adding in returns accumulated since its opening on October 2 brought War‘s total earnings to $2,114,917.

Multilingual Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy‘s box office run was more heavily front-loaded, with the bulk of its $2,114,655 total coming from its first three days, including North American previews starting on October 1. According to Bollywood Hungama, SRNR made $840,115 from 316 theaters ($2,659 average) over the weekend across all three language versions of the movie.

In its fourth weekend in theaters, Dream Girl earned $90,983 from 64 theaters ($1,422 average), bringing its total to $2,202,765 — good enough to temporarily rank 9th among Hindi movies released in North America this year, before War and SRNR inevitably overtake it.

Chhichhore is on the cusp of passing the $2 million mark, with a $1,990,293 total following weekend earnings of $33,159 from 33 theaters ($1,005 average).

Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:

  • Section 375: Week 4; $253 from two theaters; $127 average; $91,087 total
  • Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas: Week 3; $71 from one theater; $52,871 total

Sources: 143 Cinema, Bollywood Hungama, Box Office Mojo

Movie Review: The Zoya Factor (2019)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the soundtrack at iTunes
Buy the book at Amazon

A young woman’s good fortune causes headaches for both her and the captain of India’s cricket team as they try to win the World Cup in The Zoya Factor, based on Anuja Chauhan’s 2008 novel of the same name.

The novel and movie are both set in a timeline based on the 2011 Cricket World Cup tournament played in India, but the members of the Indian cricket team are all fictional.

Sonam Kapoor Ahuja plays Zoya, a copywriter struggling to fit in at her snooty advertising firm who’s rejected by potential romantic suitors because of her middle-class background. At least her dad Vijayendra (Sanjay Kapoor, Kapoor Ahuja’s real-life uncle) and older brother Zoravar (Sikander Kher) love her. They believe she brings them luck in their local cricket pickup games because she was born the day India won its last World Cup in 1983.

Zoya is sent on a make-or-break work assignment to photograph members of the Indian Cricket Team. She gets off to a mixed start with the team’s handsome captain, Nikhil (Dulquer Salmaan), who is charmed by her exuberance and frustrated by her determination. But when he sees Zoya’s co-workers ignore her at breakfast the next morning, he invites her to eat with the team, where she tells them that she’s her family’s lucky charm on the cricket pitch. The team wins their match that afternoon, and Zoya becomes their lucky charm, too.

Screenwriters Pradhuman Singh and Neha Rakesh Sharma skillfully adapt Chauhan’s novel, so that all of drama in the film arises from the characters’ conflicting motivations. Zoya is of course delighted when handsome, rich Nikhil takes a romantic interest in her, but she’s just as thrilled to finally fit in with a group. The team’s most superstitious players — Shivy (Abhilash Chaudhary) and Harry (Gandharv Dewan) — value Zoya for her good luck, but they also genuinely like her because she takes an interest in them. She approaches them differently than Nikhil, who believes that hard work is the only factor in team’s success. When he insists that Zoya stay away from the team, lest they put too much faith in her, he doesn’t realize that her presence has a reassuring affect on jittery players like Shivy and Harry, making them more relaxed on the pitch and helping them perform better.

Even the story’s villain, Robin (Angad Bedi), has understandable motives. It would be a lot easier for Robin to reclaim the captaincy he lost to Nikhil if the public and the Indian Cricket Board give Zoya the credit for the team’s victories — especially when Nikhil is trying to keep her away. It just so happens that Robin’s uncle is the head of the Cricket Board, which makes Zoya an offer that forces her to choose what’s really important to her.

Sikander Kher is stealthily terrific in the movie, and his character plays an important part in steering Zoya’s choices. As her big brother, he’s sincerely concerned for her well-being, but he also reinforces all of Zoya’s insecurities by asking her why someone as popular as Nikhil would be with a nobody like her. Adding insult to injury is that she hates his nickname for her, delightfully translated in the English subtitles as “Spongebob.”

The whole cast is likeable, and Salmaan and Kapoor Ahuja are quite cute together. There’s a distracting amount of product placement in The Zoya Factor, but it’s otherwise a sweet, fun romantic comedy.

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In Theaters: October 4, 2019

War dominates the Bollywood theater scene in Chicago the weekend beginning Friday, October 4, 2019. It shows in the following local theaters: the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC Niles 12 in Niles, Regal Round Lake Beach in Round Lake Beach, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, AMC Dine-In Yorktown 18 in Lombard, Regal Cantera in Warrenville, AMC Naperville 16 in Naperville, AMC Woodridge 18 in Woodridge, and AMC Crestwood 18 in Crestwood. War‘s streaming video partner is Hotstar.

The weekend’s other behemoth is the multilingual release Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy, showing locally in three different languages:

Telugu: River East 21, MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera, Naperville 16, Century 12 Evanston in Evanston, Century 16 Deer Park in Deer Park, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale, Cinemark Tinseltown USA in North Aurora, and Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge

Hindi: River East 21, MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera, Naperville 16, and Seven Bridges

Tamil: MovieMax and Seven Bridges

The South Barrington 24 and Cantera hold over Chhichhore and Dream Girl, which also gets a fourth week at MovieMax.

Other Indian movies playing in the Chicago area this weekend (all films have English subtitles):

Bollywood Box Office: September 27-29, 2019

It was another great weekend for Dream Girl and Chhichhore, and a rotten three days for all of the other Hindi films showing in North America from September 27-29, 2019. Dream Girl held the top spot in its third weekend of release, earning $304,764 from 105 theaters ($2,903 average), according to Bollywood Hungama. Its $2,023,249 total ranks in 10th place for the year so far — just $145,000 behind Total Dhamaal and $300,000 behind Super 30.

Chhichhore had a really nice fourth weekend, taking in $136,494 from 78 theaters ($1,750 average), according to Box Office Mojo. Its $1,924,497 total is right behind Dream Girl in 11th place.

On the other hand, all three of last weekend’s new releases continued their losing streaks. The Zoya Factor earned the most of the lot — $16,566 from 100 theaters ($166 average). A 10-day $121,835 total for a Sonam Kapoor Ahuja film is basically unthinkable at this stage in her career. I’m never going to understand it. Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas was next with $6,236 from 14 theaters ($445 average), bringing its total to $51,727. Prassthanam followed with $2,829 from eight theaters ($354 average). A $29,111 total for a Sanjay Dutt movie? Again, unthinkable.

Then again, this weekend is pretty representative of how 2019 has gone for Bollywood movies in North America. It’s been feast or famine, with no in between. Looking at box office data from the last five years, approximately 25% of Hindi movies released here in a given year earn more than $1 million, with about 35% earning between $200,000 and $1 million, and 40% earning less than $200,000. 2019 is right on pace in that last category, with 41% of releases earning less than $200,000. But an astonishing 44% have taken in more than $1 million here this year. That leaves only 15% (six titles out of 41) in that middle category. The days of a modest $600,000 success are on the way out, but the odds of distributors and studios hitting it big have gone way up.

Other Hindi movies still showing in North American theaters:

  • Section 375: Week 3; $2,947 from three theaters; $982 average; $90,547 total
  • Mission Mangal: Week 7; $1,520 from one theater; $3,657,808 total
  • Saaho: Week 5; $101 from one theater; $3,223,175 total

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

Opening October 2: War

The action extravaganza War — starring Hrithik Roshan, Tiger Shroff, and Vaani Kapoor — hits Chicago area theaters on Wednesday, October 2, 2019.

War opens Wednesday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC Niles 12 in Niles, Regal Round Lake Beach in Round Lake Beach, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, AMC Dine-In Yorktown 18 in Lombard, Regal Cantera in Warrenville, AMC Naperville 16 in Naperville, AMC Woodridge 18 in Woodridge, and AMC Crestwood 18 in Crestwood. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 30 min. War‘s streaming video partner is Hotstar.

This week’s other big release is the multilingual epic Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy. It opens primarily in Telugu on Tuesday, October 1, followed by an expansion into Hindi and Tamil on Wednesday. All versions have English subtitles. Here’s where it’s playing on Wednesday:

Telugu: River East 21, MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera, Naperville 16, Century 12 Evanston in Evanston, Century 16 Deer Park in Deer Park, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale, Cinemark Tinseltown USA in North Aurora, and Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge

Hindi: River East 21, MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera, and Seven Bridges

Tamil: MovieMax and Seven Bridges

In Theaters: September 27, 2019

With War on the horizon, no new Hindi movies open in the Chicago area on Friday, September 27, 2019. Many local theaters haven’t finalized their Wednesday schedules yet, but it looks like the Hrithik Roshan-Tiger Shroff action extravaganza is getting a huge local release, including in some theaters that don’t normally carry Bollywood movies. I’ll post another theater update early next week, before War‘s official release on October 2.

Despite a disappointing opening weekend, The Zoya Factor gets a second week at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, Regal Cantera in Warrenville, and AMC Naperville 16 in Naperville.

Another dud from last weekend — Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas — holds over at the South Barrington 24, Cantera, and MovieMax, which also hangs onto Prassthanam.

Still going strong, Dream Girl gets a third week at the River East 21, MovieMax, South Barrington 24, and Cantera. All four theaters also carry over Chhichhore, as does the Naperville 16.

Mission Mangal gets a seventh week at the AMC Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

As a reminder, after its theatrical run, Prassthanam heads to Amazon Prime; Zee5 has the streaming rights to Dream Girl and Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas (probably); and Hotstar gets Mission Mangal, Chhichhore, and The Zoya Factor.

Other Indian movies playing in the Chicago area this weekend (all films have English subtitles):

Movie Review: Arjun Patiala (2019)

1.5 Stars (out of 4)

Watch Arjun Patiala on Amazon Prime
Buy the soundtrack at iTunes

In the course of spoofing Bollywood cop movies, Arjun Patiala takes a grim turn that it doesn’t reckon with, making it no fun to watch.

Arjun Patiala” is the title of a movie being narrated to a producer played by Pankaj Tripathi, whose only requirement is that sexy actress Sunny Leone be cast in the film. The director (Abhishek Banerjee, who was great in Stree) works Leone into his narration of his movie about an upright Punjabi policeman.

The director’s description is visualized onscreen as the movie within the movie begins. Arjun (Diljit Dosanjh) finally achieves his childhood dream of becoming a police chief. On his first day in command of Ferozpur station, he disciplines two young men for sexually harassing a woman and helps lovely beautician Baby (Leone) evict some tenants from her salon.

When he first speaks with Baby — and any other good-looking woman who needs his help — Arjun imagines holding a microphone and serenading her. The other men in the room can see it, but Baby can’t. It’s one of various visual gags that remind the audience that this is just a movie. There’s also on-screen text providing additional information about the characters, but it’s written in Hindi and not translated in the English subtitles.

Such sight gags keep the audience emotionally distant from the story — which is probably good, given what’s to come.

Arjun is tasked by his superior officer (played by Ronit Roy) with eradicating crime in the district. Arjun asks Ritu (Kriti Sanon) — a gorgeous local reporter he wants to marry — to explain to him and his sidekick Onida (Varun Sharma) exactly how the local crime syndicates are organized, since apparently the police don’t know.

To this point, Arjun Patiala is a good-natured spoof of cop flicks. It maintains a lighthearted tone throughout, but the plan Arjun concocts to clean up his district is disturbing and at odds with the tone. Arjun starts by having a low-ranking criminal named Sakool (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub) shoot and kill one of the underworld bigwigs. This sparks a string of retaliatory murders until there are no criminals left to commit any crimes.

There’s nothing comical about the way the murders are carried out. One guy is stabbed with a fork, and another is poisoned. There are montages of mass killings by machine gun. Arjun and Onida sit next to one of Sakool’s victims as he breathes his last, waiting until the crook is dead to call the station — giving Sakool time to get away and making it seem as though the cops arrived too late to stop the murder.

This wanton slaughter is only acceptable if one believes the criminals are not really people, as Arjun and Onida clearly do. It’s a grotesque endorsement of unchecked police power, especially since the goal is not mass incarceration but extermination.

Ritu suspects that Arjun is behind the bloodshed and is bothered by it, but she’s conflicted by her love for him and doesn’t seriously pursue it. One would hope that she’d be more dogged–not just as a journalist, but also because she was orphaned as a result of gun violence. The movie doesn’t pause to consider that the dead criminals might have children, too. When the story tries to make the case that the politicians are the real villains, it just makes the extrajudicial killings feel all the more cruel.

The dark turn doesn’t work because the characters don’t seem to realize it’s happened. Arjun, Ritu, and Onida are all generally cheerful from start to finish, which feels weird as the body count rises. Dosanjh, Sanon, and Sharma all give likeable performances, so the tonal shift does a disservice to them, too.

With a smaller death toll or more appropriate tone changes, Arjun Patiala could’ve been a perfectly enjoyable comedy. As it is, there’s not enough quality to make up for its disagreeable aspects.

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