Tag Archives: Kaabil

Worst Bollywood Movies of 2017

As I mentioned in my Best Bollywood Movies of 2017 post, I liked many more 2017 releases than I disliked. That means that fewer of the movies on this year’s “Worst of” list are ones that I absolutely couldn’t stand, compared to previous years.

Take, for example, Noor, Naam Shabana, and Running Shaadi. I gave all of them 2-Star ratings, which means I only sort of didn’t like them. I just happened to like these three the least of all the movies I also rated 2 Stars. However, the seven other titles on the list did more than enough to earn their spots.

Several films had problems with the way they depicted their female characters, particularly in the way male characters controlled women’s bodies. Kriti Sanon’s character in Raabta was treated like an object, pushed and pulled at will by the men in her life. The title character in Badrinath Ki Dulhania tossed his girlfriend in the trunk of his car before choking her. Arjun Kapoor’s character in Half Girlfriend literally wouldn’t let go of Shraddha Kapoor’s character when she tried to get away from him.

Kaabil was the most egregiously sexist movie of this bunch, creating a capable, independent female lead — played by Yami Gautam — for the sole purpose of raping and killing her as motivation for Hrithik Roshan’s character to seek revenge. It’s a classic example of the “Women in Refrigerators” trope.

Other movies on the “Worst of” list were just poorly made. Like its 2013 predecessor, Fukrey, the comedy Fukrey Returns simply wasn’t funny. Baadshaho forgot what story it was telling along the way, resulting in an abrupt ending that leaves every important question unanswered.

My pick for the Worst Bollywood Movie of 2017 was the biggest offender in terms of bad filmmaking: Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai. The unfocused story tried to address every important contemporary social issue, reaching its ridiculous apex when Manjari Fadnis’ feminist activist journalist character is randomly tasked with coordinating refugee medical care in a Middle Eastern war zone. The film’s third act is supposed to take place in Manhattan but was clearly filmed in Maryland (part of it was shot in Top Chef season 6 runner-up Bryan Voltaggio’s restaurant in Frederick). There’s unintentionally hilarious dialog, as when Fadnis’ character responds to a heckler’s “Nice ass, honey,” with “Yes, we have a nice ass, and we are proud of it.

The pièce de résistance is a song number that features Manjari Fadnis dancing in outer space:

I fear that Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai will go the way of goofy 2014 Worst Movie runner-up Karle Pyaar Karle and disappear, never to be seen again either on DVD or streaming. It’s kind of a shame, since Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai is so damned wacky, one almost has to see it to believe it. Almost.

Check my Netflix and Amazon Prime pages to see which of these movies are available for streaming in the United States.

Kathy’s Ten Worst Bollywood Movies of 2017

  1. Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai
  2. Kaabil
  3. Half Girlfriend
  4. Baadshaho — Buy at Amazon
  5. Badrinath Ki Dulhania — Buy at Amazon
  6. Fukrey Returns
  7. Raabta — Buy at Amazon
  8. Running Shaadi — Buy at Amazon
  9. Naam Shabana — Buy at Amazon
  10. Noor — Buy at Amazon

Previous Worst Movies Lists

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Streaming Video News: June 25, 2017

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with two new additions to the catalog. The reprehensible 2017 thriller Kaabil is now available for streaming, though I’d discourage anyone from actually watching it. Instead, watch the classic Mughal-E-Azam, which also just joined the streaming service (thanks for the heads up, Gaurav!). For everything else new on Netflix — Bollywood or not — check Instant Watcher.

Bollywood Box Office: February 24-26, 2017

Rangoon opened to okay numbers in North America. During the weekend of February 24-26, 2017, the World War II drama earned $310,077 from 114 theaters, average earnings of $2,720 per theater. This is not an atypical performance for a film by director Vishal Bhardwaj here, especially when his movies center upon a female lead character as opposed to a male lead character. His two other female-led movies — 2011’s 7 Khoon Maaf and 2013’s Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola — posted opening weekend earnings of $164,153 and $338,726, respectively, and both finished with total earnings of less than $500,000. By contrast, Bhardwaj’s films about male lead characters — 2006’s Omkara, 2009’s Kaminey, and 2014’s Haider — all opened better ($427,400; $726,834; and $538,999, respectively) and all finished their North American runs with earnings in excess of $1 million.

The Ghazi Attack turned in the second best performance for an Indian film in North America over the weekend. In its second weekend of release, it earned $109,045 from 74 theaters ($1,474 average), bringing its total earnings to $678,013. I suspect most theaters have stopped carrying the Hindi version of the film, and that the weekend’s earnings are attributable almost exclusively to the Telugu version.

The two other Hindi films in their second weekend of release did god-awful business here. Irada earned $147 from three theaters ($49 average), bringing its total to $19,112, while Running Shaadi took in $110 from two theaters ($55 average), bringing its total to $15,428. Jeepers.

Other Bollywood movies still in North American theaters:

  • Jolly LLB 2: Week 3; $75,423 from 57 theaters; $1,323 average; $1,630,972 total
  • Raees: Week 5; $7,837 from eight theaters; $980 average; $3,629,128 total
  • Dangal: Week 10; $2,575 from two theaters; $1,288 average; $12,357,576 total
  • Kaabil: Week 5; $259 from two theaters; $130 average; $1,412,501 total

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: February 17-19, 2017

Hindi films without A-list stars always face challenges at the North American box office, but February 17-19, 2017, seemed to be an especially difficult weekend for smaller titles. Here’s how the three new releases fared during the weekend in the United States and Canada:

  • The Ghazi Attack [combined earnings for Hindi, Telugu, & Tamil-dubbed versions]: $394,269 from 89 theaters* ($4,430 average); total including Thursday previews = $439,772
  • Irada: $13,134 from 31 theaters ($424 average)
  • Running Shaadi: $10,260 from 58 theaters ($177 average)

*Here’s my weekly caveat that my main source, Bollywood Hungama, often counts the Canadian theaters twice in their opening weekend totals. The correct theater counts as confirmed by Sumit Chadha (and the adjusted averages) are as follows: The Ghazi Attack — 90 theaters, $4,381 avg.; Irada — 27 theaters, $486 avg.; Running Shaadi — 51 theaters, $201 avg.

Though The Ghazi Attack fared well, the figures for Irada and Running Shaadi are unmistakably bad. However, it’s worth pointing out a couple of mitigating factors at work this weekend. First, there are presently seven Hindi films showing in the US. Here’s how the older releases fared at the box office over the weekend:

  • Jolly LLB 2: Week 2; $345,480 from 190 theaters; $1,818 average; (*166 theaters, $2,081 avg.); $1,408,472 total
  • Raees: Week 4; $38,169 from 18 theaters; $2,121 average; $3,595,707 total
  • Kaabil: Week 4; $10,185 from ten theaters; $1,019 average; $1,409,691 total
  • Dangal: Week 9; $4,840 from four theaters; $1,210 average; $12,340,930 total

Not only did the new releases face stiff competition from Jolly LLB 2 — which held on to almost half of its opening weekend earnings in its second weekend — the three oldest releases also had better per-theater average earnings than either Irada or Running Shaadi.

However, competition isn’t the whole story. According to Box Office Mojo, business at the overall North American box office was down over 20% from the previous weekend, and the share of business for Indian and Pakistani films in North America dropped by roughly the same percentage. Whether due to a hangover following high-profile Hollywood and Bollywood releases last weekend or unseasonably warm weather in big markets like New York and Chicago drawing people outdoors, this was a tough weekend for new releases across the board.

Sources: Sumit Chadha, Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: February 10-12, 2017

There’s something fascinating going on with Akshay Kumar’s box office returns in North America, and I’m not sure how to make sense of it. His latest film — Jolly LLB 2 — earned $743,719 from 197 theaters ($3,775 average) in the United States and Canada during its opening weekend of February 10-12, 2017. (Box Office Mojo lists the film as opening in 173 total theaters, making for an average of $4,299 per theater.) This total is consistent with the opening weekend returns of Kumar’s three 2016 releases — Airlift, Housefull 3, and Rustom — which ranged from $674,890 for Housefull 3 on the low-end and $815,933 for Airlift on the high-end. The only difference is that Jolly LLB 2 opened in sixty more theaters than Housefull 3, Kumar’s biggest release of last year, so one would’ve expected larger returns with Jolly LLB 2‘s wider release.

Here’s where things get weird. Kumar released four films in 2015: Baby, Gabbar is Back, Brothers, and Singh Is Bliing. Those four films opened in an average of 140 theaters — ranging from 99 for Baby to 181 for Brothers — so their opening weekend theatrical footprint was slightly larger than the average opening weekend theater count of 122 for his three 2016 releases (though still smaller than Jolly LLB 2‘s 197 theaters). The average total earnings for Kumar’s four 2015 releases was $721,024. Yet, Kumar’s three 2016 releases plus Jolly LLB 2 earned an average of $747,887 in their opening weekends! In the span of a year, Kumar became popular enough in North America than his films now earn the same amount in one weekend as they earned over their entire theatrical lifespan in 2015! How the heck does that happen?!

Those earnings aren’t just front-loaded, either. Kumar’s films have seen their box office longevity increase as well. In 2015, the average Kumar movie finished its theatrical run with a total that was 1.91 times the amount it earned in its opening weekend. In 2016, that average multiplier jumped to 2.26.

The other impressive anomaly at the North American box office this weekend is Dangal‘s performance in its eighth weekend in theaters. It earned $11,441 from six theaters ($1,907 average), bringing its total to $12,329,706. This is notable because Bollywood movies don’t earn more than $10,000 in a weekend by this point in their life-cycles. Even though Kapoor & Sons hung around theaters for ten weeks last spring, it stopped earning five figures after its sixth weekend.

Other Hindi movies showing in US and Canadian theaters:

  • Raees: Week 3; $105,069 from 63 theaters; $1,668 average; $3,508,519 total
  • Kaabil: Week 3; $40,343 from 34 theaters; $1,187 average; $1,373,722 total

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Opening February 10: Jolly LLB 2

Akshay Kumar takes over the lead role from Arshad Warsi in the comedy sequel Jolly LLB 2, which opens in Chicago area theaters on February 10, 2017. Inconsistent subtitles made the original Jolly LLB incomprehensible for the Hindi illiterate (like me), but I’m confident that won’t be an issue in the followup, which co-stars my girl Huma Qureshi.

Jolly LLB 2 opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 16 min.

Raees carries over for a third week at MovieMax, South Barrington 30, Woodridge 18, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. Kaabil gets a third week at MovieMax and South Barrington 30, which also holds over Growing Up Smith.

The English-subtitled Pakistani romantic-comedy Balu Mahi debuts Friday at the South Barrington 30 and Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend:

Bollywood Box Office: February 3-5, 2017

2017 is just over a month old, and two Hindi films have already earned more than $1 million in the United States and Canada! Here’s how Bollywood movies fared in North American theaters during the weekend of February 3-5, 2017:

  • Raees: Week 2; $510,661 from 226 theaters; $2,260 average; $3,269,479 total
  • Kaabil: Week 2; $221,814 from 142 theaters; $1,562 average; $1,256,860 total
  • Dangal: Week 7; $35,899 from 15 theaters; $2,393 average; $12,312,239 total

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama