Even more intriguing than what was added is what’s on its way to Netflix. The Hindi version of Saaho arrives on December 8, followed by The Sky Is Pink on December 11. It also turns out that Netflix is the new home for the Excel Entertainment back catalog, which left Amazon Prime last week. (More recent releases like Gully Boy will stay on Prime for the foreseeable future.) Netflix was Excel’s original streaming partner about 4 or 5 years ago. We’ve got new web addresses and a confirmed debut date of December 15 for all of the Excel films that haven’t been on Netflix before, including Bangistan, Dil Dhadakne Do, Game, and Karthik Calling Karthik.
While I can’t confirm that the rest of the catalog will definitely return on December 15, here are the addresses for all of the Excel films that were previously on Netflix so that you can add them to your List, just in case:
There are few choices if you’re looking for Bollywood movies in Chicago area theaters this weekend. The movie industry planned on losing most of its local audience to Indian Premier League cricket matches and curtailed its releases accordingly. There are no new films opening on Friday, March 19, and just two older releases claim the rest of the allotted screen space.
There are fewer IPL matches scheduled for next weekend, so I expect a number of new releases to arrive in Chicago area theaters on March 26. In the meantime, the Golf Glen 5 is broadcasting IPL matches on weekends at 9:30 a.m.
One new Hindi movie opens in the Chicago area on Friday, March 5, 2010. The comedy Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge stars Ajay Devgan and Konkona Sen Sharma as a married couple desperate to rid themselves of an annoying house guest, played by Paresh Rawal.
Last weekend’s other new release, Teen Patti, leaves theaters after one week.
The only other Hindi film showing in the Chicago area this weekend is My Name Is Khan, which has earned $3,634,423 in the U.S. so far. It continues its run at the South Barrington 30, Cantera 30 and AMC Loews Pipers Alley 4 in Chicago.
If Shutter Island has piqued your interest in psychological thrillers, check out Karthik Calling Karthik, which manages to turn a corded home phone into a terrifying piece of communications equipment. I think I need to cancel my landline.
KCK stars Farhan Akhtar (the film’s co-producer) as Karthik, a hard-worker who’s unwilling to stand up for himself. Karthik’s meekness stems from the fact that he blames himself for his bullying brother’s death during a scuffle when they were children.
When he finally tries to stand up to his overbearing boss, Karthik is publicly humiliated and fired. At home, his suicide attempt is interrupted by a call on his recently purchased home phone. The caller is Karthik.
This voice-only Karthik knows enough details about his corporeal counterpart to convince Karthik that he’s not being duped. The voice promises to help Karthik improve his life, and his advice works. Karthik gains a new confidence that helps him land a better-paying job and a date with his dream girl, Shonali (Deepika Padukone). Karthik comes to accept these conversations with himself as something natural.
The voice insists that Karthik never mention his calls to anyone. But when Shonali asks Karthik for complete honesty, he tells her about the calls. The voice on the line isn’t pleased, and the consequences of Karthik’s disclosure are severe.
There’s an undercurrent of fear throughout Karthik Calling Karthik. Even during playful scenes of Karthik courting Shonali, it’s impossible to forget that they owe their romance to Karthik’s disembodied voice. The voice is terrifying because there’s no physical person to connect it to, and because it’s never clear what the voice is getting out of the phone calls. If Karthik really is calling himself, then anything that benefits corporeal Karthik benefits voice Karthik as well. But he can’t really be talking to himself, can he?
Akhtar deftly handles the challenge of playing essentially three different characters: shy Karthik, bold Karthik and disembodied Karthik. His voice acting is good enough that, even without reading the subtitles, it’s obvious when disembodied Karthik is providing encouragement versus threatening retribution.
Writer-director Vijay Lalwani’s debut effort is a strong one. He gets a little heavy-handed manipulating colors in scenes where Karthik is supposed to be confused or frightened. And there’s an epilogue that feels tacked on, undermining some of the film’s emotional impact.
But Lalwani deserves credit for providing a satisfying explanation for the phone calls. It would’ve been easier to leave the reason ambiguous under the guise of “letting the audience decide what happened,” but Lalwani manages to tie the threads together in a way that makes sense in retrospect.
And it speaks to Lalwani’s skills as a storyteller that I found myself inadvertently covering my ears during several scenes of the phone benignly sitting on a bedside table. The next time my own telephone rings, I’m making my husband answer it.
*Karthik Calling Karthik’s runtime is listed as 2 hrs. 35 min. It’s closer to 2 hrs. 15 min.
Two new Hindi movies open in Chicago area theaters on Friday, February 26, 2010. Karthik Calling Karthik stars Farhan Akhtar as the shy title character who secretly loves his coworker, Shonali (Deepika Padukone). Their lives change when Karthik gets a phone call from a man also claiming to be Karthik.
I’m not sure what to expect from KCK. The official description makes it sound like a romantic comedy, while the trailer makes it look like a thriller. But Akhtar and Padukone are my two favorite actors, so I trust them to make a compelling movie.
The other movie opening this weekend is Teen Patti. The thriller stars Amitabh Bachchan, R. Madhavan and Ben Kingsley as mathematicians who find a way to win at teen patti (a card game similar to poker) and recruit some college students to help them test their equation in casinos. The premise sounds similar to that of the 2008 Hollywood film 21.
3 Idiots leaves U.S. theaters after 9 weeks, having earned $6,523,103.
Other Indian movies showing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include Drona (Malayalam — not Abhishek Bachchan’s Drona), Leader (Telugu), and Vinnai Thaandi Varuvayaa (Tamil) and Ye Maya Chesave (Telugu), which are the same movie filmed at the same time, only in different languages and with different actors in key roles. Both VTV and YMC feature music by A. R. Rahman.