I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with 35 Indian movies that were just added to the streaming catalog. Three Tamil films, two Malayalam movies, and the 2018 Punjabi drama Asees are now available, along with a trove of Hindi films released theatrically from 2006-2015. Most of the titles are new to Netflix. Here are links those I’ve previously reviewed:
Jazbaa turned in a disappointing opening weekend in North America. During the weekend of October 9-11, 2015, Jazbaa earned $233,186 from 132 theaters ($1,767 average).
Jazbaa‘s performance helps define a kind of Bollywood dead zone at the North American box office, in which movies opening in the 120-140 theater range consistently under-perform. In addition to Jazbaa, three other films have opened in this same range, and all have posted disappointing opening weekend per-theater averages: Tevar (125 theaters/$1,007 average), Shamitabh (137 theaters/$1,573 average), and Katti Batti (127 theaters/$1,507 average). Perhaps the lesson for distributors is that, if you aren’t confident that a given movie could carry 150 theaters, better to limit its release to around 100 theaters. All the better for avoiding the appearance of a flop.
Singh Is Bliing finished the weekend in second place among the four Hindi films playing in North America. It added another $173,329 from 108 theaters ($1,605 average) to bring its two-week total to $808,310.
Talvar held up very well, losing only 37% percent of its opening weekend business (compared to Singh Is Bliing‘s 64% drop). Talvar earned $83,211 from 47 theaters ($1,770 average), bringing its two-week total to $269,253.
Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon closed out its third weekend, adding $6,828 from seven theaters ($975 average) to its total haul of $347,289.
This weekend provided yet more fuel for my obsession with the differences in the American and Canadian markets for Bollywood films (the figures above are for the entire North American territory, but Rentrak breaks the figures down by country). Here’s a comparison of each film’s US and Canadian per-theater averages:
The North American box office report for October 2-4, 2015 offers an interesting look at what kinds of Bollywood movies are more popular in Canada than the United States. Spoiler alert: Canadians love comedies.
Singh Is Bliing got the wider release of the weekend’s two new films, debuting in 160 theaters: 140 in the US, 20 in Canada. It earned $478,888 total in North America, for average earnings of $2,993 per screen. Those 20 Canadian theaters — which made up about 13% of the total number of theaters showing the movie in North America — accounted for nearly a third of the film’s total earnings ($152,743). Those Canadian theaters saw average earnings of $7,637 per screen, versus an average of $2,330 in US theaters showing Singh Is Bliing.
By contrast, earnings for the weekend’s other new release — the crime drama Talvar — were divided among the countries more predictably. Talvar earned a total of $132,084 from 59 theaters in North America ($2,239 average). Canada’s nine theaters (15% of the total) contributed about 13% of the total earnings ($17,508).
The performance of second-weekend holdover Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon confirms Canadian filmgoers’ fondness for Bollywood comedies. KKPK took in another $46,169 from 42 theaters across North America ($1,099 average), bringing its two-week total to $324,993. Nearly half of that amount — $22,697 — came from the 13 Canadian theaters carrying the film. The average earning per screen in Canada ($1,746) was more than double the US average ($809).
TV comedian Kapil Sharma’s film debut, Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon, got off to a fine start in North America. During the weekend of September 25-27, 2015, it earned $203,645 from 82 theaters ($2,483 average). That’s significantly better than fellow TV host Manish Paul’s 2013 big screen debut, Mickey Virus — also featuring Sharma’s co-star, Elli Avram — which earned just $24,100 from 48 theaters in the US and Canada.
There’s more to Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon‘s performance than meets the eye. The film did vastly better in Canada than it did in the US, taking in 33% of opening weekend earnings ($67,103) from just 16% of the total number of theaters (13). We’ll see how it holds up against the two high-profile pictures rolling into theaters this Friday: Singh Is Bliing and Talvar.
Katti Batti lost about 80% of its opening weekend business in its second weekend in North American theaters. It added another $41,881 from 70 theaters ($598 average) to bring its total earnings to $346,332. Expect it to surrender most of those theaters to the two new flicks opening Friday.
Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:
Welcome Back: Week 4; $6,095 from eight theaters; $762 average; $1,379,668 total
The comedy Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon (“Who Should I Love?“) opens in Chicago area theaters on September 25, 2015. The movie marks the Bollywood debut of TV comedian Kapil Sharma. Indian TV personalities are unreliable when it comes to international box office viability — I’m looking at you, Ayushmann Khurrana and Manish Paul — so releasing KKPK in North America is a risk.
Katti Batti opened with an average box office performance in the United States. From September 18-20, 2015, it earned $191,361 from 127 theaters ($1,507 average). Given the bad word of mouth surrounding the film — it has a 4.5 user rating at IMDb — its potential for growth is limited.
Welcome Back came in second place for the weekend, earning another $53,836 from 58 theaters ($928 average). Its three-week North American total stands at $1,350,174.
Hero‘s earnings took a nose dive in its second week of release, falling nearly 90% from its opening weekend total. In its second weekend, it earned a mere $6,641 from 19 theaters, an average of just $350 per screen. The romantic drama has earned a total of $83,973 in the US and Canada.
Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:
Katti Batti is a romance that’s uncomfortable to watch. You leave the theater feeling worse than when you entered.
The story begins three weeks after the dramatic breakup of Maddy (Imran Khan) and Payal (Kangana Ranaut). Maddy winds up in the hospital after drinking disinfectant, a drunken mistake that his family assumes is a suicide attempt.
His pushy younger sister, Koyal, and his best friend, Vinay, try to force Maddy to forget about Payal. When Maddy discovers that she’s getting married to his college nemesis — loathsome rich guy Ricky (Vivan Bhatena) — he sets out to stop the wedding, convinced that Payal still loves him.
The story of Maddy & Payal’s turbulent relationship is told via flashbacks, as Maddy routinely drifts off into his imagination even in the middle of dinner. There were plenty of times that they were happy, but there were more times when they weren’t. Goofy musical cues and some funny bits aren’t enough to classify a film this depressing as a comedy.
Writer-director Nikhil Advani’s fatal mistake is his assumption that Maddy’s protagonist status automatically makes him a good guy, when he objectively is not. A character who sincerely proposes marriage to a woman he’s only met the day before isn’t exactly emotionally stable.
It’s when things get difficult that Maddy shows his true colors. He responds to challenges with angry outbursts, and physically attacks both Ricky and Vinay. He’s suspicious and jealous of Payal, worried that she “will do something wrong” if left to her own devices.
After they break up, Maddy leaves 103 voicemail messages for Payal. When she doesn’t respond, he tries to find her by contacting not just their mutual friends but her co-workers as well. While Maddy never strikes Payal, he is possessive and controlling.
There’s a twist near the end of the film that Advani hopes will explain everything, but it doesn’t come close. By Advani’s rationale, Maddy isn’t a bad guy, he was just provoked into acting badly. But why isn’t Maddy responsible for his own actions? Acting like a madman is either a choice, or it’s cause for him to be locked in a mental institution.
But anything goes for Maddy, the center of the Katti Batti universe. His family and friends exist only to help Maddy sustain his romance, and they do so regardless of how poorly he treats them. As the movie progresses, the same question springs to mind with greater frequency: “Why are they helping this jerk?”
It’s not Khan’s fault that Katti Batti is such a bummer. He does what he can with a nasty character. Same for Ranaut, whose character exists only to be a love interest for Maddy. The rest of the supporting cast is good, too, but the material lets them down.
The twist near the end is pure movie contrivance that bears no resemblance to how real people would behave in a similar situation. Same goes for a tedious argument in which Payal interrupts a cricket match to scold Maddy for his unhealthy diet, poor aim in the bathroom, and for not noticing the new curtains she bought. The sequence is lazy, immature, and no fun at all, just like the rest of Katti Batti.