Tag Archives: Khandaani Shafakhana

Worst Bollywood Movies of 2019

While my Best Bollywood Movies of 2019 list is dominated by action flicks, my Worst Bollywood Movies of 2019 list is mostly made up of comedies that aren’t funny.

The first of those is Khandaani Shafakhana, starring Sonakshi Sinha as a sex clinic operator. It has some nice moments but is undone by a sequence in which a character played by Varun Sharma repeatedly uses homophobic slurs in a failed attempt at humor.

Diljit Dosanjh’s cop spoof Arjun Patiala also has potential until it takes a dark turn — only none of the characters seem to realize it and keep acting as if it’s still a lighthearted romp. Kriti Sanon plays a reporter reluctant to investigate a string of murders she suspects were orchestrated by her police officer boyfriend (Dosanjh). It’s hard to make such a premise funny.

Sanon plays a reporter again in the romantic comedy Luka Chuppi, in which she and a colleague played by Kartik Aaryan clumsily try to hide their live-in relationship. The subject matter gives it a veneer of progressiveness, but it’s cut from the same conservative, chauvinistic cloth as umpteen other Bollywood romcoms.

The biggest disappointment among the unfunny comedies is the road trip heist flick Total Dhamaal. With an ensemble cast that includes Madhuri Dixit, Anil Kapoor, Boman Irani, Ajay Devgn, and Sanjay Mishra, you’d expect laughs from start to finish. But writer-director Indra Kumar’s disorganized reboot of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World is boring, with repetitive, stale gags.

The top spot on this year’s Worst Bollywood Movies list is not a comedy but a very problematic drama. Kabir Singh — a remake of the Telugu film Arjun Reddy — is either remarkably oblivious to its main character’s sociopathic tendencies, or it thinks his actions are okay. The hero assaults and threatens women with violence repeatedly throughout the movie, including an attempt to rape a woman at knife-point in the first ten minutes. You can’t make a hero like that sympathetic, especially when he doesn’t feel remorse for what he’s done.

One of the troubling sentiments I’ve seen online is the belief that the Kabir Singh‘s box office success validates the film’s moral viewpoint. There are plenty of movies throughout history that were hits when they released that contemporary audiences would find abhorrent. Kabir Singh will be one of those movies someday — hopefully sooner rather than later.

Kathy’s Worst Bollywood Movies of 2019

  1. Kabir Singh — Stream on Netflix
  2. Total Dhamaal — Buy at Amazon/stream on Hotstar
  3. Luka Chuppi — Buy at Amazon/stream on Netflix
  4. Arjun Patiala — Stream on Prime
  5. Khandaani Shafakhana — Stream on Prime

Previous Worst Movies Lists

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Streaming Video News: September 27, 2019

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with four 2019 titles added in the last week, including the new Netflix original series Bard of Blood, starring Emraan Hashmi. Also new are the Hindi film Malaal, the Telugu sequel Manmadhudu 2, and the Malayalam and Tamil versions of Oh! Baby (the Telugu version was added last week).

Sixteen Indian movies are set to expire from Netflix on October 1 — mostly Malayalam titles, but the service’s lone Manipuri film, Loktak Lairembee, is on its way out as well. The full list of expiring titles is available here.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with more than forty Indian titles added since my last streaming video update. One of those new films is Sonakshi Sinha’s August comedy Khadaani Shafakhana, which contains homophobic slurs. Other recently added 2019 releases include:

The Yash Raj Films exodus from Prime is underway, with ten titles leaving on September 29 and dozens more following on September 30. Click here, then scroll down to the “Expiring Soon” section for the full list of movies on the way out.

Movie Review: Khandaani Shafakhana (2019)

1.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the soundtrack at iTunes

Khandaani Shafakhana is like a half-finished topiary. The general shape is there, but it needs a lot more trimming.

Sonakshi Sinha stars as pharmaceutical sales representative Baby Bedi. Her job supports her mother (Nadira Babbar) and her loafer younger brother — the unfortunately named Bhooshit (Varun Sharma) — following her father’s death. Dad took out a loan from his greedy brother (Rajiv Gupta), and now Uncle wants to take possession of the family’s home and kick them out.

An opportunity arises in the wake of another death, that of Baby’s estranged maternal uncle Mamaji (Kulbushan Kharbanda). Mamaji was notorious for running a fertility clinic in a town where just saying the word “sex” is considered obscene. He bequeathed his clinic to Baby, on the condition that she hire a doctor and operate the clinic for six months in order to conclude his patients’ treatments. After that, she’s free sell the property, paying off her father’s debt and leaving her with enough money to start her own herbal medicine franchise. If she fails, the clinic goes to the medical school that kicked out her uncle decades earlier.

Returning to Mamaji’s clinic — inexplicably covered in cobwebs even though he’s only been dead a few days — brings back childhood memories of learning about traditional Unani medicine at her uncle’s knee. Her first meetings with patients to talk about their erectile dysfunction issues are profoundly awkward, but Baby realizes the positive impact of her uncle’s treatment on their lives. This reawakens her own dormant dreams of becoming a doctor and inspires her to destigmatize the topic of sexual health in her prudish Punjabi town.

Sinha’s warmth in the film’s thoughtful moments feels so natural, and her character builds endearing relationships. Sinha deftly guides Baby through a complicated journey as she considers what she really wants from life. Comedy might not be Sinha’s strongest suit, but the jokes in Khandaani Shafakhana are pretty subdued anyway. Nor are they especially bawdy.

The moderate tone does a world of good for Sharma, whose comic performances tend to be over-the-top. Annu Kapoor is funny as Mamaji’s lawyer, and Priyanshu Jora is adorable as a lemonade vendor hired by the lawyer to spy on Baby to ensure she fulfills her part of the deal.

Khandaani Shafakhana looks fantastic. Director Shilpi Dasgupta and cinematographer Rishi Punjabi tell their story through carefully framed shots, the best of which make a pensive Sinha look positively ethereal.

But Khandaani Shafakhana falls short of success for a few reasons. It’s overly long, first of all. By the time Baby hits her lowest point, I was ready for the whole thing to be done. The resolution to Baby’s crisis feels convenient and unrealistic.

Some aspects of the movie felt like they didn’t quite translate, not so much as a matter of language but culture. (The English subtitles are actually quite good, including a funny joke about one of Baby’s suitors being handsome “like Al Pacino.”) The film’s primary audience in India will likely be more familiar with the particulars of Mamaji’s Unani medicine than a Western audience, so much about it is left unexplained. But the characters periodically give each other meaningful looks, and I wasn’t sure what the meaning was supposed to be. This is not a good starter film for Bollywood newcomers.

Then there’s Khandaani Shafakhana‘s biggest problem — one that can hopefully be edited out of the version that makes it to Amazon Prime. Bhooshit is discussing one of Baby’s patients with her: a famous rapper named Gabru Ghataak (Badshah). Bhooshit speculates that, because Gabru is always surrounded by beautiful women, the reason for the rapper’s erectile dysfunction must be that he’s a “homo.” Bhooshit says the slur in English, so it’s not a translation error. He also repeats it several times, indicating that director Dasgupta and writer Gautam Mehra intended the scene to be humorous. It’s an unfortunate scene that can easily be excised from the movie without ruining the story flow. In fact, in a movie that’s already too long, axing it could help in more ways than one.

Links

Opening August 9: Jabariya Jodi

The romantic comedy Jabariya Jodi (“Forced Couple“) — starring Sidharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra — hits Chicago area theaters on August 9, 2019.

Jabariya Jodi opens Friday at MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 5 min.

Judgementall Hai Kya carries over at MovieMax and the South Barrington 24, which also holds over Super 30.

Last weekend‘s new release — Khandaani Shafakhana — is out of local theaters after one week.

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

Bollywood Box Office: August 2-4, 2019

Sonakshi Sinha’s comedy Khandaani Shafakhana had a disastrous opening weekend in North America, earning just $29,631 from 50 theaters ($593 average), according to Bollywood Hungama. This is the latest in a string of disappointing performances by Sinha’s comedies here, starting last winter with Welcome to New York ($111,044 opening; $225,366 total), and followed in the summer by Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi ($66,179 opening; $135,815 total).

Judgementall Hai Kya held up well in its second weekend, earning $106,624 from 52 theaters ($2,050 average) and bringing its total to $456,252. Last weekend’s other new release — Arjun Patiala — fell hard, its business dropping by almost 95%. It earned just $4,091 from 12 theaters ($341 average). Its total stands at $106,804.

In its seventh weekend, Kabir Singh earned $13,275 from eight theaters ($1,659 average), bringing its total to $2,604,106. One interesting note about Kabir Singh‘s strong box office performance is that 40% of its North American total has come from Canada. Even big Hindi releases only open in 20-40 theaters in Canada, compared to 100-300 theaters in the United States, meaning that most Bollywood films derive about 20% of their combined North American total from Canada. 40% — over $1 million in Kabir Singh‘s case — is huge!

Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:

  • Super 30: Week 4; $82,767 from 75 theaters; $1,104 average; $2,266,658 total
  • Article 15: Week 6; $980 from two theaters; $490 average; $1,058,891 total
  • Photograph: Week $50 from one theater ;$351,408 total

Source: Bollywood Hungama

Opening August 2: Khandaani Shafakhana

Just one new Hindi movie opens in the Chicago area on August 2, 2019. Sonakshi Sinha runs a fertility clinic in the comedy Khandaani Shafakhana.

Khandaani Shafakhana opens Friday at the AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington and Regal Cantera in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 16 min.

The South Barrington 24 and MovieMax Cinemas in Niles hold over last weekend’s new releases Arjun Patiala and Judgementall Hai Kya, which also gets a second week at Cantera.

All three of the above theaters give a fourth week to Super 30, as do the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, AMC Niles 12 in Niles, AMC Naperville 16 in Naperville, and AMC Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. Kabir Singh gets a seventh week at MovieMax.

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