Tag Archives: Kill Dil

2015 Thanksgiving Bollywood-on-Netflix Marathon

One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving as a kid was the annual “Turkey Day” marathon on Comedy Central, featuring back-to-back episodes of my favorite show: Mystery Science Theater 3000. The marathon’s name referred to not only the traditional Thanksgiving turkey we all dined on, but also to the awful movies — “turkeys” — the guys from MST3K skewered each episode.

Though the old Comedy Central event featured lousy films, it got me thinking about how I would organize a Thanksgiving marathon of good Bollywood movies, using only titles available on Netflix. I’ve posted my list below, complete with a fictionalized account of what the day would be like if I were hosting Thanksgiving dinner for my family (which will never happen, BTW).

I’d love to know what your Thanksgiving Bollywood-on-Netflix marathon would be. Here are the rules:

Make sure to limit your movies to those on this Netflix list. This isn’t your ideal Bollywood marathon, just a Netflix marathon. Post your lineup in the comment section below. Happy Turkey Day!

Kathy’s 2015 Bollywood-on-Netflix Turkey Day Marathon

9 a.m. — Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. Gotta start out strong. The catchy tunes are perfect background music for early morning prep. (My review | Netflix link)
11:30 a.m. — Kill Dil. By this point, my brother and his wife have come over to help cook. Kill Dil is quirky enough to appeal to my brother, and Ali Zafar can be the eye candy for my sister-in-law. (My review | Netflix link)
2 p.m. — Dhoom 2. The great thing about Dhoom 2 is that it’s just as entertaining (and makes just as much sense) if you come in halfway through the movie as it is if you watch it from the beginning. Perfect for the time period when most of the guests will arrive. (My review | Netflix link)
4:30 p.m. — Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. The main course. Dancing, crying, family reunions… This has “Thanksgiving” written all over it. (My review | Netflix link)
7 p.m. — Hawaizaada. How about some kid-friendly fare to go with my Aunt Mary’s pumpkin pie? (My review | Netflix link)
9:30 p.m. — Aurangzeb. My cousins Lara and Jill have taken their kids home, so any adults still lingering are subject to my whims. That means a soap opera about twins separated at birth swapping places to take down their gangster father. Good times. (My review | Netflix link)

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Streaming Video News: April 27, 2015

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with one new addition to the catalog. Finally, Kill Dil is available for streaming. I liked this stylish flick from 2014 a lot more than most Bollywood gangster movies.

One Hindi film is set to expire from Netflix this week. 2013’s Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola — which I loved — leaves the streaming service on May 1, 2015.

Streaming Video News: January 14, 2015

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix to reflect one change. After just five days, Daawat-e-Ishq has disappeared from the streaming service. The same thing happened to Mardaani and Bewakoofiyaan, two other movies produced by Yash Raj Films. It took a few months for Bewakoofiyaan to return for its official run on the Netflix, so I expect it will be a while before we see Mardaani or Daawat-e-Ishq on the service again.

This serves as a warning that, whenever YRF’s most recent theatrical release, Kill Dil, hits Netflix, you’d better watch it right away.

If you just can’t wait to watch Kill Dil, Daawat-e-Ishq, or Mardaani, all three are currently available for rent on YouTube for $2.99 apiece.

Update: Mike of The Arts blog may have solved the mystery: no English subtitles. At least that was his experience watching Daawat-e-Ishq on Netflix the other day. It’s unknown (at least to me) if the YouTube videos have English subtitles, so rent with caution if you don’t speak Hindi.

Update 2: Thanks again to Mike for noticing that Daawat-e-Ishq is back on Netflix again, now with subtitles. Still not sure what happened to Mardaani, though.

Best Bollywood Movies of 2014

2014 delivered a bunch of well-crafted films aimed at a savvy audience. Here are my ten best of the year. (Click on the title of each movie to read my original review.)

Films with budgets large and small took aim at social issues affecting ordinary citizens.  Siddharth powerfully explores poverty through the experience of a man searching for his missing child. The divisive intersection of politics and religion is skewered both by indies — Filmistaan and Dekh Tamasha Dekh — and the year’s biggest hit, PK.

Other films put creative spins on existing formulas. Highway turns a typical damsel-in-distress scenario into a young woman’s journey of self-discovery. Dedh Ishqiya features a budding romance between a middle-aged couple, played by Madhuri Dixit-Nene and Naseeruddin Shah. I thought I’d seen enough gangster movies for a lifetime until Kill Dil revitalized the genre in stylish fashion.

Ankhon Dekhi challenges the notion that a movie has to be “about” a specific theme, instead presenting itself as a movie to simply experience.

My sentimental favorite film of 2014 is Queen. Watching Kangana Ranuat as charming small-town girl Rani gallivanting about Europe on her solo honeymoon is a joyous experience. It’s a movie I look forward to revisiting.

Yet one movie stood out from the rest because of its riveting story and immaculate direction. The best Hindi movie of 2014 is Haider.

I’m a huge fan of director Vishal Bhardwaj, and even with high expectations going in, I was still blown away by Haider. It’s gorgeous, thanks both to the natural beauty of Kashmir and Bhardwaj’s use of a bold color palette against a snowy backdrop. Kudos to cinematographer Pankaj Kumar as well.

Bhardwaj — who also wrote the film’s music — maximizes the potential for song as a narrative device in a sequence in which Haider (a modern Hamlet, played by Shahid Kapoor) publicly implicates his uncle in his father’s disappearance. The scene is much more effective as a musical performance than it would have been as a speech.

Bhardwaj also deserves credit for placing his version of Hamlet in such a politically and emotionally charged environment. Notes at the end of the movie highlight how ongoing tension between India and Pakistan have cut off a beautiful place like Kashmir from the rest of the world, to the detriment of regular people simply trying to exist. Placing a 400-year-old story within the context of a modern conflict emphasizes that quelling the dangerous temptations that come with political ambition is a problem humans haven’t yet solved. Haider is a magnificent piece of visual storytelling.

Best Bollywood Movies of 2014

    1. Haider — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
    2. Queen — Buy/rent at Amazon
    3. Siddharth — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
    4. Ankhon Dekhi — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
    5. Highway — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
    6. Dedh Ishqiya — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
    7. PK — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
    8. Dekh Tamasha Dekh — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
    9. Kill Dil — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
    10. Filmistaan — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes

Previous Best Movies Lists

Bollywood Box Office: December 5-7

Action Jackson just posted the latest in the string of lousy box office performances by Bollywood movies in North America. Since the release of Happy New Year on October 24, 2014, all but two of the newly released Hindi movies have fallen short on a key performance metric.

That metric is per-screen average: the average amount earned by individual theaters showing a particular movie in a particular weekend. In North America in 2014, the median opening weekend per-screen average of the fifty Hindi movies for which I have reliable data is $1,971.

Here are the opening weekend per-screen averages of all the movies that have released here since HNY:

  • Super Nani: $608 ($26,742 from 44 theaters)
  • Roar: $99 ($4,927 from 50 theaters)
  • The Shaukeens: $698 ($52,377 from 75 theaters)
  • Bhopal: $5,948 ($5,948 from one theater)
  • Kill Dil: $1,977 ($172,001 from 87 theaters)
  • Happy Ending: $1,269 ($163,373 from 129 theaters)
  • Ungli: $838 ($56,151 from 67 theaters)
  • Action Jackson: $1,374 ($171,795 from 125 theaters)

Kill Dil opened with a per-screen average a few dollars above the median, and Bhopal‘s average was one of the highest of the year. Granted, Bhopal was a limited release that never played in more than two theaters at once.

There’s another factor to consider that makes many of these low per-screen averages look even worse in context: theater count. The median opening weekend theater count for Hindi films in North America in 2014 is 70.5. Given their comparatively low theater counts, distributors obviously didn’t expect Super Nani and Roar to take the box office by storm (they were right).

However, distributors were clearly expecting much more from star-driven films Happy Ending and Action Jackson. Both movies fall in the upper quartile of this year’s opening weekend theater counts (123 theaters and above). You don’t open in that many theaters unless you think you’ve got a hit on your hands.

It’s worth noting that the only other film in that upper quartile to earn less than the median per-screen average in its first weekend is Humshakals, Saif Ali Khan’s only other release in 2014 besides Happy Ending. Unless he’s planning to make Love Aaj Kal 2, opening weekend theater counts of fewer than 100 seem more reasonable for Khan in North America.

It’s as though most of the Bollywood fan base in the United States and Canada decided to take Fall off and stay home until Aamir Khan’s P.K. opens on December 19. Here’s hoping that film can close out 2014 with a bang.

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Opening December 5: Action Jackson

One new Hindi film opens in Chicago area theaters on December 5, 2014. Director Prabhu Deva imperils Sonakshi Sinha for a third time, this time in Ajay Devgn-starrer Action Jackson.

Action Jackson opens on Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 24 min.

Ungli and Happy Ending are both sticking around at the South Barrington 30 and MovieMax, which also carries over Kill Dil.

The Indo-Canadian English-language comedy Dr. Cabbie gets a second week at MovieMax, South Barrington 30, and Cantera 17.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend include Chakkiligintha (Telugu w/no subtitles) at Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge and MovieMax, which is also showing Undile Manchi Kalam Mundu Munduna (Telugu), Dolphins (Malayalam), and Kaaviya Thalaivan (Tamil).

Opening November 21: Happy Ending

The Hindi comedy Happy Ending opens in the Chicago area on November 21, 2014. Saif Ali Khan and Govinda are the main draws, but I’m most interested to watch the very funny Ileana D’Cruz.

Happy Ending opens on Friday at the Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 15 min.

After an average opening weekend, Kill Dil carries over for a second week at MovieMax, South Barrington 30, and Cantera 17. Both MovieMax and South Barrington 30 keep Happy New Year around for a fifth week, while MovieMax gives a third week to The Shaukeens.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend include Rowdy Fellow (Telugu) at the Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont; Chaar Sahibzaade (3D; Punjabi w/English subtitles) at Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale; and Naaigal Jaakirathai (Tamil), Vanmam (Tamil), Pilla Nuvvu Leni Jeevitam (Telugu), Varsham (Malayalam), and Kasturi Nivasa (Kannada) at MovieMax.

Bollywood Box Office: November 14-16

This has been a lousy year for Yash Raj Films. Hopes were undoubtedly high after the titanic success of Dhoom 3 at the end of 2013, but none of the five films released by the company in 2014 has made much of a blip on the radar in North America.

Kill Dil‘s performance from November 14-16, 2014, cements that trend. During its opening weekend in the United States and Canada, Kill Dil earned $172,001 from 87 theaters, a per-screen average of $1,977.

To put this performance in context, the median number of opening weekend theaters for Hindi films in North America this year is 70, and the median per-screen average earnings are $2,022. All but one of the films released by Yash Raj Films this year opened in more theaters than the median (Bewakoofiyaan didn’t), but only one earned more than the median per-screen average (Gunday). Here’s how each Yash Raj film performed in its opening weekend in the U.S. and Canada this year:

  • Gunday: $548,350 from 150 theaters; $3,656 average
  • Bewakoofiyaan: $67,738 from 66 theaters; $1,026 average
  • Mardaani: $168,997 from 86 theaters; $1,965 average
  • Daawat-e-Ishq: $204,950 from 113 theaters; $1,814 average
  • Kill Dil: $172,001 from 87 theaters; $1,977 average

While none of these performances — except for Bewakoofiyaan — is disastrous, the studio and theaters surely expected more. Even Gunday was likely expected to earn $1 million (it fell short with $887,675 total). The name Yash Raj carries enough clout to command a significant number of screens, but the return on those screens should be higher given the studio’s profile and the emerging young stars and veteran talent the company casts.

Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:

  • Happy New Year: Week 4; $64,792 from 45 theaters; $1,440 average; $3,702,530 total
  • Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain: Week 2; $5,794 from two theaters; $2,897 average; $12,110 total
  • The Shaukeens: Week 2; $735 from six theaters; $123 average; $75,546 total

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Movie Review: Kill Dil (2014)

Kill_Dil3.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy or rent the movie at iTunes
Buy the DVD at Amazon
Buy the soundtrack at Amazon

With a vibe that combines the wild west with rock ‘n’ roll and Indian gangsters, Kill Dil (“Kill Heart“) has a unique, appealing aesthetic style. That style — plus a briskly paced story and a hypnotic performance by Ranveer Singh — make Kill Dil worth watching.

Singh plays Dev, one of two orphans raised by Bhaiyaji (Govinda), a gangster. The other orphan, Tutu (Ali Zafar), is Dev’s best friend and partner in crime. Together, they serve as Bhaiyaji’s chief assassins.

While Tutu looks every bit the part — black leather jacket, sunglasses, mustache — Dev’s goofy energy and bowl haircut seem at odds with his profession. Yet Dev’s spirited demeanor is what makes him Bhaiyaji’s favorite.

Predictably, everything falls apart when Dev falls in love with Disha (Parineeti Chopra). She works finding jobs for reformed criminals, but Tutu points out that she probably doesn’t want to date one. Dev has to decide whether a normal life with Disha is worth leaving Bhaiyaji and incurring his wrath.

Though the plot is a bit familiar, the presentation is not. The vibrant colors — especially during Bhaiyaji’s Diwali party — and framing make every shot captivating. The terrific rock soundtrack makes every song feel necessary in an otherwise very fast movie. Before you know it, an hour has passed and the word “Intermission” appears on screen.

Zafar, who normally plays nice guys, is very cool as an assassin, taking his cues from the Marlboro Man on the billboard above the apartment Tutu and Dev share. Govinda likewise sheds his usual comic image and makes an imposing tough guy.

Singh is a boundless source of energy, practically vibrating in every scene, even when his character isn’t the focus. He’s at his most “on” during dance numbers. It’s impossible not to watch him. He’s charisma personified.

Yet Singh’s best moment comes during a tearful discussion with Tutu, the moment when Dev must commit to his future. Singh’s earnestness is moving as he channels all that energy into a plea for understanding.

Chopra plays her character well, but she and Singh are somewhat lacking in chemistry (despite Chopra playing her most overtly sexy character to date). Disha seems a mismatch for Dev. It’s not just that he flunked out of fifth grade, it’s that their cultural tastes don’t seem to match. It’s not enough that Dev’s a nice guy.

There’s a moment that hints at a subplot about Dev finding in Disha’s family the parents he never had, but it doesn’t go anywhere. Plus, it’s a little hard to believe that neither Disha nor her family wouldn’t be suspicious of Dev’s evasiveness about his past.

What flaws Kill Dil has are masked by an undeniable cool factor. This is a doggone stylish movie that combines a bunch of elements to make something unique and interesting. In an industry awash in gangster movies, Kill Dil really stands out.

Links

Opening November 14: Kill Dil

Yash Raj Films’ Kill Dil opens in Chicago area theaters on November 14, 2014. The gangster drama stars Parineeti Chopra, Ali Zafar, Ranveer Singh, and Govinda.

Kill Dil opens on Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 7 min.

Thanks to its dismal opening weekend returns, The Shaukeens only carries over for a second week at MovieMax. Happy New Year gets a fourth week at MovieMax, South Barrington 30, and Cantera 17.

Other Indian movies playing in the Chicago area this weekend include the 3D animated film Chaar Sahibzaade (Punjabi w/English subtitles) at the Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale and Erra Bus (Telugu) at the South Barrington 30 and MovieMax, which also carries Pilla Nuvvu Leni Jeevitam (Telugu), Brother of Bommali (Telugu), Jai Hind 2 (Tamil), Joru (Telugu), Varsham (Malayalam), and Oru Oorla Rendu Raja (Tamil).