Tag Archives: Kochadaiiyaan

Movie Review: Kochadaiiyaan (2014)

Kochadaiiyaan2 Stars (out of 4)

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

Note: I watched the Hindi version of the film with English subtitles.

Fantasy is a genre rarely explored in Bollywood, especially films of the sword-and-sorcery variety. Kochadaiiyaan (“The King with a Long, Curly Mane“) fills that void, incorporating grand, mythical elements into an animated historical adventure.

However, the film’s story is undermined by director Soundarya R. Ashwin’s and writer K. S. Ravikumar’s fixation on plot twists. Instead of telling the story in a linear fashion, Ashwin and Ravikumar throw in a twist every half-hour or so, revealing that what appeared to be the truth was a lie. Wait another half-hour, and the truth is again turned on its head.

The twists aren’t well-designed. There’s no feeling of inevitability to them. They confuse more than they illuminate. Instead of inspiring an “Ah ha!” reaction, the only response is, “Huh?”

The story revolves around a strategic military genius named Rana (voiced and played by Rajinikanth in motion capture before being rendered on screen). The plot jumps between Rana’s rise to power in the kingdom of Kalingapuri, his return to his homeland of Kottaipattinam, and his recollections of his father, another great military strategist called Kochadaiiyaan (also played by Rajinikanth).

Sadly, Kochadaiiyaan isn’t a self-contained story, but rather a set-up for a sequel. Its incomplete ending is abrupt and frustrating.

Much was made in the promotion of the film regarding the advanced (for India) technology used in the animation. Had expectations been downplayed, perhaps the quality of the animation wouldn’t seem so disappointing. Even using motion capture, the animation looks no better than an early PlayStation 2-era video game cutscene.

Figure movement is the film’s biggest visual flaw. Fluidity of movement is hit-or-miss when it comes to the human characters, which is a huge problem in the movie’s many dance numbers (though some numbers fare better than others). On a related note, A. R. Rahman’s soundtrack is stirring, but not replete with hit singles.

An even bigger problem with the animation is the jerky movement of the film’s animals. Epic battle scenes become laughable with one glance at the arthritic horses “galloping” into war.

Character renderings also vary in degrees of quality. Rajinikanth is recognizable, his hairstyle changing to suit his multiple characters. Rana’s love interest, Vadhana Devi, looks more like Juhi Chawla than the actress who voiced her, Deepika Padukone.

Director Ashwin’s best use of animation is in giving a grand scale to Kochadaiiyaan‘s environments. Buildings are larger, battlefields more vast, and background characters more plentiful than most live-action film budgets could accommodate.

As for the acting in the film, it’s hard to judge, given the shortcomings of the animation. One tic that grows funnier over time is the characters’ penchant for stating the full name of the kingdom “Kottaipattinam.” I’d love to see a video compilation of every time a character says it, because it would probably include a hundred clips and run about five minutes long.


Streaming Video News: June 30, 2014

If you’ve wondered why IMDb users rank Gunday as the worst movie of all time, you can now watch Gunday on Netflix and see for yourself.

Eros Now recently added the Hindi version of Kochadaiiyaan to its catalog. With four other 2014 releases already in the catalogPurani Jeans, Dekh Tamasha Dekh, Main Tera Hero, and Dishkiyaoon — the $7.99 monthly subscription fee seems like a good deal.

Opening June 6: Holiday and Filmistaan

The action flick Holiday: A Solider Is Never Off Duty is finally hitting theaters, along with one other Hindi movie I didn’t expect to open in the Chicago area. Holiday — Akshay Kumar’s latest pairing with Sonakshi Sinha — releases on June 6, 2014.

Holiday opens on Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, AMC Showplace Niles 12 in Niles, 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. 40 min.

The other new Hindi movie in theaters this weekend is Filmistaan. It’s finally getting a wide release in India and abroad after bouncing around festivals for the last two years. AMC must have a lot of confidence in the movie, because it’s opening in three local AMC theaters.

Filmistaan opens on Friday at the River East 21, Showplace Niles 12 and South Barrington 30. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 20 min.

The Lunchbox carries over for another week at the Glen Art Theatre in Glen Ellyn.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend include Manam (Telugu) at the Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge, and MovieMax, which is also carrying How Old Are You (Malayalam), Kochadaiiyaan (Tamil), 7th Day (Malayalam), and Race Gurram (Telugu).

Bollywood Box Office: May 30-June 1

With nothing new in theaters, May 30-June 1, 2014, was a slow weekend for Hindi movies at the North American box office. Bollywood Hungama’s weekly box office chart appears incomplete, so I’m using Box Office Mojo’s numbers for my report this week.

A lot of competition from South Indian fare pushed Hindi films down the list in North America. For example, Kochadaiiyaan earned $89,042 in its second weekend to bring its total earnings in the U.S. and Canada to $817,192.

The Lunchbox — now in its fourteenth week in theaters — earned $55,420 from 54 theaters, a per-screen average of $1,026. It continues to increase its lead as the highest-earning Hindi film of 2014 in North America with total earnings standing at $3,972,118.

In its second weekend, Heropanti added another $8,454 from 11 theaters ($769 average), bringing its total to $57,150. If you want to get really nerdy, Box Office Mojo tracked Heropanti‘s daily earnings. I wish they had this info for every Hindi movie in the U.S.

While Heropanti‘s total earnings in North America are unimpressive, they’re right in line with what should be expected from a movie featuring a new hero. Its total topped those of movies with other little-known leads, such as Ragini MMS 2, Kaanchi, and Dishkiyaoon. But it lagged well behind the earnings of movies with more recognizable stars, like Gulaab Gang, Bewakoofiyaan, and Total Siyapaa.

If Tiger Shroff wants to get noticed in the U.S., he needs to spend some time playing second fiddle to A-listers before he can carry films on his own.

In Theaters: May 30, 2014

There isn’t much happening in the way of Hindi movies in the Chicago area the weekend beginning Friday, May 30, 2014. Heropanti gets a second week at the AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and The Lunchbox carries over at the Glen Art Theatre in Glen Ellyn.

However, there are a ton of other Indian movies playing locally this weekend, thanks in large part to the reopening of the Golf Glen 5 in Niles as MovieMax Cinemas.

Kochadaiiyaan (Tamil) gets a second week at the South Barrington 30, AMC Showplace Niles 12 in Niles, AMC Loews Streets of Woodfield 20 in Schaumburg, Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge, and MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, which is also carrying the Telugu version, Vikramasimha.

Manam (Telugu) also carries over for a second week at MovieMax, Cinemark at Seven Bridges, and Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont.

The South Barrington 30 has the Punjabi film 47 to 84: Hun Main Kisnu Watan Kahunga.

Other Indian movies showing at MovieMax this weekend include 7th Day (Malayalam), Amrutham Chandamama Lo (Telugu), Maanikya (Kannada), Mr. Fraud (Malayalam), and Race Gurram (Telugu).

Bollywood Box Office: May 23-25

It’s incredibly difficult to launch a new Hindi film hero’s career in North America, where superstars have even greater box office value than they do in India. It’s no surprise, then, that first weekend returns for Tiger Shroff’s big screen debut, Heropanti, seem underwhelming. From May 23-25, 2014, Heropanti took in $31,556 from 20 theaters in the U.S. and Canada, a per-screen average of $1,578.

The truth is that Heropanti‘s numbers are actually good for a movie starring a newcomer. The first factor to consider is that Heropanti faced unusually tough and unexpected competition. Rajinikanth’s Kochadaiiyaan shifted its opening date to May 23 at the last minute. Kochadaiiyaan pulled in $491,643 from 122 theaters ($4,030 average), a figure that probably should’ve been higher given the Superstar’s clout and higher 3D ticket prices.

And both Heropanti and Kochadaiiyaan were blown out of the water by the Telugu film Manam. It earned $844,271 from 108 U.S. theaters for an average of $7,817 per screen.

Despite taking a hit from a pair of high-profile South Indian films, Heropanti‘s earnings hold up very well when compared to North American opening weekend performances by film’s starring other new or marginal heroes. Here are some examples from 2013 and 2014 (ordered by release date):

  • Rajeev Khandelwal in Table No. 21: $31,658 from 23 theaters; $1,376 average
  • Jackky Bhagnani in Rangrezz: $4,318 from 11 theaters; $393 average
  • Girish Kumar in Ramaiya Vastavaiya: $52,200 from 67 theaters; $779 average
  • Manish Paul in Mickey Virus: $24,100 from 48 theaters; $502 average
  • Shiv Darshan in Karle Pyaar Karle: $3,110 from 22 theaters; $141 average
  • Ajaz Khan in Ya Rab: $1,404 from 15 theaters; $94 average
  • Harman Baweja in Dishkiyaoon: $7,341 from 11 theaters; $667 average

Even with Priyanka Chopra as a costar, Ram Charan only grossed $81,117 from 79 theaters ($1,027 average) in the opening weekend of 2013’s Zanjeer. Only Dhanush had any success of note with his Hindi-film debut Raanjhanaa ($414,211 from 102 theaters; $4,061 average), and he had the advantage of having Sonam Kapoor for a costar.

The Lunchbox and 2 States were the only other Hindi films lingering in theaters over the Memorial Day weekend. With its theater count diminished to 57, The Lunchbox earned $86,749, bringing its total North American earnings to $3,706,362.

2 States earned $2,528 from five theaters to bring its total earnings to $2,190,307.

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Opening May 23: Heropanti and Kochadaiiyaan

There’s only one new Hindi movie opening in the Chicago area May 23, 2014, but it still faces stiff competition. Heropanti — an action vehicle intended to launch the career of Jackie Shroff’s son, Tiger — opens on Friday at the AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 20 min.

Heropanti‘s competition comes from Kochadaiiyaan, the long-awaited animated feature starring Rajinikanth and Deepika Padukone.

Although the film has been dubbed into multiple languages, the version showing in the Chicago area and across most of the U.S. is in Tamil with English subtitles. Many theaters are carrying the movie in both 2D and 3D, so check the schedule in advance before heading to the theater. Also check the schedules to see if your local theater is one of the several running an early preview showing of Kochadaiiyaan on Thursday night.

On Friday, the following local theaters will carry Kochadaiiyaan: AMC River East 21 in Chicago, AMC Showplace Niles 12 in Niles, Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, AMC Loews Streets of Woodfield 20 in Schaumburg, South Barrington 30, Marcus Addison in Addison, and Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge. Its listed runtimes range from 1 hr. 50 min. to 2 hrs. 4 min.

Click here for a full list of U.S. theaters carrying Kochadaiiyaan.

The Lunchbox carries over for another week at the Glen Art Theatre in Glen Ellyn.

Also showing locally this weekend is the Telugu film Manam at Cinemark Tinseltown USA in North Aurora.

Kochadaiiyaan Postponed

The release of Rajinikanth’s long-awaited animated film Kochadaiiyaan has been postponed from May 9 to May 23. Eros International attributes the delay to post-production problems involving 3D and dubbing the film in multiple languages.

Distributors in the U.S. are understandably upset by the last-minute date shift. The new date also limits opportunities to screen Kochadaiiyaan in 3D since big-ticket Hollywood flicks Godzilla (May 16) and X-Men: Days of Future Past (May 23) will commandeer most of the world’s 3D screens.

New Trailers: March 20, 2014

Just released today is the trailer for the coming-of-age film Purani Jeans, arriving in theaters on May 1.

Also new today is the trailer for the Hindi version of Rio 2, featuring the voices of Imran Khan and Sonakshi Sinha. Rio 2 opens in India on April 11, the same day the English version — featuring the voices of Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway — opens in the U.S.

Rio 2 faces stiff competition on April 11, the day that also sees the release of Kochadaiiyaan, an animated adventure featuring the voices and likenesses of Superstar Rajinikanth and Deepika Padukone. Originally recorded in Tamil, dubbed versions in Telugu and Hindi will also be released (though who knows which version we’ll get here in the States).

There are a number of films set to release on April 25. The most likely candidate to show up in American theaters is Revolver Rani, starring Kangana Ranaut, whose stock has risen considerably since Queen became a sleeper hit.

April 25 also sees the release of Samrat & Co, a mystery based on the British TV series Sherlock. The nods the TV series are obvious in the trailer, though the “Watson” to Erik Estrada look-alike Rajeev Khandelwal’s “Sherlock” character, Samrat, is noticeably absent.

Last among the April 25 releases is Kaanchi: The Unbreakable, directed by Subhash Ghai