Tag Archives: Koyelaanchal

Worst Bollywood Movies of 2014

While I felt that there were more good Bollywood movies than bad released in 2014, the year did produce some truly awful Hindi films. (Click on the title of each movie to read my original review.)

Some primarily suffered from poor story construction. In Jai Ho, Salman Khan inexplicably goes on a violent rampage when people fail to embrace his “pay it forward” scheme, resulting in Suniel Shetty plowing through traffic in a tank. Another Khan film — Kick — makes even less sense, as Khan transforms from a dopey slacker into Robin Hood overnight, and none of the supposedly intelligent characters in the film realize it’s him. Koyelaanchal‘s disorganized plot is a problem, but not as big a problem as its multiple flashbacks from the perspective of a baby.

I often write about gender issues in my reviews, so it’s no surprise that many of the worst movies of the year portrayed women negatively. The Xpose is essentially a morality lecture for women delivered by writer-actor-composer Himesh Reshammiya. According to Super Nani, a woman’s only real asset is her beauty, even if she’s old enough to be a grandmother.

A few lousy 2014 movies actually fancy themselves as socially progressive, even though they aren’t. Kaanchi inaccurately characterizes the heroine’s personal revenge as representative of a youth uprising against systemic corruption. The hero of Heropanti denounces arranged marriage while simultaneously affirming a father’s right to choose his daughter’s husband. Daawat-e-Ishq — the most disappointing Hindi film of 2014, given the quality of its cast and crew — depicts men as the real victims of dowry tradition.

The delightfully inept Karle Pyaar Karle could have been a perfect “so bad, it’s good” movie, were it not for a racist subplot. The movie’s heroine is threatened with forced marriage to a dark-skinned African man, a character introduced solely to represent the worst fate imaginable for an Indian woman. The hero and heroine use racial slurs, and the heroine’s mother proposes suicide for herself and her daughter as a way to avoid the marriage. It’s an offensive and frustrating end to an otherwise unintentionally hilarious movie.

The absolute worst Hindi movie of 2014 combines the shortcomings of the other films on the list and multiplies them exponentially. That film is the loud and tacky Humshakals. Offensive jokes are aimed at almost every group except straight Indian men, with director Sajid Khan’s preferred target being overweight women. As one can infer from the female characters Khan wrote for the movie, his ideal woman is a brainless sex object.

Unlike Karle Pyaar Karle, there’s nothing funny about Humshakals, intentional or unintentional. It’s a cynical film, pandering to the basest prejudices of the lowest common denominator. Sajid Khan writes the mean-spirited jokes he does because he thinks he can get away with them. It’s time for not only the audience but members of the industry to tell him that we deserve better.

Worst Hindi Movies of 2014

  1. Humshakals — Buy at Amazon
  2. Karle Pyaar Karle
  3. Kick — Buy at Amazon
  4. Koyelaanchal — Buy at Amazon
  5. Heropanti — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  6. Jai Ho — Buy at Amazon
  7. Daawat-e-Ishq — Buy at Amazon or iTunes
  8. Super Nani — Buy/rent at iTunes
  9. The Xpose — Buy at Amazon
  10. Kaanchi: The Unbreakable — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes

Previous Worst Movies Lists

Bollywood Box Office: May 9-11

Oh, Koyelaanchal. Why did you even bother making the trip overseas? The coal mafia drama fared poorly at the box office during its debut weekend in the U.S. (it didn’t open in Canada), May 9-11, 2014. From eight American theaters it earned a total of $1,762. That’s a per screen average of just $220.

What does $220 per screen look like in the theater itself? I watched Koyelaanchal at the AMC South Barrington 30 in its first showing on Friday morning. I was one of two people in a theater that can accommodate over 200. The other guy left before the movie ended.

The South Barrington 30 ran the film four times per day over the weekend, so each screening earned an average of $18.33. Depending on the time of day, a ticket at the South Barrington 30 costs $6.50, $9, or $10.75. Based on those prices and the average earnings per screening, my experience was typical for all twelve showings over the weekend. Hard for a theater to make money playing a movie for just two or three people at a time.

The Lunchbox continued to perform well in the U.S. and Canada. In its eleventh weekend, it earned $227,610 from 136 theaters ($1,674 average). Its total North American earnings stand at $3,302,145.

Now in its fourth weekend, 2 States also held up nicely. It earned $87,445 from fifty-four theaters ($1,619 average), bringing its total earnings to $2,112,753.

Main Tera Hero stuck around for a fifth weekend in one U.S. theater, earning $60 to bring its total to $275,985.

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Movie Review: Koyelaanchal (2014)

Koyelaanchal0.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the DVD at Amazon

The only info one needs when deciding whether to watch Koyelaanchal is that director Ashu Trikha includes multiple flashbacks from the perspective of an infant. Let me repeat: A baby has flashbacks in a violent drama about the coal mafia.

The fact that Koyelaanchal is about the coal mafia is the only fact anyone can be sure of regarding the movie. It’s so disorganized that it’s never established which character is the film’s protagonist. It could be the coal don, Saryu Bhan Singh (Vinod Khanna). It could be the don’s hired killer, Karua (Vipinno). It could be Nisheeth (Suniel Shetty), the government bureaucrat sent to clean up the town. It could be the baby.

Koyelaanchal begins with a glimpse into life in the title town. A bunch of people die in a bunch of separate incidents, though it’s not clear why. All that’s clear is that the police don’t care and that Saryu Bhan is the town bigwig.

Nisheeth arrives from Delhi, ready to lay down the law. He’s disabused of that notion when Karua slits a guy’s throat in front of him, and the police chief (Deepraj Rana) says the victim probably had it coming.

On Saryu Bhan’s orders, Karua attempts to scare Nisheeth by shooting at him and stealing his car. Uh oh: Nisheeth’s baby is in the back seat! Queue the interval break.

After spending the first half establishing that Karua is Saryu Bhan’s cold-blooded, mindless lapdog — he washes Saryu Bhan’s feet and drinks the wash water, for Pete’s sake — the bulk of the second half of the movie is spent on an unbelievable comedy/character redemption arc as Karua takes care of the baby.

Asking the audience to suddenly find it charming as Karua — a guy who killed a labor protestor on stage at a rally using a dancer’s scarf — gets grossed out by a baby peeing is absurd. But it’s not as absurd as the baby’s flashbacks.

The baby watches as the admittedly fit Karua does push ups on the floor of their hideout shack. The camera fades to black-and-white as the baby fondly remembers being carried by Nisheeth on his shoulders. Cut back to the present, where the wistful baby crawls over to Karua and climbs on his back. Karua resumes his push ups, giving the baby the ride he so longed for.

If that’s not enough to make you puke, Koyelaanchal is full of enough blood, gore, vomit, and urine to make you do so.

Nisheeth yells a lot, but he does next to nothing to save his kidnapped child. Saryu Bhan might be a compelling character if Trikha had allotted time for character development, instead of wasting time by having random Maoists blow stuff up periodically.

There’s nothing in it to make me recommend Koyelaanchal. The few laughs it generates are completely unintentional. (Drinking game idea: take a shot every time Karua points a gun at the baby.) Even the dramatic elements aren’t interesting enough to overcome the movie’s sluggish pace and underdeveloped characters.

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Opening May 9: Koyelaanchal

The postponement of this weekend’s planned release of Kochadaiiyaan left a hole in local theater schedules. Fortunately, Koyelaanchal — a movie I never in a million years would’ve picked to open in Chicago — stepped in to fill the void. The drama about a coal baron opens on May 9, 2014.

Koyelaanchal opens on Friday at the AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 27 min.

The South Barrington 30 and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville are also holding over 2 States for a fourth week.