I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with the premiere of the Netflix Original Marathi movie 15 August. A bunch of Hindi movies expire from the service March 30, so tonight is your last chance to watch these titles:
Shah Rukh Khan’s production company Red Chillies Entertainment has a streaming deal with Netflix that lasts through the end of this year, and I’ve wondered when Zero is going to wind up on Netflix. I checked on the other RCE titles produced since the deal was signed, and Dear Zindagi, Jab Harry Met Sejal, and Ittefaq all became available for streaming five months after their theatrical release. The only exception was Raees, which appeared on the service after four months. We can likely expect Zero to join Netflix at the end of May, maybe end of April. Badla is also an RCE production, so look for that in early July, possibly early June.
With more than thirty Indian titles added in the last month — including a bunch of mainstream Bollywood films like those added today — it sure looks like Netflix is feeling the heat from Amazon’s new Heera channel, which just added the Hindi version of The Ghazi Attack to its subscription service.
With no new Hindi movies opening in the U.S. or Canada on Friday, May 2, 2014, old favorites continued to pull in crowds at the North American box office. The Lunchbox — now in its tenth week — earned $255,736 from 141 screens ($1,814 average), bringing its total earnings to $2,968,497 so far.
2 States also held up well in its third week. It earned $167,377 from ninety-one screens ($1,839 average) to bring its total North American earnings to $1,978,594.
With The Lunchbox set to pass $3 million in North American earnings this week and 2 States about to the clear the $2 million mark, it’s worth noting the significance of these achievements. Both movies are romantic dramas, as opposed to action-packed spectacles. Neither film features A-list superstars (industry and audience respect for Irrfan Khan notwithstanding).
A look at the last five years of box office receipts reveals similarities among the sixteen Hindi films that managed to earn more than $2 million in North America during that period (five in 2013, five in 2012, two in 2011, one in 2010, and two in 2009). Four films are action sequels: Dhoom 3, Krrish 3, Dabangg 2, and Don 2. A small list of actors show up in multiple movies on the list:
Hrithik Roshan: Krrish 3 and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
[Somebody in Bollywood needs to cash in by bringing back Shahrukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan for Ra.Two, featuring Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif as the villains.]
The Lunchbox continues to earn big, thanks to its partnership with a Hollywood distributor — Sony Pictures Classics — which has dramatically expanded its potential audience compared to a typical Hindi film. Though movie adaptations of popular books are far rarer in India than in Hollywood, the success of 2 States should start to change that.
The only other Hindi movie showing in the U.S. the weekend of May 2-4 was Queen. Now in its ninth week, it earned $190 from one theater, bringing its total earnings to $1,417,405.
In celebration of Christmas, Eros Now has made a number of its premium titles available for streaming for free when you sign up for a trial subscription. Those titles include flicks from 2013, such as Lootera, Madras Cafe, Ek Thi Daayan, Grand Masti, Raanjhanaa, and — (cue the fanfare) — Krrish 3! If you’ve been waiting to check out the service, this is the perfect time to give it a try.
Eros Now also recently added Inkaar, which I’m eager to watch since it didn’t open in the U.S. It’s not included with the free trial, but Arjun Rampal and Chitrangada Singh are hot enough that I can be swayed to shell out $7.99 for a month’s subscription.
Fans in the U.S. are getting a gift from Bollywood on Thanksgiving. Director Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Bullett Raja opens on Thursday, November 28, 2013, in America, a day before it opens in India. I’m pretty psyched for this black comedy, which stars Saif Ali Khan.
What a busy time of year for Bollywood movies! Two new Hindi films open in Chicago area theaters on November 22, 2013, fresh on the heels of two blockbuster releases. Gori Tere Pyaar Mein — a romantic comedy starring Kareena Kapoor Khan and Imran Khan — gets the wider release of the two new flicks.
All this Bollywood competition — plus competition from Hollywood fare like the sequel to The Hunger Games releasing this Friday — has dramatically shortened Krrish 3‘s lifespan in U.S. theaters. The only local theater giving it a fourth week is the South Barrington 30. The movie’s three-week U.S. box office total is $2,123,333.
Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend include Irandam Ulagam (Tamil) and Thira (Malayalam) at the Golf Glen 5.
Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s latest, Ram-Leela, opens in the Chicago area on November 15, 2013. A Delhi court today ordered the title changed to Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela to avoid confusing theatergoers expecting a religious parable and getting a retelling of Romeo & Juliet instead, but American theaters are sticking with the original title in their listings.
Having earned $1,870,108 in the U.S. so far, Krrish 3 gets a third week at the Golf Glen 5, South Barrington 30, Woodridge 18, and Cantera 17.
Other Indian movies playing in the Chicago area this weekend include the Telugu film Masala at the Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont and the Golf Glen 5, which also carries the Tamil movies Arrambam and Pizza II: Villa. It gives me great joy just knowing that a horror sequel called Pizza 2 exists.
Krrish 3‘s great flaw is not that it’s a derivative mishmash of X-Men, The Island of Doctor Moreau, and Superman. It’s that Krrish 3 is boring. Why does a standard superhero plot — bad guy wants to takeover the world, good guy needs to stop him — need so much exposition?
Krrish 3 starts with a helpful recap of the previous films in the series — Koi… Mil Gaya and Krrish — narrated by Amitabh Bachchan. Rohit (Hrithik Roshan) inherited superpowers from an alien and passed them on to his son, Krishna (also Hrithik Roshan), who moonlights as the superhero, Krrish.
Bachchan’s narration disappears for half-an-hour so that we can see Krrish rescue some folks, only to return unexpectedly to introduce the villains. After that, we don’t hear from Bachchan again.
The primary villain is Professor X, er, Kaal (Vivek Oberoi), a telekinetic quadriplegic who somehow retains the use of both index fingers. Bachchan assures us: “Unbelievable as it is, but it’s true.” As a byproduct of his experiments to cure his paralysis, Kaal creates an army of animal-human hybrids: his “manimals.”
One of the manimals is a chameleon-hybrid shape-shifter named Kaya (Kangana Ranaut). In addition to looking sexy in a strapless latex catsuit, Kaya can pass through walls and possesses super-strength.
Kaya’s storyline is the highlight of the film. Her role in Kaal’s evil scheme requires her to impersonate Krishna’s wife, Priya (Priyanka Chopra). While gathering intel for her boss, Kaya gets to live a life she’s never experienced, one in which she’s a beloved member of a family. This causes her to question her loyalties to her creator, Kaal, who’s always treated her like a tool.
Kaya is a better developed villain than Kaal, whose plans seem scattershot. He spends the first hour of the film infecting countries with a virus, and then charging high prices for the cure in order to fund his paralysis-cure research. The movie is half-over before Krrish and Kaal have anything to do with one another.
After exhausting his animal research, Kaal becomes obsessed with bone marrow. When he says, “I need your bone marrow,” he dramatically emphasizes the tissue as if he were saying “heart” or “brain” or some other vital organ. It’s as if no one told him that a bone marrow transplant is a relatively common, non-lethal procedure. Boy, is he going to be bummed when he finds out.
Kaal’s not intimidating enough to be a super-villain, and he’s not as complex a character as Kaya. He’s about as scary as his henchman, Frogman (Gowhar Khan), who gets way too much screentime for a guy whose only weapon is his tongue.
Krrish/Krishna is kind of a dud, too. There’s a germ of a running gag in which Krishna keeps getting fired from service jobs because of his superhero duties, but it doesn’t go anywhere. Krrish rescues a boy, only to lecture him not to try superhero stunts at home.
That lecture, plus a bunch of speeches about how we’re all like Krrish whenever we do something nice for someone else, make Krrish 3 too self-aware to be truly engrossing. Whenever scenes show a glimmer of emotional truth, the camera zooms soap-opera style into a close-up of a character’s face, just to make sure the audience knows that this is an emotionally significant moment.
The performances by Roshan and Chopra are corny, and Oberoi isn’t villainous enough. Ranaut’s compelling turn as Kaya makes the film bearable.
The musical numbers are also a letdown. About half the audience at my showing headed for a bathroom break as soon as “God Allah Aur Bhagwan” began. “Dil Tu Hi Bataa” is so wacky that it’s almost charming. Why is Ranaut dressed like she’s in the Ice Capades?
But, wait! Isn’t that my boy Sushant Pujari from ABCD bustin’ moves in red sneakers in “Raghupati Raghav”? Maybe Krrish 3 is worth watching after all.