One strange bit of Amazon housekeeping is that Yash Raj Films added new versions of several movies that were already on Prime, and the old links no longer work at all. It’s not that the listing remains and says the movie isn’t available on Prime — you get a “Page Not Found” error when you follow the link. I updated my list with the new links I’ve found, but here they are just in case you’ve got the old links in your bookmarks (if you find any other YRF Amazon Prime links in my list that no longer work, please leave a comment and let me know):
I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with three new additions to the catalog. After a few months’ absence, Ek Tha Tiger and Ladies vs Ricky Bahl are once more available for streaming. Also, just two months after its theatrical release in the U.S., Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain is now on Netflix. The English-language drama featuring Hollywood stars like Martin Sheen and Kal Penn alongside Bollywood vets like Rajpal Yadav and Tannishtha Chatterjee depicts the true, tragic events of a 1984 industrial disaster. It’s worth watching.
North American Bollywood fans were in the mood for love, turning out in impressive numbers for the romantic comedy Hasee Toh Phasee. In its opening weekend in 88 U.S. and Canadian theaters, the film earned $336,985 (according to Box Office Mojo).
Hasee Toh Phasee‘s per screen earnings of $3,829 bested every other film in the top twenty-five apart from The LEGO Movie and The Monuments Men, which finished the weekend in first and second place, respectively.
The success of Hasee Toh Phasee points to an upward trend in the young careers of the two lead actors: Sidharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra. This is only Malhotra’s second film after 2012’s Student of the Year, which earned $326,508 from 106 theaters ($3,080 per screen) in its opening weekend in North America, going on to earn a total of $670,086.
Chopra had greater success with 2013’s Shuddh Desi Romance. It earned $345,624 from 116 theaters ($2976 per screen) in its first weekend, finishing its North American run with $641,000 in total earnings.
Distributor Reliance Big Pictures should be pleased if Hasee Toh Phasee ends up earning around $650,000 in the U.S. and Canada.
There’s a decent romantic comedy buried within Ladies vs. Ricky Bahl. Unfortunately, one has to slog through the interminable opening hour of its 140 minute runtime to find it.
Briefly put, Ladies vs. Ricky Bahl is about three women who get revenge on a conman. Rather than get right to the revenge, however, the movie shows, in tedious detail, how each of the women is taken for various amounts of money by Ricky Bahl (Ranveer Singh), a grifter who goes by the aliases Sunny, Deven, Iqbal and Vikram.
In fact, the opening credits don’t even run until twenty minutes into the film, after “Sunny” tricks a naive, spoiled brat named Dimple (Parineeti Chopra) into falling for him. After he makes off with Dimple’s dad’s money, Sunny changes his name to Deven and tricks a businesswoman named Raina (Dipannita Sharma) into buying a bogus painting.
When Raina and Dimple are contacted by a third conned woman, textile shop owner Saira (Aditi Sharma), the three team up to get their money back. They hire a beautiful and uncommonly persuasive salesgirl, Ishika (Anushka Sharma), to trick Ricky into returning their stolen funds.
This is when the story finally gets interesting, but it’s an hour into the film. Up to this point, the plot is simultaneously predictable and directionless. It’s obvious how each of Ricky’s cons is going to end; the only mystery is why we need such a large volume of set-up material.
It’s also a huge mistake to keep the film’s biggest asset — Anushka Sharma — under wraps for so long. Sharma has an infectious smile and an undeniable charm. Her ease in front of the camera has elevated every film she’s starred in during the course of her brief career.
Singh is a perfectly suitable leading man, particularly for Yash Raj Films’ particular brand of light, popcorn fare. Singh’s got a killer smile as well, his hair looks great when a high-powered fan is directed at it, and his muscled torso is manscaped within an inch of its life. But that’s probably not enough to warrant anchoring a film when a legitimate superstar like Anushka Sharma is in the cast.
And let’s not forget that Ricky is a conman. We want to see him get his comeuppance at the hands of someone we like. That’s Ishika, someone who’s similarly clever but earns her paycheck legally. She enters a grey area by accepting the ladies’ job, but that makes her interesting, not a criminal. Ishika has the most room for growth, so she should be the main character, not Ricky.
The rest of the titular ladies carry off their somewhat narrow roles well. Notable is newcomer Chopra (actress Priyanka Chopra’s cousin), who successfully makes Pringle-chomping rich girl Dimple more amusing than annoying. Some of the most enjoyable scenes in the film feature the ladies working together to extract money from the thief.
The music and dance numbers are entertaining, thanks in large part to Singh’s impressive skills on the dance floor.
Had the backstory of how each woman was swindled been trimmed down to a total of twenty or thirty minutes, this might have been a pretty good film. But Ladies vs. Ricky Bahl has too many missteps early on to make it a “must see” movie.
Fresh on the heels of a pair of new releases last weekend comes Ladies vs. Ricky Bahl, opening in the Chicago area on December 9, 2011. The romantic comedy reunites Anushka Sharma and Ranveer Singh, who charmed audiences last year in Band Baaja Baaraat.
Of last weekend’s new releases, only The Dirty Picture gets a second week at the South Barrington 30 and Cantera 17. (So long, I Am Singh.) Desi Boyz, which has earned $984,679 in its first two weeks in U.S. theaters, gets a third week at both theaters as well.
Update: Big Cinemas’ U.S. theater sites are undergoing maintenance, so head to movietickets.com to check theater schedules. The Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles is showing Ladies vs. Ricky Bahl, The Dirty Picture, Desi Boyz, Osthe (Tamil) and Panjaa (Telugu) this weekend.