Tag Archives: Lootera

Best Bollywood Movies of 2013

What stands out most on my Top Ten list for 2013 is the diversity of genres represented. No matter what you’re in the mood for, there’s a really good movie on this list. (Click on the title of each movie to read my original review.)

Want a fun teen dance flick? Check out ABCD: Any Body Can Dance.
Looking for a good sports movie or biopic? Try Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.
In the mood for a family drama set in the underworld? You’ve gotta see Aurangzeb.

In addition to the great variety on the list, all the movies mentioned are accessible to an international audience. Familiarity with Hindi movies and their structure may enhance one’s appreciation of Phata Poster Nikla Hero or Commando: A One Man Army, but a lack of prior experience shouldn’t keep Bollywood newcomers from enjoying them. In fact, Commando‘s best selling point is that it’s a martial arts action flick with a romantic dance number in the middle.

2013 was a great year for films featuring ensemble casts. Movies like Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola and D-Day showcase the work of veteran stars, while Shuddh Desi Romance and Kai Po Che! — both of which star Sushant Singh Rajput — feature up-and-comers with bright futures ahead of them.

D-Day also features my single favorite scene in any movie from 2013: a heartbreaking song montage about the doomed relationship between an assassin (Arjun Rampal) and a prostitute (Shruti Haasan).

My favorite Hindi movie of 2013 offers the perfect mix of passion and drama in a beautiful setting. If I could dream up an ideal romantic movie, it would be Lootera. [Buy it on DVD here.]

Writers Vikramaditya Motwane and Bhavani Iyer took a short story by O. Henry and adapted it to depict a tumultuous time period in India, as family fortunes were dismantled in the years following partition. Imagine trying to cope with the heightened emotions of first love while your way of life is turned on its head. Such are the circumstances for Pakhi (Sonakshi Sinha) and her beau, Varun (Ranveer Singh).

Fans of Victorian literature or contemporary period dramas like Downton Abbey: Lootera is made for you.

Best Bollywood Movies of 2013

  1. Lootera — Buy at Amazon
  2. D-Day — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  3. Kai Po Che! — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  4. Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola — Buy/rent at Amazon
  5. Shuddh Desi Romance — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  6. Commando: A One Man Army — Buy at Amazon
  7. ABCD: Any Body Can Dance — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  8. Aurangzeb — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  9. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  10. Phata Poster Nikla Hero — Buy at Amazon

Previous Best Movies Lists

Streaming Video News: December 24, 2013

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.

Merry Christmas!

Streaming Video News: October 4, 2013

Raaz 3 is now available for streaming on Netflix. With Halloween less than four weeks away, it’s the perfect time to check out this not-so-scary supernatural thriller from 2012.

Today marks the streaming debut of Lootera on Eros Now. The movie is gorgeous, and well worth the rental price of $3.99.

Streaming Video News: September 19, 2013

The 2008 thriller Kidnap is now available for streaming on Netflix. While by no means a great movie, Kidnap stars Sanjay Dutt in perhaps my favorite role I’ve ever seen him play. Dutt plays the father of a kidnapped young woman — a la Liam Neeson in Taken — a role befitting a man of his age (Dutt was 49 when the film released). He still gets to kick plenty of butts but without having to simultaneously romance a woman in her early twenties. I wish there were more cool dad roles for Bollywood actors. One can’t play a college student forever (right?).

Mark your calendars for Friday, October 4, when Lootera makes its streaming debut on Eros Now. Lootera is currently my favorite movie of 2013, so I’d say it’s worth the $1.99 rental.

Opening July 12: Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

The sports biopic Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (“Run Milkha Run“) opens in the Chicago area on July 12, 2013.

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag opens on Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 3 hrs. 8 min.

After earning $314,958 in its first weekend in U.S. theaters, Lootera carries over for a second week at the Golf Glen 5, South Barrington 30, and Cantera 17.

Both the South Barrington 30 and Cantera 17 are holding over Raanjhanaa for a fourth week, with U.S. earnings of $875,051 so far. The South Barrington 30 gives a seventh week to Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. Its U.S. earnings stand at $3,807,488.

Other Indian movies showing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include Sahasam (Telugu), Saptapadii (Gujarati), Shutter (Malayalam), and Singam 2 (Tamil).

Movie Review: Lootera (2013)

Lootera-New-Poster14 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the DVD at Amazon
Buy the soundtrack at Amazon

Vikramaditya Motwane made his directorial debut in 2010 with the incredible movie Udaan. His sophomore effort is Lootera (“Robber”), a film that is romantic, tragic, beautiful, and damned near perfect.

The story is set in the early 1950s, not long after Great Britain abdicated its control of India. Local governments are in the process of reclaiming and redistributing the wealth gifted by the British to aristocratic families. The Zamindar of Manikpur is slow to accept that life as he knew it is about to change.

At the same time, a young archeologist named Varun (Ranveer Singh) arrives to excavate an ancient temple on the Zamindar’s estate. The handsome archeologist attracts the attention of the Zamindar’s bright daughter, Pakhi (Sonakshi Sinha). Romance blossoms under the restrained social conventions of the time. The two contrive to spend time together under the guise of Varun teaching Pakhi how to paint, even though she knows far more about the art than he does.

Varun’s assistant, Debdas, warns him to end his flirtations before he breaks Pakhi’s heart. They will leave as soon as their project ends, and besides, Varun’s uncle won’t allow him to get married.

Lootera takes its time parsing out information, allowing the audience to fall in love with the characters before hinting at the possible complications. Varun and Pakhi are both young, smart, and attractive. Her father is fond of Varun, not to mention rich. Why would Varun’s uncle object to their relationship?

When the answer is revealed, it sets off a cascade of events that set up a thrilling second half. Amit Tridevi’s score augments the film perfectly, as does the frequent absence of a background score when atmospheric sounds are more appropriate.

Overall, Lootera is a quiet movie. Varun and Pakhi speak in whispers or sit together in silence, drawing the audience into the intimacy of their relationship.

With such a tight focus on the leading couple, the success of the film depends entirely upon the performances of Singh and Sinha. Both actors are more than up to the task. Singh does some excellent work when Varun tries to heed Debdas’ advice and push Pakhi away. He speaks of not wanting to see her anymore, but his face can’t help but give Pakhi — and the audience — a hint that he’s lying.

Pakhi undergoes some major changes of the course of the movie, and Sinha is superb at adapting while keeping the core of the character intact. Even in Pakhi’s darkest moments, some small joy lights up her face in the same smile as the innocent girl introduced at the start of the film. This is undoubtedly Sinha’s finest work to date.

The pacing of the story, the gorgeous cinematography, and the tremendous acting make Lootera a movie that should have universal appeal and stand the test of time. I look forward to revisiting this many times in the years to come — and recommending it to everyone I know.

Links

Opening July 5: Policegiri

Sanjay Dutt’s Policegiri opens on Friday, July 5, 2013, at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles.

Policegiri is the second new Hindi movie to open in Chicago area theaters this week, following Lootera‘s Wednesday opening at the AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. Lootera expands to the Golf Glen 5 on Friday.

After earning $143,616 in its opening week in U.S. theaters, Ghanchakkar carries over for a second week in limited showings at the South Barrington 30, Cantera 17, and Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie. With total earnings of $756,233 so far, Raanjhanaa gets a third week at the Golf Glen 5, Cantera 17, and South Barrington 30, which also gives a sixth week to Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani ($3,745,243 total in the U.S.).

Other Indian movies showing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include ABCD: American-Born Confused Desi (Malayalam), Balupu (Telugu), Mallela Theeram Lo Sirimalle Puvvu (Telugu), Saptapadii (Gujarati), and Singam 2 (Tamil), which is also showing at the Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge.

Opening July 3: Lootera

In order to take advantage of Thursday’s Independence Day holiday, Chicago area theaters are opening the period romance Lootera on Wednesday, July 3, 2013: two days before it releases in India. The trailer for the movie is beautiful.

The AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville both debut Lootera with limited showings on Wednesday night before switching to a full day of showings on Thursday, July 4. The movie has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 20 min.