I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix because a ton of great Hindi films are set to expire from the service on August 1, as a result of the end of two-year contract with UTV Motion Pictures. Netflix could renew the contract in the near future, or the package of films could migrate to another streaming service. UTV is owned at least in part by Disney, so Hotstar is a likely destination. We’ll have to wait and see where they end up. Until then, here are the titles to catch on Netflix while you can:
I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with twenty-two new additions to the catalog! About half of these titles were on Netflix years ago, but the rest — films like Highway, Mohenjo Daro, and PK — are available on the service for the first time. I’m excited that three more of director Vishal Bhardwaj’s movies have joined the catalog. Here are all the titles added today:
There are a number of factors I considered when selecting candidates for Worst Bollywood Movie of 2009. Movies featuring racist jokes, such as Kambakkht Ishq and All the Best, obviously made the list. Incoherent plots brought Wanted and De Dana Dan to my attention, whereas Main Aurr Mrs. Khanna ignored traditional story structure and skipped the climax all together.
Ek — The Power of One deserves mention for its ridiculous title, which translates in English to “One — The Power of One”.
What’s Your Raashee? was easily the biggest disappointment of the year, coming from Ashutosh Gowariker, the filmmaker responsible for great flicks like Lagaan, Swades and Jodhaa Akbar.
2009 was a particularly bad year for Akshay Kumar. In addition to Kambakkht Ishq and De Dana Dan, he also starred in the bland supernatural thriller 8×10 Tasveer. His two other releases during the calendar year, Blue and Chandni Chowk to China, were fine but forgettable.
Because of their spectacular misunderstanding of human emotions and dubious moral messages, I thought about giving the award to either Kal Kissne Dekhaor London Dreams. Kal Kissne Dekha suggested that one’s value is dependent upon one’s ability to save lives via superhuman powers, while London Dreams excused abhorrent behavior so long as it was committed in pursuit of a selfish goal.
But the ultimate winner had to be the most annoying, most cliché-riddled movie of the year, the worst of the worst. And the winner of Worst Bollywood Movie of 2009 is: Do Knot Disturb.
Do Knot Disturb, which deserves the honor based on its stupid title alone, contains all of the bad clichés that dominate Hindi comedies at the moment. The plot is based on a series of misunderstandings which could be clarified if the characters actually had conversations with one another. The jokes are written based on volume instead of quality, under the mistaken belief that what was funny the first time is even funnier the sixth, seventh and eighth time.
Case in point, the high-pitched screaming match between characters played by Govinda and Ritesh Deshmukh. The characters get spooked by something and start shrieking in girlish voices. The gag isn’t original, but it’s not inherently annoying. But in Do Knot Disturb, the characters scream dialogue at each other in those high-pitched voices for the next ten minutes of the movie.
After one minute, the gag had already stopped being funny. After ten minutes, it was unbearable. I actually walked out of the theater and only convinced myself to return out of a sense of journalistic duty. By virtue of having watched all but one minute of the movie, I can say that Do Knot Disturb is the worst Hindi film of 2009.
Two new Hindi movies open in the Chicago area on Friday, November 6: one serious and one silly.
The serious movie is Jail, starring Neil Nitin Mukesh in a drama about the cruel treatment of inmates in Indian prisons. Jail is only opening at the AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington. It has a runtime of 2 hrs. 35 min.
Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani is the silly movie, about a boy named Prem (Ranbir Kapoor) whose efforts to please everyone go awry. It costars Katrina Kaif and has a runtime of 2 hrs. 35 min.
Main Aurr Mrs. Khanna aspires to be a moving drama about marital fidelity, but it lacks the emotional maturity to achieve its goal.
The movie focuses on the troubled marriage of Australian residents Samir (Salman Khan) and Raina Khanna (Kareena Kapoor). Samir, who is depressed because he can’t find a job, distances himself from Raina, who’s worried on his behalf. He decides that his only option is to leave Melbourne and try his luck in Singapore.
Raina is sad about leaving her friends and her job as a waitress, but she goes to the airport with her husband. There, he springs the news on her that she won’t be joining him in Singapore. Instead, she’s going to live with his disapproving parents in Delhi. The movie never explains why this is necessary; the decision only serves to prove that Samir is controlling.
Raina decides not to board the flight to Delhi. A waiter at an airport cafe, Akash (Sohail Khan), helps her start her new, solo life in Melbourne. Raina declares that she’s just killing time until Samir makes his fortune and returns for her, but Akash falls for her anyway.
Here, Main Aurr Mrs. Khanna takes an audacious turn: nothing unexpected happens. There are no twists, no moments where a character makes a life-changing decision. Samir succeeds and returns for Raina, and she goes with him. That’s it.
I don’t feel bad revealing those plot details because the movie is very clear about what is going to happen. Raina never — not even for an instant — expresses the slightest romantic interest in Akash. She doesn’t even realize he has a crush on her. If she did, it would force her consider him as a sexual partner, thereby destroying the image of the ideal woman that Raina is supposed to represent: somewhat independent but unquestionably devoted to her husband.
The characters lack depth not just from the way they’re written, but also from the way they are acted. When Akash reveals the pain he felt when his parents divorced, Raina responds with an inappropriate smile.
Debutant writer and director Prem Soni has a lot to learn. (Lesson #1: Why comic barnyard sound effects have no place in a relationship drama.) This first effort is a bland movie full of emotional simpletons. I fear that, if Soni wrote an adaptation of The Little Mermaid, the story would read like this: “A mermaid wanted to become a human, so she did. The End.”
The Diwali holiday weekend brings three big Hindi films to Chicago area theaters, with Sanjay Dutt playing major roles in two of them.
The first is Blue, an undersea adventure in which Dutt and Akshay Kumar search for treasure on a sunken ship, surrounded by sharks. Kylie Minogue adds a song to A. R. Rahman’s soundtrack: the absurdly-titled “Chiggy Wiggy.” Blue‘s runtime is listed as 1 hr. 55 min.
Next is the second Sanjay Dutt starrer, All The Best. It’s a comedy involving gangsters and a plot to trick Dutt’s wealthy character into believing his step-brother is married. I can’t make heads or tails of it based on the official story summary, nor can I figure out how Ajay Devgan’s auto mechanic character figures into the plot. I have very low expectations for All The Best, which has an official runtime of 2 hrs. 24 min.
Finally, the drama Main Aurr Mrs. Khanna, starring Kareena Kapoor as the title character. After a falling out with her husband (Salman Khan), she must choose between him and another man, played by Sohail Khan, Salman’s real-life younger brother. Main Aurr Mrs. Khanna has a runtime of 2 hrs. 15 min.
Entering its third week in theaters is Wake Up Sid, which has earned $611,574 in U.S. theaters so far. It will continue to play at the Cantera 30 and South Barrington 30. Also continuing for a third week at the South Barrington 30 is Do Knot Disturb. Its total U.S. earnings amount to $213,525.