Tag Archives: Marathi

Opening August 18: Bareilly Ki Barfi

New Bollywood romantic comedy Bareilly Ki Barfi — starring Kriti Sanon, Ayushmann Khurrana, and Rajkummar Rao — opens in Chicago area theaters on August 18, 2017. This is the second Hindi feature by director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, who made a strong debut with Nil Battey Sannata.

Bareilly Ki Barfi opens Friday at MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 3 min.

Toilet: Ek Prem Katha carries over for a second week at all of the above theaters, plus the AMC River East 21 in Chicago and Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison.

After a disappointing second weekend in North American theaters, Jab Harry Met Sejal only carries over at MovieMax and the South Barrington 24, which also holds on to Mubarakan.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend:

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Opening July 14: Jagga Jasoos

Disney India’s final production, Jagga Jasoos, opens in the Chicago area on July 14, 2017. Director Anurag Basu’s detective film reunites former lovers Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif onscreen.

Jagga Jasoos opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Century 12 Evanston in Evanston, AMC Showplace Niles 12 in Niles, AMC Dine-In Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, AMC Showplace Naperville 16 in Naperville, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 15 min. [Update: Fandango’s runtime is wrong. Jagga Jasoos is more like 2 hrs. 45 min.]

Mom carries over for a second week at MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, River East 21, Cantera 17, Woodridge 18, and South Barrington 24, which also holds over Guest Iin London.

On Saturday night at 7 p.m., MovieMax hosts a live broadcast of the 2017 IIFA Awards.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area over the weekend:

Streaming Video News: March 15, 2017

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with several new additions to the catalog. Two Shah Rukh Khan films from 2001 — Asoka and One 2 Ka 4 — are now available for streaming, evidently part of Netflix’s deal with Red Chillies Entertainment. Also newly added were two movies from 2014: the Marathi film Sunrise and the Malayalam movie Ottaal, listed at Netflix by its English title, “The Trap“. Thanks to Aroon Deep — Access Bollywood’s unofficial Twitter correspondent on the Netflix beat — for alerting me to the new additions!

Opening June 3: Housefull 3

Egads, a third Housefull movie hits Chicago area theaters on June 3, 2016. Boman Irani returns as the same character, but with a new set of daughters — Jacqueline Fernandez, Lisa Haydon, and Nargis Fakhri — with a new set of beaus — Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh, and Abhishek Bachchan. The Housefull movies push the boundaries of what can legitimately be considered a sequel.

Housefull 3 opens on Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, Regal Round Lake Beach Stadium 18 in Round Lake Beach, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 25 min. [Author’s note: I won’t be reviewing Housefull 3 until Monday.]

Sarbjit gets a third week at MovieMax and the South Barrington 30.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend:

Opening March 25: Rocky Handsome

One new Bollywood movie opens in the Chicago area on March 25, 2016. Rocky Handsome — starring John Abraham — is an apparently faithful remake of a South Korean movie that I love: The Man From Nowhere. The remake fills me with trepidation, but I am open to being pleasantly surprised.

Rocky Handsome opens on Friday at MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 6 min.

Last weekend’s big hit Kapoor & Sons carries over at all three of the above theaters, plus the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

Neerja gets a sixth week at MovieMax and the South Barrington 30, which also carries the English-language film Miss India America in limited engagement.

Other Indian films playing in the Chicago area this weekend:

Streaming Bollywood Films on the iPad

Update: The streaming service Mela shuts down permanently on September 15, 2012. With its only real competitor out of the picture, Netflix is unquestionably the best option for streaming Bollywood movies on iPad devices.

With Indian Premier League Cricket slowing the flow of major releases out of Bollywood, it’s time to examine another option for watching Hindi movies. iPad owners in the U.S. have several ways to stream Bollywood movies on their devices. But which app is the best, particularly for movie fans who rely (as I do) on English subtitles?

When reviewing streaming video services, I considered a few criteria:

  1. Is the app easy to search and navigate?
  2. How comprehensive is the catalog of movies available?
  3. Is one of the movies in the catalog Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge?

All of the apps reviewed have a fee associated with full access to their catalogs. Here’s a look at the few of the streaming services available on the iPad.

Mela

Unlike other video streaming services, Mela focuses exclusively on Indian content. Mela’s iPad catalog — a subset of the full range of video entertainment available with their set-top box, which includes TV shows — features hundreds of movies in Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Punjabi, Marathi, and Gujarati. The full movie catalog is accessible with a $4.99 monthly subscription, though a limited number of films can be viewed for free without a subscription.

By virtue of having a narrow focus, the Mela iPad app is incredibly easy to search. After selecting which films you’d like to browse by language, movies are organized alphabetically by title. Movies cover a wide date range, from the ’60s to the present, including a number of films released in 2012.

Most of these newer films are independent movies that didn’t release in U.S. theaters. For most American fans, Mela is the only way to see the horror flick Ghost or the relationship drama Chaurahen.

But Mela offers more than just arthouse fare. It offers 2011 hits like The Dirty Picture and Mere Brother Ki Dulhan and will soon add this year’s outstanding thriller Kahaani to its catalog.

Mela gets an incomplete grade on one criterion: Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge is available for streaming, but it’s not subtitled in English.

That’s Mela’s biggest drawback, at the moment: not all of the movies are subtitled in English, and not all of those films are marked as being subtitled in the movie description. I often have to start a movie and fast forward to see if the dialog is subtitled. Most recent releases are subtitled — as Kahaani will be — and the company continues to add subtitles to older films already in the catalog, a process that the company says should be completed in the next couple of months. (Dear Mela: please prioritize subtitling Disco Dancer. Thanks!)

Another feature that would make the app ideal would be an ability to search movies by release year. However, within each language, there is a category for newly added titles, which includes recent theatrical releases.

Netflix

Netflix is undoubtedly the video service Americans are most familiar with. In addition to an extensive library of DVDs, Netflix has more than 70 Hindi titles available for streaming. The unlimited streaming plan costs $7.99 per month and allows subscribers to watch movies on their computers, TV or mobile devices (adding a DVD-by-mail option costs an additional $7.99 per month, minimum).

The quality of Netflix’s Hindi streaming video catalog is impressive, and all the films are subtitled in English. The catalog presently includes popular titles like Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Dum Maaro Dum, and, most importantly, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. The other obvious advantage for Netflix is its huge catalog of English-language movies and TV shows, as well as other foreign films.

However, the Netflix app doesn’t lend itself to serious catalog browsing. In addition to showcasing new releases, the home screen of my Netflix app suggested movies from odd categories like “Quirky Documentaries” and “Inspiring Movies”: clever, but useless if I want to see what new Hindi movies are available. Unlike at Netflix’s website, movies listed under the “Foreign” browsing category aren’t further subdivided by language, though it did suggest some titles in a “Bollywood” subcategory. Searching under the word “Hindi” yielded no results.

If I want to see which Hindi movie at Netflix has the most recent theatrical release date, I have to go to the Netflix website, search for Hindi-language movies, sort them by release year, add the appropriate movie to my queue, and then access my queue on the iPad app to watch the movie. It’s a more complicated process than it should be.

Hulu Plus

While Hulu specializes in TV content, it also offers movies for streaming. Much of the service is available for free on a computer, but iPad access requires a subscription to Hulu Plus for a cost of $7.99 per month. Like Netflix, a subscription offers access to a wide range of content beyond Bollywood films.

Also like Netflix, Hulu’s catalog is a pain to search on the Hulu Plus iPad app. Hulu’s catalog of movies isn’t available to browse by category, so I searched for movies using the term “Hindi.” Searching for the term on the iPad yielded fewer than thirty titles, while the same search at Hulu’s website yielded more than sixty titles. (Oddly, Hulu doesn’t include Hindi movies in their “Foreign Language” category.)  Dil Se stood out among a largely unimpressive catalog that included the likes of 8×10 Tasveer and All the Best.

More annoying is that closed captioning is available on movies at Hulu’s website, but not on the Hulu Plus iPad app (though it is available on some other mobile devices). Not all of the Hindi movies in the catalog are subtitled automatically. So even generating a queue at Hulu’s website and selecting films from that queue doesn’t guarantee that the movie is watchable on the iPad.

The Rest

Thanks to an agreement several years ago with Eros Entertainment, Vudu has number of Bollywood movies available for rental and purchase on an individual basis. Most titles are from 2006 and earlier. The Vudu app is a player only, which means that movies must be browsed and purchased at the Vudu website for later viewing on the Vudu app. I found the process tedious and the catalog largely unsearchable, so I won’t bother renting from Vudu.

Neither Amazon Instant Videos nor YouTube Movies are currently available on the iPad.

Summary

For hardcore Bollywood fans, Mela is an essential app, especially since it costs less than other movie streaming apps. Even though many movies in the catalog currently lack subtitles, there are more than enough to keep English-only fans occupied until the catalog is completely subtitled. And no other company prioritizes independent Indian films the way Mela does.

Netflix is a great app for movie fans who don’t want to be limited to Bollywood titles alone. If you don’t live within driving distance of a theater that shows Hindi films, the Netflix catalog will keep you up to date on many of the biggest hits. However, for $3 more per month than Mela, be sure you take advantage of all the service has to offer in order to get your money’s worth.

Hulu Plus isn’t worth it for Bollywood movies alone, as you’ll quickly exhaust the limited selection of subpar titles. And with other services offering newer films, there’s no reason to bother slogging though Vudu’s annoying catalog.

Happy streaming!

Retro Review: Harishchandrachi Factory (2009)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Buy or rent the movie at iTunes
Buy the DVD at Amazon

I normally review only Hindi movies, but I made an exception for Harishchandrachi Factory. The Marathi movie was India’s official entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 2010 Academy Awards. Ultimately, it wasn’t one of the five nominees, but it is worth watching.

The film is about the creation of the first full-length Indian motion picture in 1913: Raja Harishchandra, a depiction of the life of an ancient king renowned for always keeping his promises and telling the truth, no matter the consequences for him and his family.

(I didn’t think the moral of the story of Harishchandra was explained clearly via the movie’s subtitles. I had to look up the story later to appreciate some of the references.)

Dhundiraj Govind Phalke was the man responsible for Raja Harishchandra, in addition to dozens of other movies over the span of 19 years. He’s credited for founding the Indian film industry, back when cinema was dominated by the British.

Harishchandrachi Factory begins in 1911, when Phalke (Nandu Madhav) sees his first motion pictures: a documentary on bullfighting and a depiction of the life of Jesus Christ. He’s instantly seized with the notion of making an Indian film for an Indian audience.

Phalke, having recently sold his stake in a printing company, convinces his wife, Saraswati (Vibhawari Deshpande), and several investors that movie making is just another kind of printing, winning their support. He spends two months in England learning the trade and returns with the necessary camera equipment.

Phalke’s path is remarkably free of obstacles. Saraswati takes her husband’s career change in stride, never complaining as he sells most of their furniture to finance his London trip, which he schedules when she’s supposed to give birth to their third child. And Phalke has little trouble getting money from investors, who are impressed by his hard work ethic and the potential of the new storytelling medium.

The only hiccups occur when Phalke actually starts making his movie. Motion pictures are held in such low regard that even prostitutes refuse to join Phalke’s production, for fear of ruining their reputations. The men he hires to play the female roles are reluctant to shave their mustaches.

The lack of conflict, despite conventional wisdom, actually makes Harishchandrachi Factory more enjoyable. There is enough inherent risk in being a pioneer. Manufactured arguments between, say, Phalke and Saraswati would’ve been depressing, rather than dramatic. Happy onscreen relationships are rare enough as it is.

Harishchandrachi Factory is impressive, given that it was made for less than $500,000. But the meagreness of the budget is evident in some aspects of the movie. The costumes, particularly those of the British characters, look cheap and made from modern synthetic fabrics.

Despite the fact that they’ve little to do, the Anglo actors are distractingly bad. Most of the extras look like they were kidnapped from a British university field trip. Still, Harishchandrachi Factory is a fun and educational experience, if not a completely immersive one.

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