Tag Archives: Meri Pyaari Bindu

Bollywood Box Office: June 2-4, 2017

North America is an inhospitable territory for Hindi horror films. The latest casualty is Dobaara: See Your Evil, which had the advantages of being based on the 2013 Hollywood film Oculus and starring real-life siblings Huma Qureshi and Saqib Saleem. Still, in its opening weekend of June 2-4, 2017, it earned just $7,110 from 30 theaters ($237 average; adjusted average of $284 from 25 theaters). Even though the local audience for Bollywood horror flicks is small, these ultra-limited theatrical releases do the movies no favors. I would love to watch Dobaara, but not if it requires two hours of expensive tollway driving for me to do it. On the other hand, skip the theatrical release and charge $12 for a day-and-date North American streaming option, and I’m there.

One movie I skipped writing about last week because I didn’t even realize it was in Hindi is Jattu Engineer, the latest vanity project by Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan of MSG fame. After an unremarkable opening weekend ($2,691 from three theaters), its business made an inexplicable jump in its second weekend, earning $8,048 from four Canadian theaters ($2,012 average). It has earned a total of $12,082 so far, which is a lot better than the Saint’s March, 2017 release Hind Ka Napak Ko Jawab: MSG Lion Heart 2, which scraped together $6,243 over five weeks.

Hindi Medium is on a roll, posting consistently strong per-theater averages. In its third weekend, it earned another $72,210 from 34 theaters — an average of $2,124 per theater. Fewer than half of the 2017 films that lasted three weeks averaged more than $700 in their third weekend, with only four of those movies managing to average more than $1,500 per theater. Hindi Medium‘s total stands at $647,602, good enough for seventh place this year so far.

Other Hindi movies still showing in North America:

  • Baahubali 2: Week 6; $81,323 from 55 theaters; $1,479 average; $20,690,866 total
  • Sachin — A Billion Dreams: Week 2; $78,585 from 72 theaters; $1,091 average; $558,024 total
  • Half Girlfriend: Week 3; $5,996 from nine theaters; $666 average; $436,984 total
  • Sarkar 3: Week 4; $314 from two theaters; $157 average; $244,168 total
  • Meri Pyaari Bindu: Week 4; $50 from one theater; $174,955 total

*Bollywood Hungama frequently counts Canadian theaters twice in when they report figures for a film’s first few weeks of release. When possible, I verify theater counts at Box Office Mojo, but I use Bollywood Hungama as my primary source because they provide a comprehensive and consistent — if flawed — data set.

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

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Bollywood Box Office: May 26-28, 2017

Since I know nothing about cricket, please insert your own cricket pun here to reflect the fact that Sachin: A Billion Dreams had a good opening weekend at the North American box office. From May 26-28, 2017, Sachin earned $334,402 from 112 theaters ($2,986 average; adjusted average of $3,344 from 100 theaters*). Keep in mind that total doesn’t include returns from Monday’s Memorial Day holiday in the United States.

Sachin‘s solid performance was enough to finally dethrone Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, which took in $274,803 from 119 theaters ($2,309 average). Its total after five weekends is an astounding $20,476,672.

Hindi Medium is proving to be 2017’s first sleeper hit, even adding a theater in its second weekend of release. (The only other film to add theaters this year was Badrinath Ki Dulhania.) Hindi Medium held on to 2/3s of its opening weekend business, putting it first in that category by almost 20% (ahead of Badrinath). In its second weekend, Hindi Medium earned $151,159 from 59 theaters for an average of $2,562 per theater. That’s the best second-weekend-average of the year for every Hindi film besides Baahubali 2. Hindi Medium‘s total stands at $485,804.

Half Girlfriend also held up well in its second weekend, even if its performance pales a bit compared to Hindi Medium. Half Girlfriend earned $50,650 from 51 theaters ($993 average), bringing its total to $401,306 — good enough to rank in the top half of Bollywood movies released in North America this year.

Other Bollywood movies still in US theaters:

  • Sarkar 3: Week 3; $803 from three theaters; $268 average; $243,495 total
  • Meri Pyaari Bindu: Week 3; $436 from one theater; $174,801 total

*Bollywood Hungama frequently counts Canadian theaters twice in when they report figures for a film’s first few weeks of release. When possible, I verify theater counts at Box Office Mojo, but I use Bollywood Hungama as my primary source because they provide a comprehensive and consistent — if flawed — data set.

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: May 19-21, 2017

Half Girlfriend and Hindi Medium earned roughly the same amount in their opening weekend in North America, only Hindi Medium did so in less than half as many theaters as Half Girlfriend. From May 19-21, 2017, Half Girlfriend earned $238,001 from 127 theaters ($1,874 average; adjusted average of $2,106 from 113 theaters*). During the same time period, Hindi Medium earned $225,755 from 58 theaters ($3,892 average; adjusted average of $4,703). So, despite opening in twice as many theaters — and with a story based on a preexisting propertyHalf Girlfriend out-earned Hindi Medium by just $12,246? Yikes.

Meanwhile, the previous weekend’s new releases saw their audiences drop by more than 80%. Sarkar 3 fared better, earning $25,034 from 44 theaters ($569 average), bringing its total to $236,583. Meri Pyaari Bindu took in $14,924 from 28 theaters ($533 average), for a ten-day total of $171,280.

Also over the weekend, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion raked in another $596,035 from 232 theaters ($2,569 average) — good enough to finish in 14th place in the overall North American box office and push its total earnings to $20,009,763. Wowzers.

*Bollywood Hungama frequently counts Canadian theaters twice in when they report figures for a film’s first few weeks of release. When possible, I verify theater counts at Box Office Mojo, but I use Bollywood Hungama as my primary source because they provide a comprehensive and consistent — if flawed — data set.

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Opening May 19: Half Girlfriend and Hindi Medium

Two more Hindi movies hit Chicago area theaters on May 19, 2017. Things are getting crowded! The wider of the two new releases is Half Girlfriend — based on the Chetan Bhagat novel of the same name — starring Arjun Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor. The trailer looks abysmal.

Half Girlfriend opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC Dine-In Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 15 min.

The more promising new release is the family comedy Hindi Medium, starring Irrfan Khan.

Hindi Medium opens Friday at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, and Cantera 17. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 13 min.

MovieMax, South Barrington 24, and Woodridge 18 all give a second week to Meri Pyaari Bindu and Sarkar 3, which also carries over at the Cantera 17.

Entering its fourth week, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion still plays in eleven Chicago area theaters:

Telugu: MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Kerasotes Showplace ICON in Chicago, Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale, Cinemark Tinseltown USA in North Aurora, AMC Showplace Naperville 16 in Naperville, and Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge

Tamil: MovieMax, Tinseltown USA, and Seven Bridges

Hindi: River East 21, MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, Woodridge 18, and AMC Showplace Niles 12 in Niles

Malayalam: MovieMax

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend include:

Bollywood Box Office: May 12-14, 2017

Baahubali 2: The Conclusion is still the hottest ticket in North America, even after three weeks. New releases Sarkar 3 and Meri Pyaari Bindu didn’t stand much of a chance against it during their opening weekend, May 12-14, 2017. Here’s how all three films fared:

  • Baahubali 2: $1,588,259 from 386 theaters; $4,115 average (adjusted average of $4,235 from 375 theaters*); $18,998,681 total
  • Sarkar 3: $161,052 from 118 theaters; $1,365 average (adjusted average of $1,579 from 102 theaters*)
  • Meri Pyaari Bindu: $118,313 from 70 theaters; $1,690 (adjusted average of $2,151 from 55 theaters, but I think 70 is the correct number*)

Obviously, Baahubali 2 is raking in unprecedented amounts of cash, and studios can’t wait forever to release their films — especially with Ramadan approaching at the end of May, during which most Muslims avoid going to the theater. Still, the distributors of Sarkar 3 and Meri Pyaari Bindu had to see Baahubali 2‘s huge second weekend performance and think, “Shoot.” There’s no guarantee that either movie would have been a hit without Baahubali 2 in theaters, but they surely would have sold a few more tickets.

Half Girlfriend and Hindi Medium are poised to open on Friday, and I can’t see many of the big theater chains in the United States devoting five screens to Indian titles (since Baahubali 2 isn’t going anywhere). [Update: I was totally wrong about this, BTW.] This might be it for Sarkar 3 and Meri Pyaari Bindu.

*Bollywood Hungama frequently counts Canadian theaters twice in when they report figures for a film’s first few weeks of release. When possible, I verify theater counts at Box Office Mojo, but I use Bollywood Hungama as my primary source because they provide a comprehensive and consistent — if flawed — data set.

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Movie Review: Meri Pyaari Bindu (2017)

3.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the movie at Amazon or iTunes
Buy the soundtrack at iTunes

Meri Pyaari Bindu (“My Sweet Bindu“) puts a clever spin on a familiar story in a way that allows its talented lead couple to shine. Debutant screenwriter Suprotim Sengupta is one to watch.

Bollywood is awash in stories about a man who falls for a woman — often based on the woman’s appearance alone — who then makes it his mission to win the woman’s affections in return. These one-sided romances are often portrayed as a matter of destiny: the woman simply doesn’t realize that she’s meant to be with the man, so he must convince her. Meri Pyaari Bindu also tells a love story from a man’s perspective, but he is not some hero of destiny. He’s just a guy.

Abhi (Ayushmann Khurrana) is a successful — if slightly embarrassed — writer of pulp horror-romance novels living in Mumbai. He’s spent three years struggling to write a love story of literary merit. His concerned parents dupe him into returning to Kolkata in order to shake his writer’s block and force him to interact with the outside world once again.

The problem is Abhi’s obsession with “the one that got away”: Bindu (Parineeti Chopra), his childhood sweetheart. The mementos he finds in his parents’ home — most significantly a mix tape of old movie songs — prompt Abhi to write about his past with Bindu.

This version of the past is deliberately told from Abhi’s point of view, and it can’t be taken as a completely objective, even in his characterization of Bindu. In his recollection, the first thing she did upon meeting him was to hand him a pair of headphones, instructing him: “Listen to this. It will change your life.” The scene is a direct reference to Natalie Portman’s character in Garden State, one of the most commonly cited examples of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope — a free-spirited female character written as a romantic interest for a stuffy or depressed male character. The fact that Bindu and Abhi are six-years-old when this happens highlights the absurdity of Abhi’s perception of Bindu as his own personal wake-up-call.

As Abhi’s recollections progress forward in time, it becomes apparent to both him and the audience that there’s more to Bindu than her carefree persona suggests. She has plans of her own that may not include Abhi. Both of them learn as they get older that holding on too tightly to dreams that cannot be will only hurt the dreamer.

It’s a risky move to establish Bindu as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, since it requires the audience to invest enough in her to enjoy the payoff as she is revealed to be a nuanced character in her own right. Sengupta successfully pulls it off, and in doing so tells an unconventional but totally relateable love story. Debutant director Akshay Roy shows a knack for commercial cinema in the way he interprets Sengupta’s tale.

Few actors do “exasperated” better than Khurrana, and he gets to deploy his best hangdog expression liberally in Meri Pyaari Bindu. He’s a fine match for Chopra, who gets a wider range of emotions to work with in the film, from spunky to defeated to resolute. Her performance during a scene in which Bindu faces harsh reality is particularly moving.

It’s refreshing to see a Hindi romantic-comedy that knows how to bend the rules of the genre to make something that feels new. Meri Pyaari Bindu trusts in the intelligence of its audience, and the audience is rewarded for watching it.

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Opening May 12, 2017: Meri Pyaari Bindu and Sarkar 3

As Baahubali 2‘s wake subsides — relatively speaking, since it’s still expected to finish in the overall US Top 10 this weekend — two new Bollywood movies try their luck in Chicago area theaters on May 12, 2017. Yash Raj Films’ latest romantic-comedy Meri Pyaari Bindu stars Parineeti Chopra and Ayushmann Khurrana.

Meri Pyaari Bindu opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. It has a listed runtime of 2 hours.

Also new this weekend is the third film in director Ram Gopal Varma’s gangster series, Sarkar 3, starring Amitabh Bachchan.

Sarkar 3 opens Friday at the River East 21, MovieMax, South Barrington 30, Woodridge 18, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 10 min.

Baahubali 2: The Conclusion is going strong locally, carrying over in thirteen Chicago area theaters for a third straight week. Ticket prices for all languages still cost about $15.

Telugu: MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Marcus Addison, Kerasotes Showplace ICON in Chicago, Century 12 Evanston in Evanston, Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale, Cinemark Tinseltown USA in North Aurora, AMC Showplace Naperville 16 in Naperville, and Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge

Tamil: Century 12 Evanston, MovieMax, Tinseltown USA, and Seven Bridges

Hindi: River East 21, MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, Woodridge 18, and AMC Showplace Niles 12 in Niles

Malayalam: MovieMax

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend include: