Tag Archives: Nautanki Saala

Bollywood Box Office: January 30-February 1

Poor, poor Hawaizaada. Family friendly Hindi movies don’t stand much of a chance at the North American box office as it is, but the historical fantasy performed especially poorly here. During its debut weekend — January 30-February 1, 2015Hawaizaada earned $16,546 from 66 theaters for a dismal per-screen average of $251.

Hawaizaada‘s failure strikes another blow against leading man Ayushmann Khurrana’s once promising career. His debut film, 2012’s Vicky Donor, was a surprise hit, taking in $169,209 from 50 North American theaters ($3,384 average) in its first weekend, with final earnings of $549,001. Its success owed more to its racy subject matter — sperm donation — than its leading man, however.

Khurrana’s subsequent films didn’t fare nearly as well here. 2013’s Nautanki Saala! opened with $92,851 from 61 theaters ($1,522 average), ultimately earning $127,844. 2014’s Bewakoofiyaan fared even worse, with first-weekend earnings of $67,738 from 66 theaters ($1,026 average), and total earnings of $106,800.

I’ve enjoyed all of Khurrana’s films, so his ability isn’t the problem. The Bollywood fan base in North America is motivated by name recognition, which Khurrana doesn’t yet have. His best bet for earning it would be to pair with another notable male star, maybe for a buddy comedy. Unfortunately, his next two projects — Dum Laga Ke Haisha and Agra Ka Daabra (which is a great title) — feature him as the solo male lead. I don’t see his international box office prospects turning around any time soon.

Other Hindi movies still in theaters include:

  • Baby: Week 2; $165,732 from 77 theaters ($2,152 average); $694,509 total
  • Dolly Ki Doli: Week 2; $22,155 from 14 theaters ($1,583 average); $164,186 total
  • PK: Week 7; $16,627 from 13 theaters ($1,279 average); $10,535,369 total
  • Tevar: Week 4; $16 from one theater; $166,342 total

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

In Theaters April 26, 2013

No new Hindi movies are opening in the Chicago area this weekend, and there aren’t many older options available on the big screen either. Last weekend’s new release, Ek Thi Daayan, carries over at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles and AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, which also gives a third week to Nautanki Saala!.

Other Indian movies showing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include Celluloid (Malayalam), Udhayam NH4 (Tamil), and the Telugu films Gunde Jaari Gallanthayyinde and Shadow.

Opening April 19: Ek Thi Daayan

Even though I’m a huge chicken, I am really excited about the new Hindi horror film opening in Chicago area theaters on April 19, 2013. Ek Thi Daayan (“Once There Lived a Witch”) has an incredible cast: Emraan Hashmi, Konkona Sen Sharma, Kalki Koechlin, and Huma Qureshi.

Ek Thi Daayan opens on Friday at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. Its runtime is listed variously as 2 hrs. 10 min. and 2 hrs. 30 min.

Last weekend’s new release, Nautanki Saala!, gets a second week at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago and the South Barrington 30, which is also holding over Chashme Baddoor for a third week.

Other Indian movies playing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include the Telugu movies Chinna Cinema and Gunde Jaari Gallanthayyinde, Amen (Malayalam), and both the Tamil and Telugu versions of Udhayam NH4. The Cinemark Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale has Sadda Haq (Punjabi), while the Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge carries over Baadshah (Telugu).

Movie Review: Nautanki Saala! (2013)

Nautankisaalaposter2.5 Stars (out of 4)

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Buy the soundtrack at Amazon

Nautanki Saala! is a mostly-great comedy that squanders the goodwill it builds in the first half for the sake of a melodramatic second half. All its good aspects aren’t enough to make up for an obligatory “happy ending” that feels forced and undeserved.

The story primarily takes place inside a theatrical production. RP (Ayushmann Khurrana) is the director and star of the fictitious play Ravaanleela, a re-imagining of a classic fable that repositions the story’s villain as the lead character. The theme of the play parallels RP’s own story, as his good intentions give way to felonious deeds.

On his way home from the theater one night, RP rescues a man, Mandar (Kunaal Roy Kapoor), who’s trying to hang himself. Rehabilitating sad, oafish Mandar becomes RP’s primary occupation, much to the chagrin of his girlfriend, Chitra (Gaelyn Mendonca), who’d like to be the focus of RP’s attention for a change.

Mandar makes slow but steady progress after RP casts him in the play in the role of Ram, the story’s traditional hero and the mortal enemy of RP’s character, Raavan. RP tracks down Mandar’s ex-girlfriend, Nandini (Pooja Salvi), in the hopes that she’ll finally take Mandar off his hands. He gets in over his head while breaking her out of her current relationship, accidentally becoming the object of her affections in the process.

When the story stays within the physical confines of the theater, Nautanki Saala! is hilarious. The vibrant sets and costumes add visual interest and a sense of whimsy, providing the ideal backdrop for the movie’s funniest scenes. Mandar’s audition for the role of Ram is the film’s high point. He stumbles through his lines while RP tries to convince the producer, Chandra (Sanjeev Bhatt), that hapless Mandar is really an artistic visionary, not an inept actor.

Khurrana and Kapoor are both terrific. Grim-faced Khurrana plays up RP’s growing frustration, banging his head against any flat surface when his plans repeatedly fall apart. Kapoor (who is almost unrecognizable from his role in Delhi Belly) gives Mandar just enough charm to make his bumbling endearing, rather than tedious.

The movie grinds to a halt when the action moves outside of the theater, which it does for most of the second half, as RP tries to get Nandini to consider reuniting with Mandar. RP’s scenes with Nandini aren’t particularly funny, and there’s no urgency to them once he starts falling for Nandini himself.

RP’s infatuation with Nandini is the movie’s real problem, because she’s a terrible match for him. Nandini admits that she’s desperate to be in a relationship with anyone, just so she won’t be alone. She’s gullible enough to fall for all of RP’s tricks. The fact that she was once in love with a dud like Mandar should automatically disqualify her as potential dating material.

Nandini’s only appealing qualities — such as they are — would seem to be her good looks and her eagerness to have sex with RP: something we know she’s already done with Mandar, and likely with her current boyfriend, the moronic cheater Loli (Rufy Khan).

RP is a successful, clever guy who already has a beautiful, live-in girlfriend with a hot body, so why would he confuse Nandini’s sexual overtures with true love? The fact that RP is willing to trade in Chitra for a woman who’s needy, dim, and has an established record of bad judgment regarding men diminishes him as a character. Once RP falls for Nandini, the movie becomes a tedious slog, culminating in a disappointing ending that isn’t as happy as the filmmakers think.


Opening April 12: Nautanki Saala!

The new Hindi film opening in Chicago area theaters on April 12, 2013, looks like it could be pretty cute. Nautanki Saala! is a comedy of errors set within a theater troupe, and it stars Vicky Donor‘s Ayushmann Khurrana.

Nautanki Saala! opens on Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles, and AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 5 min.

Last weekend’s new release, Chashme Baddoor, carries over for a second week at the Golf Glen 5 and South Barrington 30.

The Telugu movie Baadshah (showing locally without subtitles) gets a second week at the Golf Glen 5, Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge, and Cinemark Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale. Other Indian movies playing in theaters this weekend include Settai (Tamil) at the Golf Glen 5 and Sadda Haq (Punjabi w/English subtitles) at the Century Stratford Square.

I have to thank Meera Darji for bestowing a couple of awards upon me recently, including the Best Moment Award and the Dragon’s Loyalty Award. How awesome is this? It looks like an Yngwie Malmsteen album cover!


Meera’s movie reviews and other articles can be found at her site: http://meeradarjiyr1.wordpress.com/