Tag Archives: Neerja

Streaming Video News: May 25, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with one new addition to the catalog, just in time for the long Memorial Day weekend. The Hindi biographical drama Rang Rasiya is now available for streaming, although it’s listed in the Netflix catalog under its English title Colours of Passion. The screenshot below seems to indicate that Netflix itself isn’t sure what to call it.

Rang Rasiya started on the international festival circuit in 2008 before running afoul of the Indian censor board, which delayed its theatrical release until 2014. I remember my disappointment when it didn’t release in US theaters. I looked back through my posts to read what I wrote about it at the time, only to find this gem from 2011 that ruined my day:

As if the eight Indian films showing in Chicago area theaters this weekend weren’t enough to keep you busy, the second annual Chicago South Asian Film Festival opens tonight with a screening of 2008’s Rang Rasiya, followed by a Q & A session with the movie’s stars, Nandana Sen and Randeep Hooda. Actor Gulshan Grover, whose film I Am Kalam screens on Saturday, is also expected to be in attendance at the opening night gala.

RANDEEP WAS IN CHICAGO, AND I DIDN’T GO SEE HIM. BRB, gotta build a time machine so I can yell at myself for being a lazy dope.

Also worth noting are the ten Hindi TV shows and movies expiring from Netflix on June 1. It’s last call for the films Neerja, Jugni, Kajarya, and Rebellious Flower, and the shows Stories by Rabindranath Tagore, Dharmakshetra, Dariba Diaries, Kahi Suni, Raja Rasoi Aur Anya Kahaniyan, and Sanrachna. Of course Neerja is great (Jim Sarbh!), but I really enjoyed Jugni as well. Fans of Radhika Apte will want to check her out in Stories By Rabindranath Tagore while they can.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with a few new additions, including Halla Ho (Punjabi), Black Stallion (Malayalam, Hindi-dubbed), and Belli Don (Kannada, Hindi-dubbed). For everything else new on Prime — Bollywood or not — check Instant Watcher.

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Best Bollywood Movies of 2016

2016 was a darned good year for Hindi films, with positive reviews outnumbering negative reviews 26-22 at this site. Here’s my list of the Best Bollywood Movies of 2016. (Click on the title of each movie to read my original review.)

I should start by noting that Dhanak — which released theatrically in the United States and India in June, 2016 — would have made the list had it not already appeared on my Best of 2015 list. I watched it as part of the 2015 Chicago South Asian Film Festival.

As for the ten films that did make the 2016 list, two stood out for employing narrative structures that reflect their subject matter. Pink begins with the aftermath of a sexual assault, and not until the ending credits do we see the events as they really happened, echoing the “he said, she said” nature of many sexual assault cases. Waiting isn’t afraid to show its characters being bored, a feeling anyone who’s spent time in a hospital can relate to.

Neerja and Aligarh were emotional true stories featuring riveting performances by their lead actors: Sonam Kapoor and Manoj Bajpayee, respectively. Parched also earned a nod for the stellar performances by its four female co-leads.

Two films mastered genres with spotty track records in Bollywood: superhero movies and sex comedies. A Flying Jatt was a welcome nod to the colorful, optimistic type of superhero flick that has fallen out of favor in Hollywood in recent years, featuring an ordinary protagonist who discovers his inner hero (with a little divine assistance, providing a compelling subplot about religious identity). Unlike the two worst Bollywood movies of 2016 — the mean-spirited sex comedies Mastizaade and Kyaa Kool Hain Hum 3Brahman Naman is raunchy and hilarious, aiming most of its jokes at its hapless leading man.

South Korean films have inspired a number of Hindi thrillers in recent years (Rocky Handsome and Jazbaa, for instance), but the chilling Raman Raghav 2.0 is totally Indian, especially in regard to the way director Anurag Kashyap uses music to guide the audience through emotional moments.

The two films at the top of this year’s list earn their spots by tackling tough subjects in otherwise very commercial fare. Udta Punjab harnessed the star-power of Kareena Kapoor Khan, Alia Bhatt, Shahid Kapoor, and Diljit Dosanjh to deftly address Punjab’s drug crisis and make it relevant to people not directly affected by it.

My favorite film of the year also featured a top-notch cast, including Alia Bhatt (again), Rishi Kapoor, Sidharth Malhotra, Fawad Khan, Rajat Kapoor, and Ratna Pathak. Kapoor & Sons bravely examines the secrets that family members keep from one another and the resentment that builds because of it, addressing issues like infidelity, parental favoritism, and homosexuality with sensitivity and compassion. That Kapoor & Sons also manages to be lots of fun just further cements it as my Best Bollywood Movie of 2016.

Check my Netflix list to see which of these films are available for streaming in the United States.

Kathy’s Best Bollywood Movies of 2016

  1. Kapoor & Sons — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  2. Udta Punjab — Buy at Amazon
  3. Aligarh — Buy at Amazon
  4. Parched — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  5. Brahman Naman
  6. Raman Raghav 2.0 — Buy at Amazon
  7. A Flying Jatt
  8. Neerja — Buy at Amazon
  9. Waiting — Buy at Amazon
  10. Pink — Buy at Amazon

Previous Best Movies Lists

Streaming Video News: December 5, 2016

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with some excellent new additions to the catalog. The splashiest new addition is the 2016 hit Neerja, which I adored. Another big deal is the Tamil movie Interrogation (“Visaaranai“), India’s submission to the 2017 Oscars. Also new are the highly regarded Marathi film Sairat, 2016 Hindi indie The Violin Player, 2014 Marathi film 1000 Rupee Note, and the behind-the-scenes documentary Beyond Bollywood.

Netflix also announced the streaming debut dates of three intriguing documentaries. December 6 marks the release of One in a Billion, a film about Satnam Singh Bhamara, the NBA’s  first Indian-born draftee. 2013’s When Hari Got Married — a humorous look at an arranged marriage — joins the service on December 25. Then on December 31, I finally get the chance to see Big In Bollywood, the 2011 documentary about Omi Vaidya‘s rapid rise to fame following the release of 3 Idiots.

Bollywood Box Office: September 2-4, 2016

The action flick Naam Hai Akira posted opening weekend numbers that were okay, but a bit on the low side. During the weekend of September 2-4, 2016, the movie earned $131,735 from 87 North American theaters ($1,514 average). Including Monday’s Labor Day holiday, which is celebrated in both the United States and Canada (I had to look that up), Box Office Mojo reports total earnings for Naam Hai Akira of $166,658.

The reason why Naam Hai Akira‘s numbers are slightly disappointing is that it opened in more than the median number of theaters for the year (85) but earned less than the median opening weekend gross (around $145,000). While that’s less than a $15,000 difference, Naam Hai Akira was way off when it came to the median opening weekend per-theater average of more than $2,000 per theater. Basically, the film didn’t warrant such a wide release. Somewhere in the 70-75 theater range would’ve been more appropriate.

Here’s where things get interesting. The four movies that have the 15th-18th (out of 34) widest opening weekend releases of 2016 in North America are Jai Gangaajal, Neerja, Naam Hai Akira, and Sarbjit — all movies marketed on the strength of their female lead character or actress. They all released within a range of 83-93 theaters. Neerja had a huge opening weekend and expanded into a total of 135 theaters the following week. However, the other three grossed less than the median in their opening weekends with underwhelming per-theater averages ($1,569 for Sarbjit and $1,277 for Jai Gangaajal). The sad fact is that most female-led Bollywood movies aren’t big enough draws here to justify the theatrical footprint they currently receive.

In cheerier news, Rustom has by now overtaken Airlift as the fourth highest earning Hindi film of 2016 in North America. 3-day weekend earnings of $68,932 from 33 theaters ($2,089 average) brought its total to $1,853,818 — less than $5,000 behind Airlift‘s total earnings.

Over the weekend, Happy Bhag Jayegi accomplished a feat I wrote about last week, becoming the eighth Bollywood movie of the year to double its opening weekend earnings over the course of its theatrical run. It earned another $25,775 from twelve theaters ($2,148 average), bringing its three-weekend total to $333,938.

In its second weekend, A Flying Jatt‘s business fell by more than 80% from its opening weekend. It earned $19,867 from 27 theaters ($736 average), bringing its total to $174,055.

Mohenjo Daro stuck around for a fourth weekend in eight theaters, earning $5,625 ($703 average). Its total stands at $1,237,504, surpassing Udta Punjab for eighth place for the year.

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: April 8-10

Ki and Ka held up better than expected in its second weekend at the North American box office, with business dropping only 55% from its opening weekend. From April 8-10, 2016, it earned $197,537 from 118 theaters ($1,674 average), bringing its total earnings to $786,024 in the United States and Canada.

Likewise, Kapoor & Sons continued its strong run into its fourth weekend of release, earning another $122,267 from 79 theaters ($1,548 average). Its total of $2,558,005 currently stands atop the 2016 leaderboard, but Shahrukh Khan’s Fan — which releases Friday — will almost certainly take over the top spot in short order.

Other Hindi movies still showing in US theaters:

  • Rocky Handsome: Week 3; $1,110 from four theaters; $278 average; $132,858 total
  • Neerja: Week 8; $578 from one theater; $1,707,911 total

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: April 1-3

Ki and Ka debuted to decent numbers in North America that nevertheless fell short of expectations. From April 1-3, 2016, Ki and Ka earned $432,533 from 145 theaters ($2,983 average). That’s the fifth best opening weekend for a Bollywood film in the United States and Canada this year, but Ki and Ka opened in the third most theaters. Among the movies at the top of the list, Ki and Ka‘s opening weekend has more in common with that of Fitoor ($2,082 average from 163 theaters) than it does Kapoor & Sons ($6,013 average from 162 theaters).

Another thing that Ki and Ka has in common with Fitoor is a lackluster IMDb rating. Ki and Ka currently hovers at 5.9, just slightly better than Fitoor‘s 5.7. (By contrast, other big releases like Kapoor & Sons, Neerja, and Airlift all rate above 8.) With no new Hindi films likely to release in North America this coming weekend, Ki and Ka should be spared Fitoor‘s 85% drop in business from Week 1 to Week 2, but a 75% drop seems plausible.

Speaking of dramatic drops in business, Rocky Handsome‘s second weekend earnings fell by about 85% from its first. It took in $11,769 from 30 theaters ($392 average) to bring its total to $128,868.

Kapoor & Sons was still going strong in its third weekend, adding another $257,068 from 140 theaters ($1,836 average). Its total earnings stand at $2,359,775.

Neerja ran for a seventh weekend in just two theaters, earning $1,067 ($534 average) to bring its total to $1,706,830.

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Opening April 1: Ki and Ka

The romantic-comedy Ki and Ka — starring Kareena Kapoor Khan and Arjun Kapoor — is the only new Hindi film opening in the Chicago area on April 1, 2016.

Ki and Ka opens on Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, 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. 15 min.

Kapoor & Sons carries over for a third week at all of the above theaters, plus the Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison.

Rocky Handsome gets a second week at MovieMax, Cantera 17, and South Barrington 30, which also holds over Neerja.

Other Indian movies showing in Chicago area theaters this weekend:

Bollywood Box Office: March 25-27

New release Rocky Handsome failed to make an impact at the North American box office. From March 25-27, 2016, it earned $85,625 from 74 theaters ($1,157 average). As with many Bollywood action movies, Rocky Handsome was disproportionately more popular in Canada than the United States. The 11 Canadian theaters carrying the film — 15% of the total theaters — accounted for nearly a third of the total collections. The per-screen average in the Canadian theaters was $2,504, compared to $922 in the US. Rocky Handsome will be lucky to carry over in 30 theaters for a second week and will likely finish its North American run with earnings south of $150,000.

Kapoor & Sons, on the other hand, had a phenomenal second weekend in North America. After adding 11 theaters to bring its total count to 173, it earned another $587,085 ($3,394 average). That’s the best second-weekend performance of the year by over $100,000. Its total stands at $1,914,238, already overtaking Airlift for the top earner of 2016.

Neerja hung around for a sixth weekend in seven theaters, earning $2,927 ($418 average) to bring its total to $1,704,386.

The weekend’s best performer was the new Telugu release Oopiri, which debuted with earnings of $880,335 from 90 theaters ($9,782 average). Phenomenal!

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

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:

Bollywood Box Office: March 18-20

Kapoor & Sons just posted the biggest opening weekend of the year for a Bollywood movie in North America. From March 18-20, 2016, Kapoor & Sons earned $974,134 from 162 theaters ($6,013 average). It should hold up very well given its great word of mouth and relatively little competition in the coming weeks. March 25th’s action-packed Rocky Handsome caters to a different audience, while April 1st’s Ki & Ka doesn’t look particularly appealing. Barring a catastrophe, Kapoor & Sons will be the first Hindi film of 2016 to earn $2 million in North America.

Other Hindi movies showing in the United States and Canada:

  • Neerja: Week 5; $21,169 from 22 theaters; $962 average; $1,695,634 total
  • Jai Gangaajal: Week 3; $1,666 from seven theaters; $238 average; $190,146 total

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama