Tag Archives: Noor

Worst Bollywood Movies of 2017

As I mentioned in my Best Bollywood Movies of 2017 post, I liked many more 2017 releases than I disliked. That means that fewer of the movies on this year’s “Worst of” list are ones that I absolutely couldn’t stand, compared to previous years.

Take, for example, Noor, Naam Shabana, and Running Shaadi. I gave all of them 2-Star ratings, which means I only sort of didn’t like them. I just happened to like these three the least of all the movies I also rated 2 Stars. However, the seven other titles on the list did more than enough to earn their spots.

Several films had problems with the way they depicted their female characters, particularly in the way male characters controlled women’s bodies. Kriti Sanon’s character in Raabta was treated like an object, pushed and pulled at will by the men in her life. The title character in Badrinath Ki Dulhania tossed his girlfriend in the trunk of his car before choking her. Arjun Kapoor’s character in Half Girlfriend literally wouldn’t let go of Shraddha Kapoor’s character when she tried to get away from him.

Kaabil was the most egregiously sexist movie of this bunch, creating a capable, independent female lead — played by Yami Gautam — for the sole purpose of raping and killing her as motivation for Hrithik Roshan’s character to seek revenge. It’s a classic example of the “Women in Refrigerators” trope.

Other movies on the “Worst of” list were just poorly made. Like its 2013 predecessor, Fukrey, the comedy Fukrey Returns simply wasn’t funny. Baadshaho forgot what story it was telling along the way, resulting in an abrupt ending that leaves every important question unanswered.

My pick for the Worst Bollywood Movie of 2017 was the biggest offender in terms of bad filmmaking: Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai. The unfocused story tried to address every important contemporary social issue, reaching its ridiculous apex when Manjari Fadnis’ feminist activist journalist character is randomly tasked with coordinating refugee medical care in a Middle Eastern war zone. The film’s third act is supposed to take place in Manhattan but was clearly filmed in Maryland (part of it was shot in Top Chef season 6 runner-up Bryan Voltaggio’s restaurant in Frederick). There’s unintentionally hilarious dialog, as when Fadnis’ character responds to a heckler’s “Nice ass, honey,” with “Yes, we have a nice ass, and we are proud of it.

The pièce de résistance is a song number that features Manjari Fadnis dancing in outer space:

I fear that Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai will go the way of goofy 2014 Worst Movie runner-up Karle Pyaar Karle and disappear, never to be seen again either on DVD or streaming. It’s kind of a shame, since Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai is so damned wacky, one almost has to see it to believe it. Almost.

Check my Netflix and Amazon Prime pages to see which of these movies are available for streaming in the United States.

Kathy’s Ten Worst Bollywood Movies of 2017

  1. Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai
  2. Kaabil
  3. Half Girlfriend
  4. Baadshaho — Buy at Amazon
  5. Badrinath Ki Dulhania — Buy at Amazon
  6. Fukrey Returns
  7. Raabta — Buy at Amazon
  8. Running Shaadi — Buy at Amazon
  9. Naam Shabana — Buy at Amazon
  10. Noor — Buy at Amazon

Previous Worst Movies Lists

Streaming Video News: June 10, 2017

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon’s Heera channel with one new addition to the catalog. Sonakshi Sinha’s Noor is now available for streaming, just seven weeks after its theatrical release. Sonakshi is better than the material she’s given to work with in Noor.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with the addition of the 2011 documentary The Highest Pass. The footage of the Indian Himalayas is beautiful, but I found the narrative a little too self-helpy for my tastes. For everything else new on Amazon Prime — Bollywood or not — check Instant Watcher.

Bollywood Box Office: May 5-7, 2017

Having passed Dangal as the top-earning Indian film in North America of all time before the end of its first week of release, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion padded its lead during its second weekend in theaters. From May 5-7, 2017, the fantasy epic earned another $3,390,132 from 430 theaters ($7,884 average; adjusted average of $8,110 from 418 theaters*), finishing in seventh place overall for the weekend. Its combined total from all languages is $16,350,570. Baahubali 2‘s second weekend total is about a third of what it earned during its opening weekend, which is good even by normal standards but especially when considering that its ticket prices dropped at the start of its second week of release (not to mention there were no more pricey IMAX showings over the weekend).

Other Hindi movies still showing in North American theaters:

  • Begum Jaan: Week 4; $2,200 from five theaters; $440 average; $126,828 total
  • Naam Shabana: Week 6; $86 from one theater; $262,843 total
  • Noor: Week 3; $80 from one theater; $79,373 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.

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: April 28-30, 2017

Baahubali 2: The Conclusion‘s opening weekend was absolutely massive, finishing in third place in the overall North American box office for the weekend of April 28-30, 2017. According to Gitesh Pandya: “No Indian film has ever opened this high on the U.S. box office chart before.” Baahubali 2‘s final weekend tally supplied to Bollywood Hungama by Rentrak was $10,392,055 from 431 theaters for an average of $24,111 per theater. Pandya noted that the 45 IMAX screens showing Baahubali 2 contributed $1.8 million to the total with average earnings of $40,000 per screen! Pandya tweeted that 66% of earnings came from the Telugu version of the movie, 22% from the Hindi version, and 13% from the Tamil version.

The small caveat to all the celebrations is that ticket prices for Baahubali 2 are higher than those charged for Hindi films in the United States in Canada, ranging from approximately $15-40, depending on language, date, and format (versus an estimated average ticket price of just under $9 in North America in 2017). With those higher ticket prices, Sumit Chadha notes on Twitter that Baahubali 2 need only sell a quarter of the number of tickets to surpass Dangal — which earned $12.3 million total here — as the highest earning Indian movie in North America.

That said, Baahubali 2 has set a new benchmark for what an Indian film can achieve under the right circumstances — and with proper promotion. Just getting Baahubali 2 into IMAX theaters created extra hype, making it seem like a must-see movie. Let’s see what lessons Indian studios and international distributors learn from Baahubali‘s success.

Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:

  • Noor: Week 2; $7,202 from 20 theaters; $360 average; $77,910 total
  • Begum Jaan: Week 3; $4,609 from seven theaters; $658 average; $122,324 total
  • Naam Shabana: Week 5; $244 from four theaters; $61 average; $262,698 total

Sources: Box Office Mojo, Gitesh Pandya, and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Opening April 27: Baahubali 2– The Conclusion

The biggest Indian film of the year is ready to take over Chicago. On April 27, 2017, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion will finally answer all our questions from Baahubali: The Beginning!

As with the first movie, Baahubali 2 was recorded simultaneously in Telugu and Tamil and then dubbed in Hindi and Malayalam. The film is playing in the Chicago area in all languages except for Malayalam, and all versions have English subtitles. Some theaters are even showing the movie on their IMAX screens.

Since tickets for Hindi films usually cost the same as Hollywood films in US theaters, it’s worth noting that tickets for Baahubali 2 are priced differently, not only from Hollywood films but based on date and language. Tickets for Thursday shows are upcharged because it’s technically a preview day. As of Friday, tickets are generally priced at $33 for IMAX, $23 for non-IMAX shows in Telugu, $20 for Tamil, and $15 for Hindi, though some theaters add additional taxes. The most expensive tickets in town are for Thursday’s IMAX shows, which cost about $40 each. The absolute cheapest ticket I’ve been able to find is $10.54 for the 10:30 a.m. Hindi shows at the Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville.

I’ve listed the various formats and what theaters are carrying them below. If a theater offers the option of reserved seating, I’ll list an “(R)” next to the theater name. Here’s where you can see Baahubali 2 in the Chicago area, with the first shows starting Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m.:

IMAX 2D (Telugu, w/one daily showing in Hindi starting Friday): AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington (R) and Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge (R)

Telugu: Kerasotes Showplace ICON in Chicago (R), Century 12 Evanston in Evanston, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison (R), Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale, Cinemark Tinseltown USA in North Aurora, AMC Showplace Naperville 16 in Naperville, and Cinemark at Seven Bridges (R)

Tamil: Century 12 Evanston, MovieMax Cinemas, Cinemark Tinseltown USA, and Cinemark at Seven Bridges (R)

Hindi (starting Friday, April 28): MovieMax Cinemas, AMC South Barrington 24 (R) Regal Cantera 17 (R), AMC River East 21 in Chicago, AMC Showplace Niles 12 in Niles, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge

Noor carries over for a second week at the South Barrington 24 and Cantera 17. The only other Indian movie showing in the Chicago area this weekend is Manje Bistre (Punjabi w/English subtitles) at Stratford Square.

Bollywood Box Office: April 21-23, 2017

Sonakshi Sinha’s Noor failed to make an impact at North American box office. From April 21-23, 2017, the comedy earned $49,595 from 69 theaters ($719 average; adjusted average of $840 from 59 theaters*). While we’ve seen more disastrous opening weekends this year, Noor‘s low per-theater average indicates that distributors expected a better turnout. This is the type of scenario I was thinking of when I wrote last week about why Begum Jaan‘s opening weekend earnings were good in relative terms.

Speaking of Begum Jaan, it took in $15,397 from seventeen theaters ($906 average) in its second weekend, bringing its North American total to $109,664.

In its seventh weekend of release, Badrinath Ki Dulhania finally squeaked past $2 million in the United States and Canada. It earned another $1,556 from three theaters ($519 average), bringing its total to $2,000,285.

Naam Shabana closed out its fourth weekend with $730 from four theaters ($183 average). Its total stands at $262,303.

*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

Movie Review: Noor (2017)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the DVD at Amazon
Buy the book at Amazon

Noor is almost a good movie. It looks nice, and the talented cast members make their characters relatable. The film just never comes together in a coherent way.

The challenge with Noor is condensing a book’s worth of material into a movie of less than two hours, a feat which director Sunhil Sippy and co-writers Althea Kaushal and Shikhaa Sharma can’t manage. The threads of the various subplots never tie together in a way I’m guessing they do in Saba Imtiaz’s well-regarded novel Karachi, You’re Killing Me, upon which the film is based.

Noor (Sonakshi Sinha) is a Mumbai journalist plagued in equal parts by self-loathing and a smug sense of superiority. She films human interest stories for an online news outlet, but she’d rather be reporting on more serious issues. Her disdain for her interview subjects is so obvious that any organization would be foolish to entrust her with any topics of import.

When Noor is not blaming her editor Shekhar (Manish Chaudhary) for consigning her to a Pulitzer-less fate, she’s complaining about how no one pays attention to her while simultaneously rebuffing everyone’s attempts to reach out to her. We have to trust that the patience shown by her buddies Zara (Shibani Dandekar) and Saad (Kanan Gill of Pretentious Movie Reviews) was earned during a time when Noor wasn’t such a self-pitying grump. She’s also obsessed with her weight, a hopelessly outdated gag used so often it seems malicious.

Things finally start going Noor’s way when she falls for Ayan (Purab Kohli), a handsome international photojournalist. Then she gets a lead on what could be a huge scandal.

“Could” is the operative word. All Noor has is an interview with one alleged crime victim, yet she wants Shekhar to publish it as proof of a widespread conspiracy. Shekhar insists that they wait, but not so that Noor can gather more evidence. He wants her to think about the potential negative impact publishing it would have on her interview subject.

That’s certainly one element to consider, but there’s a larger view of journalistic ethics that gets completely ignored. What Noor has is the first germ of a story, not a complete investigation. She has zero corroborating evidence, but none of the characters acknowledge that as a problem. Publishing what she has as unassailable proof of corruption is inviting a defamation lawsuit.

Movies about investigative journalism can be riveting — seeing how badly Noor handles it made me want to watch Spotlight again — but Noor never fully shifts into being the thriller it needs to be to deal with the can of worms it opens. Trying to integrate Noor’s low-stakes romantic troubles into the high-stakes crime narrative doesn’t work.

It’s a shame, because Sinha does a nice job humanizing a complicated character. Kohli is charming, and Gill is funny and adorable. Sadly, Zara is written as little more than a walking clothes rack, so we don’t get to see what Dandekar can do.

Sippy uses some clever techniques to depict Noor for the Millennial she is. When Noor speaks in hashtags, they appear written on screen next to her. Sippy positions his own camera over Noor’s shoulder and focuses on her iPhone screen so that we can see what she sees while she records her interviews.

While Noor is certainly watchable, the cloud of what-might-have-been always hovers over it.


Opening April 21: Noor

One new Hindi film hits Chicago area theaters on April 21, 2017. The comedy Noor — which stars Sonakshi Sinha as a Mumbai journalist — is based on the novel Karachi, You’re Killing Me! by Saba Imtiaz.

Noor opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 1 hr. 47 min. (Yay!)

Begum Jaan carries over for a second week at the South Barrington 24 and MovieMax Cinemas in Niles.

Local theaters have announced showtimes for Baahubali 2‘s release on Thursday, April 27. Tickets are already available for a full week of shows at MovieMax, which carries Baahubali 2 in Telugu, Tamil, and Hindi (all with English subtitles). If you want to splurge, four area theaters are showing Baahubali 2 on their IMAX screens, with 2D showings in Telugu and Tamil starting at 2:30 p.m. next Thursday: Century 12 Evanston in Evanston, Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale, Cinemark Tinseltown USA in North Aurora, and Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge. Be prepared to pay for the IMAX experience, with tickets ranging in price from $30-40. I expect other non-IMAX theaters to add showtimes sometime next week.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend: