Tag Archives: October

Movie Review: October (2018)

1 Star (out of 4)

Watch October on Prime
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October is a difficult film to watch, but not for the reasons one might expect. The drama of a young woman’s life forever changed by injury is merely the backdrop for a too familiar story of an undeserving male character’s redemption.

Varun Dhawan stars as Dan, a hotel management trainee with no likeable qualities. He’s a snob who’d rather delegate work than do it himself, especially tasks he deems beneath him, like cleaning rooms and doing laundry. He’s a know-it-all who loves telling more experienced people how to do their jobs. He’s lazy, yet competitive enough to resent fellow trainees who are smarter and more capable than he is.

Among the trainees, the chief recipient of Dan’s bad attitude is Shiuli (Banita Sandhu). Whether his being a jerk to her indicates some kind of stunted elementary school-type crush or if it’s just his standard jerkiness is unclear. Shortly into the film, Shiuli slips from a third floor balcony at a New Year’s Eve party, rendering her comatose and permanently paralyzed.

Dan wasn’t at the party, so he only learns days after the accident that Shiuli’s last words before she fell were, “Where is Dan?” This sparks an obsession, leading Dan to spend all of his time at the hospital in the hopes that Shiuli will wake and tell him why she asked about him.

That sounds like the setup for horror movie, yet we know it can’t be, because Dan fits the mold of a common type of Bollywood hero: the boorish man-child who must finally become an adult. The arc for this character type is so familiar — in the course of falling in love with a good woman, he learns to care for someone other than himself — that director Shoojit Sircar and writer Juhi Chaturvedi treat the hero’s emotional growth as the inevitable consequence of his devotion.

But Dan doesn’t change in October. He ends the movie as much of an obnoxious know-it-all as he is at the start, correcting Shiulu’s mother Vidya (Gitanjali Rao) on how to properly care for her daughter and wanting praise for his contributions (which include hovering over a workman building a ramp for a wheelchair).

Dan’s dedication to Shiuli’s recovery stems from his wanting an answer from her. He uses his obsession as a measure of moral superiority, criticizing her friends for not spending every free moment at the hospital. He can’t understand that they have other obligations — to the rest of their friends and families, and even to themselves — that they must tend to as well.

That’s because Dan’s misanthropy and willingness to ignore his own family leave him with no other relationships beside the one he invents with Shiuli, and he’s willing to sacrifice everything to maintain it. He skips work, stops paying rent to his roommate, and borrows money from everyone with no way to pay it back. He’s mean to hospital staff and other visitors.

But because Dan is the protagonist, his single-mindedness is depicted as positive. The little he does for Shiuli mitigates the rest of his awful behavior. On the rare occasions that he is punished, he fails upward. The movie is determined to maintain Dan’s hero status, in spite of his actions.

All of this is driven by a one-sided devotion. From all indications, Shiuli wasn’t interested in Dan romantically before her accident, and they were barely more than acquaintances. Does she like him hanging around her at all times? If not, she’s physically unable to tell him to leave. Would she want him involved in the minutiae of her healthcare, monitoring things as intimate as the amount of urine in her catheter bag?

In an interview with the Hindustan Times, Sircar said that he and Chaturvedi drew on their own experiences caring for seriously ill parents when creating October. Yet the amount of influence Dan has over Shiuli’s care feels unrealistic. Certainly Vidya knows her daughter better than Dan, thus making her a better judge of Shiuli’s wishes — especially since Dan is neither the one being subjected to extraordinary medical interventions nor the one footing the bill for them. Vidya’s ready assent to Dan’s will reinforces how little agency female characters have in October.

Dhawan is a versatile actor, and it’s nice to see him in a film that requires more subtlety than a loud comedy like Judwaa 2 or Dilwale. Yet, whenever he plays a character who is supposed to undergo substantial emotional growth — be it October, Badlapur, or even Badrinath Ki Dulhania — a woman is always subjected to physical harm in order for him to do so. That’s not Dhawan’s fault, but it does highlight a need for screenwriters and filmmakers to move beyond fridging women as an expedient pathway to male character growth.

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Streaming Video News: June 9, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with two 2018 theatrical releases. Varun Dhawan’s October and Mahesh Babu’s Bharat Ane Nenu are now available for streaming. Other recent additions include Karthik Kumar’s standup comedy special Blood Chutney, the Kannada film Puta Tirugisi Nodi, the Hindi-dubbed flicks Mera Aakrosh and Shivam the Warrior, and the Tamil movies Engaeyum Eppothum, Naaigal Jaakirathai, and Pisasu. For everything else new on Prime — Bollywood or not — check Instant Watcher.

Bollywood Box Office: May 25-27, 2018

Raazi‘s dream run continued through a third weekend in North America. From May 25-27, 2018, the spy thriller earned $310,279 from 99 theaters ($3,134 average), according to Bollywood Hungama. There are no estimates for the full 4-day holiday weekend, but Monday, May 28’s returns should be quite good as well. After passing the $2 million mark last Wednesday (according to 143 Cinema), Raazi‘s total earnings to date stand at $2,337,174.

The weekend’s new release — Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran — got off to a good start, even with a comparatively modest theatrical footprint. John Abraham’s historical drama earned $162,870 from 50 theaters ($3,257 average), per Bollywood Hungama. 143 Cinema’s total is slightly higher: $179,152 from 54 theaters ($3,318 average).

102 Not Out earned $41,799 from 41 theaters ($1,019 average) in its fourth weekend of release, bringing its total to $1,294,925 so far.

One US theater kept October around for a seventh weekend, earning $99. Its total stands at $518,060.

Sources: 143 Cinema and Bollywood Hungama

 

Bollywood Box Office: May 18-20, 2018

Raazi had another outstanding weekend in North America. From May 18-20, 2018, it earned $511,635 from 120 theaters ($4,264 average), according to Bollywood Hungama. The spy drama tied with Sonu Ki Titu Ke Sweety for the year’s best Weekend 1-Weekend 2 holdover, retaining 62% of its opening weekend business. Raazi‘s total already stands at $1,795,109. 143 Cinema posts daily box office grosses, so we can track exactly when Raazi passes the $2 million mark.

Come next weekend, North American theaters will have two Indian films featuring solo female leads that have earned more than $2 million bucks here: Raazi and the Telugu biopic Mahanati. That’s pretty cool. (Also, Telugu movies make a ton of money here, holy crap!)

102 Not Out continued its strong showing into a third weekend, earning $115,746 from 102 theaters* ($1,135 average). Its total earnings of $1,194,551 rank it in fifth place for the year, just $125k behind Baaghi 2.

October earned $203 from one theater, bringing its total to $517,870.

*Bollywood Hungama routinely counts Canadian theaters twice in its weekly reporting, at least for a movie’s first few weekends of release (although they seem to be right about Raazi this week). When possible, I try to verify the correct theater count with other sources, like Box Office Mojo or 143 Cinema. The above figures represent what I believe to be the actual theater counts. Bollywood Hungama’s reporting technically puts 102 Not Out in 116 theaters (making for a $998 per-theater average).

Sources: 143 Cinema, Bollywood Hungama, and Box Office Mojo

Bollywood Box Office: May 11-13, 2018

Raazi had a terrific opening weekend in North American theaters — the second best of the year after Padmaavat, in fact. From May 11-13, 2018, the spy thriller earned $829,795 from 110 theaters* ($7,544 average), according to Bollywood Hungama. The three other Hindi films to have officially earned more than $1 million here so far ended their theatrical runs with total earnings that ranged from 2.38 (Baaghi 2) to 2.89 (Padmaavat) times the amount each film earned in its opening weekend, so a final tally north of $2 million for Raazi is on the table.

102 Not Out also performed really well, hanging onto 60% of its opening weekend business. Bollywood Hungama reports second weekend earnings of $265,800 from 102 theaters ($2,606 average), while Box Office Mojo reports a higher weekend tally of $293,584 ($2,878 average). Box Office Mojo further reports Monday, May 14 earnings of $22,943 — enough to push the film’s total earnings past the seven-digit mark to $1,007,916.

Other Bollywood movies still showing in US theaters:

  • October: Week 5; $1,111 from four theaters; $$278 average; $517,423 total
  • Blackmail: Week 6; $56 from one theater; $300,270 total

*Bollywood Hungama routinely counts Canadian theaters twice in its weekly reporting, at least for a movie’s first few weekends of release. When possible, I try to verify the correct theater count with other sources, like Box Office Mojo. The above figures represent what I believe to be the actual theater counts. Bollywood Hungama’s reporting technically puts Raazi in 129 theaters (making for a $6,433 per-theater average) and 102 Not Out in 120 theaters ($2,215 average).

Sources: Bollywood Hungama and Box Office Mojo

Bollywood Box Office: May 4-6, 2018

102 Not Out emerged as a surprise hit over the weekend. According to Bollywood Hungama, the geriatric comedy earned $446,304 from 102 theaters* ($4,376 average) in North America during the weekend of May 4-6, 2018. Box Office Mojo reported slightly higher weekend earnings of $483,681, with further Monday returns of $44,065 bringing the film’s total to $527,746 so far. Before its release, I would not have predicted 102 Not Out to eventually hit the $1 million mark here, but that result looks more likely than not right now.

Other Indian movies showing in North American theaters (no data for Baaghi 2):

  • October: Week 4; $5,353 from ten theaters; $535 average; $514,375 total
  • Blackmail: Week 5; $2,378 from seven theaters; $340 average; $299,590 total

*Bollywood Hungama routinely counts Canadian theaters twice in its weekly reporting, at least for a movie’s first few weekends of release. When possible, I try to verify the correct theater count with other sources, like Box Office Mojo. The above figures represent what I believe to be the actual theater counts. Bollywood Hungama’s reporting technically puts 102 Not Out in 120 theaters (making for a $3,719 per-theater average).

Sources: Bollywood Hungama and Box Office Mojo

Opening May 4: 102 Not Out

One new Bollywood movie opens in Chicago area theaters on May 4, 2018. The comedy 102 Not Out stars Amitabh Bachchan as a centenarian, and Rishi Kapoor plays his elderly son.

102 Not Out opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It is rated PG and has a listed runtime of 1 hr. 42 min.

The South Barrington 24 also carries over October, Baaghi 2, and Blackmail.

Other Indian and Pakistani movies showing in Chicagoland this weekend:

Bollywood Box Office: April 27-29, 2018

No new releases made for a lackluster weekend at the North American box office for Bollywood films. While Avengers: Infinity War set opening weekend records and the Telugu hit Bharat Ane Nenu crossed the $3 million mark, October quietly led the way among Hindi movies with $22,384 from 21 theaters ($1,066 average), according to Bollywood Hungama. The Varun Dhawan drama has total earnings of $498,484 after three weekends in the United States and Canada.

Other Hindi movies still showing in North America (no data for Baaghi 2):

  • Blackmail: Week 4; $7,196 from ten theaters; $720 average; $294,060 total
  • Beyond the Clouds: Week 2; $1,102 from five theaters; $220 average; $40,898 total
  • Hichki: Week 6; $900 from one theater; $766,979 total
  • Raid: Week 7; $564 from one theater; $1,088,345 total

Sources: Bollywood Hungama and Box Office Mojo

In Theaters: April 27, 2018

No new Hindi movies release in Chicago area theaters the weekend beginning April 27, 2018, which is just as well since every bit of available screenspace is seemingly allotted to Avengers: Infinity War. Beyond the Clouds gets a second week at MovieMax Cinemas in Niles and the AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, which also holds over October, Baaghi 2, and Blackmail.

Other Indian and Pakistani movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend:

Bollywood Box Office: April 20-22, 2018

Bollywood films didn’t stand a chance against the Telugu behemoth Bharat Ane Nenu, which earned more than $2.5 million in its opening weekend in North America. The lone new Hindi release — Beyond the Clouds — earned $26,166 from 32 theaters ($818 average)* during the weekend of April 20-22, 2018, according to Bollywood Hungama.

October held up reasonably well in its second week of release, hanging onto 40% of its opening weekend business. It earned $94,549 from 65 theaters ($1,455 average), bringing its total earnings to $438,978.

On the other hand, last weekend’s other new release, Mercury, lost over 90% of its opening weekend business, taking in just $4,799 from ten theaters ($480 average). Its total stands at $76,762.

Other Indian movies still showing in North American theaters (no complete figures for Baaghi 2):

  • Blackmail: Week 3; $16,051 from 13 theaters; $1,235 average; $282,652 total
  • Hichki: Week 5; $5,700 from four theaters; $1,425 average; $763,091 total
  • Raid: Week 6; $1,510 from two theaters; $755 average; $1,087,195 total

*Bollywood Hungama routinely counts Canadian theaters twice in its weekly reporting, at least for a movie’s first few weekends of release. When possible, I try to verify the correct theater count with other sources, like Box Office Mojo. The above figures represent what I believe to be the actual theater counts. Bollywood Hungama’s reporting technically puts Beyond the Clouds in 41 theaters (making for a $638 per-theater average).

Sources: Bollywood Hungama and Box Office Mojo