Tag Archives: Piku

Best Bollywood Movies of 2015

2015 offered up a satisfying mix of sweet, intimate stories and dark thrills and chills. Here are my picks for the best Bollywood movies of 2015. (Click on the title of each movie to read my original review.)

The year ended on a triumphant note with the release of the historical epic romance Bajirao Mastani. Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s colorful, lavish style demands to be seen on the big screen.

Two smaller Hindi films that played at the Chicago South Asian Film Festival prove that big budgets aren’t necessary to make a great movie. Haraamkhor and Dhanak depict the struggles of childhood in very different ways, with Dhanak being easily the sweetest film of the year.

Early 2015 saw the release of two great revenge thrillers: Badlapur and NH10. While Badlapur explores the toll that a lingering desire for vengeance takes on a grieving husband (Varun Dhawan), NH10 is a race against the clock for a woman (Anushka Sharma) trying to defeat the men out to kill her.

In contrast to such dark fare, Piku lovingly and humorously explores the tense relationship between an adult daughter (Deepika Padukone) who hits the road with her ailing father (Amitabh Bachchan).

A pair of top-notch crime thrillers also made the list. Talvar‘s unique story structure sets apart this real-life murder mystery. Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! put a modern, stylish twist on a classic Indian literary detective.

Dum Laga Ke Haisha is as charming as can be, telling the tale of a loser (Ayushmann Khurrana) rebelling against his marriage to an accomplished woman (Bhumi Pednekar) who fails to fit his beauty standards. So much care went into the story that it is impossible not to fall in love with these young adults trying to grow under enormous family pressure.

My favorite movie of 2015 is a big budget, multi-starrer that nevertheless tells a smart, contemporary family story. Too often, Bollywood spectacle films are “check your brain at the door” affairs, full of bombast but devoid of substance. Director Zoya Akhtar brings together an A-list cast — including Priyanka Chopra, Anushka Sharma, Ranveer Singh, Farhan Akhtar, and Anil Kapoor — for a film that is fun and romantic, but also contains insightful critiques of the respect (or lack thereof) accorded women in modern Indian society. Director Akhtar takes the opportunity this big-budget blockbuster affords her and uses the platform to inform as well as entertain. For that reason, my favorite Hindi film of 2015 is Dil Dhadakne Do.

(Update: I watched Masaan after posting this list. Were I to re-do my rankings, I’d place Masaan in 9th place, between Dhanak and Haraamkhor.)

Kathy’s Top Ten Bollywood Movies of 2015

  1. Dil Dhadakne Do — Buy/rent at iTunes or Amazon
  2. Dum Laga Ke Haisha — Buy/rent at iTunes or Amazon
  3. Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! — Buy/rent at iTunes or Amazon
  4. Talvar — Buy at Amazon
  5. Piku — Buy/rent at iTunes or Amazon
  6. NH10 — Buy at Amazon
  7. Badlapur — Buy at Amazon
  8. Dhanak
  9. Haraamkhor
  10. Bajirao Mastani

Previous Best Movies Lists

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Bollywood Box Office: January 4, 2016

Bajirao Mastani and Dilwale closed out their third weekend in theaters, finalizing the North American box office rankings for Bollywood films released in 2015. From January 1-3, 2016, Bajirao Mastani earned $772,775 from 304 theaters ($2,542 average). During the same period, Dilwale earned $308,149 from 133 theaters ($2,317 average).

The ten highest earning Bollywood films of 2015 in North America were:

  1. Bajrangi Bhaijaan: $8,114,714
  2. Bajirao Mastani: $5,832,266 (to date)
  3. Dilwale: $4,696,841 (to date)
  4. Prem Ratan Dhan Payo: $4,420,019
  5. Dil Dhadakne Do: $3,062,095
  6. Tanu Weds Manu Returns: $3,022,611
  7. Tamasha: $2,243,582
  8. Piku: $2,220,648
  9. Welcome Back: $1,379,668
  10. Singh Is Bliing: $909,399

Bajrangi Bhaijaan had the best opening weekend in 2015, both in terms of total gross ($2,613,192) and per-screen average ($9,468). Bajirao Mastani has already proven to have the best longevity of any 2015 release, having nearly quadrupled its opening weekend total in just three weeks.

2015 set a new benchmark for blockbuster releases, with both Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo opening in more than 300 theaters in North America (304 and 310, respectively). Though PK (296) and Bang Bang (292) came close in 2014, it’s worth noting how rapid this increase in theater counts has been. The widest release in 2013 was Dhoom 3 on 239 screens, and 2012’s biggest release, Talaash, opened in just 172 theaters. More people than ever before can watch Bollywood films on the big screen in the United States and Canada.

It’s also worth noting that all of the films in the 2015 top ten were released between May and December. Shahrukh Khan’s Fan — scheduled for release on April 15 — should easily make it into the 2016 top ten, but it remains to be seen if any of the other Bollywood flicks opening in the first third of the year will prove to be breakout hits. Do any of the films on this list seem like contenders to you?

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Streaming Video News: January 1, 2016

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with a ton of new additions to the catalog. Netflix kicked off 2016 by adding seventeen (!) Hindi movies to the streaming catalog, along with a number of movies in other Indian languages, most notably director Mani Ratnam’s 2015 Tamil hit OK Kanmani. I added a category for films in other Indian languages at the bottom of my Netflix page. (January 2 update: Dum Laga Ke Haisha is also now on Netflix!)

Here’s a list of all the Bollywood films added to Netflix today:

Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! and Piku are two of my favorite movies of 2015, and I can’t wait to check out Randeep Hooda in Main Aur Charles, which didn’t open in US theaters. A number of these films — like Katiyabaaz and Kshay — were hits on the festival circuit, and this is the first opportunity for a wide audience to see them. Same for the Gujarati film The Good Road, India’s official submission to the 86th Oscars, which was also added today.

For everything else new on Netflix, please check out Instant Watcher.

Bollywood Box Office: June 19-21

ABCD 2 turned in the fourth highest opening weekend of the 2015, nearly doubling the earnings of ABCD‘s 2013 run in just three days. During the weekend of June 19-21, ABCD 2 earned $438,539 from 166 theaters in the US and Canada ($2,642 average).

Strong numbers aside, the dance sequel fell short of expectations. Its per-screen average was only the seventh highest of the year, despite releasing into the third highest number of theaters and charging premium 3D ticket prices. With little else of note releasing in the coming weeks, and with most American students finally out of school for the summer, ABCD 2 could still double its opening weekend take over the course of its run.

Hamari Adhuri Kahani fell off significantly in its second weekend, earning $18,255 from 26 theaters ($702 average). Its North American total stands at $161,038.

Dil Dhadakne Do added another $225,998 from 111 theaters ($2,036 average), bringing its three-week total to $2,732,535.

Tanu Weds Manu Returns inched closer to a $3 million North American total, earning $35,777 from 20 theaters ($1,789 average) in its fifth weekend. Its total presently stands at $2,986,278.

Piku held on for a seventh weekend in two theaters, earning another $1,997 ($999 average) to bring its total to $2,220,648.

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: June 12-14

Hamari Adhuri Kahani didn’t exactly light up the North American box office during its opening weekend. From June 12-14, 2015, it earned $94,005 from 67 theaters ($1,403 average). That’s a slightly below average opening weekend total from a slightly below average number of theaters. Nothing special, but nothing tragic.

Hamari Adhuri Kahani‘s opening weekend performance was significantly better than the opening weekend performance of Emraan Hashmi’s Mr. X back in April ($24,806 from 62 theaters). However, it wasn’t as good as the first weekend take of Vidya Balan’s last solo-starring effort, Bobby Jasoos in July of 2014 ($143,559 from 71 theaters). It’s also down from the last film to co-star Hashmi and Balan, 2013’s Ghanchakkar, which opened with $143,616 from 89 theaters.

Of those four films, the one with the highest per-screen average was Bobby Jasoos ($2,022). Maybe it’s time for Balan to cut Hashmi loose professionally.

[Update: Box Office Mojo lists a significantly higher total of $131,263 from the same number of theaters for Hamari Adhuri Kahani. Yet even Mojo’s higher per-screen average of $1,959 is still lower than that of Bobby Jasoos.]

Dil Dhadakne Do posted solid second weekend earnings of $544,239 from 259 theaters ($2,101 average), bringing its North American total to $2,292,732. Its 58% drop in business from Weekend 1 to Weekend 2 was larger than those recorded by Tanu Weds Manu Returns (-28%) and Piku (-38%). However, DDD should hold up well in the weeks to come given that ABCD2 is the only Bollywood release of note until the middle of July.

In its fourth weekend, Tanu Weds Manu Returns earned another $101,443 from 55 theaters ($1,844 average) to bring its North American total to $2,911,462.

Piku — now in its sixth week — brought its total North American earnings to $2,215,749 by adding another $7,172 from six theaters ($1,195 average).

Source: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: June 5-7

Dil Dhadakne Do became the first Hindi film of 2015 to earn more than $1 million in North America in its opening weekend. From June 5-7, Dil Dhadakne Do earned $1,287,170 from 259 theaters, an average of $4,970 per screen.

Meanwhile, Tanu Weds Manu Returns inched closer to a $3 million total in the US and Canada. In its third weekend, it took in another $268,736 from 149 theaters ($1,804 average), bringing its total to $2,716,437.

Piku continued its impressive run through its fifth weekend, adding another $22,877 from 12 theaters ($1,906 average) to bring its North American tally to $2,202,585.

In its second weekend in theaters, poor old Welcome 2 Karachi earned just $748 from six theaters ($125 average). Its North American total stands at $35,661.

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Opening June 5: Dil Dhadakne Do

One new Bollywood film hits Chicago area theaters on June 5, 2015, and it’s a big one: Dil Dhadakne Do (“Let the Heart Beat“). Zoya Akhtar directs an ensemble cast that includes Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh, Anil Kapoor, and Shefali Shah as a dysfunctional family on a cruise ship that also carries Anushka Sharma and Farhan Akhtar.

DDD opens on Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, Regal Round Lake Beach Stadium 18 in Round Lake Beach, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge, and AMC Loews Crestwood 18 in Crestwood. Ticket demand is expected to be so high that the South Barrington 30 and Cantera 17 are showing DDD on multiple screens. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 50 min.

Tanu Weds Manu Returns gets a third week at all of the above theaters, except for the Crestwood 18. Piku gets a fifth week at the South Barrington 30, Cantera 17, and MovieMax, which also holds over Welcome 2 Karachi for a second week.

The English-Hindi film Unfreedom — touted for being banned in India — also opens on June 5 at the Goodrich Randall 15 in Batavia. It has a runtime of 1 hr. 42 min. It is my least favorite film of 2015. Click here for a national theater list.

Another release of note this weekend is the restored version of director Satyajit Ray’s The Apu Trilogy. The three Bengali classics start their run on Friday at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago. Click here for a national theater list.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend include Masss (Tamil w/English subtitles) and Pandaga Chesko (Telugu) at the Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge and MovieMax, which also carries Nee-na (Malayalam) and the Telugu movies Andhra Pori, Asura, and Rakshasudu.

Bollywood Box Office: May 29-31

Tanu Weds Manu Returns continued its astounding run at the North American box office for a second weekend. From May 29-31, 2015, it earned another $698,921 from 150 theaters ($4,659 average). Its business fell just 28% from its first weekend to its second, and it carried over in the same number of theaters in which it debuted. It’s already the highest grossing Hindi film in the US and Canada this year, with total earnings of $2,222,228.

Piku held up exceedingly well in its fourth weekend, adding another $96,710 from 58 theaters ($1,667 average) to bring its total to $2,154,635.

Welcome 2 Karachi landed in theaters with a thud, pulling in just $26,013 from 39 theaters ($667 average) in its opening weekend.

Bombay Velvet‘s fall has been precipitous. In its third weekend of release, it showed in just three theaters, earning a mere $797 ($266 average). Yikes. Its total North American earnings stand at $438,408. That’s good enough to rank it in sixth place for the year, but a movie that opened in 239 theaters — 89 more than the next widest release — should be at the top of the chart.

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Opening May 29: Welcome to Karachi

On new Hindi film opens in the Chicago area on May 29, 2015. The comedy Welcome to Karachi stars Arshad Warsi and Jackky Bhagnani alongside So You Think You Can Dance‘s Lauren Gottlieb, who plays a Pakistani spy. Movies in which Warsi is the marquee star don’t often release in North America, so this is a surprise.

Welcome to Karachi opens on Friday at MovieMax Cinemas in Niles and AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 11 min.

Tanu Weds Manu Returns carries over for a second week at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, MovieMax, Regal Round Lake Beach Stadium 18 in Round Lake Beach, South Barrington 30, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

Piku gets a fourth week at MovieMax, Cantera 17, Woodridge 18, and South Barrington 30, which also carries over Bombay Velvet for a third week.

Other Indian movies playing in the Chicago area this weekend include Masss (Tamil) and Pandaga Chesko (Telugu) at both the Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont and MovieMax, which also carries Gaddar: The Traitor (Punjabi), Rakshasudu (the Telugu version of Masss), Lailaa O Lailaa (Malayalam), and 36 Vayadhinile (Tamil).

Bollywood Box Office: May 22-24

Tanu Weds Manu Returns got off to an amazing start in the United States and Canada, posting the best opening weekend of 2015 so far. According to Bollywood Hungama, TWMR earned $957,976 from 150 theaters ($6,387 average) in North America. Box Office Mojo reports that TWMR took in another $265,275 on Monday’s Memorial Day holiday, putting the total from its first four days at $1,223,251.

Despite the intense competition, Piku added another $284,750 from 90 theaters ($3,164 average) to bring its three-week total to $1,933,247. That weekend total is astounding given that the year’s second best third-weekend total is Detective Byomkesh Bakshy‘s $50,038. The fact that Piku is still showing in 90 theaters after three weeks is amazing in itself.

In its second weekend, Bombay Velvet carried over in 107 theaters but earned just $36,090 ($337 average). That’s appalling. It’s North American total stands at $423,003.

My favorite thing about the box office figures over the last four weeks has been tracking the disparity in Gabbar is Back‘s popularity in the US and Canada. The movie’s fourth weekend earnings — $2,637 from three theaters ($879 average) — don’t tell the whole story. Of those three theaters still carrying Gabbar is Back, only one was in the US, and it earned just $10 during the whole weekend! So only one person in the US watched Gabbar is Back in the theater last weekend (okay, maybe two people, if they bought matinee priced tickets)! Gabbar is Back‘s total North American earnings stand at $570,556.

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama