Tag Archives: Pink

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

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Streaming Video News: January 20, 2017

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with an exciting new addition to the catalog. The 2016 courtroom thriller Pink is now available for streaming. I liked it a lot. Other new additions this week include director Mira Nair’s 1996 film Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love and the 2015 Marathi movie Twisted Trunk, Big Fat Body, starring Bollywood’s go-to child actor, Naman Jain. For everything else new on Netflix, check Instant Watcher.

I also made a couple of additions to my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime. While I don’t think these titles are new, I just found two more movies available for free with Prime (thanks for the frustrating catalog organization and limited search capabilities, Amazon!): the 2007 English film Partition — starring Smallville‘s Kristen Kreuk, of all people — and the documentary Despite the Gods, a terrific chronicling of the drama behind the making of Hisss.

Bollywood Box Office: October 28-30, 2016

Two big Diwali releases met very different fates at the North American box office during the weekend of October 28-30, 2016. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil was a resounding success, taking in $2,091,290 from 331 theaters ($6,318 average). That’s already good enough for fourth place in North America for the year. Though Sultan‘s chart-topping $6 million total is out of reach, lifetime earnings in excess of $5 million are possible for ADHM if interest remains high. Even if business drops off quickly, $4 million is doable.

Moviegoers gave the cold shoulder to Ajay Devgn’s mountaineering thriller Shivaay, the weekend’s other new film. Opening in fewer than half as many theaters as ADHM — 143, to be exact — Shivaay earned just $332,423 ($2,325 average). That’s only the year’s 18th best opening weekend gross, despite Shivaay releasing into the ninth highest number of theaters (the same number of theaters as Baar Baar Dekho, which earned more than $600,000 its first weekend).

Karan Johar romantic dramas are as sure a bet in the United States and Canada as you’ll find. North America contributed almost 20% of ADHM‘s $11+ million worldwide total. In contrast, the US and Canada accounted for about 5% of Shivaay‘s $6 million global total. Knowing how much attention ADHM was going to get here, would it have been advisable to employ Hollywood’s international release strategy to Shivaay, preponing or postponing its North American release by a week? Heck, even opening it on Wednesday might have earned another $100,000. I don’t know if such a strategy would be feasible — though I reject piracy as a reason, since those people wouldn’t pay to go to the theater anyway — but it would certainly have allowed Shivaay to save face, if nothing else.

Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:

  • M.S. Dhoni: Week 5; $3,153 from six theaters; $526 average; $1,823,682 total
  • Pink: Week 7; $702 from one theater; $1,248,883 total
  • 31st October: Week 2; $261 from two theaters; $131 average; $8,490 total

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: October 21-23, 2016

There’s a reason why studios and distributors don’t release movies the weekend before a major holiday: nobody goes to the theater. Case in point, the weekend of October 21-23, 2016 (the weekend before Diwali). The five Hindi films showing in North American theaters — including one new release — earned a combined total of just $31,223.

M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story accounted for the lion’s share of the above total, earning $18,952 from nineteen theaters ($997 average). Its total after four weekends in North American theaters is $1,816,166. It may stick around for a fifth weekend in a few theaters, but its run is just about over.

Pink closed out its sixth weekend with $6,409 from six theaters ($1,068 average). Its total of $1,246,384 ranks it in ninth place for the year in North America.

The lone new release — 31st October — only managed to finish in third place for the weekend, with $5,625 from seventeen theaters ($331 average). It’s one of the rare instances of a Hindi film opening in more theaters in Canada than the United States: ten in Canada versus seven in the US. Not that it mattered. 31st October had the third worst opening weekend of the year.

Mirzya closed out its third week with $209 from one American theater. Its final total is $84,035: 29th place for the year, after releasing into the 14th highest number of theaters. Ack.

Last on the list is MSG The Warrior: Lion Heart, which earned $29 from one Canadian theater. Until now, I’d never seen a movie in its second weekend of release earn less than 1% of what it earned in its first weekend. Kudos, MSG 3. It closes out its theatrical run with total North American earnings of $4,243.

October 28 can’t get here fast enough.

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: October 14-16, 2016

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh likes to tout the records he achieves, but he might not want to brag about his latest: 2016’s worst opening weekend per-theater average for a Hindi film in North America. Singh’s new vanity project — MSG The Warrior: Lion Heart — earned a grand total of $3,353 from 23 theaters during the weekend of October 14-16, 2016. That’s a per-theater average of $146 for a whole weekend’s worth of shows. MSGTW:LH safely bested Loveshhuda‘s lowest opening weekend gross of $1,399, but that film only released in eight theaters, starred a couple of noobs, and wasn’t the third in a series.

M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story had the best weekend of any of the Hindi films still in theaters, earning another $78,995 from 79 theaters ($1,000 average). Its total stands at $1,779,768, ranking it in sixth place for the year.

In its fifth weekend, Pink earned $13,512 from twelve theaters ($1,126 average). That amount plus its weekday earnings were enough to push it past Udta Punjab into tenth place for the year, with total earnings of $1,236,038. It needs just $3,736 to wrest ninth place from Mohenjo Daro.

Mirzya‘s business fell by 92% in its second weekend, with earnings of $4,200 from fifteen theaters ($280 average). More than thirty percent of its $82,801 total came from a handful of Canadian theaters: sixteen theaters in the film’s opening weekend and six in its second weekend.

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

In Theaters: October 14, 2016

Well, I guess I was wrong about no new Indian films opening in the Chicago area before October 28. A week after its Indian theatrical release, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles is picking up MSG: The Warrior Lion Heart, the third film by controversial religious figure Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. Enjoy this delightful plot synopsis from the film’s Wikipedia page.

The story is about a medieval warrior who fights for the honor of his land and the dignity of the womenfolk. The story travels centuries apart as he emerges in another role as a modern Indian equivalent of James Bond, a stylish top secret agent. The marauding aliens run amok, as they are hundreds of years ahead in technology. Lionheart is their only stumbling block in their march to overpower planet Earth.

I didn’t think things could get much crazier than the original MSG, but I guess I underestimated the self-styled Saint. Feast your eyes upon the trailer for MSG: The Warrior Lion Heart, which opens on Friday at MovieMax.

Besides MSG 3, what other Hindi films are showing in Chicago during the weekend beginning October 14, 2016? M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story has the biggest foothold locally, carrying over for a third week at MovieMax, AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Regal Round Lake Beach Stadium 18 in Round Lake Beach, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

MovieMax and the South Barrington 30 also hold over Pink and Mirzya, which is worth seeing on the big screen because of how pretty it looks and to hear its amazing soundtrack on a good speaker system.

Other Indian films still in Chicago area theaters:

If you’ve already exhausted your theatrical options, check out my up-to-date lists of Indian films available for streaming in the United States on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu.

Bollywood Box Office: October 7-9, 2016

If you’re squeamish, you may not want to look at the gruesome opening weekend numbers for Mirzya in North America. From October 7-9, 2016, Mirzya earned $54,717 from 111 theaters ($493 average). The modern adaptation of a Punjabi folktale fared significantly better in Canada, which contributed 28% of the gross earnings ($15,111) from 14% of the total theaters (16). The per-theater average in Canada was $944, versus $417 in the United States. [Update: Sumit Chadha of Reliance Entertainment told me via Twitter that the total number of theaters was 95 — 79 in the US and 16 in Canada. That would make the US per-theater average $501 and the combined average $575. Even with the revised numbers, Canada’s contribution was still outsized.]

It is really, really hard to launch new Bollywood stars in North America. Heck, even films starring well known supporting actors in lead roles struggle to make money here (looking at you, Banjo). Thus, it made absolutely zero sense to release Mirzya — which stars newbies Harshvardhan Kapoor and Saiyami Kher — into 111 theaters. The ceiling is simply too low. Even if Mirzya had earned the exact same amount from half as many theaters, that would have only boosted its per-theater average to about $1,000, which is still way below average.

Every other Hindi film to open in more than 100 theaters here this year earned at least $250,000 in its first weekend, with per-theater averages greater than $2,000. As enjoyable as Mirzya is, it was never going to hit those benchmarks. Better to have started with a smaller footprint and added theaters based on demand. With no such demand, this opening weekend just looks awful.

M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story held up okay in its second weekend. It earned another $277,863 from 259 theaters ($1,073 average). Its total earnings of $1,611,755 rank it in seventh place for the year so far in North America. Its second-weekend business fell about 75% from its opening weekend, a sharper drop than the six films ranked above it on this year’s list, including Fan, which saw its second-weekend business drop by 74%. M.S. Dhoni also earned $76,000 less than Fan did in its second weekend, despite showing in ten more theaters.

Pink continued to put up a fight in its fourth weekend in North America. It earned another $31,019 from 22 theaters ($1,410 average), bringing its total earnings to $1,210,483. It needs less than $25,000 to overtake Udta Punjab for tenth place for the year, and less than $30,000 to bump Mohenjo Daro out of ninth place.

Baar Baar Dekho stuck around for a fifth weekend in one theater, earning $340 and bringing its total to $981,226.

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Opening October 7: Mirzya

One Hindi movie opens in the Chicago area on October 7, 2016, and it’s likely to be the last new Hindi film we get until Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Shivaay release on the 28th. The epic fantasy romance Mirzya hits theaters weeks before its special showing at the Chicago International Film Festival.

Mirzya 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. 15 min.

M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story carries over for a second week at MovieMax, South Barrington 30, Cantera 17, AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Regal Round Lake Beach Stadium 18 in Round Lake Beach, Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

Pink gets a fourth week at MovieMax and the South Barrington 30.

The seventh annual Chicago South Asian Film Festival starts tonight and runs through Monday. This year’s lineup features terrific films like Aligarh, Waiting, Masaan, and Island City.

Other Indian movies playing in the Chicago area this weekend:

Bollywood Box Office: September 30-October 2, 2016

M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story got off to a cracking start in North American theaters. From September 30-October 2, 2016, the sports biopic earned $1,096,026 from 282 theaters ($3,887 average). It’s only the third movie of the year to earn more than $1 million in its opening weekend here, behind Sultan and Fan. M.S. Dhoni‘s opening weekend per-theater average ranks thirteenth for the year, indicating a slightly extravagant theatrical footprint.

In its third weekend, Pink took in another $126,301 from 60 theaters ($2,105 average), bringing its total to $1,146,431, good for tenth place in North America for the year. Also notable is that Pink is the only 2016 film to triple its opening weekend earnings over the course of its theatrical run — and it only took seventeen days to do it.

Last weekend’s new release, Banjo, tanked hard in its second weekend. Business fell by 98%, and Banjo earned just $287 from two theaters ($144 average). Its total stands at $25,511.

Other Hindi films still in North American theaters:

  • Baar Baar Dekho: Week 4; $1,990 from five theaters; $398 average; $980,343 total
  • Freaky Ali: Week 4; $38 from one theater; $65,615 total

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Opening September 30: M.S. Dhoni — The Untold Story

The sports biopic M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story is the only new Hindi film opening in the Chicago area on September 30, 2016. Sushant Singh Rajput plays the legendary Indian cricket captain.

M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story opens Friday in the following local theaters: AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Century 12 Evanston/Cinearts 6 in Evanston, Regal Round Lake Beach Stadium 18 in Round Lake Beach, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, 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 3 hrs. 4 min.

Banjo carries over for a second week at the South Barrington 30. Pink gets a third week at the South Barrington 30, Cantera 17, and MovieMax, which also holds over Baar Baar Dekho.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend: