Tag Archives: Raabta

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

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Movie Review: Raabta (2017)

1 Star (out of 4)

Buy the DVD at Amazon

Even in movies about reincarnation, where the audience knows that the lead couple is fated to be together, we still have to want them to be together in the first place. Raabta (“Connection“) gets that part of the formula wrong, pairing a likable woman with an immature moron.

It’s hard to overstate just how awful Shiv (Sushant Singh Rajput) is as a main character. He’s an entitled boor who hits on every white woman he sees, assuming them to be easy and stupid. A new job in Budapest gives him plenty of opportunities to be an abominable lech.

Of course, when he meets a lovely Indian expat named Saira (Kriti Sanon), Shiv is immediately ready to settle down with her. The presumed inherent moral superiority of Saira’s race and national heritage make it okay for her to jump straight into bed with Shiv, while the flirtatious white women Shiv dates are depicted as disposable tramps.

Saira can’t explain the depth of her attraction to Shiv (and neither can the audience). She senses it has something to do with her vivid nightmares of drowning, and his sudden appearance in them. Shiv dismisses her suspicions, always eager to downplay her concerns and dictate the terms of their conversations.

But Saira’s not alone in suspecting a connection to the past. Debonair rich guy Zak (Neerja‘s Jim Sarbh) has seen visions of Saira as well, from an ancient time when they were once in love. They meet when Saira and Shiv agree to the dumbest possible test of their fidelity: hitting on other people at a party to see if they are as attracted to anyone else as they are to each other. Shiv promptly rips off his shirt and jumps in a pool with some blondes, and Saira flirts with Zak, who is as classy and mysterious as Shiv is tacky and vapid.

Genre convention holds that Zak will turn out to have sinister intentions that endanger Shiv’s and Saira’s preordained romance. The problem is that Zak is objectively better in every regard than Shiv. Yes, even after Zak kidnaps Saira. That’s how deplorable Shiv is.

Rajput does his character no favors, turning in the worst performance of his career. Besides being annoying in the present, Shiv’s past self — Jillan — talks in a Christian-Bale-as-Batman growl, augmented by bug-eyed twitching. The only redeeming quality either version has is a set of six-pack abs (which Zak also may have; we just don’t get to see).

Sanon’s brief career has been distinguished by capable performances in roles with zero agency. Much like Sanon’s character in her debut film, Heropanti, Saira has no control over her own body. Shiv and Zak push, pull, and grab her at will, arguing over which of them she “belongs” to.

Further reducing Saira to object status is that she’s socially isolated in a way the two men aren’t. Shiv has parents in India, and his best friend Radha (Varun Sharma) accompanies him to Budapest. Zak has dozens of paid servants and bodyguards and can turn out hundreds of guests to a party on short notice. Saira, on the other hand, works alone, was orphaned at age two, and sees her boyfriend driven off by Shiv in the span of ten minutes. She has no connections to anyone, making it easier for the two men to do with her as they please.

If there is any bright spot in Raabta, it is Jim Sarbh. He takes a role that could have easily become cartoonish and makes Zak unhinged but understandable. Zak wants Saira as fulfillment of an ancient promise but also because she’s the only other person who shares his belief that the past is repeating itself. Shiv refuses to entertain Saira’s reincarnation story, belittling her as crazy despite the fact that she’s correct — yet another knock against these star-crossed lovers.

Sarbh’s cool charisma starkly contrasts Rajput’s over-the-top antics. It’s time for filmmakers to shift Sarbh from the compelling villain slot into leading man roles (and maybe consider demoting Rajput).

The biggest star in Raabta is Deepika Padukone, who performs an unenthusiastic item number for the title track. She sways and walks the runway, and that’s about it. I hope she got a ton of money for doing next to nothing, if only to serve as a cautionary tale for filmmakers considering such transparent casting stunts.

Links

Streaming Video News: July 22, 2017

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Heera with an exciting new addition to the catalog. The reincarnation drama Raabta — which just released in theaters on June 9 — is now available for streaming!

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with two American movies from 2011: Bobby Khan’s Ticket to Hollywood and When Harry Tries to Marry, starring Zenobia Shroff, best known for playing Kumail’s mom in The Big Sick.

Lastly, I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with a bunch of new additions, including the Pakistani movies Ho Mann Jahaan, Waar, and Wrong No., as well as the comedy special Aditi Mittal: Things They Wouldn’t Let Me Say and the India-set Swedish TV show Delhis vackraste Händer. For everything else new on Netflix or Amazon Prime, check Instant Watcher.

Bollywood Box Office: June 16-18, 2017

The bad news keeps piling up for Raabta. After a disastrous opening weekend in North America, Raabta‘s business fell by 90% in its second weekend of release. From June 16-18, 2017, the reincarnation drama took in just $7,732 from eighteen theaters — a per theater average of $430. Raabta‘s total stands at $116, 328. It’s the only Bollywood movie this year to open in more than 80 theaters in North America but fail to earn $200,000 over the course of its run.

The rest of the Hindi films still showing in the U.S. and Canada fared as follows:

  • Hindi Medium: Week 5; $24,626 from twelve theaters; $2,052 average; $757,549 total
  • Baahubali 2: Week 8; $15,185 from fourteen theaters; $1,085 average; $20,780,017 total
  • Sachin — A Billion Dreams: Week 4; $3,251 from five theaters; $650 average; $607,038 total
  • Sarkar 3: Week 6; $222 from one theater; $244,826 total
  • Hanuman Da’ Damdaar: Week 3; $90 from one theater; $358 total
  • Dobaara — See Your Evil: Week 3; $65 from one theater; $11,002 total

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

In Theaters: June 16, 2017

With Tubelight looming over next weekend’s horizon, no new Hindi movies open in Chicago area theaters the weekend beginning Friday, June 16, 2017. There aren’t many Bollywood flicks sticking around, either.

After tanking hard in its debut weekend, Raabta only carries over at the AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington. MovieMax Cinemas in Niles holds over Hindi Medium, Sachin: A Billion Dreams, and Baahubali 2: The Conclusion in Hindi, Telugu, and Tamil. That’s it.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend:

Bollywood Box Office: June 9-11, 2017

Raabta‘s release was greeted by crickets here in North America. During its opening weekend of June 9-11, 2017, it earned $76,244 from 82 theaters ($930 average; adjusted average of $1,059 from 72 theaters*). Raabta‘s earnings were well below those of other movies that opened in a similar number of North American theaters this year: movies like Phillauri ($259,250 from 87 theaters); The Ghazi Attack ($394,269 from 89 theaters); and Naam Shabana ($157,655 from 90 theaters). For Raabta to earn less than $100,000 and average under $1,000 per screen is hugely disappointing.

Other Hindi movies playing in North America:

  • Hindi Medium: Week 4; $39,782 from 25 theaters; $1,591 average; $716,503 total
  • Baahubali 2: Week 7; $35,657 from 34 theaters; $1,049 average; $20,753,072 total
  • Sachin — A Billion Dreams: Week 3; $14,823 from 24 theaters; $618 average; $599,593 total
  • Half Girlfriend: Week 4; $1,514 from three theaters; $505 average; $442,605 total
  • Jattu Engineer: Week 3; $1,435 from one theater; $17,652 total
  • Sarkar 3: Week 5; $232 from one theater; $244,456 total
  • Hanuman Da’ Damdaar: Week 2; $134 from one theater; $226 total
  • Dobaara — See Your Evil: $127 from two theaters; $64 average; $10,937 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.

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Opening June 9: Raabta

One new Hindi movie opens in the Chicago area on June 9, 2017. The reincarnation drama Raabta (“Connection“) stars Sushant Singh Rajput, Kriti Sanon, and Jim Sarbh.

Raabta opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, AMC Showplace Niles 12 in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. I’m surprised that this isn’t opening in more theaters, specifically at MovieMax and the Cantera 17, which carry almost every new Bollywood film. It’s weird. The movie has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 28 min.

Also noteworthy: The family movie The Wishing Tree — which opens in India this Friday — is already available on Netflix in the United States.

Hindi Medium and Sachin: A Billion Dreams both carry over at the South Barrington 24, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, and the Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville.

Baahubali 2: The Conclusion gets a seventh week at MovieMax (Telugu, Tamil, and Hindi), South Barrington 24 (Hindi), Cantera 17 (Hindi), and Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge (Telugu).

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend: