I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with more than fifty Indian titles that are now available for streaming. Most of the new films are in Hindi (23 titles), Punjabi (22), or Tamil (7), with one new addition each in Marathi and Bengali (as well as one Urdu movie from Pakistan). The full list of titles is available in the “Newly Added” section at the top of my Netflix page. Here are all of the Bollywood films that were just added:
Today marks the Netflix streaming debut of Race 2, which opened in theaters on January 25, 2013. It’s a follow-up to 2008’s Race, which is also available for streaming on Netflix. A familiarity with the first film helps to explain some of the relationships in the second, but it’s not essential to understanding the plot of Race 2. I wasn’t a fan of either movie, but if you’re in the mood for mindless action, Race and Race 2 might fit the bill.
Also on April 10, the bizarre Hindi monster movie Hisss exits the Netflix streaming catalog. The film was plagued with problems throughout the production, and they are obvious in the final product. It will not be missed.
In other video news, Dabangg 2 makes its streaming debut on Eros Now on Friday, April 12 (though not in India). Dabangg 2 is available free to subscribers or as a premium rental for $1.99. 2010’s Dabangg is already available for streaming on the service.
Nothing says “Happy Valentine’s Day” quite like a movie called Murder 3. The latest Bollywood non-sequel sequel has nothing to do with its predecessor, Murder 2, but it does have the most unintentionally hilarious publicity photo I’ve ever seen:
That’s Randeep Hooda sporting the snake, alongside Sara Loren and Aditi Rao Hydari. The film is a remake of the Colombian thriller The Hidden Face.
Murder 3 opens on Thursday, February 14, 2013, in just nine U.S. theaters, one of which happens to be the AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington. It has a listed runtime of two hours.
Two new Hindi movies make their way into Chicago area theaters on February 8, 2013. Special 26 (aka Special Chabbis) has the greater star power of the two, starring Akshay Kumar alongside notable character actors Anupam Kher and Manoj Bajpai.
I’m more excited for this weekend’s other new opening: ABCD (Any Body Can Dance), India’s first 3D dance film. For anyone who’s fond of Bollywood movies for their dance numbers, this should be a gold mine. The movie stars choreographer Prabhu Deva in the lead role and features So You Think You Can Dance Season 3 competitor Lauren Gottlieb.
Starting Friday, ABCD will be showing in 3D at the South Barrington 30 and AMC River East 21 in Chicago and in 2D at the Golf Glen 5. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 25 min.
The Bollywood film David gets as small a release as possible in Chicago, opening in just one theater on February 1, 2013.
Both the Hindi and Tamil versions of David open on Friday at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles. (Note: I won’t be reviewing David until it comes out on DVD.) The film has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 10 min.
There were moments in Race 2 when I really wanted to like the movie, if only my brain would let me. Giving any aspect of Race 2 more than a passing thought renders it utterly silly.
Race 2 picks up not long after the events of the original Race from 2008. (Though not essential, it does help to have seen the original film.) Ranveer Singh (Saif Ali Khan) arrives in Istanbul to cheat casino magnate Vikram Thapar (Rajesh Khattar) out of his properties in revenge for a wrong that Ranveer doesn’t immediately specify. Ranveer then transfers ownership of the casinos to street-fighter-turned-billionaire Armaan Mallik (John Abraham).
If Ranveer’s generosity toward Armaan seems too good to be true, that’s because it is. Ranveer’s really out to get revenge on Armaan for another unspecified wrong, but Armaan knows Ranveer’s out to get him. And Ranveer knows that Armaan knows that Ranveer’s out to get him. And then Ranveer steals the Shroud of Turin.
Race 2 owes a lot to early James Bond movies, what with characters always being one step ahead of each other and wielding crazy gadgets like Armaan’s digital playing cards, whose faces can be manipulated on an iPhone operated by his half-sister, Alina (Deepika Padukone). The characters also fall into the Bond villain trap of talking too much and over-complicating things when a bullet to the head would be a surer and simpler way to kill someone.
Anil Kapoor returns in the sequel as R.D., a goofy, now-retired detective with a soft spot for Ranveer. R.D. has a new, bubble-brained assistant named Cherry (Ameesha Patel) who exists only to provide R.D. opportunities to make double entendres. Jacqueline Fernandez plays Armaan’s girlfriend, Omisha, a woman with a connection to Ranveer’s girlfriend in the original Race, Soniya (Bipasha Basu).
Race 2 is the movie equivalent of an email written in all caps. Everything about it is relentlessly intense. It feels as though approximately forty percent of the movie consists of shots of characters strutting in slow-motion while a fan blows on them and a heavy metal guitar wails in the background. Directing duo Abbas-Mustan want to make sure that the audience is absolutely clear that Race 2 is AWESOME! SEXY! EXCITING! COOL!
Let me illustrate this with a video of the song “Allah Duhai Hai,” which sums up the intensity the movie tries to maintain for all of its two-and-a-half hours:
This excess could be funny if the movie had any sense of humor about itself, but it doesn’t. Ranveer, Armaan, Alina, and Omisha are all deadly serious as they double cross one another, no matter how ridiculous the circumstances.
Padukone and Fernandez are the two strongest performers in the cast, carrying off their roles with sex appeal and an air of danger. Kapoor and Patel are amusing enough, and Khan is competent as usual.
Abraham is the weak link. Despite being cast for his beefcake body, there’s nothing menacing about him. He’s supposed to be the most fearsome man in Turkey, but only if you’re dumb enough to challenge him to a fistfight.
The story moves quickly enough to hold one’s attention, even though everything that happens is silly and unable to be explained by the retroactive continuity Abbas-Mustan were obviously hoping would clear everything up. The Turkish-influenced musical score is the film’s best element. Race 2 is less annoying that the original Race, but that’s hardly a recommendation.
Of all the movies that I never needed to see, a sequel to 2008’s idiotic Race is near the top of my list. Nevertheless, Race 2 hits the big screen on January 25, 2013. Let’s hope Deepika Padukone and Jacqueline Fernandez can help returnees Saif Ali Khan and Anil Kapoor make this Race a more enjoyable experience than the first one.