Tag Archives: Race 3

Worst Bollywood Movies of 2018

As with my Best Bollywood Movies post, I’m only including five titles in my Worst Bollywood Movies list for 2018. There simply weren’t enough Hindi films terrible enough to warrant such a dubious distinction. But believe me, those that did make the list earned their spots.

In fifth place is Fanney Khan, a dull but mostly harmless family film, except for one very troublesome subplot. The parents of aspiring teenage singer Lata (Pihu Sand) fret that their daughter will be pressured to trade sex for stardom. Yet her father Fanney (Anil Kapoor) has no problem trading another woman’s body in exchange for Lata’s success, kidnapping Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s pop star character to do so. That sound you hear is me smacking myself in the forehead.

Aiyaary makes the list due to its muddled writing. Filmmaker Neeraj Pandey belabors obvious points while glossing over complicated conspiracies in this bland, slow spy thriller, starring Sidharth Malhotra and Manoj Bajpayee.

Race 3 is another bloated narrative mess. I’m a fan of director Remo D’Souza’s movies ABCD and A Flying Jatt, but this franchise outing proves how hard it can be to include a superstar actor in an ensemble picture, while still allotting said superstar a disproportionately large portion of screentime. It also proves that Salman Khan’s star power doesn’t guarantee a movie’s box office success (more on that to come).

The two worst Hindi films of 2018 are bad for many of the same reasons. Both bungle their handling of traumatic injury and disability. Both feature loathsome male protagonists who depend on the suffering of women in order to grow emotionally — only the protagonists don’t actually undergo any emotional growth.

That’s how October wound up in second place for the year. Varun Dhawan plays the awful male lead in question. His character is obsessed with a comatose co-worker because he thinks she may have harbored feelings for him before the accident that injured her. The premise is plain gross, made all the worse by Varun’s character inserting himself into the finer details of her medical care (he LOVES checking her catheter bag). Even after the co-worker regains consciousness, her brain and body are so damaged that she can’t tell him to leave her alone if she wishes him to do so, let alone physically push him away. He takes advantage of her vulnerability, and he ends the movie no more morally improved than he was at the beginning.

As demoralizing as October is, first place goes to a movie that failed on a grander scale. Zero is my Worst Bollywood Movie of 2018. Granted, Shah Rukh Khan’s film wasn’t the biggest box office flop by one of the Three Khans for the year (in North America, that honor belongs to Aamir Khan’s Thugs of Hindostan). But Zero was easily the most offensive of the year’s disappointing films. Khan plays Bauua, a man with dwarfism —  his diminutive stature achieved using CGI and camera techniques — who falls in love with Aafia (Anushka Sharma), a woman with cerebral palsy. Writer Wendy Lu posted a piece on Huffington Post just yesterday explaining the problems with able-bodied actors playing disabled characters in Hollywood, and the same problems apply to the two lead actors in Zero. This is a movie that should never have gotten off the drawing board.

Yet Zero went ahead, and the resultant movie is even worse than feared. Not only is the movie out-of-step in the way it treats disability, it’s also sexist. Bauua thinks Aafia is his equal since they’re the same height when she’s in her wheelchair — never mind that she’s a rocket scientist and he’s an almost-40 high school dropout who’s never held a job. The rest of the story is utterly ridiculous. The only person who emerges from Zero with an unblemished reputation is Katrina Kaif, whose excellent performance stands to be overlooked, as everyone else tries to pretend that Zero never happened.

Kathy’s Worst Bollywood Movies of 2018

  1. Zero
  2. October — Buy at Amazon/watch on Prime
  3. Race 3 — watch on Prime
  4. Aiyaary — Buy at Amazon
  5. Fanney Khan — watch on Prime

Previous Worst Movies Lists

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Bollywood Box Office: November 16-18, 2018

If you thought Thugs of Hindostan had a bad first weekend in North American theaters, then buckle up. Its second weekend was a lot worse. From November 16-18, 2018, Thugs of Hindostan earned $150,387 from 178 theaters ($845 average) in the United States and Canada, according to Bollywood Hungama. So far, it hasn’t even earned $2 million here, with a total stuck at $1,876,932. The figures were so bad that Yash Raj Films didn’t even bother to report its data to Box Office Mojo. In India, exhibitors are demanding compensation for their loses.

That second-weekend total represents an 87% drop from its first weekend, which almost never happens for Hindi movies that get wide releases in North America. A notable exception is 2018’s other major flop, Race 3, which ranks just ahead of Thugs on the 1st-to-2nd-weekend holdover list with a drop of 85%. The median 1st-to-2nd-weekend business drop for the year is 75%, but the movies that fall below that mark overwhelmingly release in fewer than 100 theaters. The only other exception this year is Aiyaary, which debuted in 152 theaters, but even it only saw its business fall by about 77% — a healthy number by comparison.

Cinemas fared much better with a pair of older Hindi titles. Five-week-old Badhaai Ho took in $81,850 from 33 theaters ($2,480 average), bringing its total to an amazing $3,122,493. Seven-week-old Andhadhun earned $19,686 from ten theaters ($1,969 average), for total earnings of $1,303,946.

Other Bollywood movies still showing in US theaters:

  • Baazaar: Week 4; $398 from two theaters; $199 average; $326,384 total
  • Namaste England: Week 5; $10 from one theater; $109,698

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

Streaming Video News: August 24, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix because the horror series Ghoul is now available for streaming. The Netflix original series stars Radhika Apte and Manav Kaul, and it consists of three 45-minute episodes. On behalf of my fellow cowards, I appreciate that the whole series can be finished in one sitting with plenty of daylight hours to spare.

In other Netflix news, Chennai Express is set to expire on August 30, which is weird since it was just added on August 7. I’m not sure what’s up with that, but if it’s in your queue, you’d best watch it while you can in case it really disappears for good. Netflix also announced its acquisition of the movie Garbage by the director Q (Quashiq Mukherjee), with an anticipated premiere date later this year (possibly as early as September).

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with some newly added Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu films, joining Race 3 on the service for your weekend viewing pleasure. For everything else new on Prime — Bollywood or not — check Instant Watcher.

Streaming Video News: August 15, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with several new additions to the catalog. The 2015 Marathi anthology film Bioscope is now available, as is the 2017 biography series The Creative Indians, with episodes profiling Anurag Kashyap and A. R. Rahman (more on him later). Also new are the movies What’s Your Raashee? (ack!) and Ali Fazal’s For Here or to Go?, which I enjoyed. For everything else new on Netflix — Bollywood or not — check Instant Watcher.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with the new series Harmony with A. R. Rahman, in which the composer explores traditional musical styles from across India. In other Amazon news, Race 3 comes to Prime on August 22. (Insert your own “business” joke here.)

Bollywood Box Office: July 20-22, 2018

All the pre-release hype for Janhvi Kapoor’s debut Dhadak resulted in a solid opening weekend in North America. From July 20-22, 2018, Dhadak earned $318,204 from 99 theaters ($3,214 average), according to Bollywood Hungama. The true total is undoubtedly higher, since Bollywood Hungama only posted earnings info for two of the sixteen Canadian theaters carrying the film. Also, 143 Cinema reports Dhadak as having earned $282,728 as of Saturday, and there’s no way the movie only took in another $35,000 on Sunday. Something closer to $400,000 would make more sense.

In its second weekend of release, Soorma earned $78,483 from 50 theaters ($1,570 average), bringing its total to $329,930, according to Box Office Mojo. Sanju earned another $223,338 from 112 theaters ($1,994 average), raising its phenomenal total to $7,634,206 after four weekends of release.

Other Bollywood movies still showing in North American theaters:

  • Veere Di Wedding: Week 8; $1,730 from two theaters; $865 average; $2,712,314 total
  • Race 3: Week 6; $877 from two theaters; $439 average; $2,752,789 total

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

Bollywood Box Office: July 6-8, 2018

Sanju had another seven-figure weekend in North America. From July 6-8, 2018, the biopic earned $1,281,466 from 359 theaters in the United States and Canada ($3,570 average), according to Box Office Mojo — good enough for eleventh place in the overall box office. Sanju‘s total after ten days of release stands at $5,995,791, with North America’s contributions accounting for about 10% of the film’s global haul.

Not surprisingly, Sanju‘s massive total is good news for Sanjay Dutt himself. Bollywood Hungama reports that Dutt gets a portion of the box office returns as part of his compensation for letting his life be turned into a movie, in addition to an upfront payment just shy of $1.5 million.

Bollywood Hungama is still having issues with its box office reporting, from theater miscounts last week to fluctuating overall totals this week. (Canadian theater info for Veere Di Wedding remains MIA, sadly.) Here are the weekend theater earnings reported by Bollywood Hungama:

  • Race 3: Week 4; $9,250 from eleven theaters; $841 average
  • Veere Di Wedding: Week 6; $2,000 from two theaters; $1,000 average
  • Raazi: Week 9; $1,044 from three theaters; $348

Sources: Bollywood Hungama and Box Office Mojo

Movie Review: Race 3 (2018)

1.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the soundtrack at iTunes

Director Remo D’Souza knows how to stage a big-screen spectacle, yet he seems overwhelmed by the baggage that comes with Race 3.

Most of that weight comes in the form of Salman Khan, whose stardom requires an outsized chunk of narrative space and screentime. Trying to give sufficient due to all of the other well-known cast members in the film — an admirable goal, for sure — expands the runtime beyond what the story can comfortably accommodate. Add to that the pressure of being bigger and bolder than the two previous movies in a series known for its outlandishness, and it’s simply too much.

Race 3 is a sequel in name only. Returning cast members Anil Kapoor and Jacqueline Fernandez play different characters than they did in Race 2, and the story takes place in a different narrative universe.

This time, Kapoor plays Shamsher Singh, an arms dealer living in exile in the Middle East after being falsely accused of illegal dealings back in India. He hopes to return home with the help of his stepson Sikander (Khan) and his twin children, Sanjana (Daisy Shah) and Suraj (Saqib Saleem). The family is assisted by Shamsher’s right-hand-man, Raghu (Sharat Saxena), and Sikander’s bodyguard and best friend, Yash (Bobby Deol).

Shamsher’s favoritism for Sikander has driven a wedge between the half-siblings over the course of decades, further inflamed when their mother’s will gives half of the family fortune to Sikander, forcing the twins to share the remaining half. When Yash’s new girlfriend Jessica (Jacqueline Fernandez) is revealed to have once romanced Sikander, the crew combusts.

The characters and their relationships are established via long scenes of dialogue that fall flat. Then, the Race story formula — with characters tricking one another, but planning ahead because they know their targets know they’re being tricked, etc. — kicks into full effect, necessitating even more boring dialogue. No individual character is particularly interesting, though the scheming twins had potential had D’Souza and franchise screenwriter Shiraz Ahmed pushed things in an edgier direction.

So much downtime allows one to imagine the Race 3 characters in other, potentially better movies. Shah and Saleem as creepy twins in a horror flick or sinister thriller. An action comedy starring Kapoor and Saxena, with Rajesh Sharma — who appears in Race 3 as Shamsher’s hometown friend — as their beleaguered younger sidekick. Fernandez starring in, well, anything else that utilizes her bubbly personality.

Fernandez and Shah feature in Race 3‘s most entertaining fight scene, flying through the air in a nightclub tussle. Shah has another fun bit when her long designer gown hampers her ability to kick her opponents — until she cuts a slit down the side with a dramatic flourish.

With an ace choreographer like D’Souza behind the camera, one expects mind-blowing dance numbers, yet Race 3‘s numbers are mostly forgettable (in part because of the need to accommodate Khan’s limited range of motion). The exception is “Selfish”, which stands out for the wrong reasons. Shah trained in aerial dance just for the number, yet the camera hardly captures her face, giving the impression that she used a body double, when I don’t think she did. There is also a group of backup dancers positioned so far behind the lead couple that they are often out of focus, which all but encourages the audience to ignore the lead couple in the foreground and instead strain to make out what’s happening behind them.

Action scenes throughout the film overuse slow-motion and are treated with a distracting effect that desaturates the image for a few seconds at a time. If randomly changing the image from color to black & white and back is the only way to hold an audience’s attention during a car chase, you’ve got big problems.

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Bollywood Box Office: June 29-July 1, 2018

June saw three Bollywood movies earn more than $1 million in their opening weekends in North America, with Sanju saving the best for last. From June 29-July 1, 2018, Sanju earned an astonishing $2,723,349 from 356 theaters ($7,650 average) — good enough for eighth place in the overall weekend box office, according to Box Office Mojo. That theater count sets a new record high for a Hindi film in North America.

Race 3 slowed to a crawl, taking in $41,566 from 56 theaters, reports Bollywood Hungama (although that theater count may be too low, since Hungama appears to have under-counted Canadian theaters for the last few weeks). That per-theater average of just $742 is shockingly small total for a Salman Khan film in its third weekend of release. Its total stands at $2,278,352, temporarily slotting it in fourth place for the year so far.

The film ahead of Race 3 on the total earnings list — Veere Di Wedding — made $18,698 from 12 theaters ($1,582 average), bringing its total to $2,712,314. The movie ahead of Veere Di Wedding on list — Raazi — earned $6,267 from seven theaters ($895 average) to bring its total to $3,013,530.

One US theater earned $902 from Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran in its sixth weekend of release. Its total earnings stand at $448,256 — 15th best for the year, if you’re curious.

Sources: Bollywood Hungama and Box Office Mojo