Tag Archives: Rann

Opening February 5: Striker

It’s a light weekend for Bollywood films in Chicago, with only one new movie opening. Striker stars Siddharth as a poor kid who makes his way in life as a carrom hustler. It opens on Friday, February 5, 2010 at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles.

If you can’t make it to Niles to see Striker, fear not. Fans in the United States can watch the movie on YouTube for $4.99 starting on Friday, the same day that it opens in theaters. Follow this link to Studio 18’s YouTube page, then click on the red “US visitors click here” arrow in the upper right corner of the page.

Striker will be available for free to YouTube users in other countries starting on February 6. This is the first collaboration between YouTube and a Bollywood studio to provide streaming film content, and I hope the experiment works.

As for last week’s new releases, the Golf Glen 5 is carrying over Ishqiya, while the AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington is carrying over Rann. 3 Idiots gets an astounding seventh week on screens at the South Barrington 30 and AMC Cantera 30 in Warrenville.

Veer leaves theaters after two weeks, having earned $499,685 in the United States.

The Golf Glen 5 is showing a host of other Indian films this weekend, including Asal (Tamil), Bindaas (Telugu), Happy Husbands (Malayalam) and a remastered version of 1957’s Maya Bazaar (Telugu). Sathyam Cinemas in Downers Grove features the movies Goa (Tamil), Namo Venkatesa (Telugu) and Vairam (Malayalam).

Movie Review: Rann (2010)

2.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy or rent the movie at iTunes
Buy the DVD at Amazon
Buy the soundtrack at Amazon

It’s both sad and comforting to know that, on the other side of the world, people are as distrustful of the mainstream media as they are in America.

Rann (“Battle”) explores news organizations’ struggle for ratings supremacy and their ability to steer public opinion based on their coverage of news stories.

Amitabh Bachchan stars as Vijay Hashvardan Malik, a TV news pioneer who prides himself on truthfulness. As Vijay’s network loses advertisers to rivals that engage in tabloid journalism, his son, Jay (Sudeep), struggles to convince him to add more sensationalism to the network’s broadcasts.

With the network’s financial trouble widely known, Jay’s brother-in-law, Naveen (Rajat Kapoor), proposes to Jay a plan to save the network: favorable coverage of a shady politician named Mohan Pandey (Paresh Rawal) in exchange for advertising dollars from Naveen’s company.

Jay conveniently comes into possession of a video that tarnishes the reputation of Pandey’s main political rival. Jay convinces his father to broadcast the video in the name of truthfulness, and suddenly the network’s financial problems disappear.

A new reporter at the network, Purab (Ritesh Deshmukh), grows suspicious and investigates the politician’s story. What he discovers shakes his faith in the industry and in Vijay, the man who inspired him to become a journalist.

The collusion between the industrialists, politicians and networks is eerie and believable.  Bachchan and Deshmukh are quietly effective as a pair of idealists who come to realize that they’re playing a rigged game. Rawal is especially creepy as Pandey, who laughs off the bloodshed he inflicts as though it were a natural part of politics.

[I have a question for any Indian readers: Pandey is flanked by bodyguards who openly carry machine guns. I’ve seen this in other Hindi movies as well. Do politicians in India really travel with such visibly heavily armed guards? Just curious.]

Despite the universal appeal of the story, American audiences may struggle with poorly translated English subtitles. The subtitles also occasionally get lost against background shots of news programs with moving crawls at the bottom of the screen.

I’ve only seen two of Ram Gopal Varma’s films, but it’s clear that he’s an auteur with a distinct style and a love of filmmaking technique. In fact, I’d say he suffers from an over-reliance on camera technique. His cameras constantly swoop for dramatic effect and zoom in for close-ups of the actors’ faces. On those rare occasions when the camera is static, it’s positioned underneath a glass coffee table, or the shot is framed by an actor’s foot resting on said coffee table. Varma also inserts hilariously over-the-top musical cues to alert the audience whenever anything of import happens.

I found these directorial tics distracting in Varma’s Sarkar Raj, and they bugged me in Rann, as well. Rann‘s plot is riveting and so well acted that I wanted to focus on the story, not on the cinematography. With a story this good, we in the audience know how we’re supposed to feel without the aid of directorial gimmicks.

Rann‘s runtime is 2 hrs. 25 min.

Opening January 29: Rann and Ishqiya

Two new Hindi movies open in the Chicago area on Friday, January 29, 2010. Rann (“Battle”) is director Ram Gopal Varma’s fictional exposé of corporate media corruption, starring Amitabh Bachchan and Ritesh Deshmukh.

Rann opens this Friday at Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles and AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 25 min.

This weekend’s other new movie is Ishqiya, starring Vidya Balan as an alluring widow and Arshad Warsi and Naseeruddin Shah as the two thieves who fall in love with her.

Ishqiya opens on Friday at the Golf Glen 5.

Salman Khan’s Veer enters its second week in area theaters after earning $334,562 in the U.S. in its opening weekend. The movie carries over at the Golf Glen 5, South Barrington 30 and AMC Cantera 30 in Warrenville.

The super hit 3 Idiots sticks around for an amazing sixth week, having already earned $6,294,393 in U.S. theaters. It continues to run at the Golf Glen 5, South Barrington 30, Cantera 30 and AMC Loews Pipers Alley 4 in Chicago.

Chance Pe Dance leaves theaters after two weeks, having earned a disappointing $164,188 total in the U.S.

Other Indian films in Chicago area theaters this weekend include the Telugu movies Adurs and Namo Venkatesha at the Golf Glen 5, and Goa (Tamil) and Palery Manickyam (Malayalam) at Sathyam Cinemas in Downers Grove.