Tag Archives: Shamitabh

Bollywood Box Office: February 6-8

2015 is off to a slow start for Bollywood movies at the North American box office, and the opening weekend figures for Shamitabh reinforce that trend. According to Rentrak figures supplied to Bollywood Hungama, Shamitabh earned $215,512 from 137 theaters ($1,573 average) during the weekend of February 6-8, 2015. Box Office Mojo’s reported earnings for Shamitabh are only slightly better: $241,720 from 137 theaters ($1,764 average).

Though the sample size isn’t huge, the per-screen averages of Bollywood films that opened in North America in 2015 are down considerably from 2014. The four Hindi movies released in the United States and Canada during the same time period last year posted per-screen averages of $3,270; $141; $4,469; and $3,895. Compare those figures to the averages of the six Hindi movies released in 2015 to date: $1,007; $397; $4,393; $1,557; $251; and $1,573.

Whether it’s a case of too many films opening in too many theaters — 125 screens for Tevar? — or a lack of interest in the movies available, it’s harder to get people to come out to the cinema this year. It will be interesting to see how that affects the screen counts of films released later in the year. If theaters can earn more from a four-week-old Hollywood movie, what’s the incentive to program a new Hindi film that doesn’t have a Khan in a leading role? (No, that doesn’t include Saif Ali Khan.)

Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:

  • Baby: Week 3; $12,660 from seven theaters; $1,809 average; $718,340 total
  • PK: Week 8; $7,142 from four theaters; $1,786 average; $10,456,943 total
  • Dolly Ki Doli: Week 3; $1,889 from four theaters; $472 average; $173,741 total
  • Hawaizaada: Week 2; $215 from five theaters; $43 average; $21,902 total

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Movie Review: Shamitabh (2015)

ShamithahfilmZero Stars (out of 4)

Buy the DVD at Amazon
Buy the soundtrack at Amazon

For all but a few of Shamitabh‘s two hours and thirty minutes, I wished I was anyplace other than the theater. I would spare you that same pain.

The element of Shamitabh that should’ve precluded it from ever being made is its asinine premise. Dhanush plays Danish — all three leads play characters with variations of their own names — a mute, small-town guy who wants to be an actor. He fails to break into the Mumbai film industry until a sympathetic assistant director, Akshara (Akshara Haasan), takes him under her wing. Akshara’s father is a doctor whose colleagues in Finland have created a revolutionary technology to aid mute people.

The technology involves implanting a chip in the patient’s throat that acts as a receiver. When words are spoken aloud by someone wearing a connected earpiece/microphone, the sound comes out of the mouth of mute patient when he moves his lips. In essence, the technology turns a mute person into a living ventriloquist’s dummy.

This invention is idiotic. Why would a mute person want to speak if he always had to do so in someone else’s voice, never able to speak his own thoughts? Who would want to be the person permanently tethered to mute person, effectively rendered mute themselves for the sake of someone else?

Somehow, Danish becomes a superstar actor after he hires Amitabh (Amitabh Bachchan) — a drunk with a great baritone — to supply his voice while making movies. No one on the movie set wonders why a 30-year-old guy sounds like a man in his 70s.

The sheer stupidity of the premise is reason enough to avoid Shamitabh, but there are many other reasons to dislike it as well. Writer-director R. Balki clearly intends for Shamitabh to be an exploration of the actor’s craft and filmmaking in general. The stupid premise might have worked as a satire, but Balki’s Shamitabh is a straightforward wannabe tear-jerker that provides no insight on its subject matter.

For a movie about filmmaking, there’s a distinct absence of craft in Shamitabh. Shots are framed awkwardly. Transitions are jerky. The editing is poor. Scenes are too long. A romance scene between Danish and an actress is totally out-of-place. The dialogue is too on the nose.

More distracting than any of these flaws is the movie’s music. The songs are horrible, but the incidental music is downright clownish. Any emotional moment is punctuated with garish musical cues so amateurish that it’s hard to believe that this is Balki’s third film.

Perhaps the greatest indictment of a film that’s supposed to be about actors is that the acting is terrible. Dhanush’s movements are exaggerated to a ridiculous degree, as though his body is rebelling against the fact that he can’t talk. Akshara’s facial expressions are bizarre, and she delivers her dialogue in either a monotone or hysterical screaming. She needed better direction in her debut film.

There are moments when the legendary Bachchan shows his skill, in subtle reactions to some ridiculous request by Danish. But Bachchan gives a number of excessive monologues that would be tiresome no matter who delivered them, and they destroy the flow of the film.

Watching Shamitabh is a uniquely painful movie-going experience that should be avoided at all costs.

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Opening February 6: Shamitabh

Amitabh Bachchan’s Shamitabh is the only new Hindi film opening in the Chicago area on February 6, 2015. This is the helpful plot description at IMDb: “Two people come together for a purpose, but drift apart due to their egos.”

Shamitabh opens on Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, 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 2 hrs. 30 min.

Baby carries over for a third week at the South Barrington 30, Cantera 17, and MovieMax, which also holds over Hawaizaada.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend include Yennai Arindhaal (Tamil w/English subtitles) at the Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge, and MovieMax, which also carries Picket 43 (Malayalam) and the Telugu movies Malli Malli Idi Rani Roju, Gaddam Gang, and Pataas.