Tag Archives: Table No. 21

Bollywood Box Office: May 23-25

It’s incredibly difficult to launch a new Hindi film hero’s career in North America, where superstars have even greater box office value than they do in India. It’s no surprise, then, that first weekend returns for Tiger Shroff’s big screen debut, Heropanti, seem underwhelming. From May 23-25, 2014, Heropanti took in $31,556 from 20 theaters in the U.S. and Canada, a per-screen average of $1,578.

The truth is that Heropanti‘s numbers are actually good for a movie starring a newcomer. The first factor to consider is that Heropanti faced unusually tough and unexpected competition. Rajinikanth’s Kochadaiiyaan shifted its opening date to May 23 at the last minute. Kochadaiiyaan pulled in $491,643 from 122 theaters ($4,030 average), a figure that probably should’ve been higher given the Superstar’s clout and higher 3D ticket prices.

And both Heropanti and Kochadaiiyaan were blown out of the water by the Telugu film Manam. It earned $844,271 from 108 U.S. theaters for an average of $7,817 per screen.

Despite taking a hit from a pair of high-profile South Indian films, Heropanti‘s earnings hold up very well when compared to North American opening weekend performances by film’s starring other new or marginal heroes. Here are some examples from 2013 and 2014 (ordered by release date):

  • Rajeev Khandelwal in Table No. 21: $31,658 from 23 theaters; $1,376 average
  • Jackky Bhagnani in Rangrezz: $4,318 from 11 theaters; $393 average
  • Girish Kumar in Ramaiya Vastavaiya: $52,200 from 67 theaters; $779 average
  • Manish Paul in Mickey Virus: $24,100 from 48 theaters; $502 average
  • Shiv Darshan in Karle Pyaar Karle: $3,110 from 22 theaters; $141 average
  • Ajaz Khan in Ya Rab: $1,404 from 15 theaters; $94 average
  • Harman Baweja in Dishkiyaoon: $7,341 from 11 theaters; $667 average

Even with Priyanka Chopra as a costar, Ram Charan only grossed $81,117 from 79 theaters ($1,027 average) in the opening weekend of 2013’s Zanjeer. Only Dhanush had any success of note with his Hindi-film debut Raanjhanaa ($414,211 from 102 theaters; $4,061 average), and he had the advantage of having Sonam Kapoor for a costar.

The Lunchbox and 2 States were the only other Hindi films lingering in theaters over the Memorial Day weekend. With its theater count diminished to 57, The Lunchbox earned $86,749, bringing its total North American earnings to $3,706,362.

2 States earned $2,528 from five theaters to bring its total earnings to $2,190,307.

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

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Movie Review: Table No. 21 (2013)

Table_No_21_poster2.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the DVD at Amazon

Table No. 21 attempts to be a high-concept thriller about a cute married couple who participate in a game that grows increasingly twisted the longer they play. There are two problems in the film’s execution: the game isn’t that twisted, and the couple is by no means cute.

The couple — Vivaan (Rajeev Khandelwal) and his wife, Siya (Tena Desae) — are introduced as they indulge in a resort vacation in Fiji, a free prize that they won in a contest. Even while on a luxury holiday that includes shopping, swimming, and an inordinate amount of time spent showering fully clothed, Vivaan manages to be a jerk. He makes fun of Siya for being excited to fly business class instead of coach for a change, and most of his responses to her are sarcastic. Siya’s no peach either, snapping at the air hostess for bringing her the wrong meal, but she’s nicer than Vivaan.

The bad attitude of the main couple is a problem because it prevents the viewer from feeling the necessary sympathy for them as the plot unfolds. It’s especially hard to care when bad things happen to Vivaan because he seems like he deserves them.

On the last day of their vacation, the couple meets Mr. Khan (Paresh Rawal), the owner of the resort. He invites them to play a game that will be broadcast to eight million online viewers, for a prize of 21 crore rupees (about $4 million). They agree, failing to appreciate the two rules of the game: no quitting, and “if you lie, you die.”

The game, which consists of eight questions and eight accompanying tasks, starts out easy enough. Almost laughably so. Mr. Khan asks Vivaan if he’s ever embarrassed to be affectionate with his wife in public, and Vivaan admits that he is. Vivaan’s task, then, is to passionately kiss Siya in a public place. Even with $4 million on the line, Siya still has to talk Vivaan into kissing her!

While Table No. 21 is geared toward an Indian audience, this task and some of the others that follow are comically prudish. Most are designed to test the fragility of Vivaan’s male ego, which is especially touchy since he is currently jobless. Yet when the couple makes mistakes, it’s invariably Siya who pays the price.

As one would suspect, Vivaan and Siya were not selected at random to play Mr. Khan’s game. Without spoiling anything, their selection is based on an event from their past, but they react to the revelation of why they were chosen as though they are learning about it at the same time as the audience. Given the nature of what is revealed, no one with a functioning conscience could forget what Vivaan and Siya appear to have forgotten about, further proof that they are not shining examples of humanity.

I’m not sure who’s most to blame for the main couple’s rottenness, the actors or director Aditya Datt. Regardless, the characters fail to engender sympathy. Rawal has a few good scenes but doesn’t make Mr. Khan as menacing as he should be.

Director Datt wisely keeps the film’s runtime under two hours, but there’s a lot of filler material that could’ve been cut. Flashbacks are employed during the game, a la Slumdog Millionaire, but only some have bearing on the plot. Datt falls prey to the common Hindi-film trope of insisting on showing how the lead couple first met and fell in love. Most people’s love stories are pretty similar, so unless it specifically relates to the story, it doesn’t matter.

Table No. 21 stands out from the crowd thanks to its good pacing, interesting plot device, and short runtime, but it could have been better.

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Opening January 11: Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola

I don’t want to set my hopes for Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola too high, but combining the skill of director Vishal Bharadwaj with the talents of actors Anushka Sharma and Imran Khan sounds like a recipe for success.

MKBKM opens in six Chicago area theaters on Friday, January 11, 2013: AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 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.

Last weekend’s new release, Table No. 21, opened to a paltry $31,658 in U.S. theaters, less than half of what Dabangg 2 earned in the same weekend (Dabangg 2‘s third weekend in theaters). Nevertheless, Table No. 21 carries over at the South Barrington 30.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend include Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu (Telugu) at the River East 21 and Golf Glen 5, which is also showing Alex Pandian (Tamil) and Naayak (Telugu).

Opening January 4: Table No. 21

The first Bollywood film to open in the Chicago area in 2013 is Table No. 21, a thriller starring Paresh Rawal and Tena Desae from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Because of its relative lack of star power, Table No. 21 is only opening on Friday, January 4, 2013, at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles and AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington. The film has a mercifully short runtime of 1 hr. 48 min.

The only other big-screen Bollywood option playing locally is Dabangg 2, which carries over at the Golf Glen 5, South Barrington 30, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville.

Other Indian movies showing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include My Boss (Malayalam) and the Telugu movies Ko Antey Koti and Midhunam.