Tag Archives: Talvar

Opening October 16: Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2

One new Bollywood film opens in Chicago area theaters on October 16, 2015: the comedy sequel Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2. This is a huge surprise, considering that the 2011 original didn’t release in the US and the cast of the new film is made up of virtual unknowns. Distributors are counting on the familiarity of the title and a lack of competition to bring people to the theater. We’ll see if the gamble pays off.

PKP2 opens Friday at MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 16 min.

Jazbaa carries over for a second week at MovieMax, South Barrington 30, Cantera 17, Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

MovieMax and the South Barrington 30 give a third week to both Singh Is Bliing and Talvar, which also carries over at the Cantera 17.

Meet the Patels carries over at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago , Wilmette Theatre in Wilmette, and Regal Lincolnshire Stadium 21 in Lincolnshire.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend include:

Bollywood Box Office: October 9-11

Jazbaa turned in a disappointing opening weekend in North America. During the weekend of October 9-11, 2015, Jazbaa earned $233,186 from 132 theaters ($1,767 average).

Jazbaa‘s performance helps define a kind of Bollywood dead zone at the North American box office, in which movies opening in the 120-140 theater range consistently under-perform. In addition to Jazbaa, three other films have opened in this same range, and all have posted disappointing opening weekend per-theater averages: Tevar (125 theaters/$1,007 average), Shamitabh (137 theaters/$1,573 average), and Katti Batti (127 theaters/$1,507 average). Perhaps the lesson for distributors is that, if you aren’t confident that a given movie could carry 150 theaters, better to limit its release to around 100 theaters. All the better for avoiding the appearance of a flop.

Singh Is Bliing finished the weekend in second place among the four Hindi films playing in North America. It added another $173,329 from 108 theaters ($1,605 average) to bring its two-week total to $808,310.

Talvar held up very well, losing only 37% percent of its opening weekend business (compared to Singh Is Bliing‘s 64% drop). Talvar earned $83,211 from 47 theaters ($1,770 average), bringing its two-week total to $269,253.

Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon closed out its third weekend, adding $6,828 from seven theaters ($975 average) to its total haul of $347,289.

This weekend provided yet more fuel for my obsession with the differences in the American and Canadian markets for Bollywood films (the figures above are for the entire North American territory, but Rentrak breaks the figures down by country). Here’s a comparison of each film’s US and Canadian per-theater averages:

  • Jazbaa: USA — $1,569; CAN — $2,941
  • Singh Is Bliing: USA — $1,055; CAN — $4,026
  • Talvar: USA — $1,848; CAN — $1,445
  • Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon: USA — $438; CAN — $2,320

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Opening October 9: Jazbaa

The Bollywood thriller Jazbaa (“Passion“) — starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Irrfan Khan — opens in Chicago area theaters on October 9, 2015.

Jazbaa 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. 10 min.

Singh Is Bliing carries over at all of the above theaters except the River East 21. Talvar gets at second week at MovieMax, Cantera 17, and South Barrington 30, which also holds over Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon.

Another new release with a South Asian focus is the documentary He Named Me Malala, about the heroic teen activist Malala Yousafzai. It opens on Friday across the Chicago area and the nation. Click here for a national theater list.

The documentary Meet the Patels carries over for a fifth week at the South Barrington 30, Music Box Theatre in Chicago , Wilmette Theatre in Wilmette, and Regal Lincolnshire Stadium 21 in Lincolnshire.

The Pakistani film Jawani Phir Nahi Ani gets a third week at the South Barrington 30 and Cantera 17.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend include:

Movie Review: Talvar (2015)

Talvar4 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the DVD at Amazon

*Author’s note: Though this film is based on a true story, I reviewed the film as a stand-alone piece of art, not as a referendum on the 2008 Noida double murder case.

A candlelight vigil is held following a teenage girl’s murder, protesters holding signs demanding justice for the victim. Director Meghna Gulzar and writer Vishal Bhardwaj highlight the subjective natures of truth and justice in the hypnotic mystery Talvar (international title: “Guilty“).

The girl is 14-year-old Shruti Tandon (Ayesha Parveen), found dead in her bedroom by her parents, who apparently slept through their daughter’s murder. Shruti’s father, Ramesh (Neeraj Kabi), and mother, Nutan (Konkona Sen Sharma), fall under suspicion after the original suspect — a servant named Khempal — is found murdered on the roof of their apartment building.

The initial police investigation is a calamity. Neighbors and detectives wander obliviously through the family’s apartment, contaminating the crime scene. Officers neglect to preserve crucial evidence because they are busy taking photos of each other next to the body on the roof.

With the most obvious suspect exonerated by virtue of his being dead, the police invent outlandish theories to establish the guilt of the parents. They rely heavily on the testimony of Ramesh’s employee, Kanhaiya (Sumit Gulati), who has a grudge against his boss.

At the press conference announcing formal charges against the Tandons, the police chief mispronounces Shruti’s name and assassinates her character. The chief accuses Ramesh of wife-swapping, adding, “He is as characterless as his daughter was.” Embarrassed by the conduct of the police, the government turns the case over to the Central Department of Investigation (CDI), handing the reins to officer Ashwin Kumar (Irrfan Khan).

As new theories of the crime are introduced, Gulzar reenacts each version as though it were true. Ramesh and Nutan are shown as either savvy killers or grief-stricken parents, depending on who is telling the tale.

The technique is integrated seamlessly into the narrative of the investigation, which changes hands three times. That means that Shruti’s death is shown over and over again, in gory detail. Even though the investigation is the focus of the story, the audience is never allowed to forget the two deaths that started it.

The point of Talvar is not so much to establish the truth of what happened — a fact made extraordinarily difficult thanks to the botched initial investigation — but the multiple ways that evidence can be interpreted. The different conclusions reached by the police, Ashwin, and his successor Paul (Atul Kumar), reveal as much about the investigators as they do about the crime itself.

Gulzar maintains the gravity of the story with sparing use of background music (also written by Bhardwaj). Uncomfortable interrogations are made even more uncomfortable without the distraction of a musical score. Gulzar also coaxes great performances from her cast, especially Kabi, Sharma, and Gulati, who have to act in the present day storyline as well as the reenactments of the murder.

Irrfan Khan is amazing, with Ashwin standing in for the audience as the objective observer. Well, as objective as Ashwin can be whilst being pressured into a divorce by his wife, Reemu (Tabu). The divorce subplot again highlights that the participants are human beings, not crime-solving robots. Same for the detail about Paul bringing his son with him to the crime scene because he can’t find a babysitter.

Talvar is an engrossing police procedural full of humanity. It’s both a joy and a nightmare to watch, knowing that the story is based on a real incident. Gulzar’s direction is tense, but never exploitative. This is a terrific film.

Links

Bollywood Box Office: October 2-4

The North American box office report for October 2-4, 2015 offers an interesting look at what kinds of Bollywood movies are more popular in Canada than the United States. Spoiler alert: Canadians love comedies.

Singh Is Bliing got the wider release of the weekend’s two new films, debuting in 160 theaters: 140 in the US, 20 in Canada. It earned $478,888 total in North America, for average earnings of $2,993 per screen. Those 20 Canadian theaters — which made up about 13% of the total number of theaters showing the movie in North America — accounted for nearly a third of the film’s total earnings ($152,743). Those Canadian theaters saw average earnings of $7,637 per screen, versus an average of $2,330 in US theaters showing Singh Is Bliing.

By contrast, earnings for the weekend’s other new release — the crime drama Talvar — were divided among the countries more predictably. Talvar earned a total of $132,084 from 59 theaters in North America ($2,239 average). Canada’s nine theaters (15% of the total) contributed about 13% of the total earnings ($17,508).

The performance of second-weekend holdover Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon confirms Canadian filmgoers’ fondness for Bollywood comedies. KKPK took in another $46,169 from 42 theaters across North America ($1,099 average), bringing its two-week total to $324,993. Nearly half of that amount — $22,697 — came from the 13 Canadian theaters carrying the film. The average earning per screen in Canada ($1,746) was more than double the US average ($809).

All of the growth in theater counts for Bollywood movies is happening in the US, while the greatest demand — especially for comedies, patriotic action flicks, and anything starring Akshay Kumar — seems to be in Canada. Some savvy distributor or theater chain needs to capitalize on this.

Katti Batti clung on for a third weekend, posting anemic earnings of just $608 from four theaters ($152 average). Its total North American earnings stand at $362,753.

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Opening October 2: Singh Is Bliing and Talvar

Two new Bollywood movies hit Chicago area theaters on October 2, 2015. Singh Is Bliing — the sequel to 2008’s Singh Is Kinng — gets the wider release of the two.

Singh Is Bliing opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, 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. 20 min.

The weekend’s other new release is the crime thriller Talvar, starring Irrfan Khan and Konkona Sen Sharma.

Talvar opens on Friday at the South Barrington 30 and Cantera 17.

Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon gets a second weekend at the Cantera 17 and South Barrington 30, which also holds over Katti Batti.

Meet the Patels carries over at the South Barrington 30 and expands to the Wilmette Theatre in Wilmette and Regal Lincolnshire Stadium 21 in Lincolnshire.

The Pakistani film Jawani Phir Nahi Ani gets a second week at the South Barrington 30 and Cantera 17.

If that’s not enough to keep you busy, the Chicago South Asian Film Festival is taking place this weekend, and includes a screening of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge on Saturday night.