Tag Archives: Tanu Weds Manu Returns

Movie Review: Zero (2018)

0.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy/rent the movie at Amazon or iTunes

Zero is a disaster for many reasons, but its biggest problem is that director Aanand L. Rai and writer Himanshu Sharma failed to realize that their film’s hero is a horrible person.

So why didn’t they notice that their creation, Bauua (Shah Rukh Khan), is an irredeemable prick? The filmmaking duo has a history of writing male leads who don’t respect the women they claim to love, like Kundan in Raanjhanaa and Manu in Tanu Weds Manu Returns. There’s also the assumption that Khan’s massive fanbase will automatically project their love for him onto his character, no matter who the character is or what he does.

Mostly they were blinded by the Zero‘s central conceit: using computer generated effects and film techniques similar to those used in the Lord of the Rings movies to shrink a superstar actor. Zero was never about the struggles of a man with dwarfism. If it were, they’d have at least gone through the pretext of casting a little person for the lead role. (Same goes for Anushka Sharma’s role as a woman with cerebral palsy.) This was always about spending a budget fives times as large as the filmmaking duo had previously worked with on fancy special effects and an expensive cast, trusting in those effects and stars to bring people to the theater — regardless of whether the movie was any good or not.

Other than his diminutive stature, nothing differentiates Bauua from any number of Bollywood male leads who believe their gender entitles them to anything they want. As the son of a rich father (played by Tigmanshu Dhulia), Bauua has coasted through life on Dad’s dime since dropping out of school in the tenth grade. Now aged 38 — Khan is 53, by the way — that means Bauua has spent twenty years doing absolutely nothing.

Nevertheless, he confidently turns down all the potential brides chosen by the matchmaker (played by Brijendra Kala) until he spots a photo of Aafia (Anushka Sharma). Bauua is initially turned off by the tremors caused by Aafia’s cerebral palsy, but he decides her use of a wheelchair makes them more-or-less equal. Never mind that he’s a high school dropout and she’s a world-renowned rocket scientist.

Bauua’s defining moment is his response to being rejected by Aafia after a presumptuous proposal in front of a bunch of elementary school students. Bauua shows up at a press conference to publicly humiliate Aafia, stating that while she may be able to lead a mission to Mars, she can’t pick up the pen he just dropped on the ground. Pleased with himself, he walks away, only to hear a commotion behind him as Aafia crawls on the ground and lifts the pen.

What Bauua does is unforgivable, yet Aafia immediately forgives him and their love blossoms. Aafia’s inexplicable forgiveness of Bauua is a clear example of Bollywood’s desperate need for female storytellers. Rai & Sharma aren’t done humiliating Aafia yet, as Bauua ditches her to take his shot with the country’s sexiest actress, Babita Kumari (Katrina Kaif, in the movie’s only role with any semblance of believable humanity).

After the intermission break, Zero goes full bonkers. Bauua replaces a chimpanzee training for a space mission (which is totally not insulting to little people or anything).

I’m not sure if it’s an intentional homage, but Zero has a lot of parallels to my favorite So-Bad-It’s-Good movie: Gunda. Both have a monkey and a baby that shows up out of nowhere. Vengeful Bauua frequently speaks in movie lines, Gunda‘s Bulla in couplets. There are montages that make no geographical sense, as when Bauua spends a song stumbling through Times Square, downtown Orlando, and Huntsville, Alabama — all of which are supposed to be the same place, apparently. Zero‘s opening dream sequence even reminded me of the scene in Gunda where Bulla’s sister is raped.

All of which is to say, Zero is a terrible movie. The only reason it merits even a half-a-star rating is because Katrina Kaif is so damned good in her role. The rest of the movie is a trash fire.

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Bollywood Box Office: January 4, 2016

Bajirao Mastani and Dilwale closed out their third weekend in theaters, finalizing the North American box office rankings for Bollywood films released in 2015. From January 1-3, 2016, Bajirao Mastani earned $772,775 from 304 theaters ($2,542 average). During the same period, Dilwale earned $308,149 from 133 theaters ($2,317 average).

The ten highest earning Bollywood films of 2015 in North America were:

  1. Bajrangi Bhaijaan: $8,114,714
  2. Bajirao Mastani: $5,832,266 (to date)
  3. Dilwale: $4,696,841 (to date)
  4. Prem Ratan Dhan Payo: $4,420,019
  5. Dil Dhadakne Do: $3,062,095
  6. Tanu Weds Manu Returns: $3,022,611
  7. Tamasha: $2,243,582
  8. Piku: $2,220,648
  9. Welcome Back: $1,379,668
  10. Singh Is Bliing: $909,399

Bajrangi Bhaijaan had the best opening weekend in 2015, both in terms of total gross ($2,613,192) and per-screen average ($9,468). Bajirao Mastani has already proven to have the best longevity of any 2015 release, having nearly quadrupled its opening weekend total in just three weeks.

2015 set a new benchmark for blockbuster releases, with both Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo opening in more than 300 theaters in North America (304 and 310, respectively). Though PK (296) and Bang Bang (292) came close in 2014, it’s worth noting how rapid this increase in theater counts has been. The widest release in 2013 was Dhoom 3 on 239 screens, and 2012’s biggest release, Talaash, opened in just 172 theaters. More people than ever before can watch Bollywood films on the big screen in the United States and Canada.

It’s also worth noting that all of the films in the 2015 top ten were released between May and December. Shahrukh Khan’s Fan — scheduled for release on April 15 — should easily make it into the 2016 top ten, but it remains to be seen if any of the other Bollywood flicks opening in the first third of the year will prove to be breakout hits. Do any of the films on this list seem like contenders to you?

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Streaming Video News: August 13, 2015

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with one new addition to the catalog. 1999’s Taal — starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Anil Kapoor, and Akshaye Khanna — is now available for streaming. Another of Aishwarya’s movies — 2004’s Bride and Prejudice — was added to the catalog last week. These new additions almost balance out the recent departures of Besharam, Boss, and Jab We Met. For everything else new on Netflix, check out Instant Watcher.

Eros Now recently added several 2015 releases to its streaming lineup, some of which are available for free. (If you need English subtitles, however, you have to upgrade to the $7.99 monthly premium subscription.) Here’s the fare from the current year available on Eros Now:

Bollywood Box Office: July 10-12

The weekend of July 10-12, 2015, belonged to Baahubali. In just three days (four if you count Thursday night preview showings separately), it became the highest grossing Indian film of 2015 in North America! It even cracked the US box office top ten!

According to Rentrak figures supplied to Bollywood Hungama, the combined total for both the Telugu and Tamil versions of Baahubali earned $4,526,526 from 241 theaters in the US and Canada, for a per-screen average of $18,782. $4,281,338 came from the 172 theaters showing the Telugu version, while $245,188 came from the Tamil version on 69 screens. Many theaters in the US cancelled showings of the Tamil version of the film because it failed to arrive, so that part of the theater count could be high.

(As an aside, part of the explanation for Baahubali‘s terrific earnings in the US is that it benefited from “special event” pricing that never applies to Hindi films released in major chain theaters. All three of the theaters showing Baahubali in Chicago charged $20 per adult ticket, even for showings on weekdays before noon, which are almost always priced at reduced rates. Compare the special price of $20 for a Baahubali ticket to each theater’s standard weekend night adult ticket price: $12 at MovieMax; $11.25 at Muvico; and $7.25 at Seven Bridges. Makes you wonder what Dhoom 3‘s totals would’ve looked like if it had opened with similarly inflated ticket prices. Update: Click here for a great summary of how tickets for South Indian movies are priced in the US compared to Hindi movies.)

It’s also worth noting that Rentrak’s total is significantly higher than the $3,575,000 estimate released by Box Office Mojo on Sunday. I’ll update this post when Mojo releases their final total. I suspect Baahubali‘s real earnings lie somewhere in between. Regardless, its performance is remarkable. [Update: Box Office Mojo doesn’t have a final total beyond the posted estimate. Many other sites are using the Rentrak total, so we’ll stick with that.]

No new Bollywood movies released in local theaters over the weekend, and the only significant development was that Dil Dhadakne Do finally overtook Tanu Weds Manu Returns to become the highest earning Hindi film of 2015 in North America. Here’s how the Bollywood movies still in theaters fared over the weekend:

  • Dil Dhadakne Do: Week 6; $18,249 from 12 theaters; $1,521 average; $3,049,636 total
  • Second Hand Husband: Week 2; $16,215 from 24 theaters; $676 average; $150,017 total
  • ABCD 2: Week 4; $7,349 from eight theaters; $919 average; $878,514 total
  • Tanu Weds Manu Returns: Week 8; $944 from two theaters; $472 average; $3,022,611 total

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: July 3-5

I confess, the North American box office figures from July 3-5, 2015, have me stumped. How did Second Hand Husband — a movie with no must-see stars and no advanced local promotion — earn nearly $100,000 in North America?

The exact figures for Second Hand Husband‘s opening weekend, according to Bollywood Hungama, are $99,838 from 74 theaters ($1,349 average). That’s more than Hamari Adhuri Kahani earned in its first weekend in the US and Canada ($94,005), and that movie starred Vidya Balan and Emraan Hashmi. Second Hand Husband also vastly out-performed a few other 2015 releases with (marginally) viable stars in their opening weekends: Welcome 2 Karachi with Arshad Warsi ($26,013); Hashmi’s Mr. X ($24,806); and Hawaizaada with Ayushmann Khurrana ($16,546).

So how exactly does a movie that currently has only 17 user ratings, one user review, and two critic reviews — one by yours truly; the other link doesn’t even lead to a review — at IMDb earn almost six figures in North America? The most obvious answer is desperation. It’s been two weeks since a new Bollywood film released here, and there’s a chance we won’t get another until Salman Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan opens on July 16. There could be untold legions of devoted Dharmendra fans, or lots of people morbidly curious to see the Bollywood debut of Govinda’s daughter. There could also be a large number of non-Bollywood fans who bought a ticket for Second Hand Husband based on its English title, who then walked out when they realized it was a foreign movie and went to see Jurassic World instead.

Whatever the reason, kudos to Second Hand Husband for turning in an opening weekend that was shockingly not disastrous.

Dil Dhadakne Do crossed the $3 million mark in North America its fifth weekend of release. It earned $48,788 from 27 theaters ($1,807 average) to bring its total to $3,013,736. That’s less than $8,000 behind Tanu Weds Manu Returns‘ total of $3,021,287. TWMR earned $2,782 from two theaters ($1,391 average) in its seventh weekend.

In its third weekend, ABCD 2 added another $27,807 from 22 theaters ($1,231 average), bringing its North American total to $865,222.

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: June 26-28

With no new Bollywood films in theaters, the North American box office depended on older releases during the weekend of June 26-28, 2015. The 3D dance sequel ABCD 2 led the weekend, earning another $154,260 from 123 theaters ($1,254 average). Its 10-day total of $768,435 ranks it the fourth highest earning Bollywood movie in the US and Canada in 2015.

In its fourth week of release, Dil Dhadakne Do added another $104,838 from 247 theaters ($424 average) to bring its total earnings to $2,925,626. Even though the movie’s foot traffic is slowing down, the lack of a marquee release during the upcoming Independence Day holiday weekend should enable DDD to clear the $3 million mark in North America.

Tanu Weds Manu Returns‘ impressive run nears its end. In its sixth weekend, it earned $14,248 from 141 theaters ($101 average), bringing its North American total to $3,015,069. Even if DDD overtakes TWMR in terms of total earnings, the fact that TWMR earned nearly as much while opening on over 100 fewer screens than DDD gives TWMR the moral victory.

Hamari Adhuri Kahani lingered for a third weekend on just four screens, taking in another $1,306 ($327 average). Its North American total stands at $171,778.

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: June 19-21

ABCD 2 turned in the fourth highest opening weekend of the 2015, nearly doubling the earnings of ABCD‘s 2013 run in just three days. During the weekend of June 19-21, ABCD 2 earned $438,539 from 166 theaters in the US and Canada ($2,642 average).

Strong numbers aside, the dance sequel fell short of expectations. Its per-screen average was only the seventh highest of the year, despite releasing into the third highest number of theaters and charging premium 3D ticket prices. With little else of note releasing in the coming weeks, and with most American students finally out of school for the summer, ABCD 2 could still double its opening weekend take over the course of its run.

Hamari Adhuri Kahani fell off significantly in its second weekend, earning $18,255 from 26 theaters ($702 average). Its North American total stands at $161,038.

Dil Dhadakne Do added another $225,998 from 111 theaters ($2,036 average), bringing its three-week total to $2,732,535.

Tanu Weds Manu Returns inched closer to a $3 million North American total, earning $35,777 from 20 theaters ($1,789 average) in its fifth weekend. Its total presently stands at $2,986,278.

Piku held on for a seventh weekend in two theaters, earning another $1,997 ($999 average) to bring its total to $2,220,648.

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Opening June 19: ABCD 2

The 3D Bollywood film ABCD 2 hits Chicago area theaters on June 19, 2015. The followup to 2013’s ABCD: Any Body Can Dance is a sequel in name only, as many of the actors from the original are back, but in different roles. Prabhu Deva plays characters named Vishnu in both films, but I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be the same guy. Whatever. The dancing is what’s important here, not franchise continuity.

ABCD 2 opens on Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. Most area theaters are showing the film in both 3D and 2D, so check your local theater’s listing if you have a preference. I didn’t think the 3D effects in the first film were worth the upcharge. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 27 min.

Dil Dhadakne Do gets a third week at all of the above theaters, plus the Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie and Regal Round Lake Beach Stadium 18 in Round Lake Beach.

Hamari Adhuri Kahani gets a second week at MovieMax, South Barrington 30, and Cantera 17. The South Barrington 30 and Cantera 17 also hold over Tanu Weds Manu Returns for a fifth week.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend include Eli (Tamil) at the South Barrington 30 and MovieMax, which also carries Vinavayya Ramayya (Telugu), Krishnamma Kalipindi Iddarini (Telugu), Premam (Malayalam), Ranna (Kannada), Kerintha (Telugu), and Ivide (Malayalam).

Bollywood Box Office: June 12-14

Hamari Adhuri Kahani didn’t exactly light up the North American box office during its opening weekend. From June 12-14, 2015, it earned $94,005 from 67 theaters ($1,403 average). That’s a slightly below average opening weekend total from a slightly below average number of theaters. Nothing special, but nothing tragic.

Hamari Adhuri Kahani‘s opening weekend performance was significantly better than the opening weekend performance of Emraan Hashmi’s Mr. X back in April ($24,806 from 62 theaters). However, it wasn’t as good as the first weekend take of Vidya Balan’s last solo-starring effort, Bobby Jasoos in July of 2014 ($143,559 from 71 theaters). It’s also down from the last film to co-star Hashmi and Balan, 2013’s Ghanchakkar, which opened with $143,616 from 89 theaters.

Of those four films, the one with the highest per-screen average was Bobby Jasoos ($2,022). Maybe it’s time for Balan to cut Hashmi loose professionally.

[Update: Box Office Mojo lists a significantly higher total of $131,263 from the same number of theaters for Hamari Adhuri Kahani. Yet even Mojo’s higher per-screen average of $1,959 is still lower than that of Bobby Jasoos.]

Dil Dhadakne Do posted solid second weekend earnings of $544,239 from 259 theaters ($2,101 average), bringing its North American total to $2,292,732. Its 58% drop in business from Weekend 1 to Weekend 2 was larger than those recorded by Tanu Weds Manu Returns (-28%) and Piku (-38%). However, DDD should hold up well in the weeks to come given that ABCD2 is the only Bollywood release of note until the middle of July.

In its fourth weekend, Tanu Weds Manu Returns earned another $101,443 from 55 theaters ($1,844 average) to bring its North American total to $2,911,462.

Piku — now in its sixth week — brought its total North American earnings to $2,215,749 by adding another $7,172 from six theaters ($1,195 average).

Source: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Opening June 12: Hamari Adhuri Kahani

The romantic drama Hamari Adhuri Kahani — starring Vidya Balan, Emraan Hashmi, and Rajkummar Rao — opens in Chicago area theaters on June 12, 2015.

Hamari Adhuri Kahani opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, 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. 9 min.

Dil Dhadakne Do carries over at all of the above theaters, plus Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, Regal Round Lake Beach Stadium 18 in Round Lake Beach, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

Tanu Weds Manu Returns gets a fourth week at MovieMax, South Barrington 30, Cantera 17, and Woodridge 18.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend include Premam (Malayalam) at the Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont and MovieMax, which also carries Ranna (Kannada), Kerintha (Telugu), Inimey Ippadithan (Tamil), Romeo Juliet (Tamil), Jyothi Lakshmi (Telugu), and Ivide (Malayalam).