Tag Archives: Welcome Back

Worst Bollywood Movies of 2015

While the majority of the worst Bollywood films of 2015 are guilty of garden variety stupidity, a pair of movies were especially loathsome. Here are my picks for the worst Bollywood movies of 2015. (Click on the title of each movie to read my original review.)

The dual-narrative romantic drama Roy wound up on the list due to an excess of ennui and emotionally immature dialogue.

I wish that both Gabbar Is Back and Welcome Back had stayed away.

Jazbaa managed to make talented actors Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Irrfan Khan look ridiculous (and green-tinted).

Two awful examples of Bollywood nepotism made the list. Producer-offspring Jackky Bhagnani’s inevitable rise to super-stardom was deferred yet again by his awful performance in Welcome 2 Karachi. In her Bollywood debut, Govinda’s daughter Tina single-handedly ruins Second Hand Husband with her squinty delivery and nonexistent dance moves.

The most painful theater-going experience of the year was Shamitabh, a movie so annoying that I was literally begging out loud for it to end.

Dirty Politics is a textbook example of how not to make a movie.

The offensive Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 came in a close second place for suggesting that all women who report being raped are liars. That such a hateful movie purports to be a comedy makes it all the more disturbing.

My worst movie of 2015 struck a nerve, going beyond just offending and veering into moral recklessness. Director Umesh Shukla and writers Sumit Arora and Niren Bhatt should be ashamed for claiming that Alzheimer’s disease is a result of filial neglect that can easily be cured if children are nicer to their parents. Given that a lack of awareness about Alzheimer’s persists in India, using a film to offer bogus medical advice and assign undeserved blame is irresponsible. For those reasons — in addition to it being just a plain old sucky movie — my worst Bollywood film of 2015 is All Is Well.

Kathy’s Ten Worst Bollywood Movies of 2015

  1. All Is Well — Buy/rent at iTunes or Amazon
  2. Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 — Buy at Amazon
  3. Dirty Politics — Buy/rent at iTunes or Amazon
  4. Shamitabh — Buy at Amazon
  5. Second Hand Husband
  6. Welcome 2 Karachi
  7. Jazbaa — Buy/rent at Amazon
  8. Welcome Back — Buy at Amazon
  9. Gabbar Is Back — Buy/rent at iTunes or Amazon
  10. Roy — Buy/rent at iTunes or Amazon

Previous Worst Movies Lists

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

Bollywood Box Office: September 25-27

TV comedian Kapil Sharma’s film debut, Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon, got off to a fine start in North America. During the weekend of September 25-27, 2015, it earned $203,645 from 82 theaters ($2,483 average). That’s significantly better than fellow TV host Manish Paul’s 2013 big screen debut, Mickey Virus — also featuring Sharma’s co-star, Elli Avram — which earned just $24,100 from 48 theaters in the US and Canada.

There’s more to Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon‘s performance than meets the eye. The film did vastly better in Canada than it did in the US, taking in 33% of opening weekend earnings ($67,103) from just 16% of the total number of theaters (13). We’ll see how it holds up against the two high-profile pictures rolling into theaters this Friday: Singh Is Bliing and Talvar.

Katti Batti lost about 80% of its opening weekend business in its second weekend in North American theaters. It added another $41,881 from 70 theaters ($598 average) to bring its total earnings to $346,332. Expect it to surrender most of those theaters to the two new flicks opening Friday.

Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:

  • Welcome Back: Week 4; $6,095 from eight theaters; $762 average; $1,379,668 total
  • Bajrangi Bhaijaan: Week 11; $410 from one theater; $8,114,714 total

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Opening September 25: Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon

The comedy Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon (“Who Should I Love?“) opens in Chicago area theaters on September 25, 2015. The movie marks the Bollywood debut of TV comedian Kapil Sharma. Indian TV personalities are unreliable when it comes to international box office viability — I’m looking at you, Ayushmann Khurrana and Manish Paul — so releasing KKPK in North America is a risk.

KKPK opens on 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. 22 min.

Katti Batti carries over for a second week at all three of the above theaters, plus Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

Welcome Back gets a fourth week at MovieMax and the South Barrington 30.

Meet the Patels carries over for a third week at the South Barrington 30 and Music Box Theatre in Chicago.

Also releasing locally on Friday is the Urdu-language Pakistani film Jawani Phir Nahi Ani, which opens at MovieMax, South Barrington 30, Cantera 17, and Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale.

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

Bollywood Box Office: September 18-20

Katti Batti opened with an average box office performance in the United States. From September 18-20, 2015, it earned $191,361 from 127 theaters ($1,507 average). Given the bad word of mouth surrounding the film — it has a 4.5 user rating at IMDb —  its potential for growth is limited.

Welcome Back came in second place for the weekend, earning another $53,836 from 58 theaters ($928 average). Its three-week North American total stands at $1,350,174.

Hero‘s earnings took a nose dive in its second week of release, falling nearly 90% from its opening weekend total. In its second weekend, it earned a mere $6,641 from 19 theaters, an average of just $350 per screen. The romantic drama has earned a total of $83,973 in the US and Canada.

Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:

  • Bajrangi Bhaijaan: Week 10; $1,574 from two theaters; $787 average; $8,113,697 total
  • Phantom: Week 4; $754 from two theaters; $377 average; $490,546 total

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Opening September 18: Katti Batti

The romantic-comedy-drama Katti Batti — starring Kangana Ranaut and Imran Khan — opens in Chicago area theaters on September 18, 2015.

Katti Batti 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. 15 min.

Hero gets a second week at MovieMax, South Barrington 30, and Cantera 17. Welcome Back sticks around for a third week at all three of the theaters carrying Hero, plus the Woodridge 18.

Meet the Patels carries over for a second week at the South Barrington 30 and Music Box Theatre in Chicago.

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

Bollywood Box Office: September 11-13

It’s hard to launch new Bollywood stars abroad, as confirmed by the opening weekend returns of Hero. During the weekend of September 11-13, 2015, Hero earned $57,407 from 52 US and Canadian theaters ($1,104 average).

The most direct comparison for the debuts of Sooraj “Son of Aditya” Pancholi and Athiya “Daughter of Suniel” Shetty is last year’s Heropanti, which launched Tiger “Son of Jackie” Shroff. Heropanti‘s launch was more modest, opening in just 20 theaters, from which it earned $31,556. Its $1,578 average is quite a bit better than Hero‘s, especially considering that Salman Khan was heavily involved in Hero‘s marketing.

The weekend’s other new release of note in the States, Meet the Patels, got off to a monstrous start. From five theaters, it earned $75,597, for a per-screen average of $15,119. It will expand into more theaters in the coming weeks.

Welcome Back‘s continued success reminds us that the reason there are so many sequels in Bollywood (and Hollywood) is because they make money. In its second weekend in North American theaters, the followup to 2007’s Welcome earned another $222,273 from 125 theaters ($1,778 average). Its total earnings of $1,234,179 rank it fifth for the year. Of the three Bollywood sequels to release here in 2015, ABCD 2 is presently the lowest ranked at sixth place.

Phantom has all but disappeared from the charts, earning just $9,973 from 18 theaters ($554 average) in its third weekend of release. Its total North American earnings stand at $487,978.

In its ninth weekend, Bajrangi Bhaijaan earned $6,261 from six theaters ($1,044 average), bringing its total to $8,110,964. Drishyam took in another $1,701 from three theaters ($567 average), bringing its seven-week total to $739,005.

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Opening September 11: Hero and Meet the Patels

Two new movies of interest to Bollywood fans hit Chicago area theaters on September 11, 2015. The Salman Khan production Hero features the big screen debuts of star kids Sooraj Pancholi (son of Aditya Pancholi) and Athiya Shetty (daughter of Suniel Shetty).

Hero opens on 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. 25 min.

The weekend’s other new release is the hilarious documentary Meet the Patels. It follows actor Ravi Patel as his parents try to find him a suitable potential bride. I really, really like this movie.

Meet the Patels opens on Friday at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago and the South Barrington 30. As added incentive, the Patel parents will be holding in-person Q&A sessions after the Friday evening show at the Music Box and the Saturday evening show at the South Barrington 30. Meet the Patels opens in more and more theaters over the coming weeks, so click here for a list of locations and release dates. The movie has a runtime of 1 hr. 28 min. Seriously, go see it.

Welcome Back carries over for a second week at all of the theaters carrying Hero, plus the Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, Regal Round Lake Beach Stadium 18 in Round Lake Beach, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

The South Barrington 30 also holds over Phantom, Drishyam, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, and the Hindi-dubbed version of Baahubali.

Other Indian movies playing in the Chicago area this weekend include Bhale Bhale Magadivoi (Telugu w/English subtitles) at Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, and Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge, and MovieMax, which also carries Kunjiramayanam (Malayalam), Yatchan (Tamil), Paayum Puli (Tamil), Thani Oruvan (Tamil), and RangiTaranga (Kannada).

Bollywood Box Office: September 4-6

The big success of Welcome Back in North America taught me to never underestimate the importance of two things: long holiday weekends and Canadians. From September 4-6, 2015, Welcome Back earned $702,290 from 149 theaters ($4,713 average).

More than 20% of Welcome Back‘s earnings came from just 14 Canadian theaters. The per-screen average in that country was $10,600, compared to $4,103 per screen in the US. Both countries celebrated Labor Day on Monday, September 7, significantly boosting Sunday’s returns. Box Office Mojo lists Welcome Back‘s four-day total as $891,435.

Despite the big opening weekend numbers, I have doubts about Welcome Back‘s longevity. As of the Tuesday afternoon after its release, it has fewer than 1,200 user ratings at IMDb. At this website, my review of Welcome Back has garnered less attention than my reviews of All Is Well or Bangistan did at similar stages of release, and those were flops. Welcome Back was likely just a way to pass the time during the last long weekend of summer. Expect its business to drop significantly next weekend.

Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters include:

  • Phantom: Week 2; $82,713 from 83 theaters; $997 average; $441,509 total
  • Bajrangi Bhaijaan: Week 8; $14,970 from eight theaters; $1,871 average; $8,098,675 total
  • Drishyam: Week 6; $5,585 from three theaters; $1,862 average; $735,432 total
  • Brothers: Week 4; $2,482 from three theaters; $827 average; $673,854 total

Source: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Movie Review: Welcome Back (2015)

WelcomeBack1 Star (out of 4)

Buy the DVD at Amazon
Buy the soundtrack at Amazon

Even at their best, writer-director Anees Bazmee’s movies are mediocre. At their worst, they are unbearable. Welcome Back is one of the worst.

In the eight years since the events of Welcome, gangsters Uday (Nana Patekar) and Majnu (Anil Kapoor) have left their criminal pasts behind, striking it rich as hoteliers in Dubai. Deciding that it’s time to get married and start their own families, they fall for the same woman: an heiress named Chandni (Ankita Shrivastava), who’s always accompanied by her mother, Maharani (Dimple Kapadia).

The guys’ marriage plans are put on hold when Uday’s father (also played by Patekar) reveals that Uday has another sister — Ranjhana (Shruti Haasan) — he needs marry off first. The “decent” guy they find for her, Ajju (John Abraham), turns out to be a don pretending to be something he’s not — just like Uday and Majnu.

The plot unfolds at furious pace but burns out quickly. After the first thirty minutes or so, very little that happens feels necessary. Everything else appears to be the indulgence of Bazmee’s whims. Helicopters? Camels? Vampire dance party? Check.

Welcome Back‘s story spins so far out of control that Bazmee doesn’t even try to give the film a real ending. He leaves his characters hanging in mid-air, literally and figuratively.

Watching the film becomes an endurance test in the second half, when Naseeruddin Shah shows up as yet another don, Wanted Bhai. At this point, Welcome Back descends to Gunda-level geographic incoherence. Wanted lives in a mansion on an island only accessible by plane. Yet — while on the island — Uday and Majnu are able to drive to a desert and to a mountain range. They also find a graveyard on the island, evoking more memories of Gunda:

It’s hard for any performances to stand out in a movie that requires its characters to behave so stupidly, but Shrivastava is pretty good as a gold digger. Her covert expressions of disgust while wooing the much older bachelors are funny. Kapadia is also exceedingly glamorous.

Another member of the cast stands out for the wrong reasons. Shiney Ahuja plays Wanted’s drug-addicted son, Honey, who is obsessed with Ranjhana. (Azmee doesn’t even bother explaining how Honey knows Ranjhana.)

In 2011, Ahuja was convicted of raping a member of his household staff and sentenced to seven years in prison. He is out on bail while appealing his conviction (a major difference from the American justice system, where sentences are effective immediately, and appeals are adjudicated while the defendant is behind bars).

Azmee says that he didn’t take Ahuja’s conviction into account when casting him in Welcome Back, simply believing that Ahuja fit the part. “I am a filmmaker,” Bazmee told IANS, “and I do not think about anything more than that.”

Are we supposed to believe that there were no other actors who could have played this particular supporting role? While Azmee may not be bothered by Ahuja’s criminal past, many people will be. When we see Ahuja grinding on Shrivastava in a “sexy” dance number, it’s impossible not to reminded of the fact that he was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman.

Acting in films is a privilege, not a right. There was no reason for Azmee to cast Ahuja in this role at the expense of another actor without a violent criminal past. If Azmee can’t appreciate why this is a problem, is he the right person to helm a multi-million dollar film?

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