I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with the premiere of the Netflix Original Marathi movie 15 August. A bunch of Hindi movies expire from the service March 30, so tonight is your last chance to watch these titles:
Shah Rukh Khan’s production company Red Chillies Entertainment has a streaming deal with Netflix that lasts through the end of this year, and I’ve wondered when Zero is going to wind up on Netflix. I checked on the other RCE titles produced since the deal was signed, and Dear Zindagi, Jab Harry Met Sejal, and Ittefaq all became available for streaming five months after their theatrical release. The only exception was Raees, which appeared on the service after four months. We can likely expect Zero to join Netflix at the end of May, maybe end of April. Badla is also an RCE production, so look for that in early July, possibly early June.
With more than thirty Indian titles added in the last month — including a bunch of mainstream Bollywood films like those added today — it sure looks like Netflix is feeling the heat from Amazon’s new Heera channel, which just added the Hindi version of The Ghazi Attack to its subscription service.
This downtime is a good chance to catch up on movies from earlier this year that you may have missed. Netflix recently added Thank You to its streaming catalog, and Yamla Pagla Deewana and Chalo Dilli are now available through the rental service on DVD. YouTube has an impressive selection of free Hindi movies, including a smaller release I reviewed earlier this month: Cycle Kick.
Other Indian flicks showing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include the Telugu films Dhada, Kandireega and Money Money More Money and the Tamil movie Rowthiram.
Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji is the only new Hindi movie opening in the Chicago area the weekend beginning January 28, 2011. The romantic comedy stars Ajay Devgan, Emraan Hashmi and Omi Vaidya as three guys searching for love.
No One Killed Jessica, which has earned $428,691 in the U.S. so far, gets a fourth week at the Pipers Alley 4. Yamla Pagla Deewana leaves area theaters on Thursday with an impressive $851,381 two-week American haul.
Aamir Khan’s latest, Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries), is the only new Hindi movie opening in the Chicago area on Friday, January 21, 2011. Dhobi Ghat, which stars Khan as one of four characters whose stories intertwine across class lines, marks the directorial debut of Khan’s wife, Kiran Rao.
This is no reflection on the quality of the movie, but I find Dhobi Ghat‘s trailer really annoying. The three-mini-trailers-in-one structure loops the same music throughout and provides three concrete end points, tricking you into believing the trailer is over before it actually is. It was clever the first time I saw it, but infuriating by the fifth.
Yamla Pagla Deewana, which earned $504,116 in its first weekend in U.S. theaters, gets a second week at the Golf Glen 5, South Barrington 30 and Cantera 30. No One Killed Jessica gets a third week at the Pipers Alley 4 and South Barrington 30, having earned $372,357 in the U.S. so far.
The primary selling-point of Yamla Pagla Deewana (“Nutty Loony Crazy,” according to the lyrics of the title track) is that it stars Bollywood legend Dharmendra and his two sons, Sunny and Bobby Deol. But what if you didn’t know who the three leads were? Would the movie be as successful? I don’t think so.
Sunny Deol’s character, Paramveer, has lived in Canada with his mother since he was a child, after his thieving father ran off with his younger brother. After thirty years apart, Param’s mom begs him to bring her estranged husband and son back to her. He obliges and heads to Banares.
Param’s father, Dharam (Dharmendra) and brother, Gajodhar (Bobby Deol), don’t believe Param’s story. But Param gradually wins their trust, in part by acting as strongman during their heists. When Gajodhar’s girlfriend, Saheba (Kulraj Randhawa), is kidnapped by her goon brothers and taken home to Punjab, Dharam begs Param to help his younger brother.
Producer/director Samir Karnik frequently reminds the audience about the actors’ star status. When Param shows Dharam a photo of the conman in his youth — proof of his prior relationship with Param’s mother — Dharam explains that it must be a photo of Dharmendra.
Later, Saheba asks Gajodhar why he’s not fighting beside his father and brother. He says that its best to let Dharmendra and Sunny Deol handle the action, leaving the romance to Bobby Deol.
The self references are distractions that ruin the flow of the movie. If one is familiar with the actors’ previous work, it’s no surprise that Sunny does all the fighting and that Bobby gets the girl. If not, the references make no sense.
The distractions and the slow pace of the first half are a shame, as the second half of Yamla Pagla Deewana is quite good. Anupam Kher is hilarious as Saheba’s eldest brother. Jokes about the qualities ascribed to English speakers in a place where the language not common, as in rural Punjab, are both informative and funny.
Param has an interesting role as a non-resident Indian (NRI). His blonde, Canadian wife, Mary (Australian actress Emma Brown Garrett) thinks that everyone in India is crazy. Saheba’s sister-in-law, Poli (Sucheta Khanna), thinks that Canada is paradise. She reads about Canada on the Internet, in spite of her limited English skills (as betrayed by her “I Love Caneda” t-shirt). Param, as both Indian and Canadian, bridges that gap and exploits it to his advantage.
But the good points of Yamla Pagla Deewana don’t outweigh its clunkier aspects. A little less self-awareness would’ve gone a long way.
One new Hindi movie opens in the Chicago area on January 14, 2011. Yamla Pagla Deewana stars Bollywood legend Dharmendra and his sons, actors Sunny and Bobby Deol, as a family of con artists who must rescue a pretty girl.