By Aditya Savnal. Posted on December 30, 2014
Over the years the regional cinema has made films that not only set new benchmarks in filmmaking, but also made people outside their markets sit up and take notice of them. And this year was no different.
These are the indie films across languages that we loved this year.
Directed by Nagraj Manjule, Fandry tells the story of a dalit boy who is infatuated by a upper caste girl studying in his class. Manjule creates a searing portrayal of the pathetic living conditions of people belonging to the 'lower castes' residing in the interiors of India. Brilliant performances by the cast, a strong script and a stunning climax ensured that Fandry was the most honest piece of filmmaking to have released in Indian theatres this year.
Director Paresh Mokashi made a strong impression with his 2010 debut film Harishchandrachi Factory. This year, Mokashi returned with Elizabeth Ekadashi a bittersweet tale about two siblings who's family hits a sudden financial roadblock and their struggle to deal with it. Devoid of emotional manipulation and melodrama, Elizabeth Ekadashi is a charming film with delightful performances and moments that leave you smiling.
A poor lady living in rural Maharashtra is suddenly faced with a barrage of troubles after she receives a small sum of money from a local politician. Weaving together themes of corruption and farmer suicides, Ek Hazaarachi Note directed by Shrihari Sathe shows how even a meagre sum of money can create havoc in the lives of people. A thoughtful film with its heart in the right place, Ek Hazaarachi Note alongwith the above two, is part of the growing list of intelligent and sensitive Marathi cinema that continues to charm film lovers of all stripes.
Often, some of the best films are the ones that emerge out of nowhere and take you by surprise. Munnariyippu (Warning) is one such film. The film narrates the story of a female journalist and a convict whose worlds collide, thanks to a common agenda. Without revealing anything more about the plot, let me just say that the film is engaging till the last minute and catches you unawares when you least expect it. Boasting of superb performances by the cast including veteran actor Mammootty and others like Aparna Gopinath, Prathap Pothen and Nedumudi Venu, Munnariyippu is a film which no film buff should miss. Directed by the National Award winning cinematographer Venu, Munnariyippu reinforces why great storytelling is the soul of any good film.
August Cinema Company is a production company formed by the renowned director/cinematographer Santosh Sivan and actor Prithviraj, with the stated goal of producing smaller films that are different from the run-of-the-mill movies we are usually subjected to. Sapthamashree Thaskaraha (Seven Good Thieves) is one of their productions. The film narrates the tale of seven convicts who plan a robbery with an aim to wreak revenge on a common enemy. Directed by Anil Menon , this film is a smart and witty heist film that is firmly rooted in the local milieu.
An innocent youngster trying to help an accident victim realises that it doesn't always pay to be a do-gooder. Directed by the well known cinematographer Rajeev Ravi, Njan Steve Lopez ( I am Steve Lopez) is a dark coming of age film that talks about the loss of innocence and how perceptions of people change as they grow and become aware of the ugly and harsh realities of life.
Ever since Akira Kurosawa directed the classic Rashomon, filmmakers around the world have used the technique of narrating a single story through different perspectives. While some of these attempts have been successful (Kamal Hassan's Virumaandi), most of them have not. Ulidavaru Kandanthe (As Seen By The Rest) thankfully belongs to the former category. Directed by Rakshit Shetty, this modestly budgeted film boasts of slick visuals and great performances that use the Rashomon effect to create an engaging narrative.
There were quite a few other critically and commercially successful independent films such as Ugramm, Sathurangavettai which unfortunately we couldn't watch. Are there any other interesting indie films that came out this year? If yes, then we would surely love to hear about such films.