Advent of multiplexes has made it possible for niche films to be screened. At a time when cine-goers and film buffs seemed resigned to be able to watch only commercial ‘Masala’ films, Khosla Ka Ghosla (2006) broke the mould. Since then Indian cinema, specially Hindi cinema, has become increasingly more creative and experimental. And more and more low budget films made by fresh talents have been grabbing eyeballs.
We have come a long way from Bheja Fry, Chalo Dilli(Shashant Shah, 2011),Tere bin Laden(2010, Abhishek Sharma)
Hindi cinema now seems to have graduated from light hearted comedy carrying subtle messages to more probing, socio psychological thrillers/drama. The films differ in subject as well as in treatment. films like David by Bijoy Nambiar, 3G by Sheershak Aanand and Shantanu Ray’s Chhibber(2013) experimented with the narrative technique, unravelling more than one story at one time, and joining them all in the end. But unfortunately, they bombed on the box office.
Films like Masaan ( by Neeraj Ghaywan 2015) Dum Lagaa ke haisha(Sharat Katariya, 2015) Piku (Shoojit Sircar, 2015), Pink (Aniruddh Roy Choudhary, 2016) and Sairaat(Marathi) by Naagraj Manjule, 2016) however won both critical acclaim and did reasonably well at the box office.
Already in 2017, several such films have hit the screens but have largely gone unnoticed, though they have been appreciated in the festival circuit.
One of them, Anarkali of Arrah directed by the debutant Avinash Das was discussed,appreciated and did a good job at the box office too.
The Ghazi Attack directed by Sankalp Reddy is based on a real life event of the mysterious sinking of PNS Ghazi during India Pakistan war in 1971. The story revolves around a team of naval officers who remain under water for 18 days and finally succeed in sinking the Pakistani submarine PNS Ghazi. The film is well researched and the narrative is interesting.
Haraamkhor is another brilliant movie about a school teacher and his affair with his teen age student in a remote Indian village. Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s portrayal of frustrations, ennui and dilemma of a village school teacher stands out while Shweta Tripathi as a lonely teenager touches the heart. Cinematography is beautiful and brings about the ruggedness and desolation as well as the soft soothing touches of the landscape, so much so that the location in itself feels like a vibrant living character.
Poorna is directed by Rahul Bose and beautifully portrays the real life struggles of a young girl from Telangana in her bid to scale the Mount Everest.
Trapped by Vikramaditya Motwane is again a wonderful psychological thriller. Exploring the intricacies of human mind, the director narrates a situation instead of a story. A man is trapped inside a flat without electricity, food or water. It is like being trapped inside one’s own self. Rajkumar Rao grabs the opportunity and showcases his acting prowess as a lone person desperate to survive.
Blue Mountain by Suman Ganguli is a very urban tale of middle class dreams. A teenager is shattered when he fails to win a singing competition. Dealing with his trauma, his mother realises how she has been living her unfulfilled ambition through him and then starts the herculean task of bringing him back from defeat and depression to a positive attitude and victory.
Death in the Gunj has been directed by Konkona Sen Sharma. Konkona is already a well-established actress. With the film, she proves her worth as a brilliant director too. It is a thriller with a tinge of paranormal that keeps the audience hooked. Though the film opened at various prestigious film festivals, it did not make a mark at the box office.
Saanjh by Ajay Saklani explores the relationship between a young girl with her old grandmother and thus beautifully portrays loneliness and seclusion. Saanjh happens to be the first film in which Himanchali Hindi dialect has been used.
Remarkable films all, and the year is not even half way through. 2017 promises to spring several more surprises, one is bound to conclude.