Every year there are some amazing movies made. Movies that evoke emotions, provoke thought and increase knowledge. But they go unnoticed. And generally for all the wrong reasons. Pune is known for its value and recognition of true art. There are many good film schools in Pune for aspiring directors and actors. But what are the use of these schools if censorship, controversies, budgets, or lack thereof prove more valuable than actual education and knowledge of making a movie.
Here are 10 such offbeat movies of 2015 that deserve more attention for the sheer brilliance of the entire team.
Starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Geetanjali Thapa in lead roles, Liar’s Dice is a road drama film. The film deals with sensitive yet very common issues like migrant labourers and their exploitation. This is the story of a young mother whose husband goes missing after having left to work many months ago.
The film premiered at the Mumbai Film Festival and later was featured in the Sundance Film Festival and International Film Festival Rotterdam. It won many awards at the Sofia International Film Festival and went on to receive two National Film Awards. Even after the great acclaim, the film performed very poorly in the theatres after its release in March 2015.
Margarita with a Straw
Directed by Shonali Bose, Margarita with a Straw, revolves around the life of a young girl suffering from cerebral palsy. Kalki Koechlin who plays the lead received tremendous appreciation for her performance as Laila. The movie talks about her struggles in life and her coming in terms with her sexuality and bonding with her family. While this movie premiered in the Toronto Film Festival in 2014, it released in Indian only on 17th April 2015.
This film has received a number of awards in various film festivals and is also the only Indian film to win an award in the TIFF 2014. While there was much hype during the release of the film, it failed to do well at the box office. Owing to its modern script and portrayal of lesbianism, this movie received heavy criticism.
Portraying Anushka Sharma in a completely new light, NH10 came as a surprise. A crime-thriller, the movie also marks the production debut of Anushka. The plot revolves around a young couple whose road trip takes a bloody turn after an encounter with a group of violent criminals. The story takes inspiration from the Manoj-Babli honour killing case.
While Anushka Sharma received a great response for her acting, the movie failed to garner box office response.
It is sad that adult comedy in Indian Cinema is defined by cheap humour and crass ventures like Grand Masti. Films like hunterrr too are pegged under the same category even though this film exhibited more heart, wit and humour. With a strong plot line and commendable performances from Gulshan Devaiah, Radhika Apte and Sai Tamhankar, Hunterrr is probably one of the best adult comedy films in Indian Cinema.
Due to its forwardness and lack of popular stars, this film failed to perform at the box office. However, it did receive critical acclaim and managed to gain some fans.
“The focus is not on ‘showing’ a rainy village in 1918; it is to drag the viewer from his chair and throw him into that rainy village where he can smell the earth, and experience the events by staying close to the characters,” says Mumbai-based filmmaker Rahi Anil Barve, about his debut feature film Tumbad. Although this film has won many awards, its greatest achievement is that it was added as an exclusive feature in the Blu-ray discs of Danny Boyle’s Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire.
Manjhi: The Mountain Man
Nawazuddin Siddiqui is back, and how! Manjhi: The Mountain Man is a biopic based on the life of Dashrath Manjhi who was widely known as the ‘Mountain Man.’ The film revolves around how Manjhi carved a path 9.1 metres wide and 110 metres long through a mountain.
Directed by Ketan Mehta, Manjhi: The Mountain Man managed to garner quite a response critically as well as in the box office.
Based on the 2008 Noida double murder case, Talvar presents three contradictory accounts of the case in which the parents are portrayed as either guilty or innocent. Using a Rashomon-style of storytelling, the director has managed to capture the exact details of the incident. With a strong star cast of Irrfan Khan, Konkana Sen Sharma, Neeraj Kabi and a special appearance by Tabu, the movie had every reason to be successful. Although receiving tremendous critical acclaim, the movie failed to woo the box office numbers.
Dum Laga ke Haisha
After the release of this movie, only one thing comes to mind… Welcome back Yash Raj productions! Dum Laga ke Haisha is a sweet and simple romantic comedy that will surely leave you with a smile. The story is based on a young couple and how they overcome their insecurities to fill an arranged marriage with love.
While Ayushman Khurrana has truly outdone himself, the true prize is Sandhya, beautifully played by Bhumi Pednekar. The movie received raging success from critics and performed fairly well at the box office as well.
Possibly one of the most popular and known films on the list, Drishyam did get a fair share of appreciation. Although, having a strong star cast and an amazing plot, the movie did not do as well as expected. A thriller drama, this film deals with issues that revolve around the gap between the rich and the poor.
This film involved amazing response from critics and a good box office review as well. But when you compare its counterparts, Drishyam in Malayalam and Drishyam in Telugu, shockingly they did better in their respective cinemas. This, sadly, proves the demand of slapstick humour and mindless action over a well-thought and written script.
X: The past is present
A special mention for this film which is all set to release on 20th November 2015! X is a collaborative feature film which is directed by a whopping number of 11 directors in all. Featuring extremely talented Rajat Kapoor and Anshuman Jha in the lead roles, this experimental cinema is a must watch! Unlike other ventures like Bombay Talkies, X is not an anthology, but one whole story in which eleven different directors have made sections of it. With 12 supporting actresses, the movie is definitely set to impress.
There is no harm in enjoying a movie made purely for entertainment. However, you cannot peg those movies as the absolute best. The directors, writers and actors for many movies actually work hard, go to the best film schools in Pune, Mumbai, Delhi and many more! Their hard work and dedication must be appreciated. After all, great movies live only in the eye of the viewer.