(Updated: December 20, 2020) Like 2018, 2019 will have much to offer to the mainstream audience — from star-studded vehicles to big-budget historical and action dramas. But unlike previous years, where these films have been the biggest money spinners, 2018 saw smaller films and actors come to the forefront. Whilst films made by A-listers usually generate box office revenue, it’s the ones with great stories that win hearts.
With growing demand for fresh ideas and scripts, a great deal of films which were unexpected to do extremely well at the box office, have gone on to become massive successes, preceding over A-lister films and the ensemble big-ticket films. Indie or independent films have a growing attraction for audiences, as audiences crave for something out of the box.
Here are some Indian indie films that might actually be worth your while:
1. Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi
Release Date: January 1, 2021
Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi marks the directorial debut of veteran actress Seema Pahwa (Remember ‘Badki’ from Hum Log?) who is known for her work in films like Shubh Mangal Savdhan, Bareilly Ki Barfi amongst many others. The cast includes Konkana Sen, Vikrant Massey, Naseeruddin Shah, Vinay Pathak, Supriya Pathak, Manoj Pahwa, Deepika Amin and Ninad Kamat. The film premiered to a standing ovation at the 21st Mumbai Film Festival (MAMI 2019).
2. Tryst with Destiny
Release Date: TBD
Manish Mudra’s Drishyam Films has teamed up with France’s Backup Media to produce an anthology film titled Tryst With Destiny. Directed by Prashant Nair, the film will feature four stories about social issues that India has been grappling with since independence. The title is a reference to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s speech to Parliament on August 14, 1947. The cast includes Vineet Kumar Singh, Geetanjali Thapa, Amit Sial, Prakash Raj and Suhasini Maniratnam. The film doesn’t yet have a release date.
Release Date: June 2021
Pashmina is a four-part anthology film, a series of interlocking tales involving four different people told through the point of view of a young Kashmiri girl who works at a Pashmina loom. The film stars Aditi Rao Hydari, Shweta Tripathi, Dulquer Salmaan, Zaira Wasim, Ronit Roy, Soni Razdan, Farida Jalal. Kashmiri filmmaker Danish Renzu is at the helm of this one.
4. The Storyteller
Release Date: 2021
Satyajit Ray may have been dead for over 25 years, but his stories live on. An Ananth Mahadevan-directed project, The Storyteller is adapted from Ray’s short story of the same name. The cast features Naseeruddin Shah, Paresh Rawal, Revathi and Tannishtha Chatterjee. It is a story of an old man who turns into a storyteller after he retires from his full-time job.
5. Nirmal Anand ki Puppy
Writer-director Sandeep Mohan will be back with his fourth feature, a relationship drama about an urban family. The indie comedy features Karanveer Khullar, Gillian Pinto, Khushboo Upadhyay, Vipin Heero and Salman Sheriff. We’re likely to see it in theatres around September. Sandeep’s first three films — Love Wrinkle-free, Hola Venky and Shreelancer are available for streaming on Amazon Prime.
6. The Mosquito Philosophy
Where to Watch: Mubi
After the critically acclaimed LENS, national award winning-director Jayprakash Radhakrishnan is back with his second film. The Mosquito Philosophy is an experimental film shot in 6 hours without any written dialogues or script. The film offers a peek into a society caught between tradition and modernity. Produced by Jayaprakash, The Mosquito Philosophy premiered at the Dhaka International Film Festival 2019.
It screened at the Delhi Habitat Film Festival in May this year. No release date has been specified yet.
Recommended: Films & Literary Inspirations: LENS Director Jayaprakash Radhakrishnan Writes for Flickside
7. Nirvana Inn
Vijay Jayapal’s sophomore feature is a paranormal thriller featuring Adil Hussain, Sandhya Mridul, Rajshri Deshpande (Sexy Durga, Sacred Games). His debut film, Revelations, which centred around infidelity, won critical acclaim both on home ground and overseas. The Tamil film world premiered at the Busan International Film Festival.
Nirvana Inn also world premiered at the Busan Int’l Film Festival on October 6, 2019. No theatrical release date has been announced.
The recent communal riots in Coimbatore sparked the idea of Arun Karthick’s second feature film. Based off a short story by writer Dileep Kumar, the Tamil indie feature is a story of a small-town salesman, but one that has a universal appeal. Nasir won a grant of €50,000 as part of the Netherlands Film Fund (NFF) and Hubert Bals Fund (HBF) Co-production Scheme last year. Karthick’s first film Sivapuranam/A Strange Case of Shiva was screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2016.
By Aditya Sarna, Mansi Dutta
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I'm an engineering graduate trying to make the most out of what life throws at me. Currently working as a Brand Strategist at Mitsogo Inc, Chennai. Outside work, you can find me on a football pitch, a basketball court, or in front of a tea stall - still trying to make the most out of what I get.