Kannada independent filmmaker Pawan Kumar’s sophomore directorial effort U-Turn was a watchable thriller. It starts off well, gracefully introducing the lead character Rachana, a young journalist trying to make ends meet. The major backdrop for the film is the Double Road flyover in Bengaluru. Rachana works on the cover story of those who make an illegal u-turn on this flyover. Kumar finely builds a murder/mystery plot in the film’s first half. However, too many insipid twists and an unconvincing resolution gives a little unsatisfactory movie experience. (Read full review here by Arun Kumar)
11. Lipstick Under My Burkha
In the same mould of Leena Yadav’s Parched, Lipstick Under My Burkha explores the interconnected lives of four middle class women at different life stages, and their struggle with sexual liberty and freedom in a patriarchal society which weighs them down and limits them in every way. Produced by Prakash Jha, the film is bold, refreshing and armed with a powerful message to the extent that you wish it’s a film every Indian is forced to see. (By Suchin Mehrotra)
12. Chauthi Koot
Gurvinder Singh’s film doesn’t focus on the horrid spectacle that was Punjab in the early 1980s. Several films have already captured the deaths and the aftermath of the infamous Operation Bluestar. Chauthi Koot focuses on bringing the audiences into the life of a Sikh family, living in the shadows of fear, doubt and remorse with its beautiful yet haunting images. To a regular moviegoer, the imagery in Chauthi Koot may often feel random and an exercise in obscure experimentalism. But for those who wish to consume cinema in its rawest, most delicately carved form, this is an essential watch. (By Shikhar Verma)
13. Nil Battey Sannata
Ashwini Iyer Tiwari’s shining directorial debut tells the touching tale of a single mother and her 15 year old daughter. The film has wonderfully written characters and a theme, which advocates on the vitality of education. However, the narrative on some occasions gets a little high on preachiness. Swara Baskar in her first lead role gives a very mature performance. Pankaj Tripathi as principal Srivastava is an absolute delight to watch. Nil Battey Sannata does lack emotional shades in the beginning of the story, which is made up for in the second half.
Yet, the film would work fine for those seeking feel-good cinema with an engrossing message. Nil Battey Sannata was remade in Tamil titled Amma Kanakku. (By Arun Kumar)
For the keen, Thithi, Dhanak, Autohead, U-Turn and Maroon are streaming on Netflix.
Which of these are your favourites? I’m sure there are more we might have missed. Tell us what we missed and your favourites in the comments below. You can also connect with us on facebook or twitter.