In the disturbingly intolerant times we live in, it’s heartening to see more filmmakers than ever before, coming forth, with fresh ideas and stories. Stories unheard and unseen on celluloid. Stories in their unique, unbridled voices. While some films already have their release dates, others may face their customary censor hurdles before they reach you. But in the hope that they eventually do, here are all the indie films to look out for this year. The bling, big-budget films will eventually find their way to your feeds but it’s these obscure, lesser-heard films that might be worth exploring this year:
1. Sexy Durga (Malayalam)
Acclaimed Malayalam director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s (who received death threats for allegedly “insulting religious sentiments”) indie drama snapped a big win recently at the Rotterdam Film Festival. The ‘provocatively’ titled film, Sexy Durga aims to highlight the hypocrisy our women face at the hands of men and the society, at large.
The director, who apparently went in ‘without a story or written dialogue,’ filmed it all in 20 days.
2. Ascharya Fuck It
“Desire and greed intertwine the lives of a Bollywood star, his chauffeur, a prostitute and her pimp in an unlikely love story.” Director Samit Kakkad’s upcoming Hindi film Ascharya Fuck It (a play on the hindi word for ‘astonishment’) draws from the fables of literary legend Manto. Kakkad’s debut film Aayna Ka Bayna was the first Marathi film to be dubbed in Hindi for viewing on television. His next Half Ticket (2016), a sincere remake of award-winning Kaaka Muttai (Tamil), was feted at several international festivals.
Vikramaditya Motwane’s (of Udaan and Lootera fame) Trapped premiered at the Mumbai Film Festival last year. The survival drama trails Rajkummar Rao, whose character is stranded in a room for 25 days. Motwane shot the film in less than a month. Trapped is slated for a theatrical release March 17.
Another indie gem starring Rajkummar Rao, Newton has already done us proud at the Berlinale this year, winning top honor. The jury said “…it’s dark humor, ironic approach and the positive use of typical clichés in Indian society gives Newton a unique form and style which will delight audiences in art house cinemas all over the world.” Director Amit Masurkar, who gave us the charming Sulemani Keeda in 2014, is at the helm of this political satire.
5. Lapachhapi (Marathi)
Debutant filmmaker Vishal Furia’s Lapachhapi became the first Indian horror film to get officially selected for the Brooklyn International Film Festival. It has already won several awards and nominations at other global fests. Catch Flickside’s interview with director Vishal Furia on what inspired the film here. The film is due for release July 14, 2017.