Indian Films

Astu – So Be It/2013/Marathi

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Sumitra Bhave, Sunil Sukthankar
Why FiC recommends?
1) A poetic movie around a retired professor who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.
2) ‘Astu’, through its heart touching storyline, establishes an important aspect of the need of human (family) interaction for the elderly people.

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Shahid/2012/Hindi

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Hansal Mehta
Why FiC recommends?
1) Shahid is a biographical drama based on the life of Shahid Azmi, a lawyer and human rights activist who was behind the acquittals of several falsely implicated.
2) There is no over-dramatization anywhere in Shahid; even the courtroom scenes are very realistically shown.
3) With this film the director Hansal Mehta made a solid comeback to Bollywood.

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Jallikattu/2019/Malayalam

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Lijo Jose Pellissery
Why FiC recommends?
1) Jallikattu isn’t an unusual movie just for the sake of it. On the outset it may look like just another ambitious visual narration of a long-running political situation in few southern states of India. But Jallikattu is about many more things – animal politics, madness of masculinity, human monstrosity and more.
2) With each movie, Lijo Jose is just raising the expectations on his movies and Jallikattu is the latest addition to it.
3) Does that rouge buffalo on the run in this movie an allegory for the ‘system/society on the run’ in India? quite possible!

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Shatranj Ke Khilari /1977/Hindi & Urdu

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Satyajit Ray

Why FiC recommends?

1) Ray’s first Hindi language movie that tells the story of two wealthy men immersed in the play of chess that they become numb and heedless about the happenning in their surrounding.
2) Undoubtedly a timeless classic for Ray’s formidable deftness for the pick of subject which remains relevant in any timeline its watched.
3) This film credits some big names in performance space like Sanjeev Kumar, Saeed Jaffrey, Shabana Azmi, Amjad Khan meets the right chord with the viewer.

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Aparajito/1956/Bengali

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Satyajit Ray

Why FiC recommends?

1) Second instalment from Ray’s Apu trilogy, this is the continuation of Apu’s saga from where Pather Panchali ends, rightly could be called as India’s best coming of age narrative.
2) The way it penetrates the psyche of an adolescent and slowly unsnarls the vulnerability, seek for stability and identity through the eyes of Apu is the journey to experience.
3) Undoubtedly one of the best work from the Master who is known for his prestigious adroitness in bringing ordinary life and people onscreen.
4) Music by Ravi Shankar

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Ganashatru/1989/Bengali

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Satyajit Ray

Why FiC recommends?

1) When Ray faced with harsh criticism for his work ‘Devi’ he answered the public outcry through Indian adaptation of “An Enemy of the People”
2) Brilliant in its depiction of the phrase “Religion is an opium of the people”
3) This piece of art paired up with some brilliant performance by Soumitra Chatterjee, Dhritiman Chatterjee and Mamata Shankar makes an exemplary watch.

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Nayak /1966/Bengali

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Satyajit Ray

Why FiC recommends?

1) One of the original screenplay written by Ray himself narrating the snippet from the life of a person who is an actor by profession.
2) Very effortlessley but delicately divulges the layer of an actor’s potrait till the point where everything is laid bare.
3) Uttam Kumar and Sharmila Tagore

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Gangs of Wasseypur/2012/Hindi

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Anurag Kashyap
Why FiC recommends?
(note: This FiC comment is on the world release of the film which combined both Part 1 & 2 with a total runtime of 5hr 21min)
1) This epic crime saga running across over seven decades and three generations is one of its kind in many ways. Although many filmbuffs tend to call it as Indian version of ‘Godfather’, it is more than that; even though crime sits at the center of the story there is abundance of reinvented sense of humor, satire, daring political comments and refreshing and well suited music throughout the length.
2) When the film ends it fills in a weird feeling of emptiness; by then you would understand ‘betrayal follows crime and both are part of a vicious cycle’
3) It also paved way to lot of super-talented actors towards Indian cinema circuit (just have a look at the cast!)

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Dev.D/2009/Hindi

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Anurag Kashyap
Why FiC recommends?
1) DevD can be considered as one of the major spotlights in contemporary Indian cinema. When regular Bollywood films were becoming too filmsy and parallel waves were not even trying to reach to masses, DevD came.
2) Dev (performed by Abhay Deol) is not a typical Bollywood hero with all God like qualities; he is just as confused as most of us are, but with a difference – he is weirdly expressive, self-destructive and a drug addict without guilt.
3) The triangular (love?) story of Dev-Paro-Leni is a difficult yet delightful watch.
4) Amit Trivedi deserves a special mention for his brilliant music composition that gels so well with the flow of the story and covers so many genres including rock and jazz.

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Thayi Saheba/1997/Kannada

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Girish Kasaravalli
Why FiC recommends?
1) A unique story where the protagonist expresses her motherhood by sacrificing it.
2) The film speaks of transitions of mindsets in a new born modern post-independence era of India.

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Kraurya/1995/Kannada

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Girish Kasaravalli
Why FiC recommends?
1) An old woman indulged in her orthodox routine with a knack for storytelling from a small village feels left out in an Urban atmoshphere.
2) Though the film title literally means ” Violence ” in English, it does not explicitly show any kind of brutality. All the violence is internal.

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Dweepa/2002/Kannada

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Girish Kasaravalli
Setting: Rural
Why FiC recommends?
1) Backed by a stunning performance by graceful Soundarya, the film effectively brings out the conflict between the faith and pragmatism.
2) The film is a powerful adaptation of Na Dsouza’s Novel by the same name.

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Ghatashraddha/1977/Kannada

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Girish Kasaravalli
Setting: Rural
Why FiC recommends?
1) Based on eminent Kannada writer U R Ananthmurthy’s Short Story by the same name, the film deals with the ostracism of a young woman who transgresses the sexual system of a conventional Brahminical life.
2) The film moves with a perspective of a young protagonist at his puberty under the mean clutches of a forced faith, exposed to self-doubt.

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Kattradhu Thamizh/2007/Tamil

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Ram
Why FiC recommends?
1) This film is a gripping emotional journey of the protagonist, wherein each event has a point to make.
2) The film lives up to the vision of the debutante director Ram (now he is an important Tamil filmmaker) – He is able to bring out his angst against the ills of the society quite effectively without any hesitation.

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Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu/2016/Kannada

Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu/2016/Kannada

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Hemanth Rao

Why Fic recommends?
1) To be watched for its beautiful narration of father – son relationship as the time move, delicate potrayal of mental illness and being vocal about it is something rare in mainstream movies which is appreciable.
2) Anant Nag’s mesmerizing peformance is the major highlight of the movie, his transition into the skin of Venkob Rao truly makes the viewer connect with his every essence of emotions and innocence.
3) This is one such movie that anybody could keep revisiting as it makes its viewers slowly and steadily absorb in ones own nostaligic memory lane.

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Kumbalangi Nights/2019/Malayalam

Kumbalangi Nights/2019/Malayalam

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Madhu C. Narayanan
Written By: Syam Pushkaran
Why Fic recommends?
1) This gem is an endearing tale of bond, family and relationship that beautifully and slowly unveils magnificent characters with its narration.
2) Primarily to be watched for Fahad Fasil’s captivating performance along with Soubin, Shane, Anna Ben, Srinath almost every cast fill life to their characters with their extraordinary acting prowess.
3) In surface what seems to be as a feel good beautiful drama about dysfunctional family deep inside also highlights various social issues like toxic musculinity, mental health, family bond in its core.
4) Music by Sushin Shyam is an added jewl to this beauty.

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Pratidwandi/1970/Bengali

Pratidwandi/1970/Bengali

FiC Rating 5/5
Dir: Satyajit Ray
Why Fic recommends?
1) Masterpiece by Master film maker who explores protagonist’s identity crisis amid his goal oriented siblings, meanwhile also holding a mirror to then Kolkata city that carried a title to be most advanced and educated society midst of its hidden grey area.
2) Unlike any other contemporary works Ray never hesitats to unveil the weaker side of the protagonist exploring his inner turmoil and conflict before settling and finding the conclusion.
3) This work of art is the clear example showcasing Ray’s ahead of time approach and style in filmmaking.

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Pather Panchali/1955/Bengali

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Satyajit Ray Setting: Rural
Why FiC recommends?
1) A unique Indian footstep on the world of Cinema, subtly documenting common and raw human intricacies.
2) It brings out a family with adorable characters and how the young protagonist Apu’s sense of life evolves over a period of time.

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Naayi Neralu/2006/Kannada

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Girish Kasaravalli
Why FiC recommends?
1) Not all novel-based films do justice to the original work. But Kannada director Girish Kasaravalli has a track record of giving some of the greatest film adaptations of novels. This one is no exclusion. (It is a popular work by SL Bhyrappa)
2) Eventhough the central theme is ‘reincarnation’, what makes the film thoroughly engaging is the chain of incidents around the same.
3) Right from the beginning the film grabs the audience into its own world, thanks to the cast for their realistic and captivating performance.

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Charulata/1964/Bengali

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Satyajit Ray
Why FiC recommends?
1) It is a delicate tale of marriage complacency which primarily deals with the loneliness and the umpteen desires of a rich housewife, Charulata.
2) It is based on Rabindranath Tagore’s Novel, Nastanirh. It is one of the rare pieces of cinema which tries to explore the ‘female
-gaze’ on the society independently.

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Mahanagar (The Big City)/1963/Bengali

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Satyajit Ray
Setting: Urban
Why FiC recommends?
1) Director Satyajit Ray, explores how a changing Calcutta of the mid 1950s imposes itself upon the comfortable routines of an orthodox family.
2) This humanist film is backed by an extremely adorable yet bold performance by Madhabi Mukherjee.

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Ghamak Ghar/2019/Maithili,Hindi

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Achal Mishra
Setting: Rural
Why FiC recommends?
1) A rare slice-of-life drama coming from India, where a ‘home’ in a village acts as the protagonist. This gem of a film effortlessly pumps in nostalgia – so much so that – if you’re someone with your roots in a village, you may start feeling guilty once the movie ends! (be careful!!)
2) To see this ‘home’ stands still and witness three generations pass through it- is a heart-whelming experience yet somehow painful. In my opinion a full on 5-star film!
Note: If you’re a filmmaker have a close look into this amazing cinematography, where the film embodies three different looks in its runtime!

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Bhonsle/2018/Hindi,Marathi

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Devashish Makhija

Why FiC recommends?
1) After spine chilling debut ‘Ajji’, Mr.Makhija’s 2nd feature also follows thematically the same path to bring out the filth in the society.
2) The central plot is around the never ending ‘insider-outsider’ conflict that Mumbai has been bearing since decades. Manoj Bajpayee who is also the co-producer of the film, gives yet another stellar performance on screen.
3) This slow paced film uses only four major characters (a retired cop, a local wannabe politician, a nurse and her younger brother) but leaves behind a long lasting impression because of director’s uncompromising style of storytelling.

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Nasir/2019/Tamil

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Arun Karthick
Setting: Town
Why FiC recommends?
1) Among all the cinema genres out there, there’s a special one – ‘important films’. These are the kind of films which reveal something important about the times we live in. Nasir deserves a place in this category.
2) The film captures a day of a common man. It starts with his morning, traverses through his monotonous uninteresting day and ends with.. okay, let me not add any spoiler.
3) Personally, I didn’t like the climax of this film, but at the same time I am well aware that a climax of that sort was important for the director to tell something solid.

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Amrutha Varshini /1997/Kannada

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Dinesh Baboo
Why FiC recommends?
1) A slow moving drama is one of the rare films made in India around the conflicts of love and its power in manipulating one’s mind.
2) Musically this is probably the best movie made in Kannada in the 90’s. If you’re a fan of Indian melody music – you’re going to like it for sure.

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Eeb Allay Ooo!/2019/Hindi

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Prateek Vats
Setting: Urban

Why FiC recommends?
1) A brilliantly layered satire astutely putting forward the tragic reality in which we live today. It points out how misplaced our priorities are through the eyes of a misfit migrant trying to earn a living in the cauldron of political activities in Delhi.
2) Never do you feel a tinge of artificiality seep into the performance of the cast, specially the protagonist played by Shardul Bharadwaj. In fact, the brilliant acting chops is what will keep you riveted and invested in the trajectory of the characters from the start to finish.

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Manasarovar / 2004 / English, Hindi

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Anup Kurian

Why FiC recommends?
1) A rare stroke of luck from a film is this brilliantly cast and staged by director Anup Kurian. There was plenty of wry humor, pathos, and atmosphere to keep any thoughtful viewer interested.
2) ┬áThis is genuinely a masterpiece rich with feelings, emotions, social commentary and visual artistry. An absolute must-watch, if you don’t love it, then check for a pulse.

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Sulemani Keeda/2013/Hindi

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Amit V Masurkar
Setting: Urban

Why FiC recommends?
1) The story of two friends who are trying their luck as script writers and hoping to make it big in Bollywood films. A very simple story yet very engaging.
2) Through pun and satire, the director wants to tell the world how absurd and unstructured the film industry usually runs in India.

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Nagarkirtan/2017/Bengali

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Kaushik Ganguly
Setting: Urban,Rural

Why FiC recommends?
1) Breaking free of stereotypical perspectives, this film plays with the themes of love, longing, lust and passion.Explores a new dimension of love, seldom seen in the gambit of Indian Cinema.
2) Digging into the transcendental love of Radha-Krishna, the relationship of Puti and Madhu will tug at your heartstrings, and will compel you to perceive the invisible tyranny of societal laws.

Note: The international title of the film is “The Eunuch and the Flute Player”

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Gali Guleiyan/2017/Hindi

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Dipesh Jain
Setting: Urban
Why FiC recommends?

1) A voyeuristic gaze on the maze like alleyways of old Delhi’s underbelly and a breathtaking psychological study of the frigid characters imprisoned inside the strangulating universe longing to break free from this confinement
2) The semi cloistered lives represent the different shadowy corners of a turbulent social structure distantly sharing an excruciating existence amidst harrowing urban isolation. The silence is not empty, rather it’s the quietude before storm and often relentless emotion erupts out of the screen and engulfs you completely.

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