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10 INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED INDIAN FILMS THAT SHOULD BE ON YOUR MUST-WATCH LIST

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Whether you prefer romance, drama, comedy, or any permutation in between, there are certain films that you just have to see. Some will entertain, others will make you uncomfortable, but above all, they will make you ponder. Here are 10 such films that stood out for us and unless you want to leave this world without having experienced the best, these should be on your movie bucket list as well.

1. Lipstick Under My Burkha

If for nothing else, you must watch this film for Alankrita Srivastava’s bold attempt at exploring the sexual awakening and struggle of four small-town women. The performances by Konkana Sen and Ratna Pathak Shah are, as usual, stellar, but it is Aahana Kumra and Plabita Borathakur that impress with their debut performances. The feminist film has received a lot of hype owing to a ban put on its release by the Central Board of Film Certification and that is all the more reason to watch it—it’s definitely something that will have the conservatives’ knickers in a twist.  It was chosen by the Hollywood Press Association to be worthy enough for a Golden Globe. Besides, it has won several other international awards as well. It released on July 21, so now might be a good time to go watch it.

2.  Mukti Bhawan (2016)

Mukti Bhawan is a heart-warming story about the relationship between a father and his son. The film follows a reluctant son who must fulfil his father’s wish to breathe his last in the holy city of Varanasi. It is Subhashish Bhutani’s directorial debut, starring Adil Hussain, Lalit Behl, Geetanjali Kulkarni and Palomi Ghosh. It premiered at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival and received a 10-minute standing ovation. It ended up winning the Prix Enrico Fulchignoni by the UNESCO. For us, it is a must watch because of its emotional connect, beautiful screenplay and stellar performances.

3. Parched (2016)

Parched is a tale of four women who navigate their way through dangers, prejudice and discrimination, in a small village in Rajasthan to finally find their happiness. This film is to rural India what Pink is to the urban educated lot.  The film was directed by Leena Yadav and co-produced by Ajay Devgan. Parched premiered at the 40th Toronto International Film Festival in 2015. It deservedly won the festival’s Impact Award at Stockholm International Film Festival and was also awarded at the 14th annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles last year.

4.  Sairat (2016)

National award winning director Nagraj Manjule’s Sairat was an Indian Marathi musical romantic drama focusing on a young couple who  faced violence and oppression, because they belong to different castes. The film, starring Rinku Rajguru and Akash Thosar had won two prestigious awards  at the Lucas International Film Festival held in Frankfurt, Germany in 2016. This Marathi mega block-buster was also screened at 66th International Film Festival of Berlin.

5. Dhanak (2016)

Nagesh Kukunoor’s Dhanak was honoured with the Grand Prix for Best Feature at the 65th Berlin International  Film Festival. The film has also won the best film award at the Cinema in Sneakers Children Festival, Poland. Starring, Hetal Gada, Krrish Chhabria, Gulfam Khan and Vipin Sharma, it is a tale of a sister who takes her blind brother on a journey across Rajasthan in an attempt to meet Shah Rukh Khan, to fulfil a promise she made to him.

6. Waiting (2015)

Waiting is a 2015 Indian drama film, which unfolds the story of two people—Shiv (Naseeruddin Shah) and Tara (Kalki Koechlin)—who support each other through the ups and downs of life while their respective partners are healing at a hospital in Kochi. The film, directed by Anu Menon, was premiered at Dubai International Film Festival in 2015. It was also screened at the closing gala of the London Asian Film Festival, where Menon won the Best Director Award.

7. Masaan (2016)

Neeraj Ghaywan’s directorial debut Masaan premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, and won two awards – FIPRESCI International Jury of Film Critics’ Prize and Promising Future prize. It was also awarded at the 14th annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA). The film starring Richa Chadda, Sanjay Mishra, Vicky Kaushal and Shweta Tripathi in the lead roles, follows four lives that are very different yet end up becoming connected because of death. Masaan was treated to a 5 minute-long standing ovation during its screening  by the hard to please Cannes audience.

8. Titli (2015)

Co-produced by Aditya Chopra and Dibakar Banerjee, Titli was  screened  at the UnCertain Regard section of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Directed by Kanu Behl, the film bagged the Best First Foreign Film Award conferred by the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics 2016. The film, which is about three brothers, captures the volatility of a society where violence lies just below the surface. It stars Ranvir Shorey, Amit Sial, Shashank Arora, Lalit Behl and Shivani Raghuvanshi in lead roles. It has also picked up numerous awards at International Film Festivals including Seattle South Film Festival, Gijon International Film Festival in Spain, Hawaii, New York, Turkey and Bordeaux.

9. Court (2014)

Court is a 2014 courtroom Marathi drama film directed by Chaitanya Tamhane. It is about a folk singer accused of abetting the suicide of a manhole worker and his journey of justice through the Indian Judicial System. Apart from the National Film Award for best  feature film, the movie also won Best Film at 71st Venice International Films Festival. It also won many awards at Buenos Aries International film festival of Independent Cinema, Dublin Film Critics’ Awards and Hong Kong Asian film festival. The  film was also India’s official submission for the 88th Annual Academy Awards.

10. Killa (2014)

The National award winning Marathi film Killa won two awards at the Berlin Film Festival and was nominated at the Asia Pacific Screen awards for the Best Youth Feature Film. Starring Amruta Subahash, Archit Deodhar, Parth Bhalerao and Shrikant Yadav, it is the 3rd Marathi film to be premiered and to compete in Berlin.The film deals with the universal conflict of migration and how it affects the lives of people, especially children. It also won the Silver Gateway Award at the 16th Mumbai International Film Festival (MAMI).

Anything we missed out in the list that you wanted to see? Let us know in the comments below. And if you’ve not seen any of these films, what are you still doing reading?!