While a dime a dozen mediocre films release at the Indian marquee every month, some promising movies directed by lesser-known directors often fail to find even an opening. This, despite them winning several accolades across the world during umpteen film festival rounds.
With Anand Gandhi’s Ship of Theseus finally securing a July release in the country after rave reviews from Toronto to Tokyo to Rotterdam albeit with support from Kiran Rao the focus is back on films of its ilk. Here’s taking a look at films that we think deserve a first-day, first-show, at least...
Miss Lovely (2012)
Ashim Ahluwalia directed this film about the C-grade (horror and porn film) industry of Mumbai from the ’80s. With Nawazuddin Siddiqui amongst the lead, the film competed in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and received positive reception. Later it was screened at several fests including Melbourne International Film Festival, winning further acclaim.
Current status: Facing some censor issues, the film is yet to win a tryst with box-office.
Starring Rajkumar Yadav (of Kai Po Che fame) in the title role, this Hansal Mehta film is produced by Anurag Kashyap and based on the life of lawyer and human rights activist, Shahid Azmi, who was assassinated in 2010 in Mumbai. The film had its world premiere at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival followed by screening at film festivals at Abu Dhabi, New York and Los Angeles.
Current status: The film was supposed to release in March but has been postponed.
After commercial successes like A Wednesday and Ishqiya, Naseeruddin Shah opted for a lead role in Michael. Produced by Anurag Kashyap and directed by debutant Ribhu Dasgupta, the film dealt with a father-son relationship and a journey the former takes to overcome his haunting past. It was screened at Toronto.
Current status: It’s been two years since its inception but it’s yet to witness the darkness of a commercial cinema hall.
Mumbai Cha Raja (2012)
Manjeet Singh's attempt at exploring the underbelly of Mumbai during the much-celebrated Ganesh festival was seen as a stark contrast to Slumdog Millionaire. However, it ended up as a global traveller. In fact, the film was the official selection at the Toronto International Film Festival 2012 followed by the Abu Dhabi Film Festival and MAMI.
Current status: After much delay, it’s ‘expected’ to release in September.
Valley of Saints (2012)
This Kashmiri language film marked US-based Musa Syeed’s directorial debut. A romantic film set in Dal Lake, Srinagar, raised environmental issues too. With untrained actors picked from local neighbourhood, the film won the Sundance Film Festival World Dramatic Audience Award in 2012. Before this endeavour, Peepli [Live] was the last Indian film to win an award at the event.
Current status: Musa is keen on a release but funding and backing remains an issue.
Sabal Singh Shekhawat's debut film Fireflies recently premiered at the New York Indian Film Festival in May. Starring Rahul Khanna and Monica Dogra, the film examines the relationship between two brothers and a tragedy that befell them fifteen years earlier. The indie effort managed to receive encouraging buzz.
Current status: A release in India is not yet confirmed.
The Bright Day (2012)
Shot extensively in Benares, the film directed by Mohit Takalkar, the film was showcased at Toronto. It’s about a restless young man in modern India who goes on a spiritual quest to find himself In India.
Current status: Unclear.
Directed by Vasan Bala, this crime thriller premiered at Cannes under the mentorship of Anurag Kashyap. Starring Gulshan Devaiah (of Shaitan fame) in a leading role, the film traversed across many film festivals in Europe later.
Current status: Unclear.