The Hindi film industry is not just about stars and their commercial films. True, they continue to reign over Bollywood and most of their projects see them laughing all the way to the bank, but that's not to say that small budget films haven't done well at all. For what it's worth, over the years, many such films have carved a niche for themselves.

This fast-growing category has films with ambitious storylines, notwithstanding the smaller pockets of their producers. So while the first half of this year saw the release of films such as Ashim Ahluwalia's Miss Lovely and Rajat Kapoor's Ankhon Dekhi, the latter half looks even more promising as a wider variety is on offer. hitlist walks you through some of the low-budget ventures that you can look forward to this year...

Monsoon Shootout
Monsoon Shootout
Director:
Amit Kumar
Lowdown: Starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Tannishtha Chatterjee in lead roles, this film has done the rounds of the festival circuit for about two years now. Earning rave reviews for its honest portrayal of the crime world in Mumbai, this noir thriller is said to release sometime in November.

Margarita, with a Straw
Margarita, with a Straw
Director:
Shonali Bose
Lowdown: Shonali earlier gave us Amu (2005), and her latest cinematic outing is a confident take on mental illness. Starring Kalki Koechlin as a person suffering from cerebral palsy, the film — slated to release this year — throws light on her everyday struggles.

Titli
Titli
Director: Kanu Behl
Lowdown: This was the only Indian feature film in contention at the prestigious Cannes film festival. Competing for the Camera d'Or, it didn't fail to win audiences over. Though this project is backed by big banners, it centres around young talent that hasn't starred in a full-length film before.

Ugly
Ugly
Director:
Anurag Kashyap
Lowdown: This psychological thriller had its premiere at Cannes before heading to several film festivals across the globe. Critics may have been varied in their opinion about the 'rawness' of the film but its shock value is being looked forward to. Armed with a stellar ensemble, the film will release in September.

Pizza
Pizza
Director:
Akshay Akkineni
Lowdown: The official Hindi remake of a hit Tamil film, Pizza has already been remade in Kannada and Bengali so far and Bejoy Nambiar (of Shaitan fame) is co-producing this project. A horror film starring relative newcomers, it will release in the third week of July.

Sulemani Keeda
Sulemani Keeda
Director:
Amit Masurkar
Lowdown: The film is about two young writers waiting to get a break in the big bad world of films. This comedy stars Naveen Kasturia and Mayank Tewari. Interestingly, Masurkar's debut feature film has already earned good reviews at the Mumbai Film Festival and at the Goa Film Bazaar.