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...
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Documentaries are slowly gaining ground (read: bagging a commercial release) in the country. While the first half of 2014 saw interesting documentaries like Gulabi Gang and The World Before Her hitting the marquee, the second half too has some names to watch out for.
> Katiyabaaz: All those who tend to take a 24-hour power supply for granted, this documentary has been made keeping you in mind. Showcasing an India where loadshedding is a way of life, Katiyabaaz (read: powerless) has wowed many as it journeyed through the festival circuit.
> Proposition for a Revolution: Produced by Anand Gandhi (of Ship of Theseus fame) and directed by Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla, this forthcoming film follows the rise of the Aam Aadmi Party, culminating with its victory in the Delhi state elections.
> Placebo: A hybrid documentary dealing with the pressures of academic excellence, this award-winning film by Abhay Kumar will release sometime this year. With over 82 collaborators and names like Anurag Kashyap attached to the project, a proper Friday release is said to be in the pipeline.
Along mainstream and indie films, Marathi cinema too has proven its worth in recent times. Here’s a look at what to expect from it in the next few months…
> Siddhant: Directed by Vivek Wagh, who earlier made Shala (2011), Siddhant is an upcoming film that revolves around a young boy and his love for maths.
> Happy Journey: Set to release in September, this road movie is directed by Sachin Kundlkar (of Gandha fame) and it stars Atul Kulkarni, Priya Bapat and Pallavi Subhash.