Meenakshi Shedde: Top 10 Indian films of 2018

Dec 31, 2017, 06:12 IST | Meenakshi Shedde

Here are my recommendations of the Top 10 Indian and South Asian Films to watch out for in 2018:

Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays the role of the noted writer Manto, set to release in 2018
Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays the role of the noted writer Manto, set to release in 2018

Meenakshi Shedde1. GARBAGE by Q, Hindi, English: Explosive film on a right-wing, Brahmin, online troll, who lives with a woman he has enslaved. He is exploited by a baba type, and plays deadly games with a slut-shamed woman. Devastating, courageous and provocative critique of fundamentalist politics, patriarchy, misogyny and cyber-bullying in India today. Film likely to be famously underground in India; Q ups the ante big time since Gandu (2010).

2. MANTO by Nandita Das, Urdu, Hindi: On Saadat Hasan Manto, one of our finest South Asian writers, especially on Partition. As a Muslim, Manto left Bombay for Pakistan during Partition, but found his voice suppressed in conservative Pakistan. The film indirectly comments on India's current politics. Nawazuddin is superb as Manto.

3. MUKKABAAZ (The Brawler) by Anurag Kashyap, Hindi: Kashyap's most mainstream film yet, is a powerful critique of caste politics in sports. Vineet Singh plays a Dalit boxer who wants to be a champ and get a job via the sports quota, but finds the system loaded against him. Was at the Toronto Film Festival.

4. Bombay Talkies 2: Love and Lust, Hindi, English: This omnibus film directed by Anurag Kashyap, Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar and Dibakar Banerjee, is a cheeky, pensive exploration of love and passion. Lively, if uneven, sequel to Bombay Talkies (2013). Radhika Apte shines.

5. 2.0 by Shankar, Tamil: Stars Rajinikanth and Akshay Kumar. Bollywood needs to go down south to push the frontiers, as Baahubali showed. Dr Vaseegaran must reassemble Chitti the robot to stop the winged monster. So keenly awaited is this sci-fi sequel to Enthiran (Robot), that its making-of has got 10 million views on Youtube.

6. Kaala by Pa Ranjith, Tamil: Kaala flees to Mumbai from Tirunelveli, and becomes a Dharavi slumlord-turned-gangster. Dhanush produces this film, that follows Ranjith's Kabali; the film also stars Anjali Patil.

7. In the Shadows by Dipesh Jain, Hindi: Manoj Bajpayee puts in a compelling performance in this psychological drama about a man trapped in old Delhi and in his mind. Was at Busan.

8. Balekempa (The Bangle Seller) by Ere Gowda, Kannada: Quietly assured debut by Gowda, who was co-writer and more for Thithi. When Kempanna and his wife are constantly hounded because they are childless, he coolly finds an unorthodox solution that gets everybody to shut up. Hopefully. 

9. Ee.Ma.Yau. (RIP) by Lijo Jose Pellissery, Malayalam: Superb, melancholic yet feisty, from the director of the delightful Angamaly Diaries. Vavachan gets into a fight and dies. Son Eesy, who had promised his dad a funeral fit for a king, finds that neither the police nor the church will let him be. There's
an endless funeral procession in the rain, with melodrama and funeral music, rather like a Mallu Emir Kusturica.

10. Nagarkirtan (The Eunuch and the Flute Player) by Kaushik Ganguly, Bengali: Tender, tragic love story, between a flautist and a beautiful transgender, with mythological undertones. With Ritwick Chakraborty and Riddhi Sen.

Would definitely include: Haobam Paban Kumar's Lady of the Lake (Manipuri); Ravi Jadhav's Nude (a tragic mother-son story, Marathi); Nagraj Manjule's Jhund (working title, Hindi), starring Amitabh Bachchan; Sarmad Masud's My Pure Land (UK), shot in Pakistan, in Urdu, and Thundenek (Her. Him. The Other; Tamil, Sinhala, Sri Lanka); an omnibus film by Prasanna Vithanage, Asoka Handagama and Vimukthi Jayasundara; and Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmavati. Of course.

Meenakshi Shedde is South Asia Consultant to the Berlin Film Festival, award-winning critic, curator to festivals worldwide and journalist. Reach her at meenakshishedde@gmail.com.

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