Top 20 all-India films of 2019

Updated: Jan 12, 2020, 07:38 IST | Meenakshi Shedde | Mumbai

The Top 10 Films appeared in my column on January 5

Illustration/ Uday Mohite
Illustration/ Uday Mohite

MeenaHere's my Top 20 all-India and South Asian films of 2019 (11-20). The Top 10 Films appeared in my column on January 5.

11. Asuran by Vetri Maaran, Tamil: When a low caste farmer's son kills an upper caste landlord, his father (Dhanush) flees with the boy, as there will be hell to pay. Not in the league of his excellent Vada Chennai, but strong nonetheless. On Amazon Prime.

12. Jallikattu by Lijo Jose Pellissery, Malayalam: A ferociously kinetic film, it is about a whole village that chases after a bull that has escaped. It comments on how the lines between man and beast blur. Was at Toronto, London film festivals. On Amazon Prime.

13. Aamis (Ravening) by Bhaskar Hazarika, Assamese: On the delicate romance between a married doctor and young anthropology student studying meat eating habits in the North East. Marital fidelity drives the lovers to cross carnivorous limits. Was at Tribeca film festival. On MovieSaints.

14. Vinci Da by Srijit Mukherji, Bengali: A dark and twisted crime thriller involving a make-up artiste and a legal sharpie looking for a partner in crime, starring Ritwick Chakraborty and Rudranil Ghosh. On Amazon Prime.

15. The Red Phallus by Tashi Gyeltshen, in Dzongkha, Bhutan: This polished debut is about Sangay, a schoolgirl. Controlled by her father, who carves wooden phalluses for rituals, and raped by her married boyfriend, she explodes. It was at the Berlin Film Festival.

16. Gaadi: Children of the Sun by Prasanna Vithanage, Sinhala, Sri Lanka: When the Kandyan king defeats Sinhalese noblemen in 1814, their wives are handed over to outcasts. As Tikiri becomes the property of the low-caste Rodiya, the film comments on the caste system today. A co-production with India's Jar Pictures, crew includes Rajeev Ravi and Sreekar Prasad; it was at the Busan Film Festival.

17. Gamak Ghar (Village House) by Achal Mishra: Marvellous debut docu-fiction in which a joint family reunites at their ancestral home in Darbhanga, Bihar, over three periods. They pluck mangoes, gossip, and celebrate traditional festivals, till the house is eventually demolished. Was at the Mumbai film festival.

18. Birha (Absence) by Ekta Mittal, Hindi, Punjabi: This docu-fiction is an atmospheric evocation of what birha means to the lonely families left behind by migrants. Film was at Busan, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam.

19. Nimtoh (Invitation) by Saurav Rai, Nepali, India: Little Tashi and his granny guard the landlord's property in Darjeeling, and he hopes to be invited to the landlord's son's wedding. The film will be at the Rotterdam film festival. Rai's short Gudh was at Cannes.

20. Made in Bangladesh by Rubaiyat Hossain, Bengali, Bangladesh: About a young woman who becomes a union leader in a Dhaka garment factory. Was at the Toronto film festival, and released in 70 theatres in Europe in December.

Special mentions include Aparna Sen's Ghawre Bairey Aaj (Home and the World Today), Dhondup Tsering Gurung's Ama Khando (Nepal) and Sarmad Khoosat's Zindagi Tamasha (Pakistan); the last two were at the Busan film festival, where Khoosat's film won the Kim Ji-Seok Award.

Meenakshi Shedde is India and South Asia Delegate to the Berlin International Film Festival, National Award-winning critic, curator to festivals worldwide and journalist.

Reach her at meenakshi.shedde@mid-day.com

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