2014 was a fantastic year for indie cinema with several films getting theatrical releases. What was even more interesting to note was the backing that some of these films received from renowned production houses, giving the films a much-deserved platform to reach audiences. On their part, audiences received these fresh concepts and new filmmakers with heartening reviews, both critically and commercially. These films included Nitin Kakkar’s Filmistaan, Ashim Ahluwalia’s Miss Lovely, Amit Masurkar’ Sulemani Keeda, Deepti Kakkar and Fahad Mustafa’s Katiyabaaz amongst others.

The trend continues this year with several indie films set for release. After having made a mark at film festivals around the globe, these films are now ready to charm Indian audiences.

Here’s a look at five Indian indie films that we eagerly await.

A still from Titli

Titli: Titli is a Bollywood style drama set against the stark realities of life. The gripping story captured the interest of filmmakers Dibaker Banerjee and Aditya Chopra who came on board as producers. Kanu Behl’s directorial debut revolves around a criminal family set in the underbelly of Delhi and showcases the psychological violence that lies beneath the farce of a happy family. The cast of the film includes names like Ranvir Shorey, Amit Sial and Amit Behl. Titli premiered in the Un Certain Regard section of the prestigious 67th Cannes Film Festival. The film has won several awards including Best Film at Seattle South Asian Film Festival and Best Film at SAIFF, New York amongst others. With the unique plot and well-known names associated with it, Titli sounds very promising.


A still from Court

Court: Chaintanya Tamhane makes an impressive debut with the Marathi film Court that highlights the strange working of India’s justice system. The film captures the happenings of a courtroom and its effect on the common people in a realistic manner without being preachy. The cast has received rave reviews despite the fact that they comprise non-professional actors. Court had a world premiere at the Venice film Festival and went on to bag two awards there. It has also taken home honors at Turkey’s Antalya Golden Orange Festival, the Mumbai Film Festival, the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival and several others. Artscope, the art film label of Paris-based Memento Films, has acquired the film. The theatrical release of Tamhane’s film is highly awaited.


A still from Margarita with a Straw

Margarita with a Straw: A film that has created much anticipation with its trailer is Margarita with a Straw, directed by Shonali Bose of Amu fame. The film features Kalki Koechlin as a college student who suffers from cerebral palsy. It is the story of her everyday struggles and journey of discovering her sexual feelings and desires. Inspired by Shonali’s cousin, Malini, who has cerebral palsy, Margarita with a Straw is courageous and inspirational; not one seeking sympathy and that is what makes it special. Kalki’s performance in the film is said to be compelling, further supported by noted actor Revathy’s poignant role as her mother. The film produced by Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, Jakhotia Group, Ishan Talkies and ADAPT had its world premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. Kalki Koechlin was also adjudged Best Actress at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival last year. A motivating and refreshing take on the strength of a woman, Margarita with a Straw is all set to enthrall viewers.

A still from Liar’s Dice

Liar’s Dice: Directed by Geetu Mohandas, Liar’s Dice deals with the alarming issue of labour migration and the atrocities they encounter. Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Geetanjali Thapa play the lead roles in this film set along the Himachal-Tibet border. Liar’s Dice received two awards at the 61st National Film Awards including Best Actress for Geetanjali Thapa and Best Cinematography for Rajeev Ravi. It was also India’s official entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category for the 2015 Oscars though it did not make it to the final nominations. Geethu Mohandas’ first Hindi film had its world premiere at the Mumbai Film Festival in 2013 and was also selected for screening at the Sundance Film Festival. Which such accolades to its credit, Liar’s Dice definitely merits a watch.

A still from Qissa

Qissa: Anup Singh’s Qissa is an international co-production between India, Germany, Netherlands and France and the first film to be shot under the Indian-German co-production deal. The Punjabi film revolves around Umber Singh whose desire to have a male child results in him bringing up his youngest daughter as a boy and the complications that ensue. Set in India’s partition era, the film takes a larger look at the dominating patriarchal system in the country. Qissa has a noteworthy cast comprising actors Irrfan Khan, Tillotama Shome and Tisca Chopra. It won the Netpac Award for World/International Asian Film at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. Anup Singh was awarded Best Director while Irrfan and Tillotama, named best actors at the International Film Festival of Queensland. Produced by PVR Directors Rare and NFDC India, Qissa is a riveting story that will surely draw audiences to the theaters.

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