Not-to-Miss Regional Cinema Made in India

What can be more meaningful for an Indian film lover than watching films during the holidays? Yes it is the month-long holiday and I have promised myself to watch atleast 25 films of different languages. For a start, I decided to watch some regional language films produced in India. Regional films are known for their smaller budgets but are also less frenzied about their star culture, with the exceptions of Hindi, Telugu and Tamil cinema. This allows filmmakers to put the content and story at the center of the films and experiment with different kinds of movies. Regional films are also rooted in specific cultures and deal with local issues. Here are 5 films that I enjoyed watching.

Sairat (Marathi)
I was mortified, frozen to the chair I was seated on. I felt traumatized. I couldn't believe it had happened right in front of my eyes (on the screen). My head was spinning. I felt that I could have done something. I felt I could have helped them. The toddler’s cries were piercing my heart. It should not have happened. The last 5-minute silence which the director used as a tool to convey his scene was nothing short of a brilliant story-telling technique. That silence was deafening. Too painful to bear. That silence indeed was intentionally displayed to silence our inflated ego.


And this was exactly the impact of Sairat’s climax. The last 10 minutes of the film shattered me. I have always mentioned that Indian films should never be anything more than 2hours 15 minutes. But this 3-hour film made a lot of sense for its length. It wasn’t just a film. It was a 3-hour narration that made us lived through the couple’s lives. It is no surprise that Sairat is the greatest Marathi film ever made, with a massive profit of 100-crores.
Film Critic Baradwaj Rangan aptly reviewed this film –“He takes your money and sends you home with a slap on the face”
A love story made in a regional language that appeals to any human being on earth. A definite must-watch.

Click here to watch Sairat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSaNUzM4LPQ

Bela Seshe (Bengali)

I have not seen any Tamil film with this story line- An old couple after 49 years of marriage decided to divorce. What happens to them? What happens to their families? How do they react to it? Why did the man initiate the end of the marriage?
A beautiful family drama that touches a lot on family values, marriage vows and the significance of ‘touch’ between couple was very well-handled in this film. When the woman after 49 years of togetherness claims that marriage becomes a set of habits after a certain point, is that something we accept? Why?

With the conflicts between the couple, their own son and daughters also straighten their own relationships with their respective spouses. The beauty of Bela Seshe lies in its dialogues. Even though, there was a lot of ‘telling’ than ‘revealing’, I guess that brought out the intended the notion.
A perfect weekend night film to be watched with the family!

Click here to watch Bela Seshe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQEn8mnfeK0

Jacobinte Swargarajyam (Malayalam)

A man experiences a loss in his business that affects the family financially and emotionally. The struggles they face and how they overcome those hardships is the paper-thin storyline of JS. However, what makes it a sensitive family entertainer is the authenticity and the scenes rooted in reality portraying the unforgettable tales of a struggling country- Dubai.

A true story indeed. It could have been a page long story of any self-help books. Surprisingly, director Vineeth saw the potential in this tale. The way he weaved the tale, arranging the lighter and the turbid moments at regular intervals to make it an arresting narrative rather than delving deep into the heart of the issue was Vineeth’s strength. Another fact that surprised me was how the rising superstar of Malayalam cinema, Nivin Pauly, chose to be part of this film. In most of the scenes, he was just simply reacting to the situations, mostly standing at the background when his father was dealing with the businessmen. Clearly showing his craving to be part of good films, no matter how much screen space the role holds, Nivin Pauly is indeed the new superstar for a reason.

A family entertainer that magnifies the importance of family unity and love.


Kapoor and Sons (Hindi)

There is a quarrel at home especially between your ageing parents, and you as an adult, try to eradicate the conflict, but you just got into more ‘shit’. There is no calmness after the storm. You only see more storms after the first storm. And you officially declare your family as a dysfunctional one. Fret not, you are absolutely right. Every indian family is a perfectly dysfunctional one. Our parents don’t accept that but we know the truth. Kapoor & Sons is an honest effort at portraying relationships and family dysfunctions. So when you see two brothers and their parents go through a series of bad decisions and their emotional repercussions you can only draw parallels to real-life experiences. It’s like Kapoor & Sons recreates a reality and it does so with dexterity and realism.

This film is all about misunderstandings, regrets and joyfulness, laughter, tears and some phenomenal acting. My favourite was Rishi Kapoor! Kapoor clan too is just one dinner-time talk away from reconciliation, but yet at the same time, also just one small act away from completely unravelling into total disintegration.
Watch this 'dysfunctional' family drama along with yours!

Click here to watch Kapoor and Sons: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IaYPx04JYI

U-turn (kannada)

A few motorcyclists take illegal u-turns at a flyover. The intern who investigates that, gets into deep trouble. A supernatural thriller that makes you move to the edge of the seat. Twists and Turns are in abundance. These are types of films known to promote intense excitement, suspense, a high level of anticipation, ultra-heightened expectation, uncertainty, anxiety, and nerve-wracking tension. U-turn offers you this edge-of-seat experience to a reasonable extent. There were a few clich├ęs at parts. However, the film does hook you largely. Not a fan of horror or supernatural films, but U-turn did impress me quite a lot.


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When we hear the term “Indian Cinema”, our minds immediately think of the glamorous cinematic mammoth that is Bollywood. Yet after watching all these films, it is clearly evident how rich Indian cinema is. Looking forward to fulfilling my wish of watching 25 films. 5 down, 20 more to go!

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