Best Movies of the New Millennium Streaming Now

By Pickle  May 2, 2020

I Am Kalam (Hindi, 2011)

Genre: Drama
Director: Nila Madhab Panda
Starring: Harsh Mayar, Gulshan Grover, Pitobash Tripathy, Beatrice Ordeix
Streaming on Netflix

A young boy works in a highway food joint but dreams of going school, fired by his love for books. He befriends a lonely prince who lives in a sprawling mansion. The growing bond between the two boys across the social and class divide that separates them opens doors for both.

High points: The relevance of its social message and the simplicity of its storytelling style

Little Zizou (Hindi/Gujarati/English, 2008)

Genre: Drama, Family
Director: Sooni Taraporevala
Starring: Boman Irani, Sohrab Ardeshir, Imaad Shah, Shernaz Patel, Zenobia Shroff, Dilshad Patel
Streaming on JioCinema

The scripter of acclaimed Mira Nair films such as Salaam Bombay and The Namesake made her directorial debut with this delightful drama about two feuding Parsi families in Mumbai and an 11-year-old soccer-crazy boy who dreams of meeting his idol Zinedine Zidane in person.

High points: Little Zizou is vibrant,touching, warm-hearted and uplifting, a rare believable cinematic portrait of the Parsi community

Paan Singh Tomar (Hindi, 2012)

Genre: Crime, Biography, Action
Director: Tigmanshu Dhulia
Starring: Irrfan Khan, Mahie Gill, Rajesh Abhay
Streaming on Netflix

By far one of the best biographical films ever made by a Mumbai director, Paan Singh Tomar eschews established storytelling conventions and delivers a punchy, deeply affecting real-life story of a champion athlete forced by rural inequities to become an outlaw.

High points: A top-draw performance by Irrfan Khan as the eponymous character and sure-handed scripting and direction

Qissa (Punjabi, 2013)

Genre: Drama, Fantasy
Director: Anup Singh
Starring: Irrfan Khan, Tisca Chopra, Tillotama Shome |
Streaming on YUPP TV

A victim of the Partition of India, desperate for a son to carry on the family name, drags his wife and youngest daughter into a destructive vortex. Director Anup Singh blends solid naturalism with surreal strokes to craft a haunting tale about the pitfalls of patriarchy.

High points: Superb acting by Irrfan Khan and the rest of the cast and afable-like tale that leaves a deep imprint on the mind

Stanley Ka Dabba (Hindi, 2011)

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family
Director: Amole Gupte
Starring: Partho A. Gupte, Numaan Sheikh, Abhishek Reddy
Streaming on Disney+hotstar

A children’s tale written and directed by Amole Gupte, who also plays one of the key onscreen roles. Set in a Mumbai school, the film is about a creative schoolboy who is loved by his teachers with the exception of one, who resents the fact that the protagonist’s friends share their lunch with him.

High points: The purity of the storytelling is bolstered by great performances by the young actors as well as the adult members of the cast

Super Deluxe (2019), Tamil

Director: Thiagarajan Kumararaja
Genre: LGBTQ, Dark Comedy
Starring: Vijay Sethupathi,Fahadh Faasil,Samantha Ruth Prabhu
Streaming on Netflix

Super Deluxe, proved beyond doubt that here was a fearless filmmaker capable of weaving pure magic with ideas, plot twists and images. The film orchestrates its multiple strands with awe-inspiring skill and an unfailing sense of drama that draws its strength from being both provocative and entertaining. The director throws four sub-plots into a giant, constantly whirring grinder and emerges with a film so fascinating and so wondrously inventive that one is caught by surprise at every turn.

High Points: Super Deluxe is testimony to what younger Tamil filmmakers are capable of as storytellers and craftsmen.

Swades (Hindi, 2004)

Genre: Drama
Director: Ashutosh Gowariker
Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Gayatri Joshi, Kishori Ballal
Streaming on Netflix

Written, produced and directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, Swades was a worthy follow-up to his Lagaan. It is justifiably regarded as one of the most ‘complete’ Bollywood films ever made. A NASA scientist of Indian origin returns to his roots and inspires his remote north Indian village to produce its own electricity.

High points: Shah Rukh Khan’s un-starry star turn; skilled blend of social philosophy and mainstream entertainment

Kaaler Rakhal (Bengali, 2009)

Genre: Drama
Director: Sekhar Das
Starring: Bimal Chakraborty, Usashi Chakraborty, Phalguni Chatterjee
Not available for streaming

A rare contemporary Bengali film that directly addresses the political skull duggery that is rampant in rural parts of the eastern Indian state, Kaaler Rakhal is about an itinerant performer who, owing to his poverty is sucked into a twister of ruthless exploitation by those in positions of power.

High points: Highlights a unique cultural aspect of Bengal while exposing the depredations of the political class

Shabdo (Bengali, 2013)

Genre: Drama
Director: Kaushik Ganguly
Starring: Ritwick Chakraborty, Raima Sen, Churni Ganguly
Not available for streaming

Shabdo (which, in Bengali, can mean either ‘word’ or ‘sound’) is the story of a Foley artist who is trapped in a world of ambient sound and becomes incapable of registering human voices around him, including that of his exasperated wife. An unconventional story told with skill, subtlety and sensitivity.

High points: Director Kaushik Ganguly’s handling of an unusual theme and lead actor Ritwik Chakraborty’s flawless performance

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