There are no straight answers. But, some of the best movies of the New Millenium, including films that won the National Film Awards and films premiered international film festivals have found no space in the streaming platforms. Some of the titles are available through DVD rentals and servers of film festivals, but not for streaming. We would like comments from film lovers and filmmakers. Send your comments at email@example.com
Aadmi Ki AuratAur Anya Kahaniyan (Hindi, 2009)
Genre: Drama Director: Amit Dutta Starring: Ashok Chaudhary, Bramhaswaroop Mishra, Gagan Singh Seth Not available for streaming
Made by one of India’s most fiercely independent filmmakers, Amit Dutta, this is an uncompromising and intriguing series of three episodes that explore the relationship between men and women and between humans and the spaces they inhabit and the objects that surround them.
High points: Cinema at its most rigorous and pure and marked by a vision steeped in a keen understanding of visual poetry
Adaminte Makan Abu (Malayalam, 2011)
Genre: Drama Director: Salim Ahamed Starring: Salim Kumar Zarina Wahab Not available for streaming
Adaminte Makan Abu (Abu, Son of Adam) is about a poor perfume seller who has only one aspiration left in life – he wants to visit Mecca. He sets about putting together the resources he needs to make the trip but his mission is not as simple as it seems.
High points: Effortless storytelling;evocative cinematography (Madhu Ambat), a flawless screenplay and a pitch-perfect central performance (Salim Kumar)
Ajeyo (Assamese, 2014)
Genre: Drama Director: JahnuBarua Starring: Rupam Chetia, Jupitora Bhuyan, Kopil Bora Not available for streaming
Assam’s leading director JahnuBarua’s Ajeyo (Invincible) is an adaptionof Arun Sharma’s award-winning novel to narrate a tale set in the years before India’s Partition. An idealistic young man in a small village fights social ills against all odds. In present times, his granddaughter, a senior police officer, continues the crusade.
High points: A powerful story told with unwavering control and a sense of how history is never a thing of the past
Arekti Premer Galpo (Bengali, 2010)
Genre: Drama Directed: Kaushik Ganguly Starring: Rituparno Ghosh, Jisshu Sengupta, Indraneil Sengupta, Raima Sen, Baishe Shrabon Not available for Streaming
A sensitive and incisive portrayal of transgender individuals in a conservative society, Kaushik Ganguly’s ArektiPremerGalpo (Just Another Love Story) focuses on a filmmaker who sets out to document the life and work of a real-life actor known for playing female characters in Bengal’s folk theatre.
High points: Multi-layered screenplay, believable characters, insightful portrayals
Asthamayam Vare (Malayalam, 2014)
Genre: Drama, Suspense Director: Sajin Babu Starring: Prakruthi Dutta Mukheri, Shilpa Kavalam, Sanal Aman, Joseph Mapilacherry, Shakkir Not available for streaming
A debutant director pulls an unusual rabbit out of the hat – a Malayalam film without any background score and minimal dialogue. Two boys are arrested after the death of a choir singer in a seminary. What follows is a fragmented narrative that takes place in an unspecified time and location.
High points: Its abstract but evocative setting and the deep, resonant exploration of man’s relationship with nature
Celluloid (Malayalam, 2013)
Genre: Drama Director: Kamal Starring: Prithviraj, Sreenivasan, Mamta Mohandas, Nedumudi Venu, Chandni Not available for Streaming
Director Kamal’s recreation of the life and struggles of the father of Malayalam cinema, J.C. Daniel, Celluloid is solidly crafted biopic that brings to the fore rarely discussed aspects of the early years of cinema in Kerala and their deleterious impact on Daniel’s future.
High points: Prithviraj’s sensitive portrayal of Daniel’s character and a well-researched screenplay
Chauthi Koot (Punjabi, 2015)
Genre: Drama, History Director: Gurvinder Singh Starring: Suvinder Vicky, Gurpreet Bhangu, Rajbir Kaur Not available for streaming
Set during the Sikh separatist movement of the 1980s, ChauthiKoot (The Fourth Direction) blends two stories by Punjabi writer Waryam Singh Sandhu. It captures the fear and foreboding that paralyzed people caught in the crossfire between Khalistani militants and government security forces.
High points: Use of striking minimalism to drive home the cataclysmic effect of politically-inspired violence on ordinary, innocent lives
Court (Marathi/Gujarati/Hindi/English, 2014)
Genre: Legal drama Director: Chaitanya Tamhane Starring: Vira Sathidar,Vivek Gomber, Geetanjali Kulkarni, Pradeep Joshi, Usha Bane, Shirish Pawar Not available for streaming
First-time director Chaitanya Tamhane lays bare the ways of the Indian legal system, mirrored in the hapless plight of a folk poet charged with abetting the suicide of a municipal gutter cleaner. Court makes its point with great force and precision without resorting to conventional dramatic devices.
High points: Sure-handed direction, a fine script and convincing characters
Frozen (Hindi, 2007)
Genre: Drama Director: Shivajee Chandrabhushan Starring: Danny Denzongpa, Gauri, Rajendranath Zutshi, Aamir Bashir Not available for streaming
Shivajee Chandrabhushan’s Frozen is an austerely shot black-and-white film set in Ladakh. A sprightly teenage girl lives with her father, an apricot jam-maker, and her kid brother in a remote Himalayan village. Their life is disrupted when the army moves in and sets up camp yards from their home, bringing conflict within sniffing distance.
High points: Low-key, naturalistic filmmaking is backed by aptly restrained acting.
Kaalbela (Bengali, 2009)
Genre: Drama Director: Goutam Ghosh Starring: Parambrata Chatterjee, Paoli Dam, Santu Mukherjee, Soumitra Chatterjee Not available for streaming
Made largely in the style of the radical political Bengali films of the 1970s, Goutam Ghosh’s Kaalbela documents the unrest that led to the birth of the violent Naxalite movement. The film, based on a 1980s novel written as part of an epic trilogy by Samaresh Majumdar, vividly evokes a turbulent era.
High points: Seamless juxtaposing of past and present and rich visual and aural texturing
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
Kattradhu Tamizh (Tamil, 2007)
Genre: Drama, Mystery Director: Ram Starring: Jiiva, Anjali, Karunas Not available for streaming
Director Ram’s first film, Katradhu Tamizh is about a young postgraduate struggling to achieve his goals in a social and economic climate that is loaded against the common man. A series of setbacks push him over the edge of sanity. A story told with impressive control and grasp on the medium.
High points: Deceptively simple narrative and solid pivotal performance by Jiiva
Koormavatara (Kannada, 2012)
Genre: Drama Director: Girish Kasaravalli Starring: Dr. Shikaripura Krishnamurthy, Jayanthi, Apurva Kasaravalli Not available for streaming
In Koormavatara (Tortoise, A Reincarnation), an ageing government employee on the verge of retirement is offered a role in a television show in which he has to impersonate Mahatma Gandhi. The spirit of the Father of the Nation percolates into him and poses challenges that are anything but easy to confront.
High points: The film is marked by the quiet, meditative narrative style of Kannada cinema’s most celebrated auteur Girish Kasaravalli
Kutty Srank (Malayalam, 2010)
Genre: Drama Director: Shaji N Karun Starring: Mammootty, Kamalinee Mukherjee, Meenakumari, Wahiida, Saikumar, Siddique, Suresh Krishna Not available for streaming
A body of a nomadic mariner is washed ashore. A Buddhist nun, a Christian woman and a mute lady come forward to claim his body. The film weaves a complex, intriguing portrait of a character while highlighting different locations and cultural and seasonal variations.
High points: Visually stunning and multi-layered narrative; Mammootty’s stellar performance
Ma’ama (Moan) (2018), Garo
Director: Dominic Sangma Genre: Drama Starring: Phillip Sangma, Brilliant Marak, Hailin Sangma Not available for streaming
Dominic Sangma, who makes films in the Garo language, is a Meghalaya filmmaker who has begun to make waves worldwide. His debut feature, Ma’ama (Moan), a deeply personal film that probes loss and longing from the standpoint of an old man – the director’s father – grieving for his long-deceased wife, instantly marked him out as a storyteller of exceptional depth. He explores loss, mourning and reconciliation through the eyes of his father, who lost his wife 30 years ago and continues to live in the hope of being reunited with her one day.
High Points: The director’s uncompromising vision lends the film a meditative quality.
Natarang (Marathi, 2010)
Genre: Drama Director: Ravi Jadhav Starring: Starring, Atul Kulkarni, Sonalee Kulkarni, Kishor Kadam, Vibhavari Deshpande, Priya Berde Not available for streaming
Ravi Jadhav’s directorial debut Natarang, set in the world of Maharashtra’s folk theatre, is the story of a working class man who sets up a theatre. Destiny forces him to defy his own masculinity and society’s expectations to don the role of an effeminate character on the stage.
High points: Flawless adaptation of a successful novel and outstanding performances by Atul Kulkarni and Kishor Kadam
Ozhivudivasathe Kali (Malayalam, 2015)
Genre: Drama Director: Sanal Kumar Sasidharan Starring: Nistar Ahamed, Arun Nayar, Pradeep Kumar, Baiju Netto, Reju Pillai, Abhija Sivakala Not available for streaming
A fluidly constructed cautionary tale with a shocking finale, Ozhivudivasthe Kali (An Off-Day Game) peels off the veneer of bonhomie that five friends on a day off in the country project. As the day progresses, they begin to reveal their true colours – they aren’t edifying at all.
High points: With minimum fuss, the director paints a dark, disturbing portrait of caste and class divides in Kerala
Paruthiveeran (Tamil, 2007)
Genre: Epic, Drama, Romantic Director: Ameer Sultan Starring: Karthi, Priyamani, Saravanan, Ponvannan, Ganja Karuppu Not available for streaming
Set in a Tamil Nadu village, Paruthiveeran tells the story of a petty criminal’s fraught relationship with an upper-caste girl that ends in tragedy. The material is thin but the treatment more than makes up for what the film lacks in depth and range. Riveting all the way.
High points: Strong lead roles backed by solid storytelling.
Shahid (Hindi, 2013)
Genre: Biography, Drama Director: Hansal Mehta Starring: Rajkummar Rao, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Baljinder Kaur Not available for Streaming
Shahid brings to the big screen the life and career of human rights lawyer ShahidAzmi, who, in 2010, was killed in his Mumbai office by right-wing goons. The film lays the facts on the table without pointing accusatory fingers. What emerges is the vulnerability of all crusaders in a system that abhors status quo-breakers.
High points: Rajkumarr Rao’s restrained performance and Hansal Mehta’s sure-footed, empathetic approach to the character
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
Ship of Theseus (Hindi/English, 2013)
Genre: Drama Director: Anand Gandhi Starring: Aida Al-Khashef, Neeraj Kabi, Sohum Shah Not available for streaming
Among the most strikingly original films to come out of India in years, Ship of Theseus tells three interlinked stories about a visually impaired photographer, a terminally ill monk, and a pushy stockbroker. The film questions notions of identity, belief systems and ways of seeing.
High points: Seamless blend of disparate plot elements, outstanding direction and fine performances
Sonchidi (Hindi, 2011)
Genre: Sci-Fi Director: Amit Dutta Starring: Nitin Goel, Gagan Singh Sethi Not available for Streaming
Sonchidi is a complex, challenging film about a search by two travellers for a flying craft that they believe could liberate them from the cycle of life and death. The theme is of a piece with director Amit Dutta’s continuing cinematic exploration of the interplay of human memories, hopes, apprehensions and desires.
High points: Prahlad Gopakumar’s magnificent cinematography and Amit Dutta’s deeply meditative filmmaking style
Tamizh Padam (Tamil, 2011)
Genre: Comedy, Parody Director: C. S. Amudhan Starring: Shiva, Disha Pandey, Paravai Muniyamma Not available for streaming
Tamizh Padam is a laugh riot that takes parodic pot shots at the conventions of commercial Tamil cinema. Nobody (and nothing) is spared in this acerbic take on the bizarre devices that popular films resort to in order to tell bloated, larger-than-life stories.
High points: The courage of director C.S. Amudhan stands out – he takes on the sacred shibboleths of his own industry
Titli (Hindi, 2015)
Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller Director: Kanu Behl Starring: Ranvir Shorey, Amit Sial, Shashank Arora, Lalit Behl, Shivani Raghuvanshi Not available for streaming
Set in a Delhi in the grip of a ‘development’ frenzy, Titli is the story of a dysfunctional lower middle-class family grappling with inter-personal issues that frequently assume the form of brutal violence. The youngest of three siblings has an urge to escape this hellhole. But can he?
High points: Intelligent use of thriller elements to paint a precise socio-economic portrait of people on the fringes of a rapidly expanding megalopolis
Virumaandi (Tamil, 2004)
Genre: Action, Drama Director: Kamal Haasan Starring: Kamal Haasan, Abhirami, Pasupathy, Napoleon, Nassar Not available for streaming
Written, produced, directed by and starring Kamal Haasan, Virumaandi enjoys cult status and has spawned many imitations. The Rashomon-like plot revolves around two prisoners – one serving a life sentence, the other on death row – and unravels the circumstances that have brought them here.
High points: A gripping storyline and strong acting
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Pickle Berlin International Film Festival 2020 issue will be spread at the European Film Market (February 20-27, 2020)for the whole period of the market. This is 13th edition of Pickle’s India focused Berlinale issue.
Over a period of eight days at EFM, around 10,000 representatives of the international film and media industries – primarily producers, buyers and sales agents, distributors and financiers – come together to network, exchange, inform themselves and do business. As the first major film market of the year, the EFM is in a strong position and serves as a barometer and pacesetter for the new film year: new productions and developments, future-proof business models, contacts and contracts – it all starts here.
The EFM’s varied locations range from the beautiful Gropius Bau to elegant Marriott Hotel, modern Berliner Freiheit or the historic Zoo Palast. A professional infrastructure for exhibitors, state-of-the-art cinemas, numerous market premieres and outstanding service via close customer and partner relationships distinguish the film market as a first class trading platform.
Pickle has partnership with Euroepan Film Market and they will be distributing Pickle in trade bins at the market venues with other leading trades.
The editorial focus is to spread the strengths of the Indian film industry and connect to global peers. Pickle reach out to audio visual companies in over 50 countries; Targeted global buyers and distributors; Film Festivals and markets; scout locales and service providers, Animation, VFX, VR, production companies; Global companies looking at offshoring from India; Co-production seekers and location service providers.
Make your film, services visible and reach out to your target group.
In the next five years, if all goes well, then our existing library of nearly 500 live action movies titles in multiple genres would grow to 1000 titles and we would have created at least 10-12 new IPs in the kids space,” says Aneesh Dev, Director, Wide Angle Media
What is your objective and focus at MIPCOM 2019? This year at MIPCOM our objective is to exhibit new IPs to the international market in order to generate interest for our product amongst buyers from all over the world (including India).
We provide freshly created quality content for our younger audience across varied media platforms.
What are some of the new projects you are working on? Tell us some of the growth priorities for WAM. We have an impressive line-up of new IPs this MIPCOM which includes the 3D animated avatar of the live action series JUNIOR G- a very popular and highly successful TV serial on Indian television that has been aired on approximately 12 TV channels in India in various languages. Further, we aim at introducing the concept of animated motion comics through our IPs which include the adventurous and magical stories of Arjun and Garuda, Zudora and Bhoot and Friends.Through the tales of our characters, we wish to create a world of Indian superheroes.
What is the state of Indian animation industry today? Capture some of the trends emerging out of India which are exciting? Over the years, Indian animation industry has gained widespread acceptance and appreciation across borders. Indian animation companies have collaborated and worked with well-established production houses and created an international presence. With ever increasing demand for entertainment content in today’s time, there has been a significant growth in the demand for animated content as well- both domestically and internationally. The emerging trend in India suggests that TV channels are being proactive in developing interesting original IPs.
Taking all these factors into consideration, we believe that the future of Indian animation is now and it looks brighter than it ever has.
What are the three or four reasons why India has not be able to create a strong market for its own kids content? While Indian animation industry has a fantastic talent pool to create world class content and IPs, it faces certain challenges right from its inception. There is a heavy dependency on outsourcing work from overseas companies for their survival. There has been reasonable amount of demand from Indian audience for original Indian content and IPs, however, the demand for the same has been significantly lower from the broadcasters’ end up until 2-3 years ago. This is because most of the international broadcasters in India have been focused on dubbing and distributing their own foreign shows to monetize.
The advertising budget spent in the kids genre in India is relatively low.
Do you see good times for Indian kids content to expand global footprint? Give us some examples of why Indian animation content will excite overseas audience. Yes. You create a good product with quality that is at par with global players and the market will respond to you. In fact the market has never been hungrier for good content with broadcasters & OTT platforms having to cater to the fast increasing number of eye balls. Recently the popular kids series in India Chotta Bheem franchise was picked by Netflix which sparked interest amongst buyers in overseas market.
It is fantastic that you have moved from a buyer to a producer and distributor? Tell us about your journey and how you have been able to manage this transition. WAMINDIA has been one of the major content aggregators of movies and kids content since the last 14 years. We have dealt in more than 700 movies and around 300 hours of kid’s content. Prior to this, we were full time producers of live action TV shows and movies for almost 9 years. After producing around 32 live action TV shows across leading TV channels, we moved on to aggregation, distribution and licensing of content. A few years ago, we were the top producers of live action Kids shows and movies with big hit titles like Junior G (TV), Bhoot Unkle & Bhoot and Friends (Movies). We also distributed Pentamedia’s animation movies Pandavas, The legend Of Buddha, Alladdin amongst many other library titles.
Our experience as producers enriches our understanding of the production aspect of the content and our vast experience in aggregation, distribution and licensing enables us to understand the requirements and demand of content on the broadcasters’ and other media platforms’ side.
What are your views on the current VOD and OTT platforms? How are audiences (especially kids) engaging with content? One word that instantly comes to mind on hearing the term OTT is‘Future’. It is the rapidly growing present and definite future of all media platforms. With increasing access to smart phones and availability of high speed internet at affordable rates to the huge populations across geographies, the demand for videos has risen sky high and this is just the beginning. It is the most convenient media platform that is customized for individual demand and can be accessed anytime, anywhere.
Every leading TV channel & digital content distribution company either already have or are in the process of developing their own OTT platforms.
In fact OTT platforms are beginning to consider children as huge target markets with great potential. Most of the children use multiple digital mediums and spend a great deal of time on it nowadays. This trend isn’t lost upon the OTT platforms. You can take Netflix for instance. The OTT giant has its eyes set on exploring and providing quality content for children. It recently acquired StoryBots, a children’s story brand. Amazon Prime video has reportedly acquired the rights of Harry, an indigenous animation series. If that isn’t a clear indication towards growth in kids entertainment market, what else is?
What are the biggest challenges in the business today? We believe that the biggest challenge in production is to narrate a story well and create good content for the target audience. There is also the challenge of finding an appropriate buyer broadcaster / platform who would understand the potential for that content.
Do you see still life for linear television programming — especially in the kids segment? Linear television and broadcasting is a hardcore lifestyle amongst people and not to forget, the heart and soul of advertising business. So it is safe to say that TV broadcasting is not going anywhere.
The real question is, how well will it survive against the upcoming and growing VOD platforms? Digital media offers the tempting advantage of providing customized selection of content for consumers which can be viewed by them at their convenience a strength that television can neither overlook nor overcome. As digital media takes over, it becomes tougher and tougher for TV broadcasters to maintain their market position. In India, majority of the children are still consuming content through traditional television viewing. However, it is only a matter of time before the trend switches.Second screens have already penetrated this segment and are gaining rapid popularity amongst children. Big players in the entertainment content industry are taking steps to tap into this high potential market. Disney has announced that it will be introducing its own SVOD platform. Even Discovery Kids launched its own animation series inspired by the movie ‘Singham’ and also acquired the rights of a kids show Bandbudh and Budbak- from ZeeQ in order to capture their share of the market.
How would you like to see WAM grow in the next three to five years? WAMINDIA targets to create and aggregate good engaging content while taking it to its target audience through the right channels and platforms. In the next five years, if all goes well, then our existing library of nearly 500 live action movies titles in multiple genres (like mass entertainment, action, comedy, horror amongst others) would grow to 1000 titles and we would have created at least 10-12 new IPs in the kids space.
Who is your biggest influence/ influencer in driving WAM? I personally admire Mr. Walter Elias Disney’s vision for the fabulous content he and his grand institution has made for the kids and family audience and the mega business value they have created out of creating content.
2011 Special Screening Bollywood: The Greatest Love Story Ever told Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Jeff Zimbalist Actors: Javed Akhtar, Dev Anand, Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit and others
2010 Un Certain Regard Udaan Director: Vikramaditya Motwane Actors: Rajat Barmecha, Ronit Roy, Ram Kapoor
2007 All Cinemas of the World section To commemorate 60 Years of Indian Independence and 60 Years of Cannes Film Festival India was the focus country at Cannes Film Festival in 2007. The seven Indian movies selected for this section include Saira Directed by Dr Biju, Missed Call (Directed by Mridul Toolsidass & Vinay Subramanian), Guru ( Directed by Mani Ratnam), Dosar (Directed by Rituparno Ghosh), Veyil (Directed by Vasanthabalan), Dharm (Directed by Bhavna Talwar) and Lage Raho Munnabhai (Directed by Raj Kumar Hirani).
2005 Out of Competition Section Pather Pachali directed by Satyajit Ray Actors: Subir Bannerjee, Runki Bannerjee, Uma Das Gupta
2002 Retrospective of Raj Kapoor in 2002 A retrospective of Raj Kapoor: 1948’s Aag, 1949’s Barsaat and 1951’s Awaara.
Out of Competition Devdas directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali Actors: Jackie Shroff, Kiron Kher, Aishwarya Rai, Shahrukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit
1999 Un Certain Regard Marana Simhasanam directed by Murali Nair First film Actors: Lakshmi Raman, Vishwas Njavakkal, Sudhas Thayat
Un Certain Regard Vanaprastham directed by Shaji N. Karun Actors: Venmani Haridas, Mohanlal, Suhasini
1997 Un Certain Regard Gudia directed by Goutam Ghose Actors: Mithun Chakraborty, Nandana Dev Sen, Pran, Masood Akhtar, Mohan Agashe
1996 Competition Section Oru Neenda Yathra directed by Murali Nair Actors: K. G. Ramu, M. M. Roy, Parvati,