The Best Movies of 2001-2019 Not Streaming in OTT Platforms

By Pickle  May 3, 2020

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 nat@pickle.co.in

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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