All posts by Souranath Banerjee

Village Rockstars – a film by Rima Das all set for Cannes!

Village Rockstars – a film by Rima Das all set for Cannes!

written by Souranath Banerjee

Rima Das, a filmmaker from Assam based in Mumbai, whose debut film ‘Man with the Binoculars‘ had been screened and appreciated last year in numerous film festivals across the globe, including Tallinn Black NightsCannes (market screening) and Mumbai Film Village RockstarsFestival; and this year Rima is back with her second feature called Village Rockstars.

Village Rockstars – shot, directed and produced by Rima Das without any professional help as such; her cousin being her chief assistant and the young enthusiastic actors from the village playing their parts – being Rockstars!

“I was shooting Man with the Binoculars, which was my first feature film, and I discovered these children and villagers celebrating life [while] living in deprivation. It made me realize what I was missing in Mumbai even surrounded with all this technology,” said Das in an interview with Asia Times.

The film is centred around a 10-year-old young village girl, Dhunu, who has grown up in deprivation, as she learns to fend for herself in the hostile surroundings while nurturing her dream to own a guitar Village Rockstarsand eventually forming a band with some local boys, the official ‘Village Rockstars!’.

Dhunu, however, has to fight gender stereotypes on what a local girl should do amid poverty and other hostile conditions.

“She (Dhunu) considers herself as capable as boys in a patriarchal society. She was brought up by a non-conformist mother who gave her full freedom of expression,” Rima said.

Like Dhunu, girls in the village where Rima is from, face a lot of restrictions due to their gender specially post puberty.

Village Rockstars“The way they are living their lives make them rockstars. They are the real rockstars to me,” Rima said with enthusiasm.

Village Rockstars got shortlisted among the eight films selected in the Work-In-Progress Lab at the 15th Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum, a great platform which aims at helping filmmakers secure post-production funding, sales agents and film festival support.

The festival’s collaboration with Festival de Cannes to present the “Hong Kong Goes to Cannes” programme assures Village Rockstars’s official selection for the 2017 Marche du Film (Cannes), Village Rockstarsa festival that celebrates its 70th birthday, from May 17 to 28 this year.

Currently being edited in Rome by French editor Jacques Comet, Village Rockstars is all set to enthral us with it’s brilliant storytelling and captivating visuals.

Congratulations Rima Das!

Similar Interest: In Conversation with Rima Das as her film ‘Man with the Binoculars’ premieres at the Tallinn Black Nights Festival today!

Content and Photo courtesy: Rima Das.

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KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival – 147 films from across 45 countries!

KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival

written by Souranath Banerjee

Founded in 2010, and now voted as one of the Top 5 LGBT Film Festival in the world, KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival is South Asia’s biggest queer film festival and the only LGBT film festival in India to be held in a mainstream theater.

KASHISH MIQFF 2017 is held over 5 days at two venues, at Liberty Cinema and Alliance Francaise in South Mumbai. Held between May KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival24-May 28, 2017, it is the first Indian LGBT festival to be held with approval by the Information & Broadcasting Ministry, Government of India.

Delegate Registrations are open on Book My Show https://in.bookmyshow.com/festival/mumbai-international-queer-film-festival

THEME of KASHISH 2017 : ‘Diverse, One’ 

The theme of KASHISH 2017 explores the diversity of the LGBTQ communities. The diverse shades of the rainbow remind us that as people we are all different and we are all unique. In the fight for an equal society, basic human rights and against laws that criminalize and discriminate, it is our shared values that bring us together. We are strongest when we come together, when we embrace one another’s uniqueness and celebrate our differences. We are Diverse, We are One.

KASHISH 2017 will have South Asia’s largest prize money for LGBTQ films – 147 films from 45 countries competing for total cash award of Rs.2.20 lakhs.

KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film FestivalThe 8th edition of KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival this year will feature the largest prize money for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer films in South Asia. Around 43 of the 147 films that will be screened at the festival will compete in the eight competition categories for a total cash award of Rs 2.20 lakhs. The prize money will be sponsored by Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares, Whistling Woods International, Shri K.F. Patil Charitable Trust, Wadia Movietone and Lotus Visual.

“It gives us immense pleasure to announce an increased bouquet of cash awards at KASHISH 2017,” said Sridhar Rangayan, Festival Director. “We have been really trying hard to up the value we bring to the independent filmmakers who put in so much of effort to make LGBTQ films across the world. We are truly delighted by the support we have received from individuals and organizations to nurture talent. KASHISH is happy to spread rainbow sunshine among the film making community,” said Rangayan.

The highest award at KASHISH, Best Narrative Feature (Rs. 30,000) as well as well as those for Best Indian Short Film (Rs 20,000) and KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film FestivalActor in a Leading Role (Rs 15,000) are sponsored by Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares.

“I am heartened to see KASHISH growing year by year, providing a fantastic platform for independent queer cinema, bringing together films and offering a bridge to many cultures around the world. Actor Prepares is committed to nurturing talent and we are delighted to continue our support, for the fourth year, to three of the awards at the festival. I wish the festival even greater success,” said acclaimed actor Anupam Kher.

A newly introduced award this year is for the Best Student Short film with a cash award of Rs 15,000 sponsored by film school Whistling Woods International. LGBTQ short films made by students of film and media schools will compete for this award.

“Whistling Woods International is proud to continue its association with KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, a wonderful initiative that encourages aspiring filmmakers to come forward and spread awareness about the LGBT community, sensitively and artistically. KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film FestivalLove is universal and it is fantastic to have a festival that celebrates love from the point of view of the individuals belonging to the LGBT community. We need more platforms like this, which not only promotes cinema but also unearths some truly unique talents every year. This year, we have taken our association further by sponsoring the Best Student Film Award. It adds another layer to our objective of partnering with KASHISH, which is to encourage young students to express themselves through the power of cinema. Like every year, we look forward to a positive response, and would like to convey our best wishes to the students,” said Meghna Ghai Puri, President, Whistling Woods International

Two competition categories this year will have cash awards – K.F.Patil Unity in Diversity Award for Best Documentary Feature (Rs.15,000) and K.F.Patil Unity in Diversity Award for Best Documentary Short – Rs.10,000. The cash awards are  sponsored by K.F.Patil Charitable Trust.

KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival“Discrimination is a human man-made phenomenon and it is against the very principle of nature which celebrates diversity. Unfortunately society does not and every voice that calls for freedom and inclusivity is important. KASHISH is one such voice standing for freedom and acceptance for a group of people all over the world who have been marginalised simply because of their sexual orientation. The K.F. Patil Charitable Trust which stands for Unity in Diversity is proud to associate with KASHISH which through the medium of a film festival informs, educates and shares with people the agonies and ecstasies of these people. The documentary awards instituted by the Trust are a token of our appreciation for Kashish and for the filmmakers to carry the message forward to thousands of people,” said National award winning filmmaker Arunaraje Patil, who is the Chairperson of Shri K.F. Patil Charitable Trust.

The Riyad Wadia Award for Best Emerging Indian Filmmaker was KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festivalinstituted in memory of Riyad Wadia, who made the country’s first gay film – BomGay. The cash award of Rs 15,000 is sponsored by Wadia Movietone.  “Encouraging new and young filmmakers was something my late brother Riyad Wadia always used to do, and this award in his name at the KASHISH  symbolizes some of the help and support he provided so many during his all too brief life.  Wadia Movietone remains proud to be associated with Kashish and we look forward to many years together,” said Roy Wadia, who heads Wadia Movietone.

The QDrishti Film Grant returns for the second year to KASHISH. It is an artistic grant to support and promote independent filmmakers based in India making LGBTQ themed films. Short Narrative or Documentary Films made by India-based filmmakers compete for this honour that gives Rs 1 lakh grant to the chosen film maker to make their next LGBTQ themed film. The chosen filmmaker will be mentored by noted filmmaker Aruna Raje and actor and theatre person Shernaz Patel.

“With the rise in global intolerance and violence against minorities, it is paramount for sexual minorities to have a safe space to voice their views. We are delighted to strengthen our partnership with KASHISH in KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festivalannouncing this year’s QDrishti grant with a joint vision of providing a safe platform for film makers who challenge us to celebrate our differences,” said Lotus Visual that has sponsored the grant. 

The competition categories and the films competing are as follows:

Narrative Features: 4 films: Apricot Groves, Glory and Grace, Play The Devil, AWOL

Documentary Features: 4 films: Storm-Drenched Minds, In Love As In Live, Transitioning : Transgender Children, No Dress Code Required.

Documentary Short: 6 films: Single Men, Naked Wheels, Still Burning, A Doll’s Eyes, Across Gender, Lands of Lost Content

International Narrative Short: 17 films: Dive, Java, Transmission, You Deserve Everything, No Way to Paradise, A Meal With Dad, Ladybug, Home, Ariel, The Devil is in the Details, Stay, In The Mirror, Scar Tissue, Lily, Rink, Princess, Superheroes

Indian Narrative Short: 7 films: Aarsa, Wajood, Shehenaiiya, Maacher Jhol, Chudala, Devi, Sisak

Riyad Wadia Award: 8 films: The 6th Element, Shehenaiiya, Wajood, Maacher Jhol, Chudala, Devi, Sisak, Tremors

QDrishti Film Grant: 8 films: The 6th Element, Shehenaiiya, Wajood, Maacher Jhol, Chudala, Devi, Sisak, Naked Wheels

Student Short: 12 films: Lethe, The Tiger’s Fight, Flora, Still Devout, Stumbling Out, Heart Station, Tremors, Beautiful Figure, Alfa, Dawn, The Dam, The Other Side

Crowdfunding for KASHISH 2017

For the fifth year in a row, KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival will be raising funds through crowdfunding. The global campaign to raise funds was launched on India’s leading crowdfunding portal –

Wishberry:https://www.wishberry.in/campaign/kashish-2017-diverse-one/

The target for this year is to raise Rs 3 lakhs, which will partly fund the festival expenses including theatre and equipment rentals. To KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festivalfurther deepen its engagement and provide a platform for Indian filmmakers who make films on LGBT themes, KASHISH 2017 crowdfunding campaign will also use part of the funds raised for a scholarship for selected filmmakers from outside Mumbai to come to the film festival and interact with the audience, film making fraternity and showcase their films.

Content and Photo courtesy: KASHISH MIQFF Team.

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Mukti Bhawan (2016)

Mukti Bhawan Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

A movie that probes into the psychology of death, but then also, it’s so full of life!

My Ratings: 4.2/5

Nowadays most of the Hindi films released can deftly be categorised to the limit of some particular genre, and easily conjecturable to a Mukti-Bhawan-poster3certain theme or message or even the complete lack of it!

But then once in a while a few unique films emerge (fortunately) which dare to defy such generalisations, and restrict themselves from spoon-feeding the audience with ponderous morals in-between ceaseless cheesy histrionics.

Yes, Mukti Bhawan is one such film that cannot be bound into one specific keynote, it has to be experienced on the whole, much like an opera, or like life and death!

When 77-year-old retired school-teacher Dayashanker Sharma (Lalit Behl) senses his life’s extremity (the hint being a curious recurring dream), it becomes obligatory for his son Rajiv (Adil Hussain) to comply (though grudgingly) with his old man’s somewhat odd request – an immediate visit to the holy city of Varanasi.

Varanasi, the essential and well utilised backdrop of the film, ordained by the sacred Ganges the ancient Indian city that Mukti-Bhawan-poster4epitomises spiritualism and divinity. And aged Dayashanker believes that death in this holy city can be his ticket to eternal salvation – an escape from the inevitable cycle of life and death!   

And thus, to the surprise of the rest of the family that includes Daya’s daughter-in-law Lata (Geetanjali Kulkarni) and Daya’s grand-daughter Sunita (Palomi Ghosh), Daya and Rajiv, the father-son duo leaves for Varanasi. They finally check in at an aptly named hotel called Mukti Bhawan or Hotel Salvation; where numerous people from all across India come and wait for their death, a tradition to achieve Moksha!

Director Shubhashish Bhutiani, who has also written the script along with Asad Hussain, has ingeniously explored the intricacy of human emotions on the face of death in his film. The script, the situations, the Mukti-Bhawan-posterdialogues, the relations are simply subtle yet so profound!  

UNESCO jury has already awarded the XXIIIrd prix “Enrico Fulchignoni” to the young debutant director and at the Venice Film Festival, the world premier of Mukti Bhawan, the film was cherished by the audience with a stupendous standing ovation after the screening!

Then again, the film is specially blessed with actors who are of such supreme control of their skills.

 Adil Hussain, just within a decade have become one of the finest actors of our country, made his presence felt in acclaimed movies like English VinglishLife of PiParchedSunrise; but in this particular film his performance excels like never before. No wonder he won a Special Mention from the National Award Jury this year!

And of course, the veteran TV and theatre actor Lalit Behl, this being his second film (after Titli) has played his pivotal part with such immense Mukti-Bhawan-poster2commitment, so brilliantly natural and believable!

And then, renowned actress Geetanjali Kulkarni, young and effortless Palomi GhoshNavnindra Behl as the sweet and smiling widow and Anil K. Rastogi as the weird manager of the hotel – all have given their best and are very much responsible for the success of the film!

Mukti Bhawan may be a statement on life and death or it may simply be a very precise discectomy of human relations; I hope you will decide yourself once you watch it.

Mark my words, this is a Cinema that shouldn’t be missed! 

Poster courtesy: facebook.com/muktibhawan

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Trapped (2017)

Trapped Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

Up above the sky so high, invisible to the world, you cry, whisper and sigh!   

My Ratings: 4.1/5

When was the last time you were in a spot where there was no food and water – like literally – ultimate survival crisis – and you have to hunt animals for food and go ‘Morarji-Desai’ for your drink?

I know what you will say – that such extreme situations are only for the celluloid; like the shipwrecked Tom Hanks in Cast Away, marooned in an island with no company other than the mute round-faced Wilson; then there was this young James Franco who accidentally put his leg in-between some boulders and sat stuck Trapped-Poster-5alone for 127 Hours. I think WALL·E also did a decent job, forlorned up in the space – but then, he didn’t get much hungry or thirsty, if you know what I mean!

Now what if someone gets ‘trapped’ in an apartment, an ordinary flat in a multystored and otherwise uninhabited building, right in the middle of the concrete urban jungle (say around Mumbai’s Prabhadevi area); cooped up for days, without food, water, phone or electricity, entirely cut off from the outer world – with a birds-eye view of the entire city but still invisible to everyone!

This is exactly what happened to Shaurya (Rajkummar Rao), when he by a twist of fate gets locked inside an apartment in a high-rise, without any hope of ever getting rescued!

Trapped-Poster-1And the most scary part in the film comes from the sensation that it can actually happen to any of us so called ‘city-people’ out here!

Salute to the writers Amit Joshi and Hardik Mehta for such a brilliant idea and script. And then what a marvellous ‘jugalbandhi’ from director Vikramaditya Motwane and performer Rajkummar Rao!

National Award winning actor Rajkummar Rao was outstanding in the film. The combination of Rao’s boy-next-door looks and his brilliant portrayal of someone desperate for survival is what makes the film so real.

And for director Mr.Motwane, with only one character to tell his story, that too pinned in one location, he still managed to successfully Trapped-Poster-3grasp the attention of the audience till the very end!

Another very interesting human psychology portrayed in the film is that, when someone is in the brink of possible extinction, it is the general human tendency to discover an unfamiliar longing for some of the most banal things in their lives.

For example in the film, Shaurya trapped for days, often hallucinating from stress and malnourishment, never desired or yearned for anything particularly unique or remarkable. Rather he wished to relive those regular day to day events; his journey to the office in those overcrowded Mumbai local trains packed with sweaty co-passengers, those crammed up buses with irritating conductors, a simple plate of pav-bhaji with a dash of butter on top – in the time of an inevitable Trapped-Poster-4catastrophe the most ordinary things from our life become so special and desirable!

Geetanjali Thapa, in the short role as the love of Shaurya’s life was commendable, though honestly I thought her character wasn’t really required in the film other than the simple incentive for Shaurya to hunt for a place.

Siddharth Diwan‘s cinematography makes the film look very real while Nitin Baid‘s editing keeps it crisp and to the point. Alokananda Dasgupta‘s music works well, very subtle and used only when required. 

I just thank God, Shaurya has musophobia (fear of rats) and not vertigo (fear of heights), or else, it would have all gone down pretty worse!

Poster courtesy: www.moviescut.com

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Silence (2016)

Silence Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

A film apparently waiting to be made for the last two decades; is it really worth the wait?

My Ratings: 4/5

Finally Martin Scorsese unfolds his latest, his so called ‘passion project’, and his third religion-based movie after The Last silence-reviewTemptation of Christ in 1988 and Kundun in 1997. And it’s an absolute beauty!

I pray but I am lost. Am I just praying to silence?’

Adopted from Shûsaku Endô‘s novel by the same name, it’s a tale about two Jesuit missionaries Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Garupe (Adam Driver) who travel all the way to Japan to confirm the fact that one of their mentors, Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson) has publicly denounced God!

‘The moment you set foot in that country, you step into high danger.’

An eternal conflict about faith, religion and theology that seems to have no conclusive ending, or may be there is one?

silence-reviewThe film manifests some top notch performances specially by Andrew Garfield who is undoubtedly the most promising young actor of recent times!

Adam Driver is also superb and Liam Neeson as the wise controversial Father excels without fail. Even the Japanese cast Yôsuke KubozukaShin’ya TsukamotoTadanobu AsanoIssei Ogata and Yoshi Oida – they all have made their presence felt in the film.

Rodrigo Prieto does wonders shooting the mysterious foggy outdoors of Japan, and three times Oscar winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker creates magic with the images!

silence-poster2And composer duo Kathryn Kluge and Kim Allen Kluge truly do justice to the score of Silence.

Surprisingly non-commercial, even a bit too arty and poetic contrary to Scorsese’s usual raw, gritty and direct approach but then again it’s a 2h 41min of absolute visual brilliance.

It so much reminds you of Akira Kurosawa‘s work, not only because of Japan being the backdrop but also for the overall treatment and space used throughout the film.

‘I worry, they value these poor signs of faith more than faith itself. But how can we deny them?’

The premiere of Silence was held at the Vatican; and for me it matches up to be one of the best films directed by Scorsese till date – ‘Sometimes silence is the deadliest sound.’ 

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

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In Conversation with Sanjeev Gupta – director of the award winning film Q

In Conversation with Sanjeev Gupta – director of the award winning film Q

interviewed by Souranath Banerjee

Hello Sanjeev, welcome to Cinema Forensic.

Thank you!

Your debut film ‘Q’ have already taken rounds in some of the most prestigious national and international festivals, and now it’s being released on Netflix! How do you feel about it?

Ya, it feels great!

sanjeev gupta photo 1Q has been selected in many festivals around the world and the response has always been positive.

Earlier I did plan for a theatrical release for my film but while waiting for the CBFC’s response I got the opportunity to show it to Netflix. And I instantly went for it and it got selected as well. I feel so lucky that they have picked up Q. Netflix, as a platform, has a huge audience across 180 countries. That’s the best part. With a deal like this, you know your film will be internationally watched.

Congratulations on the film’s release! Now tell me something about your film Q, what is it about and how did you come up with this concept?

Q is a film about a little girl and her relations with people surrounding her, and then those who come in contact with her, and their combined destiny as the characters go through an incredible journey that comes to an unpredictable end.

Actually I keep watching many documentaries and take much interest in the news and other world affairs. So this concept of Q is Q landscape posterinspired through many such real events that I happened to notice over the time. Though not based on one particular incident, my film is a fictional version of many such realities of life.

And since it’s a very realistic story it needed a realistic treatment as well. No background music used in the film, only Foley sounds and on location recorded natural ambience sounds. I wanted to make sure the audience feel the realism and be a part of it.

That’s  brilliant! Tell me something about you, how did you get inclined in making films, when did you decide to be a filmmaker?

I grew up in Agra and was always into films but never thought it will be my profession of course (smiles).

But then I watched one particular film Shatranj Ke Khilari by none other than Satyajit Ray and it did change something in me. I started gollapudi-srinivas-national-award-2014-111looking at films in a different way! Then, after my degree in Media Studies from Pune, I came to Mumbai and tried to assist people to learn the craft of making movies. But since I had no connection in the film industry I didn’t get any exposure. I did various odd jobs and side by side went on exploring filmmaking.

Finally I wrote my own script and started to narrate it to individual producers and production houses. Then after facing numerous rejections I finally met my producer who believed in me.

And that is how my first film ‘Q’ got made (smile).

Don’t you think that with films like Q you Independent filmmakers are the reason why the indie-film scenario is improving in India?

Yes may be it does. But honestly I have a problem when some filmmakers are called independent filmmakers and some not.

IMG-20140929-WA0006Today I choose to make “Q” and tomorrow I may choose to direct a fantasy film or a VFX film, may be even supported by some production house. But ultimately it’s my films, my story and my way of telling them. I even don’t like such categories like, festival film, theatrical film or an online film – films are films, stories are stories and filmmakers are filmmakers!

All the images are exclusively provided only for the use of this article.

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Lion (2016)

Lion Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

 A passionate narrative that celebrates both emotions and technology at the same time!

My Ratings: 4.1/5

80,000 children go missing in India every year never again to be reunited with their families, unfortunate indeed.

But then how many of these lost children are fortunate enough to get adopted by some kind-hearted couple from Tasmania, who are lion-poster1not only willing to give them their family name, but also enough love and affection, education and freedom to relive their own lives?

Well, Saroo a kid from rural India who loves Jalebis, happened to be one such unfortunate, yet fortunate soul!

At the age of five an unintentional train journey took him to an unknown city, alone in the streets, miserable and hungry, missing his family, and on the verge of getting exploited. But then, he survives, was sent to an orphanage and from there taken for adoption by Brierley family from Tasmania!

The first half of Saroo’s tale is dramatic enough to be made into a motion picture but the story doesn’t end there!

lion-posterAfter 25 years Saroo decides to find his roots, his village, his people, his family – he comes back to India in search of his brother and mother!

Exceptional performance by Dev Patel as Saroo, supposedly he had spent eight months preparing for his role! But more surprising was debutant Sunny Pawar‘s role, who played the part of young Saroo and stole the show!

Then of course Nicole Kidman (a great come back for her), David Wenham and Rooney Mara all made their presence felt. The Indian actors – Tannishtha ChatterjeeNawazuddin SiddiquiDeepti NavalKoushik SenAbhishek Bharate all shined in their cameos. But again the performance of Priyanka Bose as Saroo’s mother deserves a special mention, she is so natural yet subtle!

lion-poster2Brilliantly shot by Greig Fraser and edited by Alexandre de Franceschi. And also well complemented by the music of Volker Bertelmann and Dustin O’Halloran.

Since Saroo used Google Earth to try and locate his origins, Google have helped in the production of the film and gave the crew satellite imagery access and other technical support.

Director Garth Davis‘s Lion will remind you of Slumdog Millionaire but then for me it’s an entirely different treatment and story, after all it’s based on a true story!

P.S. – But why does the film named ‘Lion‘? Well, for a very good reason but you have to watch it to find it out!

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

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BEST HORROR FILMS OF RECENT TIMES (10+1LIST)

Best horror films of recent times

written by Souranath Banerjee

Be afraid of the dark, be afraid of the dazzling light; be afraid of the spirits and demons, and the devil who takes the human plight. Yes, believe it or not, a bit of evil exits in everyone of us, even in our shadows and specially in the absence of it!

Similar Interest: Best Asian Horror Films

Similar Interest: Best horror Comedies

And the following list is of the Best Horror films of recent times that will make you admit that ‘fear’ has no form, and the best thing to do is to accept its existence and surrender to it.

At least for now, surrender to these Horror Films – embrace the terror and enjoy the list!

10. Lights Out (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LiKKFZyhRU

Best Horror films of recent timesSomething supernatural that exists in the darkness, haunts and hunts only when the light is out!

Directed by David F. Sandberg, this is the story of a kid terrified by some presence that soon needs to be investigated.

A creepy movie with lots of jump scare moments and cool editing along with the flickering of light and darkness. A decent one time watch.

9. Annabelle (2014)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paFgQNPGlsg

Best Horror films of recent timesAnnabelle being the ugliest collector’s item is gifted by a caring husband to his loving pregnant wife but soon enough Annabelle gets cursed by some blood thirsty Satan lovers.

(Click for Review)

Directed by John R. Leonetti, this is a prequel of the popular Conjuring series –The Conjuring and the latest The Conjuring 2.

8. The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYKANIDQlwU

Best Horror films of recent timesA father-son coroner duo, trying their best to identify the unidentified body of a young woman and while doing so they accidentally unveil the mystery surrounding her death!

Directed by André Øvredal, this film has the rare ability to scare you not only by it’s visuals but also through the sound effects intelligently put together to get the maximum effect on the audience.

7. It Follows (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ymoh5SIqgtw

Best Horror films of recent timesThe after effects of a sexual encounter can sometimes go very wrong, even disastrous. But this particular film takes the after-sex complications to a different level altogether!

A young girl is being followed by some supernatural powers since she had a fun-filled night. Directed by David Robert Mitchell, the film has numerous panic moments and overall a perfect overall sense of tension.

6. Crimson Peak (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLWsNDZqXpo

Best Horror films of recent timesDirected by Guillermo del Toro, a film that is a perfect blend of fear and deception, hatred and revenge, and horror of course.

(Check for Review)

An ancient house that has memories to share. And when the newly married girl comes to stay in there, she is automatically the chosen one who opens the gates of the past gloomy tales and reveal many unpleasant secrets.

5. The Wailing (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43uAputjI4k

Best Horror films of recent timesIn a remote village a series of unnatural deaths perplex both the villagers and the police. And an investigation begins!

(Click for review)

Directed by Hong-jin Na, this South Korean horror movie is visually pleasing or rather unsettling; dark images, often pretty violent and savage, perfect for the overall mood of the film.

4. Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HxEXnVSr1w

Best Horror films of recent timesA prequel to the first two installments of Insidious, the very root of the Lambert family’s trouble, the reason why they were repeatedly being haunted and tormented by all these evil spirits.

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Directed by Leigh Whannell, the film focuses on the gifted Elise Rainier who tries her best to relieve a young girl from the clutches of the demons. 

The previous instalments being Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013) and Insidious (2010) and they both are worth your time and scare.

3. The Conjuring 2 (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFsmuRPClr4

Best Horror films of recent timesParanormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren is back and this time they end up in Northern London to help a single mother with four children who are being terrified by some evil spirit.

Directed by acclaimed horror-director James Wan, very tensed and creepy, this film manages to give you some very good scares mostly through brilliant editing and perfectly timed music.

2. The Witch (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjBN0ByAqDk

Best Horror films of recent timesperiod horror drama based in 1630s, when a family in New England becomes the victim of witchcraft, evil forces, black magic and possession.

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A chilling string of events including a missing newborn and the failure of the crops which eventually leads to fear, paranoia and brutal injustice. Director Robert Eggers‘s take on infamous “Salem Witch Trials” of Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

  1. Under the Shadow (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHVFP80Upxw

Best Horror films of recent timesSet in the backdrop of the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, a mother daughter living in Tehran struggles to cope with the war as well as some mysterious presence in their apartment that keeps haunting them.

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Directed by Babak Anvari, this Persian film is probably the most well made horror film of the recent times. A must watch! 

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most disturbing and realist one. A must watch).

+1. Before I Wake (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ho2Z0LtXsbY

Best Horror films of recent timesIf dreams could become reality the world would have been such a beautiful place. But then, what happens when you have the nightmares?

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Directed by Mike Flanagan, this terrifying film is based on an orphan boy whose dreams (and nightmares) come to life. And his new foster parents desperately need to find the source of the young boy’s disturbing nightmares before it’s too late!

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comen.wikipedia.org.

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In Conversation with Sridhar Rangayan – the National Award winning director of Gulabi Aaina.

In Conversation with Sridhar Rangayan – the National Award winning director of films like Gulabi Aaina and Breaking Free!

interviewed by Souranath Banerjee

Hi Sridhar Sir, Welcome to Cinema Forensic.

Thank you so much!

You made the path-breaking cinema ‘Gulabi Aaina’ back in 2003 and sadly enough it was banned in India for all these years. Finally in 2017 it’s getting released on Netflix! Tell me all about the journey of this film!

Ya Gulabi Aaina was my first film. We made it in 2002, because there was hardly anything in terms of LGBT cinema apart from may be few films like, Riyad Wadia’s Bomgay (1996).

Back then, we pitched this concept about ‘two gay people in love’ to several channels but they kept rejecting it because of the content. For them it was not appropriate for the family audience. And so, finally we only decided to make Gulabi Aaina, it was a self-funded project.

We shot on a shoestring budget, and we got help from many friends of ours who believed in the project. Also before this, I did a lot of In Conversation with Sridhar Rangayantelevision, so I kind of had a goodwill too. But that time we did not have any aspirations like who will be the target audience or how are we going to promote this film, festivals or release or this and that. All we wanted was to make the film!

Getting somebody for the character of ‘Samir’, who plays this bisexual guy in the film, was a little difficult because no body wanted to play that role. Getting the drag queens were relatively easy because I knew them, I mean they were real life drag queens whom I asked to act in my film.

And then the Indian Censor Board said it was vulgar and offensive, but the fact is there’s absolutely nothing vulgar in Gulabi Aaina!

Actually the problem was that they were just not used to seeing men dressed like women and yet being so comfortable; not at all apologetic of who they are! The film also questions patriarchy; like in In Conversation with Sridhar Rangayangeneral it is the men who prey upon women but here the drag queens are preying upon a man who is reduced to a mere sexual object. I guess that really made them uncomfortable.

So we applied for the censor certificate three times before finally giving up (laughs).

So what was your next step, what did you do?

How long can you stay with one film, you need to move on. So we moved on to make my our next film Yours Emotionally!, which was actually sexual in content; Gulabi Aaina was a saintly film compared to this one (laughs).

Yours Emotionally! is actually about lust and how it develops into love, you know. And also the film questions ‘what is identity in India?’ All these identity boxes – gay, bisexual, transgender – they all come from the west. Earlier people just lived their lives here without being categorised and identified by such terms.

Anyways, so this film, we didn’t even submit to the censor board (laughs). It got screened outside India and distributed in the DVD market – that was a very big thing for us!

Though I have tried a lot of different genres in television, i mean In Conversation with Sridhar Rangayanthrillers, comedies, hetero-normative stories and all. But then I felt that making LGBT films – it’s a niche that I want to occupy, and it gives me the most satisfaction. It didn’t give me money though (laughs).

But ya, coming back to Gulabi Aaina, it even went on to become a part of a university’s curriculum on ‘gender and studies’. And now it got released on Netflix! Great!

That’s really great! Tell me something about your latest documentary “Breaking Free” which recently won a National Award for editing, right? How did it all begun?

Yes!

The thing is that my earlier two films Gulabi Aaina and Yours Emotionally! were both self funded films but then how long can you fund your own films? It doesn’t work that way. It is very challenging in India to make LGBT-themed films. So my third film 68 Pages got the funding from the Humsafar Trust and Solaris Pictures. We had a In Conversation with Sridhar Rangayangreat cast Mouli Ganguly, Jayati Bhatia and Joy Sengupta. But we didn’t manage to get a release because it dealt with HIV/AIDS.

And then I had a long gap from 2008 to 2014. I did not feel like making a movie at all.

At that point to time I started documenting LGBT events and lives, doing documentaries, as they are comparatively far cheaper than doing narrative films. And being a gay man myself, I had easy access to our community and of course, everyone felt that these stories are needed to be told. So from 2008 onwards I started documenting the community like interviewing them, talking to them. I had 300 tapes of my recordings that said different stories of people!

All that first led me to do Purple Skies, a Public Service Broadcasting Trust funded project which told all kinds of powerful stories from our community, some angry stories talking about violence and injustice, while other stories were happy and romantic. The film went on to several festivals and was shown on Doordarshan too!

Then at the same time Supreme Court said that the Delhi High court verdict on Section 377 is not valid, and it was a very difficult time for our community. Being an activist for the last twenty years, I personally felt that with one stroke all our hard work has been demolished and it was back to being ‘you are illegal’. The documentary Breaking Free talks about the effects of Section 377 on the community. It traces right from the first case till the latest and shows how the law had been misused. How many LGBT persons are being blackmailed, how the police are twisting the law in order to abuse and harass the innocent people.

But like all my films, Breaking Free also has happy stories of young people coming out, being romantic and everything. Being part of the In Conversation with Sridhar Rangayancommunity, it is an insider saying the story, and the film was also a great personal journey for me. It got premiered in 2015 at the KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival and went on to screen at several international film festivals. It was a great surprise and joy when it got selected for in the Indian Panorama section! And then it went on to win the National Award for Best Editing, which was like a crowning glory!

It was an honor to receive the National Award in Delhi; my family had come there when I received it from the President, it was a moment of my life!

While Breaking Free has won accolades and acclaim, not a penny has come through the film till date, but we need to see about its release and distribution as well.

A great honour indeed, congratulations to you Sir!

Thank you so much!

And finally when did you decide that you wanted to be a filmmaker? Were you interested in cinema from your childhood?

Well, I used to watch a lot of movies in my childhood. Though I am from South India, my mom and I used to watch Hindi films.

In 1980’s, we had only two options in India, either you become a doctor or an engineer. So after getting done with my engineering, I In Conversation with Sridhar Rangayandid my Masters in Visual Communication from IIT Mumbai. From there onwards I was interested in making films.

Then I did a lot of television – Rishtey, Gubbarey, Kagaar, Krishna Arjun, Pyaar Ki Kashti Mein and all, before finally deciding to make films.

For me the whole idea of using Cinema is to pass on social messages in an entertaining format, that really is what intrigued me. Every scene that I write till now is to get an emotion or a reaction back from the audience!

Overall an interesting journey till now, I have always taken roads which I didn’t know where it will lead me to. Even when I came out as a gay man it was a complicated decision, it was in 1990 when very few people used to come out.

If ‘Gulabi Aaina’ was made now, what do you think, i mean could it get released?

Gulabi Aaina being a 40 min short film it maybe challenging; you see, very few documentaries or short films in India gets actually released in theatres. Distribution system neither supports short films nor the movies that are away from the mainstream. If Gulabi Aaina was made now and sent to the Indian Censor Board, I know it would have got an ‘A’ certificate.  But with ‘A’ certificate, you can barely get theatres for release.

So I personally think Netflix is a much better option for this film as people can watch it how and when they want to watch it.

Our latest film, Evening Shadows on which I am currently working will be a theatrical release though (smiles).

All the images are exclusively provided only for the use of this article. 

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Maroon (2016)

Maroon review

written by Souranath Banerjee

A disturbingly beautiful psychological thriller!

My Ratings: 3.8/5

Our mind plays all kinds of tricks, often dangerously merging the line between reality and imagination. And we poor mortals, dazed and confused and tortured by our own conscience, desperate to restore some comfort and tranquility. But alas! peace cannot be Maroon-reviewreclaimed that easily.

The story of Professor Saurabh Sharma (Manav Kaul) is one perfect example of such a psychological discord, intensified by his wife gone missing, and he himself being an insomniac doesn’t seem to help either.

Entangled in-between the police officer’s inquisitions and the advancement of a flirtatious student, and also under the influence of the the unending sleeping pills, the professor’s life looks more distorted than ever.

Disturbing? Yes, thank you very much!

Be it the blood-filled bathtub mysteriously clogged by a bundle of human hair or a chopped up human finger under the cabinet, Maroon is a dark and trippy psychological thriller that seems to have it’s roots deeply embedded into our human psyche; stimulated by that part of our unconscious brain that deceives our consciousness, and makes us vulnerable yet so dangerous.

Overall an intelligently made film, based on one single location, entirely interiors. With only a handful of characters writer/director Pulkit Maroon-reviewhave managed to weave an intricate tale of murder, betrayal, love, adultery and insanity!

Superb performance by Manav Kaul, he portrayed the tired and delusional man desperate to find his wife, with enough conviction.

Devyani Cm as the young seductress and Sumeet Vyas the hot-tempered lover-boy are really good but one particular actor needs a special mention, Saurabh Sachdeva playing the character of Inspector. R. Negi was simply brilliant!

Fantastic work by Soumik Mukherjee as the cinematographer and superb music by Sagar Desai.

Produced by Jyotsana Nath, the film Maroon after been showcased in numerous festivals world wide, has been recently released on Netflix!

A very well-made psychological thriller that demands your attention; go watch it!

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