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BEST INDIAN FILMS TO WATCH AT MAMI 2017 (10+1LIST)

Best Indian Films to watch at MAMI 2017

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best Indian Films to watch at MAMI 2017.

As the Mumbaikars bid adieu to the colorful Navaratri and Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations and await for the dazzling Diwali fiesta to begin, there is another very important Festival that the film-lovers of Mumbai couldn’t afford to miss!

A unique festival of Cinema that promises to entertain us for seven days in a row, from 12 to 18 October!

Yes, the 19th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival is here, and it’s raining films from all across the globe! To be more specific there are in total 220 films from 49 countries and in 51 languages!

Indian-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017Along with a number of prestigious movies under the World Cinema and the International Competition category, MAMI also offers a great selection of Indian Cinema under the sections India Gold and India Story. Other categories are the Half Ticket (for children), Spotlight, Restored classics, After Dark (focused on the horror/fantasy genre) and many others.

Konkona Sen Sharma being one of the Jury member at MAMI this year.

Be specific of which films you pick and I hope this list helps you to choose among some of the Best Indian Films to watch at MAMI 2017. Make sure you don’t miss any of these!

10. Mukkabaaz (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zg1CMYVhR9o

Indian-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017The return of director Anurag Kashyap with his 13th feature which is also the opening film of the festival!

As the title suggests the film is based on the story of a lower-caste boxer from Uttar Pradesh (Vineet Kumar Singh); his career and his love-life, focusing on both his professional and personal struggles.

Already had its world premier at the Toronto International Film Festival, don’t you miss the Asia Premiere of this highly awaited movie!

9. Ajji (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9OZI1SQFJc

Indian-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017This film deals with the issue of child-rape and its aftermath; the repercussions of such a heinous crime on the society and also what the child and her family goes through.

Directed by Devashish Makhija, his second feature is a dark and gritty film; bold, brutal and yet with a hint of retribution.

Already screened at the Busan International Film Festival, undoubtedly one of the most interesting Indian films to look for!

8. In the Shadows (2017)

Film trailer: Not available yet.

Indian-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017Already selected at the Chicago International Film Festival and Busan International Film Festival, and finally ready for the Indian audience!

Directed by Dipesh Jain, the story of a man lost in the maze of the numerous lanes of an old city (Old Delhi), and then his mind plays tricks on him! Manoj Bajpayee, Ranvir Shorey, Neeraj Kabi and Shahana Goswami – with all these brilliant actors put together this one is definitely a film to look forward!

7. Pushkar Puran (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pn9xigYlIoo

Indian-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017Director Kamal Swaroop‘s cult classic Om Dar-B-Dar was a film far ahead of its time!

And after three decades the filmmaker comes back to his hometown (Rajasthan) to film this unique documentary on Pushkar!

The brilliant visuals blended with certain innovative soundtracks and ambiences – this one will be a memorable experience for sure!

6. Kaccha Limbu (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjgTnBIkg0o

Indian-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017An emotional movie that tells the story of a family, their joy and sadness. Most of film being shot in black and white, very much set with the overall mood of the film.

Directed by Prasad Oak, and starring Ravi Jadhav, Sachin Khedekar and Sonali Kulkarni guarantees superb performances.

In the Marathi Talkies section this film is definitely worth your time.

5. The Hungry (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gfg8gGR-3oA

Indian-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017An adaptation of the Shakespearian tragedy Titus Andronicus.

Set in the contemporary New Delhi, the backdrop being an extravagant surroundings of an Indian wedding, this film is a brutal tale of patriarch and corruption.

Directed by Bornila Chatterjee, and starring Naseeruddin Shah, Tisca Chopra, Antonio AakeelSayani Gupta and Neeraj Kabi among others. 

4. Sexy Durga (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07a0pUkktBc

Indian-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017A young couple – Durga, a north Indian and Kabeer, a Keralite are running away to catch a train at the middle of the night. But how safe is it to travel in the dark!

Starring Rajshri Deshpande, Bilas Nair, Arun Sol, directed by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan this is one movie that has managed to create a lot of curiosity and also some controversy regarding the name of the film.

3. Village Rockstars (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTov2nVgXaU

Indian-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017Based on a 10-year-old young village girl, 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 and eventually forming a band with some local boys – the official ‘Village Rockstars!’.

Shot, directed and produced by Rima Das, the film had its world premier at the Toronto International Film Festival!

2. Zoo (2017)

Film trailer: Not available yet

Indian-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017The film depicts lifestyles in and around the ghetto co-existing with the people residing in the upmarket, high-rise buildings of Mumbai.

Directed by Shlok Sharma, starring Shweta Tripathi and Shashank Arora this will be an interesting film to watch out for.

  1. The Song of Scorpions (2017)

Film trailer: Not available yet

Indian-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017Though featured in the ‘Spot Light’ section, but this film is set in the backdrop of the vast deserts of Rajasthan is a brilliant tale from the Indian director Anup Singh.

Starring Irrfan Khan, Tillotama ShomeWaheeda RehmanShashank Arora and the Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani this is a unique story of love, retribution and the power of song. A must watch!

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

+1. Ask the Sexpert (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yRR1_VU1cQ

Indian-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017Mahinder Watsa, a 92-year-old gynecologist and obstetrician, and also the daily adviser on matters related to sexual behavior in the Mumbai Mirror tabloid for the last 40 years!

Directed by Vaishali Sinha, this interesting documentary is about how the Mumbai’s oldest and best-known sexologist shoots to popularity when the Indian schools in many states puts a ban on comprehensive sex-education!

A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings by Prateek VatsReturning to the First Beat by Surabhi Sharma and Ralang Road by Karma Takapa.

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com.

Haraamkhor (2015)

Haraamkhor review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

My Ratings: 4/5.

Haraamkhor recently won the Silver Gateway Award at the JIO MAMI 17th Mumbai Film Festival and according to it’s producer Guneet Monga of Sikhya Entertainment, the film is all set to release in the theaters very soon.

It is a rural tale of a teacher-student liaison.

Till now Bollywood has always played the safe game while portraying the ‘sacred’ emotions of a teacher-student relationship; such relations have always been handled delicately, from a safe distance and that too often dipped in deliberately dramatized dignity.

Haraamkhor-poster1But in the film Haraamkhor, the only emotions that are taken into consideration are unprocessed and raw, intense, realistic, and devoid of any kind of sugar-coating for sure.

Set in a small town of Gujarat, a school teacher named Shyam (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is said to be having an affair with one of his student Sandhya (Shweta Tripathi).

At the initial stage though, it all seems to be just a rumor, a small-town gossip but as the film reveals itself along with it’s characters, it soon becomes pretty evident that Shyam and Sandhya’s relation is way beyond the usually expected tutor-pupil correlation. It’s a strange mix of lust and passion, of naive innocence and also a bit of love.

And then, Sandhya being underage (15-year-old) and Shyam being a 35-year-old married man makes their relationship more of a taboo!

The premise is simple but the execution is savagely precise and gritty and very entertaining as well.

Now of course, Nawazuddin Siddiqui is the selling point of the film as undoubtedly he is the most gifted actor of our recent times. And yes, he has done a tremendous job with his character in Haraamkhor; the cunning, libidinous, occasionally violent school teacher who at the same time is desperate to maintain his reputation!

But this film is not a one man show.

Haraamkhor-posterThe stage is been shared by another very talented actor Shweta Tripathi, who already appeared earlier in a soulful film called Masaan, and yet again in this film has proved herself to be one of the best upcoming talents of our industry.

Along with the two child actors who added enough humor to the script, Trimala Adhikari‘s performance is also much creditable as Sunita, the wife of the flirtatious school-teacher Shyam.  

Written and directed by debutant Shlok Sharma, the film is an unique combination of serious adult drama and numerous fun-filled moments. An awesome debut film!

Though the ending is not the part to be particularly proud of but overall the film is based on a taut script, beautifully portrayed emotions, attention given to every little details in preparing the characters and superb acting.  

If you prefer realistic films and aren’t shy of looking into an illicit relationship between a minor girl and a much older married man, this film is definitely worth a watch.

poster curtsey: www.clickmaza.comwww.ibnlive.com

JIO MAMI – DAY6 AND 7 (Nawazuddin’s Haraamkhor and much more)

JIO MAMI – DAY6 AND 7.

written by Souranath Banerjee

Every good thing in this world comes to an end and so did the JIO MAMI 17th Mumbai Film Festival.

Featuring 200 films from over 35 countries and this is what the last two days of the festival had in store for me.

 

Day 6 (4nd NOV)

The first film that was waiting for me on the sixth day of the festival was Haraamkhor (2015). A very interesting film to start the day.

haraamkhor1Directed by debutant Shlok Sharma, a film that though gives an impression of light comedy (specially looking at it’s poster) but then it’s not.

A few comic moments here and there, but essentially the film is based on the illicit relationship between a teacher and his student and it’s brutally realistic. 

Nawazuddin Siddiqui is as usual the heart of the film, his acting skills are currently the best in the Indian film industry and we all know it. But Shweta Tripathi is one actress to look forward to. She is brilliant in the film and has all the potential of becoming a great actress.

 

And then there was this animated gem of a beautiful film called Belladonna of Sadness (1973).

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cdp85x9d0A4

Belladon-posterA peasant woman who has a pact with the devil and challenges the social norms!

Directed by genius Eiichi Yamamoto, a master of visual art and animation.

A film that is considered to be as a classic and why not? Extraordinary visuals and spectacular color play, powerful erotic imagery and a very thin narrative structure.

A must watch for people who are more into visual arts and animation.

 

And then there was The Club (2015).

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wqv8PPDfiyw

club-posterDirected by Pablo Larraín, this is both an innovative and a disturbing film.

In a Chilean beach town, the disgraced priests and nuns (suspected of crimes in their past) are sent to stay in a house. And then one day a crisis counselor comes in and everything changes!

Beautiful images and great acting, a terrific story that is too real and hard hitting at times. Something that lasts an impact on you.

 

And the day ended with a superb film called Mia Madre (2015) aka My Mother.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWiFif96t3Y

mia-madre-posterDirected by Nanni Moratti, this one is a film so sensitive and emotional that it makes you miss your own mother/parents.

A film director whose mother in in the hospital, and in-between her busy schedule she visits her and try to comfort her.

Brilliant performances by Margherita BuyNanni MorettiGiulia Lazzaroni and some well deserved comic reliefs by John Turturro – a film that that is complete in it’s own unique way.

 

Day 7 (5nd NOV)

On the last day i watched the only 3D animated film in the festival, Monster Hunt (2015).

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yR6JRIlf1jM

monster-hunt-posterThe monster’s world and the human’s world collide and two humans become responsible to protect a baby monster (the future monster king).

The film boasts of awesome animation and superb use of VFX.

Directed by Raman Hui, this Chinese animated film reminded me of my all time favorite film Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988).

A bit kiddish of course but a good watch.

 

And then, there was this soulful film Ottal (2014) aka Trap.

Ottal-posterDirected by Jayaraj, this one is about a poor, young boy whose grandfather wants him to study and become somebody respectable.

But instead of going to a school, the boy ends up as a child worker in a distant town away from the love and protection of his grandfather.

The film is the voice of thousands of such children who are illegally being forced to work under inhuman conditions.

 

Well, this ends the spectacular journey of films and also the JIO MAMI 17th Mumbai Film Festival. I was glad to be a part of it and will eagerly wait for it the next year.

Thank you.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comwww.ibnlive.comisammakesstuff.tumblr.comwww.cinenews.be.

Masaan (2015)

Masaan review

In the cinema hall (which was a full house on the Saturday night show) the audience (including me) felt a rare connection with the on-screen characters of the film; felt genuinely disturbed by their misfortunes and heartily laughed with them at their joy.

My ratings: 4/5.

At the time when big guns like Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Baahubali are ruling the box-office, one would be surprised by the profound impact a relatively low budget film like Masaan can make on the audience.

massan-poster1There is a certain honesty about Masaan that eventually grows on you and within it’s 100 min screen time, the film compels you to relate to it’s characters.

May be it’s the power of the script (written by Varun Grover), or may be the boldness of the dialogues and the aptness of the poetry or is it simply the credit of director (Neeraj Ghaywan) or can it be the brilliant performances by each and every actor that make the film so real?

Most probably, it’s all of these factors combined together that make Masaan such a strong emotional cinema.

Shot in Varanasi, small stories and incidents are threaded together like precious little pearls and the thread being the holy river Ganges!

Richa Chadda (who proved herself in films like Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! and Gangs of Wasseypur) plays the part of a guilt-ridden daughter seeking an independent life where as Sanjay Mishra (after his brilliant role in the film Ankhon Dekhi) portrays the desperate father afraid of losing his social standing and morality.

Massan-PosterAnd then there is the innocence of first love between the teenagers from different caste Vicky Kaushal and Shweta Tripathi (both played to perfection).

Pankaj Tripathy as the railway booking clerk and the child actor Nikhil Sahni suited their roles perfectly.

I think casting director Mukesh Chhabra did a terrific job here.

Music by Indian Ocean and Bruno Coulais perfectly complements the script. And the beautiful poetry by various renowned poets cleverly weaved into the story-line adds a certain depth to the film.

Masaan, though often a bit predictable, has a soul of it’s own that reaches out to you.

No wonder Neeraj Ghaywan, the debutante director has won the FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics Prize) and the Prix Un Certain Regard (Young talent, innovative and audacious works) at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Cinema lovers – don’t you dare miss this film.