Films with thought provoking content fail to find audience in India

No eye-balls for critically acclaimed films in India

Cinema

July 31, 2020

/ By / New Delhi



thought provoking films

Ship of Theseus has won numerous awards in different categories, including National Film Award for Best feature film and Tiff Award for Best cinematography

Films based on philosophy and thought provoking ideas do not make money at the box office in India. Even though such films win international awards and accolades, yet they have no nest in their home country.

“Why don’t you take medicines?” asks Charwaka, a young law intern.
“Because there are no options. All medicines are developed at the cost of innocent animals’ lives,” answers Maitreya, a monk suffering from liver cirrhosis.
Charwaka questions again “But how does you not taking the medicines make a difference then?,”
“That way, nothing makes a difference,” Maitreya answers.
“Exactly. Our actions are extremely inconsequential in the larger scheme of the universe. Nothing matters,” adds Charwaka.
“I don’t agree. Every molecule in this universe is affected by every little action of ours,” Maitreya replies.

The above dialogue takes place in a monastery between a middle-aged monk and his disciple and admirer, an ambitious young intern. This scene is from the 2012 movie Ship of  Theseus, that has been applauded by many due to the thought provoking conversations that make up the film.

The Theseus paradox questions the idea of authenticity and identity. If all original parts of an object are replaced with similar parts, does the object retain its identity or does it attain a new identity? Ship of Theseus explores the answer to this question through the stories it narrates. Written and directed by Anand Gandhi, Ship of Theseus has won numerous awards in different categories, including National Film Award for Best feature film and Tiff Award for Best cinematography. In spite of all the acclaims, this film could not even do a business of INR 5 million that even a C-grade Bollywood film can easily manage.

However, the poor response of cine-goers is not limited to one film. This film is just one of the numerous well-directed philosophical films that fail to make money and gain popularity, despite rich content.

According to Statista, a data collection and analysis portal, around 2,000 films are produced in India annually, including Hindi, English, regional language films and documentaries. But, the sad reality is only a few films among these get a dignified theatrical release and become popular among cinema enthusiasts. A large number of films get a very small or absolutely no time on screen due to lack of advertisements, lack of a big budget, absence of famous actors, language barriers and offbeat or unconventional storytelling. With the advent of OTT platforms, these movies have been able to find a niche audience that love and appreciate such movies, yet these are short of being called a ‘hit’ film and are still to touch the heart of the mainstream Indian viewership.

Here is a list of a few Indian films that have thought provoking storyline  but are yet to gain recognition.

Aamis (2019)

thought provoking films

Aamis had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York in November 2019

Aamis, the Assamese film, director by Bhaskar Hazarika, has been termed as a very dark yet fresh storytelling by those who watched it. Loaded with an all new cast, Aamis is an artistic brain scratcher. Viewers may not even realise when Aamis picks up from being an unusual and forbidden love affair between a married woman and a bachelor pursuing his studies to a total paranoid and bizarre exchange of the most ‘forbidden’ thing ever. The film is highly metaphorical in most of its cinematography and highly philosophical in its dialogues and plot.

The film received two awards at the concluded Singapore South Asian International Film Festival alone. It has received several other nominations and won at various other festivals. Filmmakers and directors from various countries have appreciated the film. Aamis had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York in November 2019. While presenting the Assamese film, director Anurag Kashyap said “Nothing like this has ever been created in India till today.”

Jallikattu (2019)

thought provoking movies

Jallikattu has been nominated for Montréal Festival of New Cinema

Jallikattu, a Malyalam-language film explores an existential question through its story and narration. The relationship between a hunter and its prey is complex to understand. If a hunter hunts for a prey that can lead to chaos if left to roam free, is the hunter ethically wrong? If the one who is being chased by a gruesome hunter and creates chaos to survive, is that one wrong? Or is the real culprit the society that puts them in this situation where one has to kill the other for survival?

Men giving in to their most primeval urges make for a horrifying spectacle. Yet, as in life, in Jallikattu too it is fascinating to watch their inability to spot the self-destructive turn they take in their bid to dominate women and the planet. Directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery, this film has bagged various awards at 50th International Film Festival of India and 7th Aurangabad International Film Festival to name a few and has also been nominated at Montréal Festival of New Cinema and Philadelphia Film Festival.

Trapped (2016)

Trapped explores the different ways in which a man can try to survive

Winner of Critics Award for Best Actor, Best Sound Design and Best Editing at the 63rd Filmfare Awards, Trapped is a whimsical movie starring Rajkumar Rao. Directed by Vikramaditya Motwane, Trapped feels exactly like it sounds, trapped!

The 2016 film is shot mostly in an empty flat at in a tall empty apartment building where the protagonist makes desperate attempts to survive.

The Hindi film takes the audience on a journey to on staying alive in a desolate Mumbai high-rise.Trapped won at three out of seven categories it was nominated for, including Best sound design, Best editing and Best actor at the 63rd Filmfare Awards. The film explores the different ways in which a man can try to survive.

Hamid (2018)

Set in the beautiful yet troubled land of Kashmir, Hamid gives a new perspective on how one moves past from what is gone

Hamid is an extremely well-written Urdu language film. Directed by Aijaz Khan, it is an innocent tale of a little boy who longs to contact and talk to his deceased father. In one of his innocent bids to talk to his dead father, Hamid, which is also the name of the little protagonist, dials the number ‘786’ which he believes is God’s number. After much ado and consistent attempts, Hamid’s life takes a turn when his call gets answered!

Set in the beautiful yet troubled land of Kashmir, Hamid gives a new perspective on how one moves past from what is gone. An artistic structure with scenic visuals, Hamid, provides a story of humanness and warmth amidst the restless Kashmir valley. Recipient of the Best Urdu feature film at the National Film festival, Hamid is a must watch for those looking to enjoy a beautiful, innocent, heartbreaking and thought provoking cinematic experience.

 

Aankhon Dekhi (2014)

Sanjay Mishra is undoubtedly one of the finest actors in Indian cinema and Ankhon Dekhi is one of his finest works till date

Is everything that you believe true? Do you believe in everything that you witness? Do you also try to witness everything that you believe? And what is truth anyway? If all these questions poke at your mind, Aakhon Dekhi is for you! Directed by Rajat Kapoor, this film is an eye opener. It provides you with a different spectacle to revisit and review the things that you see and do every day.

Sanjay Mishra is undoubtedly one of the finest actors in Indian cinema and Ankhon Dekhi is one of his finest works till date. This Hindi film follows the life, family and middle class struggles of an elderly man, fondly called ‘Bauji’ (fatherly figure). Bauji resists his daughter’s request to let her marry the man she loves as the locals incessantly shame him. But on meeting him, his opinion changes and he decides to become an unbiased individual. It won the Filmfare award for Best Film and Best story. Though not a commercial success, Aankho Dekhi is totally true to its name and leaves viewers heartbroken and thoughtful by the time it ends.

Similar Articles

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

0 COMMENTS

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *