The 10 Best Indian Movies of 2019 (so far)
4. To Let | Chezhiyan | Drama | Tamil
After winning accolades in various festivals and the 65th National Awards for the Best Feature Film in Tamil, ‘To Let’ finds the digital space on Amazon Prime. To Let is a minimalist drama that captures the ever-growing disparity and helplessness of a lower-middle-class family who is caught between a sharp appreciation in real estate price and a dream of making a film in the unfavourable industry. Chezhiyan ditches the genre tropes and doesn’t succumb to the melodrama to put across the plight of a family who find it harder to rent a flat. The IT booming, discrimination based on caste, religion and diet, and exploitation at work & in the hands of the landowner are categorically explored in the slow-burning narrative that catches the spirit of Indian real estate.
To Let is available on Amazon Prime
3. Sonchiriya | Abhishek Chaubey | Hindi | Drama
Having worked with Vishal Bhardwaj on ‘Omkara’, ‘The Blue Umbrella’ and ‘Kaminey’, Abhishek Chaubey has meticulously created a niche for himself. He doesn’t merely create characters and narrative around the indigenous environment, he rather surrenders himself to the root of it. Even at times, Abhishek Chaubey’s films feel more observational of milieu and characters inhibiting them, the emotional undercurrent of his films is universal. On the surface, Sonchirya is about dacoits on the run from the police of Chambal who won’t budge until they have cleaned the town. But if you probe deeper into the subject matter, the underlying subtext is cruel and universal; the deliverance for the sin we commit, the toxic masculinity & patriarchy plaguing the families and the shifting moral dilemma in the face of crisis. The poetic and often dreary, Sonchiriya is an existential dacoit drama that succeeds much more than what it sets to achieve.
Sonchiriya Featured in our list of The Best Films of 2019
2. Photograph | Ritesh Batra | Hindi | Drama
Ritesh Batra returns to the film-making with another lyrical and meditative narrative that warmly embraces two lonely souls living in Mumbai. One is a photographer, Rafi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui in his most understated performance) working on Gateway of India, trying to clear the debts his father, and another is a young introverted girl, Miloni (Sanya Malhotra) who thinks she owes everything to her parents. Their lives seem to be governed by helpless circumstances around them and the shallowness of society. On the flip side, the editing of the film in the first act is frustrating and jarring. Despite the hiccup, Batra manages to weave a heartfelt tale of two people sharing the grief in the hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps. Read the complete review of Ritesh Batra’s Photograph.
1. Soni | Ivan Ayr | Hindi | Drama
Unlike the hyper-exaggerated fantasy about Police drama, Rohit Shetty put on display in his film, Ivan Ayr’s police drama ‘Soni’ is rooted in realism. He avoids all the Bollywood genre tropes, which he could have easily fallen trap to, and deconstructs the power of hierarchy that widens the gender gap. Soni is a micro-budget drama about two women police officers who are torn between the ethical and moral dilemma of their duty as an officer and their want to uproot the women based crimes like gender prejudice and sexual harassment. Ivan Ayr avoids theatrics and sensationalism, roots the film in the realistic milieu which is further solidified by two moving and nuanced performances that have already gone unnoticed this year.