Before we proceed, there’s a public service announcement: Manmarziyaan is now streaming on ZEE5, so you can go watch it there. You’re welcome.
People often complain that Bollywood never tries something new and keeps pushing out the same old stories that we have watched a zillion times. However, we can’t really blame them because when they do try to bring something new to the big screens, those movies usually fly unnoticed. Here are some of those highly underhyped films that are slowly carving a separate fandom on the internet, and might even be on the road to become future cult classics.
In a cinema industry that churns out a couple of love stories every week, Anurag Kashyap’s Manmarziyaan is a modern take on love and complex relationships, and it’s a breath of fresh air we all needed. Coupled with the trio of Vicky Kaushal, Taapsee Pannu and Abhishek Bachchan in lead roles, the movie is a harsh reality-check on millennial romances told through a love triangle between three flawed characters who are constantly juggling between their complex emotions.
The reason why this film is slowly making its way into the Indian pop culture, is because it offers a rather different and more updated perspective of today’s relationships that we rarely get to see in other Bollywood films. In the language of millennials, this film has a “separate fan-base.” ALSO, it’s a sin to talk about Manmarziyaan without taking a moment to appreciate its original soundtrack. So, so beautiful. [cries in Daryaa]
Nil Battey Sannata
Alright, I’m aware that I have mentioned it in a bunch of articles before and I’ll do it again and again until you all watch it. It’s literally one of the most underrated Bollywood films and it deserves way more appreciation. Starring Swara Bhaskar and Ria Shukla in lead roles, the film revolves around a single mother working as a domestic help who wants to provide for the education of her daughter who’s not interested in studies because she thinks she’s also destined to be a domestic help. However, the mother tries to change her daughter’s thinking, “because we all get to dream regardless of where we come from.” Also, fair warning, keep tissues with you because you may or may not cry.
Fun fact: this film has a huge fan-base on the desi side of Tumblr, that’s where I actually got to know about it. So glad I stumbled upon it.
Luv Ranjan is the genius behind cult-comedy Pyaar Ka Punchnama series. More often than not, his films are appreciated by the mainstream audience, however, his second film failed to create the hype. In fact, it bombed terribly at the box office.
But truth be told, it’s actually my favourite of the lot. Just like Manmarziyaan, it’s also a very different kind of love story. Starring Kartik Aaryan and Nushrat Bharucha in lead roles, the film doesn’t shy away from dealing with issues that most Bollywood films rarely explore. Please go watch it if you haven’t already!
Ooof! I’ve been wanting to talk about this film for a very long time. How often do you see Bollywood making a horror film that doesn’t have any low budget jump-scares, graveyard or black magic? behold, Radhika Apte’s Phobia (2016) is a psychological thriller that will definitely give you the scares through its masterful story-telling. To give you a little idea of the plot, it revolves around a character named Mehak who suffers from an anxiety disorder called agoraphobia, following a sexual assault by a taxi driver. The disorder manifests into fear of unfamiliar places, to an extent she’s not even comfortable stepping out of her own home.
That’s it. For the best viewing experience, just go in without knowing too much and I promise, you’ll have one hell of an experience. It’s a treat for horror fans and that’s a huge statement given the condition of horror films in India. *coughs* 1921 *coughs*
If interested, you can also check out the list of my favorite horror films
I feel this list would be incomplete if I don’t mention Abhishek Chaubey’s Sonchiriya. It’s a gripping thriller that is set in the infamous region of Chambal, Madhya Pradesh. Referred to by many as one of the best westerns made in India, the film’s allegorical plotline and richly written characters will stay with you long after the film is over. So, if you’re looking to watch a movie with your friends over the weekend, this one is that movie.
Also, a cheat code for y’all: All the films mentioned above are available on ZEE5 to stream on the go.
Before we finish, here’s a special mention to the films that didn’t make it to the list, but hold a special place in my heart: Photograph, Margarita with a straw, Masaan, Johnny Gaddaar.