Among all the regular run-of-the-mill releases that Bollywood dishes out every year, some wonderful movies get lost in the crowd. These movies do not enjoy the reflected glory of a well-established star or a famous director. However, they show promise of interesting things to come. Because they are by debut directors. Not all debut directors enjoy the full confidence of producers or are backed by major studios.
However, recent trends indicate that most debut directors are not complete greenhorns and their debut ventures are not only studio-backed but also enjoy the support of eminent directors with whom these debutants have previously worked. 2015 notably has had five such debut directors whose films are worth mentioning.
Director Harshvardhan Kulkarni, an FTII alumnus, debuts with this quirky tale of a sex-addict. It is by far the most commercially successful film in this short list.
With a story based on a sex-addict’s adventure the film portrays itself as something deviating from the norms. Add to this, its non-linear narrative, eccentric music featuring Altaf Raja and Bappi Lahiri along with screenplay and editing. It is full of tongue-in-cheek adult humour and indulges its male viewers in their guilty pleasures without actually being vulgar.
Gulshan Devaiah of Shaitan fame stars as the protagonist along with Radhika Apte and Sai Tamhankar. The director had earlier written the screenplay for Hasee Toh Phasee and before that worked in CID and Ahaat, two famous TV shows in Hindi.
By far the most unusual of the lot, this film by Chaitanya Tamahane is a satirical look at how India’s judicial system functions. A folk singer is accused of sedition charges and his trial is the trajectory through which the satire takes its course. It is interspersed with elements of caste prejudices, corrupt politics and an absurdist sense of law based on colonial laws.
The film has widely travelled across various festivals including Cannes and is India’s official entry to the Oscars along with a National Award win.
Without any kind of funding from studios or presence of any familiar faces in the cast and along with non-professional actors, Court stands out in the list as a film extending the boundaries of film-making.
The film that was most avidly discussed in 2015 alongside Court was Masaan. Directed by Neeraj Ghaywan, this film also won many awards, including two at Cannes. Ghaywan is one of the two debutants in this list associated with Anurag Kashyap. He had assisted Kashyap in Gangs of Wasseypur (G.O.W.) and Ugly.
The film is an Indo-French production, and was considered as brilliant as Court, though in its own way. It deals with issues of love and loss and how life is intertwined within these two ideas. The separate stories occurring at the ancient site of Benares converge to a coherent resolution. Richa Chadha and Sanjay Mishra along with debutant Vicky Kaushal form the main protagonists of the two stories.
The second film in the list with a Kashyap association is directed by Zeishan Quadri. Quadri’s shot at spotlight was as Definite Khan in G.O.W. II. He also wrote the story and co-wrote the screenplay for both parts of G.O.W.
This film also stars another actor from G.O.W., Jaideep Ahlawat who played Shahis Khan in G.O.W. I, as the protagonist in this film. The film is partially autobiographical, because Quadri’s experience while staying in Meerut helped him formulate this plot. His experience with extortion rackets and gangs in Meerut primarily constitutes the film and is seen through the perspective of some youths involved. The film is satirical but not subtle in its comedy and explores aspects of development in non-metropolitan Indian cities especially in North India.
The film opened to mixed reviews but stands out in this list as an underdog, just like Quadri’s Definite Khan.
This is another satirical narrative which has autobiographical elements and inspired from real experiences and events. It is set against a backdrop of crime and explores the changed notion of an Indian dysfunctional family afflicted with gender violence and patriarchal belief systems. Directed by Kanu Behl,an S.R.F.T.I. alumnus and assistant to Dibakar Banerjee in Oye Lucky Lucky Oye and co-writer of Love Sex Aur Dhoka, the film is inspired by news reports of a car-jacker in Delhi.
Titli, just like the previous film in this list explores familiar territories through the filter of crime but is much harsher and grimmer and lacks the comic elements of Meeruthiya Gangsters. This is also set in a North Indian city, specifically Delhi, where a dysfunctional lower middle class family survives through crime and utterly fails to put on the facade and maintain stereotypical family values. Conflicts prevail across the various dynamics of various relationships which brew simmering tension underneath, lending Titli the elements of thrill. The precipitation of the tension resolves the thrill at the end.
Ranvir Shorey and Amit Sial and debutants Shashank Arora and Sivani Raghuvansi are the main protagonists.
The film, although a thriller was marketed as a family film.
All these debut films have something in common with each other. Either they have similar themes, or the directors have been associated with another director previously, or they are nearly equivalent cinematically. This is fairly evident from the list. However the most important aspect surpassing all the five films is that all of them are by debutants with a promise to make more beautiful cinema which will not only give us interesting stories and characters but fulfil our visual experience. Happy Watching!
Enjoyed reading? Why don’t you follow us on Facebook?