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Image SourceLike most offbeat movies, this one isn’t very famous. The movie will hit you so hard that you cannot not be affected by it. You might love it, You might hate it because it will depress you, make you cry but there is no chance that you’ll be unaffected. Tulip Joshi is so brilliant that you’ll wonder why is she not approached by directors. The world created by the movie makers will take you in the grotesque, scary, hair-raising dystopian world as a result of female infanticide. Do yourself a favour and watch it.
2. MasaanImage SourceAn offbeat movie that was watched and discussed by many. It’s a story of how four lives intersect along the Ganges and that gives an insight into love, life and death. One of the finest movies of 2015, this movie will be a chilling experience. Beautifully written and directed, with top-notch performances by the actors, it’s a do not miss movie!
3. The Blue UmbrellaImage SourceVishal Bharadwaj is the master of adaptations. Based on Ruskin Bond’s short story, the story captures the simple life of a small hill-town and tells the story of a girl whose favourite blue umbrella gets stolen. The little girl is adorable and Pankaj Kapoor absolutely makes the film an extraordinary one.
4. ParzaniaImage SourceBased on the real life story of a Parsi family whose son goes missing during the Gujarat riots, the movie is deeply impactful. The director, the cinematographer, the story writer, the script writer, the actors, everyone is commendable. And it’s a shame it was never released in Gujarat. It’s a shame when people are left devoid of such movies.
5. DorImage SourceIt’s very hard to make a simple movie. A movie of two simple women, very different from each other, linked by a tragedy. Their budding friendship is so beautifully written and scripted. Dor is so much more than a story about their friendship. It’s a story about the wide gap in how the women are treated in the urban and rural ares. It’s about the struggle of a widow. Ayesha Takia and Gul Panag are pure brilliance.
6. GulaalImage SourceAnurag Kashyap is the master-maker of offbeat movies. A huge fan, I simple cannot fathom how this man makes his movies. The story of a law student whose journey will leave you speechless. It is dark, moving, engrossing and brain consuming. The cast is awesome and Kay Kay Menon steals the show! Do, do watch it!
7. Black FridayImage SourceAnother movie by Anurag Kashyap! Based on the investigations following the 1993 serial bomb blasts…this movie is raw, dark, real and brilliantly made. The performances, direction, background score, use of colours, light, effects, everything makes the movie mind blowing. Not everyone is as brave as Mr. Kashyap to take up the task of making such a movie and executing it so well.
8. Mumbai Meri JaanImage SourceNishikant Kamat is another director who’ll stun you with his movies. The story of how the Mumbai serial bombings affected the lives of 5 people unrelated to each other. The story is beautifully written and the stories of the 5 different people blend in seamlessly. The cast is again just perfect and you’d missing a lot if you haven’t watched this movie yet!
9. LakshyaImage SourceVery few offbeat movies cast a hero popular amongst the masses. This is one such movie which had established that Hrithik is a brilliant actor and more, that Farhan Akhtar is an even brilliant director. It’s the story of a good-for-nothing jobless, grown man who joins the army and turns over a new leaf. Preity Zinta is flawless, too.
10. UdaanImage SourceAlmost every cinephile would have watched this movie. For those who haven’t, Udaan will leave you spellbound with it’s brilliant story-telling. Nobody can play the character of an ultra-strict father better than Ronit Roy and Rohan’s journey of freedom is something you’ll have to witness to appreciate it!
11. The LunchboxImage SourceWhat a brilliant work of art! The best of the movies are the ones that tell a simple tale. The story of two lives whose paths cross because of a wrong delivery is what the story is about. When there are actors like Irrfan Khan and Nawazuddin, you don’t have to say much. But what’s amazing is that Nimrat Kaur is at par and her work is just wonderful.
12. A WednesdayImage SourceThe cast is so inviting: Anupam Kher, Naseeruddin Shah, Jimmy Shergill…you would want to watch the movie without further checking the IMDB. The movie is fantastic. A case that keeps haunting a retired police officer, the case of a man and a Wednesday. The dialogues will make you whistle and you’ll fall in love with offbeat cinema!
13. Monsoon WeddingImage SourceMira Nair is a woman I highly respect. And if I had a chance, I would love to learn the art of making movies from her. Monsoon Wedding is a 2001 film which talks about so many issues in the most subtle manner. There are many stories in this film. The story of a stressed father, the bride with a secret, the bride’s cousin with a deeper, darker secret. It’s an overwhelming ride of emotions and the beauty of relationships.
14. No SmokingImage SourceAnother film from Anurag Kashyap. Watch this strange movie since it tells the tale of a man who is a chain smoker. The movie is not just about quitting smoking; it’s about quitting any addiction. Welcome to realistic cinema. The theme is hard to make a movie on that’s why Kashyap is pure genius.
15. SwadesImage SourceAnother offbeat, a brilliant movie starring a famous star! I can absolutely watch this movie over and over again. The story of a man who comes to India to take his nanny with him to the U.S.A. but instead falls in love with India. The movies will show the life of rural India and honestly, at the end will make you hopeful. Shahrukh Khan is wonderful and the movie is a must-watch.
16. Stanley ka DabbaImage SourceSoft, simple and a gem of a movie. If you think it’s a movie for kids, please throw your preconceived notions out the window and watch this beautiful movie. It revolves around a teacher who forces students to share their tiffins with him and threatens one because he is unable to bring one. Very moving, very well written and amazingly executed!
17. Being CyrusImage SourceOriginally named ‘Akoori’, this movie is about a young man who enter the lives of the dysfunctional Sethna family. It is a dark, intense, comic urbane film and a movie well ahead of its time. Very intelligently written and well-directed, this movie should be on your bucket list.
18. MaqboolImage SourceIt’s extremely difficult to adapt a play and convert it into a movie that tells the story in an Indian way. So hats-off to Vishal Bharadwaj for his brilliant adaptation! The casting is superb and so is the characterization. The script is fantastic and Macbeth couldn’t have reached the masses in a better way!
19. AligarhImage SourceIf you haven’t seen this movie, you probably have missed out so much. The story of a professor expelled from his university because of his sexual orientation and his struggles is heart-wrenching and honestly, making a movie on a controversial topic is brave. The movie might seem slow at times but I love it. The scene where Manoj Bajpai sings a song along with the radio is so touching and moving and wonderfully executed. A brilliant movie that should definitely be watched.
20. The NamesakeImage SourceBased on Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel and directed by Mira Nair, the movie will take you into its world and leave you speechless! It gives you a look into family ties, clashing value and culture and all of it is so beautifully written and directed. Kudos to you, Mira Nair!
21. Manorama: Six Feet UnderImage SourceThis movie is intriguing, complex and gives you a thrilling ride. It’s not a simple movie and it will weave the story into web and then untangle it slowly. Abhay Deol is obviously fantastic and will leave a deep impact on you. Gul Panag is amazing too! Watch it and see it for yourself!
22. DasvidaniyaImage SourceVinay Pathak is one of my favorite actors and no one can do the protagonist’s role better than him. This movie will leave you pleased, satisfied and wondering how you delayed watching it. The story about a man loves to make lists and makes a final one when he realizes he is about to die. The story is simple and the performances are brilliant.
23. ShahidImage SourceBased on the real-life story of controversial lawyer Shahid Azmi who was assassinated in 2010, this movie was very moving and had a deep impact. Rajkumar Rao is amazing and he’ll leave you stunned by his performance. It is honest and very responsibly made. Do watch it if you have a love for cinema!
24. LSDImage SourceThree stories told through a camera which is a part of the story is amazing! The cast is new but very convincing. The director has tried something new in the movie and has succeeded to an extent. Watch the movie for its experience.
25. Mr. and Mrs. IyerImage SourceNot really famous but a great movie that Indian cinema produced. The story about a devout Hindu woman who protects a Muslim man when communal riots break out. A very sensitive topic; the characters have been done justice and how couldn’t they have been done when played by Rahul Bose and Konkana Sen Sharma. Wonderful movie and should definitely be watched.
26. I Am KalamImage SourceSimple, sweet with perfect narration, it’s the story of a boy who calls himself Kalam with the hope of becoming like Abdul Kalam someday. It depicts the story of poor India and the struggles of uneducated masses. It’s a great watch!
27. IqbalImage SourceIqbal is one the movies that people watched and discussed. The story of a deaf and mute boy with a passion for cricket and his journey. Shreyas Talpade was so brilliant that he shocked us. The relationships are wonderfully portrayed the screenplay is very tight. If you haven’t watched this, please do!
28. Dev DImage SourceOne must think I am biased towards Anurag Kashyap but he owns the world of offbeat cinema. An unconventional interpretation and portrayal of Devdas, this movie is just superb. The music is fantastic and the performance will leave you reeling. So much talent in one movie, it overwhelms me.
29. Khosla Ka GhoslaImage SourceOffbeat and comedy. One of the very few comedy movies that’ll leave your stomach hurting. The story of a middle-class man from Delhi who tries to get back his land from a property dealer with the help of his family and friends. It should be watched if you are looking for a movie one can related to and laugh at!
30. Sulemaani KeedaImage SourceA hilarious movie on two struggling ‘bros’ who knock on every door in Mumbai to realize their dream of becoming writers. Very realistic and honestly, you will see your story somewhere in them. If you are a struggler in the city of dreams, you’ll be able to relate to it. And it’ll be strange and weird if you do not like i
Never In My Wildest Dreams
You came into my world like high beams on some two lane highway in the middle of a desert night; just as I lost the fight between thirty more miles and pulling over for a nap until sunrise. Fracturing my momentary dream into a million pieces of panic and surprise as your light burned through the lids of my eyes and your horn’s noise grabbed at nerves that shook my insides alive.
I remember the giant halo of your glow and light coming head on, the fog in my brain was overwhelming, as muscle memory spurred both hands and they registered on the wheel. My grasp was wrapped tight and pulled sharply, sending me into a wrenching swerve; a sudden desperate attempt to avoid our impending collision, as you careened head long my way. In the moments that came, I couldn’t tell if you were slowing or attempting to avoid the obstruction of my vehicle that had wondered into your lane. I only knew the fear as my life flashed before my frozen, bulging eyes. I felt my knuckles strain, threatening to rip flesh, as they pulled against the tension of my grasp on the wheel.
I remember feeling my knee slam under the dash as terror took me and I over compensated. With pang in knee, I stabbed my foot back down at the break. I remember the feeling of gravity shift as my vehicle began to swerve and my body flatten into the door panel as I began the fight to regain control of my vehicle, careening down that lonely highway.
I remember my body recognized and felt something I couldn’t have truly felt. At least something felt different, this specific time, than any other before or after. Both the fear of loosing control and this new feeling are forever linked somehow. It was something I felt as my shoulder pressed into the drivers side door panel: the feel of the gravel beneath my tires, not in the normal sense of peeling out, or hot rodding around a turn, or when you are navigating a gravel incline and a tire slips, spinning a bit. But, I remember feeling every, single, piece, of gravel, as my tires slid over them, like they were brail desperately attempting to be read by someone with an untrained hand.
And suddenly, I remember, I was fighting gravity to avoid being thrown into the empty passenger seat next to me; with the dutiful assistance of my seat belt I remained square in seat. By this point my perspiration was beading at my brow and my palms were slick and damp. The smell filling my nose was terrible: rubber skidding across tar and the metal chemical burn of clutch mixed with burning metallic fumes of locked, red hot breaks. The noxious smoke produced from the instant tire tread wear of tires attempting to grapple with the texture of pavement at sixty miles per hour and the dust thrown up from the narrow desert road was thick in the air as my vehicle began to spin violently. This must have been one of my wildest dreams.
Your tail lights passed by my view out the front windshield a few times before I came to a slow, lazy roll backwards, eventually coming to a halt on the pavement; vision now dizzy and disoriented. My motion had not stopped however. The spinning had turned my head into one of those twirling carnival rides and transformed my extremities into shaking nerve noodles, who’s vibration emanated from my core.
Regaining my composure, I found myself immediately worried about who I had almost collided with and what state they were in; my concern seemingly met with reply as your hazard lights lit up from the tail lights of your vehicle ahead. I remember blood pumping in my temples as I raced toward your vehicle, grateful to be alive, and grateful you were still on the road and in one piece as well. Closing the distance to your flashing hazards just hoping you were okay. I felt embarrassed and foolish for putting myself, and you, at risk not stopping a few miles back. I prayed you were not scared or upset with me. Not knowing what to expect as I slowed to a jog nearing your vehicle, I took in the details of the multiple spins my vehicle completed as it whipped round and round directly down the center of the highway. I took in the sight of fresh tread on the pavement left by my tires, scrawled like a signature of some artist signing their work of near miss.
I remember as I looked up again to where your vehicle had come to a stop, that you too where now running my direction. As we approached each other I could tell we both did a quick visual assessment of each other, our vehicles, the tire tread scrawl on the road. We asked each other if the other was okay and learned no harm had come to the other other than shaken nerves and a bit of embarrassment on my part.
I remember hearing your laugh for the first time as we sat on the side of that highway in the middle of the night and lost track of time. We talked about everything, and nothing, as we watched the stars and smiled at each other honestly. Morning came faster than either of us expected announcing it’s a rival gloriously. The sunrise was exceptionally beautiful that morning. As we peacefully watched, finally pausing in conversation for the first time since we met, we took in it’s orange, blue, yellow, and pink shifting colors sharing glances at each other now and then, smiles and blushing cheeks as we did.
As the morning sun’s heat set upon our skin and the brightness of the desert view began to become overwhelming you turned to me with a smile. I remember taking your business card and the electricity fire through my fingertips as our hands touched for the first time.
Your touch felt so exotic then, like some distant land I had read a million books about and knew every detail of but had only learned from in the texts written in those pages. I imagine I looked like an adventurer, captivated and in awe, as they stepped of an old steam engine train onto a new landscape. Amusing the locals watching a new traveler standing starstruck seeing, smelling, and feeling the foreign environment they had read so much about but were only experiencing in person for the first time.
As I put your business card into my wallet, so many unknown feelings and pressing questions that I wanted to ask you were coming to my head fighting each other for place in line and internally pleading for one more second of your time. They were interrupted by one major new question I hadn’t considered so distracted by my internal conflict.
When would I would see you again? This question was followed by an even larger: Would I see you again? I was so caught off guard at their staggering weight I remember feeling intimidated by how much it meant to me. I chickened out. I didn’t ask and though in that moment didn’t know what to do with myself, or my shaken emotions, as we said our good byes.
Before you turned to depart I managed to make sure you too had my number and awkwardly, shuffled back, half facing you, half trying to walk away. I could tell you noticed in the words your smile always seemed to hold.
I remember you driving away and the stress I felt realizing we were going in opposite directions for the first time since we met and how something immediately felt missing in my world. I remember kicking myself not wanting to end up just some guy who you met and called you down the road or being just a story of a time you almost got hit head on by some guy in the middle a desert one night. A bit late, but just in time, I buckled my seat belt and decided not to become that guy. I threw my vehicle in drive and accelerated after you. Headed in your direction for the first time.
My heart raced as I drove fast to catch up to your vehicle once again and as I pulled up behind you, obnoxiously got your attention with my horn and the flashing of my lights. I couldn’t believe I had chased after you like a crazy! What would you think of this? Was I crazy?
As you stepped out of your vehicle your beauty was staggering and I confidently acknowledged, almost applauded myself; I had made the right decision. I jogged up to you on the pavement of that two lane highway and blurted out “When will I see you again?!”. Your laugh told me everything as it often did, I would learn.
I canceling my plans, my new job would have to wait, or I’d find a new one when I got to my destination. I suddenly had you placed at the center of my life’s main screen and didn’t for one second consider what else was on outside in my periphery. Everything seemed like it mattered just a little bit less than the focus my mind found when trained on you. I spent the day with you, headed in your direction. We played, both lost in the world together, on a new adventure, and loving every moment of it.
By that evening I was already in love, and knew it as for the first time I watched the sunset reflect forever in your eyes. I will never in my wildest dreams forget your smile when I admitted my love to you as we watched those stars again, together, that second night.
I also remember how we really met, and this isn’t it! Not even close! But it sure could have been. I mean, some things are similar to how we met all those years ago. You do remember don’t you?
The night we first met we were hurling in each other’s direction at a million miles per hour and barely missed colliding. That near miss put us into permanent dance as we orbited each other - dancing in and out of each other’s life, always friends, lovers, strangers, family; whatever we needed to be for the other at that specific moment in time. The first night we met I knew I had met the most amazing woman and I couldn’t believe that I had finally found you; never in my wildest dreams did I think you were really out there.
We did watch the stars and talked until the sun came up. We also spent the next day playing together and I really did watch the sunset reflect forever in your eyes. I did fall in love with you, only immediately, almost at first sight.
My love switch flipped the very moment you said “Hiiii” that way you did. Your mysterious brown eyes - strands coloring them wonderful, as your cheeks smiled for days. They reached into me latching onto my heart and I did not resist the comfort of your grasp. There was just something so familiar in the way you drew me in and made a place for me in your world. I felt like I had seen this smile of yours before somewhere and it belonged right after that “Hiiii”, and right in front of me. There was also something so familiar in the way you said my name, always smiling, you giggled a lot more back then.
I chased after you and that smile, following the echoes of that giggle from that moment on without any regret and loved every moment you chased me back laughing as we played. I remember how grateful I was getting to know you, and how grateful I always will be to have spent all the moments we shared through the years, building our story. The rest of that story and how we really first met is ours. A story to be remembered another time I think.
I remember the many other things that are similar in the story I have told but happened completely differently, to a completely different moment, in a completely different part of our story that I’d like to share in this letter to you. I think it is supposed to help...telling you these things, we always shared our deepest feelings with each other and It’s hard holding them all by myself. I’m working on it, love, I promised. Writing these letters to you and the chapters of our time together contained within.
In this part of our story, the true part of this story, and part of our chapters I’m sharing in this letter is a moment where I remember a collision that happened head on and it all started with a phone call.
I remember we were both asleep at the wheel and wholly unprepared as I raced down the highway to you. I remember how sudden the impact came after I reached your side. I remember the pain and jarring as your light in my world, that light that engulfed my vision completely, was in a moment no longer present. I remember my confusion as my momentum came to a complete, and immediate, stop. I remember that I didn’t even have time to scream or brace myself as everything in my world shattered in a devastating explosion and all it’s shiny pieces showered into the air around me. I remember that I didn’t even have both hands on the wheel as my life turned upside down. I remember that there was no seat belt to fasten me in as my breath choked in my throat, stalled, as if suspended mid air.
I remember the look, taste, sound, smell, touch, and feeling of every, single, thing, in that hospital room. I remember the smell of my tears in your hair. I remember how soft your skin was and that your fingernails were not painted like they normally were as I held your hand. I remember the feeling of my nerves as they achieved complete pandaemonium within me. I remember I was trembling as I struggled to breath between crying, then breathing, then crying, tasting the snot running from my nose mixed with the salt that clung to my face as I sat at your side. I remember hearing the sobs in the room as your heart rate monitor stopped blinking. I remember that exact moment you left me. I remember all of the feelings I felt at that moment as my emotions burned deep within and imprinted them as if by brand, permanently emblazoned on my soul. I remember not having the words for them then and I still do not have words for them now.
I remember every single detail, reflected in the pieces of my world as they crashed to the polished surface of the tiny room’s grey and white checkered tile floor. I remember that for the first time in a long time we were no longer running toward each other, or in the same direction together, and you weren’t there to make sure I was okay. I remember praying that you would be okay but my heart didn’t hear the echo of yours anymore to be sure. I remember hoping you were not lonely just minutes after you left and began crying: differently, because I didn’t know how to be there for you like I promised I always would be. I remember wanting so badly to chase after you, especially in the months that followed your funeral to keep that promise I made. I remember wanting to make sure you weren’t alone and be by your side as you took off on this new adventure to make sure you got under way okay. I remember trying to lighten my mood and joke about you making a new friend jealous, telling them about a guy that loved you unconditionally in another life. But, I remembered I could not chase you this time; I couldn’t be there to hold you if you happened to fall in love with him and he broke your heart. There was no catching up to you minutes down the road, just to see your smile again and hear you laugh at me for being silly. There was no way to pick you up off the ground and piece your heart back together with pieces of mine if it was broken this time.
I can only hope you receive all the letters like this one and that you are able to answer my call when I get home. We can meet in the middle of some two lane highway in the clouds, talking about life down below, or everything, or nothing, and laugh at the concept of time.
I can’t wait for that moment I see you again and we can remember all the years since the night we first met and remind each other how that story really went. I want so badly to be reminded exactly how it feels seeing the sunset reflect forever in your eyes like I used to.
I remember you every single day and wrote this letter to remind you: that more than anything, I patiently wait to learn how we finish our story, because never in my wildest dreams, could these stars be as beautiful as I remember, all those moments, I spent watching them with you.
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