In this short list we bring you the best of Indian cinema that has been recently added to the ever-growing list of content on online streaming platforms. Here’s the best of romance, drama, thriller, and action films available online – language, no bar!
Kumbalangi Nights (Malayalam): Directed by debutant Madhu C Narayanan and written by Syam Pushkaran, Kumbalangi Nights unfolds in the backdrop of a tiny island village in Central Kerala where in a rundown house live four dysfunctional brothers who are at odds with each other. It’s a house without security, love and order which eventually gets mended by the entry of women. There is a parallel narrative around a seemingly disciplined household run by a man and consists of his wife, sister-in-law and mother-in-law but eventually falls apart when the sister-in-law wants out. With stellar performances by Soubin Shahir, Fahadh Faasil and co, the film is good enough to go back for several viewings.
Virus (Malayalam): Malayalam cinema’s first medical thriller, Virus, directed by Aashiq Abu and written by Muhsin Perari, Suhas and Sharfu plays up as a deftly written human drama based on last year’s Nipah virus outbreak in the state. With a stellar ensemble (Indrajith, Kunchako Boban, Tovino Thomas, Parvathy, Rima Kallingal, Soubin Shahir…) the film weaves several real-life stories into the narrative and keeps us on the edge till the end. Not to be missed.
Peranbu (Tamil): Director Ram’s most awaited film of the year has Mammootty playing a single father who has to take care of a daughter who has cerebral palsy. A poignant narrative, the film addresses the father’s struggle dealing with a myopic society, when he also realises that his daughter is a sexual being. Mammootty gives the performance of a lifetime, supported ably by child actor Sadhana as his daughter. Difficult watch but to be seen at least once.
Gully Boy (Hindi): Inspired by the story of real-life rappers, Divine and Naezy, Zoya Akhtar takes us through the chawls of Mumbai and stops at Murad Ahmed (Ranveer Singh), a final-year student who lives in the slums, with his mother, grandmother, brother, father and his young stepmother. He grapples with the daily grind and inadequacies of his life by transforming it into rap. A chance meeting with local rockstar rapper MC Sher changes his life, and helps him carve a niche in the world of rap music. Again, superb performances, music and an uplifting narrative about the triumph of the underdog make Gully Boy a great watch.
Ishq (Malayalam): A young couple’s brief intimate moment inside a car spirals into an ugly moral policing issue that leads to an unlikely revenge thriller. With fantastic performances from Shine Tom Chacko and Shane Nigam, the film, directed by Anuraj Manohar is an interesting watch.
Andhadhun (Hindi): In this intriguingly packaged crime thriller, co-written and directed by Sriram Raghavan, Ayushmann Khurrana plays a pianist who pretends to be blind in order to finetune his piano skills only to be the unlikely witness to a murder. An edge-of the seat cat and mouse game, with the brilliant Tabu playing the antagonist, it’s one of the best crime thrillers in recent times.
Badhaai Ho (Hindi): An unexpected pregnancy triggers off a train of events, hilarious and otherwise, in a middle-class family in South Delhi. The parents, who are expecting, are already past their middle-age with two grown-up sons and an old grandmother who stay with them. The film hinges on humour and yet takes us through a roller-coaster emotional ride with the help of beautiful writing and some fabulous performances from Neena Gupta, Ayushmann Khurrana, and Surekha Sikri.
Ondu Motteya Kathe (Kannada): Directed and written by debutant Raj B Shetty, who also plays the lead role of a balding man with self-esteem issues, the film is a humorous take on his struggles to find a bride for himself. It has a narrative that isn’t usually seen in a Kannada film and is endearing for its empathetic take on obesity and baldness. The film was remade in Malayalam this year as Thamasha, which also did very well at the box office.
Vada Chennai (Tamil): Dhanush is a carrom board player who morphs into a dreaded gangster in this Vetrimaaran directorial. With well-rounded characters, the film can be called an extension of the director’s previous works. Dhanush aces the character and is supported by a great ensemble.
Super Deluxe (Tamil): Thyagaraja Kumararaja crafts a mind-boggling narrative, inter-linking multiple stories and characters and eventually bringing it all together brilliantly. It begins with the tale of a young couple where the wife has committed adultery and crime and they are both trying to get out of it. Then comes the story of a transgender woman who comes out to her stunned family, a boy who realises that his mother is a porn actor and other stories. It’s dark, stunning, brilliant and totally blows your mind.
Unda (Malayalam): Director Khalid Rahman’s second film after the warm rom-com AnuragaKarikkinVellam. This time he takes a diametrically different theme (written by Harshad), which chronicles the journey of 11 Kerala police officers who are assigned election duty in the Maoist areas of Chhattisgarh. Mammootty’s SI Mani oversees a bunch of young cops who are stationed there without enough ammunition, and are not equipped to deal with a situation of this magnitude. Mammootty’s stellar act is ably supported by a fine set of actors, making Unda an engaging watch.