These independent films aim to provide their audiences with a deeper look into society
India has long been delivering compelling cinema for film fans around the world.
From hard-hitting storylines and impressive actors, the choice of movies to watch is immense.
Over the years, the popular streaming platform Netflix has been increasing its Indian content to suit its global audience.
With Indian Originals like Sacred Games and Lust Stories proving to be successes, fans are eager to see more of India’s movies outside of the generic Bollywood bubble.
These independent films aim to provide their audiences with a deeper look into society with several hidden messages and mature content.
We look at some of the best Indian international films available to watch on Netflix right now.
BA Pass (2013)
Delving into mature themes not widely covered in Indian contemporary cinema, BA Pass tells the story of a young small-town boy who moves to Delhi to live with his Aunt in order to complete his education.
As the film narrative progresses a married woman called ‘Sarika’ starts to seduce the young boy.
Despite previously referring to Sarika as ‘Aunty’ the young boy responds to the married lady’s sexual advances.
The couple’s relationship is erotic and fiery with undertones of lust and deceit.
The young boy quickly learns that Delhi is fuelled by the desire to have power amongst other dark undertones.
The 2013 release stars Ajay Bahl, Shadab Kamal, Rajesh Sharma and Dibyendu Bhattacharya.
BA Pass is a tale of a boy who quickly learns that small-town kids don’t belong in big cities.
IMDb Rating: 6.5/10
X: Past is Present (2015)
Starring popular talents like Radhika Apte, Huma Qureshi, Swara Bhaskar and Rajat Kapoor, X: Past is Present sees 11 directors come together from different parts of India for a film that revolves around love, relationships and deceit.
Rajat Kapoor plays the central character of K, who is a filmmaker. The movie consists of 11 authentic narratives, each with its own leading lady because each woman is remembered by K very differently.
The first segment sees K meet a girl half his age at a film festival party.
The young girl subconsciously reminds K of all the women he has been with throughout his life, past and present.
In the next, viewers witness a school-going K finding it difficult to be intimate with his girlfriend.
Key themes of the film include encouraging the audience to question how they see and remember things.
The film could also be considered as a philosophical take on the way humans act in relationships.
IMDb Rating: 5.6/10
The Silence (2015)
Rape, sexual violence and their lasting scars form the premise of this Marathi film released in 2015.
Starring Anjali Patil, Mugdha Chaphekar and Kadambari Kadam, The Silence is based on a true story.
The plot revolves around a little girl called Chini who witnesses a horrific crime.
As the narrative continues Chini struggles to come to terms with what she has seen.
This means the young girl begins to despise the person she once loved the most and she ends up carrying her abuse into adulthood.
The audience goes on a journey with Chini as she builds up the courage to face her demons.
IMDb Rating: 7.3/10
Ajji, which translates into English as Granny, is a 2017 and stars Sushama Deshpande, Sadiya Siddiqui, Sudhir Pandey and Smita Tambe.
The chilling tale, directed by Devashish Makhija, is based around on a little girl, Manda (Ajji’s granddaughter) who is raped and dumped near a slum.
Manda’s parents report the crime to the local police.
The police admit that they are powerless because the rapist belongs to a wealthy family.
But Ajji refuses to accept this injustice.
IMDb Rating: 7.2/10
Miss Lovely (2012)
This 2012 film starred popular Bollywood actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Niharika Singh.
Reviews of this film claim that it sets out to make the audience uncomfortable!
The film is about two brothers, Sonu and Vicky, who are novice horror movie creators.
Despite their specific genre, their films are predominantly known for soft porn.
However, a frustrated Sonu decides to venture out on his own and make a romantic film.
He meets a young innocent girl called Pinky who is looking for her big break in the Hindi film industry and signs her for the film, without telling his older brother.
The film is set in the ‘criminal depths’ of Mumbai’s C-grade and follows the destructive relationship between two brothers.
IMDb Rating: 6.6/10
Moh Maya Money (2016)
Munish Bhardwaj’s film Moh Maya Money stars Neha Dhupia and Ranvir Shorey.
The film explores the journey of a morally flexible estate agent whose main goal in life is to be successful.
Aman (played Ranvir Shorey) is offered a very suspicious business deal.
His wife Divya (played Neha Dhupia) discourages him to take the deal.
But his greed for money blurs his moral compass and cheats on his own company in order to invest in the dubious deal.
Once that deal inevitably dangerous deal falls apart he looks to his wife as he embarks on a very risky recovery plan.
IMDb Rating: 5.8/10
This 2016 film is a heart-wrenching love story about a 23-year-old woman Bhouri who is married to a 55-year-old man.
The social drama discusses issues like sexual harassment in rural India and subtly explores the female narrative.
Starring the likes of Masha Paur, Raghubir Yadav, Kunika, Shakti Kapoor, Aditya Pancholi, the film sees great screenplay and direction by Jasbir Bhaati.
Producer Chanderpaul Singh said of the film in a press interview:
“Bhouri is a women-centric film.
“It depicts how all women, especially if they are beautiful, in a particular small village is treated as an object of a lusty desire of some men to give vent to their carnal pleasure.”
As the story progresses, Bhouri becomes more and more audacious by standing up for herself.
IMDb Rating: 6.9/10
More and more people are looking towards Netflix when in search for original Indian content away from Bollywood and mainstream cinema.
As the nation’s independent films continue to grow, we are sure this list definitely will too.