The Best Indian Documentaries of 2013

Here’s a list of the top documentaries made in India this year

Beyond Bollywood

Marking 100 years of Indian cinema this year, The Beyond Bollywood Project follows four people and their behind-the-scenes lives in Bollywood. Shot over four years, this film is a dedication to the industry’s unsung heroes who work tirelessly behind the scenes. Ruchika Munchchala and Adam Dow are the filmmakers behind this intriguing and insightful journey that tells a story of what it takes to make it in the world’s largest film industry.

Rajula – A tale from the Himalayas

Based on the folk tale Rajula Malushahi, Nitin Tiwari’s tale from the Himalayas portrays the lead character Rajula’s relationships as a father, lover and brother. The narrative tries to find a connect between the old and the new generation.

When Hari Got Married

Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam follow Hari, a 30-year-old taxi driver’s simple story of arranged marriage and courtship as the audience acquaint themselves with Hari’s uncomplicated worldview and see just how traditional most of India still is. Credit goes to the filmmakers who did not milk the story for highlighting issues that plague rural India. It’s a rom-com documentary made all the more poignant because it’s real.

Menstural Man

Amit Virmani’s documentary follows school drop-out Mruruganantham, India’s improbable champion of affordable feminine hygiene. This controversial film has featured on various international media including CNN and BBC and been included in women studies curriculums in more than 90 universities across the world.

Katiya Baaz

If you’ve never lived in Kanpur where the electricity supply is inconsistent at best, then this film by Deepti Kakkar and Fahad Mustafa is an eye-opener. The story chronicles the clash between Loha Singh, a Robin Hood-style power thief who claims to be the best in the business, and Ritu Maheshwari, a government official determined to stop power theft in the industrial town of Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh. The 84-minute movie had been screened at the Berlin and Tribeca film festivals before appearing at the Mumbai Film Festival in October 2013.

Faith Connections

Pan Nalin’s documentary follows the stories of sadhus, policemen, people and children during the biggest Indian pilgrimage, the Kumbh Mela. The film does not lecture the audience on faith and religion, but captures the vastness of the Mela and the enormity of the number of people who attend it.

Beyond All Boundaries

Cricket is India’s national obsession. Kunal Nayyar’s Beyond All Boundaries follows three cricket fanatics, 30-year-old Sudhir Kumar, 12-year-old Prithvi Kumar, and Akshaya Surve an aspiring female cricketer, for whom the sport is a life-line. The film also received good coverage at the 15th Mumbai Film Festival.

An American In Madras

Karan Bali’s documentary is a peek into Tamil Cinema history. The 80-minute documentary traces the works and life of director Ellis Roderick Dungan who made some outstanding work between the 1930s and the 1950s. This documentary is a celluloid statement on the creative challenges E.R. Dungan faced and how he overcame them.

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