In Article 15, a jeep is going inside the dense fog somewhere in the interiors of Uttar Pradesh in search of two girls. They could very well be alive but we know something sinister has happened. Then we see some people gathered around a tree, without much emotions. The only thing we feel is the fear of the unknown.
Director Anubhav Sinha recreates the mayhem and dangers of the wild wild west right in the centre of the Hindi heartland. There are no definitive criminals or illusions of justice here but a reality which forces the area to remain decades behind the civilised world.
The characters talk like nothing important has happened and treat every development as part of their daily lives. Sinha shows complete control on the emotional graph his audience is supposed to go through and hence he is the first person on my list.
What makes a great thriller? The details. You know what, this is what Amitabh Bachchan has been asking you to pay attention to in Sujoy Ghosh’s Badla. Doesn’t this show how confident Ghosh is about playing the cat and mouse game with you, the audience?
Then he takes us into the interiors of motels, beautifully decorated houses and sometimes into the reflections. I have seen the original film, The Invisible Guest, and Badla, despite featuring odd Indians in Glasgow, is true to the soul of the thriller.
Here’s a director challenging you to get ahead of him before he takes you to a claustrophobic space and reveals the culprit. After a long time, a real life-like thriller hit me this hard.
In Abhishek Chaubey’s Sonchiriya, it’s not easy to chaff out the bad from the worse, or good from the better. Chaubey was making a film on the same ravines as Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen and he needed to look different.
The troubled souls of Chambal fight the deeply patriarchal society without any plan or hope to win. They live to die one day with the flags of their communities held high.
Your survival is totally about your luck, and don’t complain if your life sucks. This is what the fate has chosen for you.
Chaubey frustrated me with his so in the face portrayal, and that’s why he is on this list.
I have never been a fan of Zoya Akhtar’s ‘rich people have also got issues’ films and that’s why I sat straight when Murad set out to find like-minded people in Gully Boy. It was a hungry world separated by a hill from skyscrapers and fancy towels.
There hasn’t been any recent films which used songs so beautifully to further the narrative.
Leave aside acting and everything else, just think of the idea and what it says about us as a global community? How can you not pick her for the best directors list!
I am still wondering why Nitesh Tiwari and team didn’t decide to reveal the crux of the idea in the first trailer of Chhichhore. It would probably have made more people take it seriously in the first week only.
The issue of parental and societal pressure on a student is more dangerous than we consider it. Thanks to Chhichhore, a conversation, howsoever small, started around the problems faced by the adolescent students. It was totally a director’s good intentions that made him take the risk. But all is well that ends well.
Ajay Bahl has a distinct and confident voice. His two lead lawyer characters in Section 375 know why they are fighting a case but they don’t know how there are many influences than what they suspected.
In a terrifically crafted scene, we see how the best of judges can consider public pressure as a parameter. Though it gets slightly filmy towards the end but by then, he already established some doubts about our views. Isn’t that a solid win for Bahl?
In Ivan Ayr’s Netflix film Soni, a female constable in Delhi Police is used as a bait for eve-teasers. You live the horrors of empty roads and half-lit public toilets. In fact, the audience is more scared for themselves in real life than Soni in the film.
The understanding of a patriarchal society, and how it works in strange ways, makes Ayr a filmmaker to watch out for.
Interact with Rohit Vats at Twitter/@nawabjha