An online film journal for Indian Cinema
Each year lists and polls that are representative of critics and reviewers over the last 12 months are supposed to give us an idea about which films stood out, mattered or will be remembered in the future. Of course all of this premature canonisation happens largely at the expense of films which don’t fall into the periphery of a filmic discourse that shows an inherent bias towards films from Europe and the U.S. This means films from South Asia in particular and in my opinion India rarely get a look in, thereby leading to a marginalisation and a troubling extenuation of their Otherness. The same excuses are inexplicably banded about each year including the argument critics and reviewers don’t have the time to cram in every single film at a film festival. Fair enough but given the choice I would argue most critics/reviewers would choose a European auteur release over an Indian one because Indian cinema is still filtered by film journalism through the prism of Bollywood. And since Bollywood is so misunderstood by cinephilia then it becomes a seemingly impossible trap that Indian cinema finds itself. Boyhood appearing at number one in the Sight & Sound poll says it all about the way film canons navigate a course of absolute mediocrity, celebrating visibility rather than embracing films which deserve recognition for an obscurity engendered by the exact same systems of film journalism. As a way of rectifying such injustice I present to you a list of some of the best Indian films I’ve seen this year. This list is flawed though (hegemonically so) as it is not representative of the rich regional output of Indian cinema and skews more to Hindi films. Perhaps one could argue it is a seemingly impossible task to really keep up with all the cinema that does come out of India each year but nonetheless one has to try.