10 Indian Films That Created Waves At Various International Film Festivals In 2016

Posted on 29 November, 2016 by Team Wishberry

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Image Courtesy: Marathi Film

A few years ago, Indians would excitedly read up about film festivals to learn what the leading ladies wore at the red carpet. But off late, Indian filmmakers are making sure we read festival news for all the right reasons i.e. cinema. A week ago I did a wrap up of all the amazing International films screened at various festivals that one must definitely watch, which pushed me to write this post.

Here are 10 Indian films that were appreciated internationally at various film festivals.

Lipstick Under My Burkha


Four women from the twisted alleys of old Bhopal secretly nurture and chase their dreams of being free. Each woman in her own way rebels against the conventional identities they’re forced into by leading dual lives, and exploring various shades of desire within.

Lipstick Under My Burkha directed by Alankrita Srivastava screened first at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival where it received the Award for Best Film on Gender Equality, and was later felicitated at the Tokyo Film Festival and took home the Spirit of Asia Award.

Read my review for the film HERE.


Written and directed by Leena Yadav, Parched is a coming-of-age film of women in rural India. Set to the backdrop of Rajasthan’s scenic landscapes, the film captures the journey of four ordinary women who are longing to leave the traditions of servitude behind and explore life.

The film won the award for Best Feature under the Audience Choice Awards category at IFFLA, and has been celebrated as festival favourite all year long.

Do read our review HERE.


Waiting directed by Anu Menon stars Naseeruddin Shah and Kalki Koechlin in lead roles. The film is about a special relationship that blossoms between two strangers, who befriend each other at a hospital while nursing their individual spouses in coma. While the story is heavy on grief, it also is about learning to live with courage, love with faith and laugh with hope.

The film premiered at the Dubai Film Festival, where it received critical acclaim and was praised for its narrative and performances. It also bagged the Best Director Award at IFFLA.


Sairat is director Nagraj Manjule’s second feature after winning the National Award for Best Director for his debut project, Fandry. Sairat is about a boy from a lower caste who falls in love with the daughter of an upper-caste politician. The socio-political landscape of rural Maharashtra prevents the young lovers from carrying their intense longing for each other forward.

The film was the official selection for 66th Berlin International Film Festival where it received a standing ovation, and later went on to acquire commercial success. The lead actress, Rinku Rajguru, was awarded a Special Mention at the National Film Awards for her effective portrayal of a lively girl who defies societal norms.

The film was a raving success in rural Maharashtra, where shows as late at 3 a.m. were added to some theatres. If you haven’t caught the flick yet, it is a must watch of the year. It’ll make one fall in love, laugh, and cry; it’ll also shock and leave you speechless.

Tope (The Bait)

Tope (The Bait) by Buddhadeb Dasgupta, one of India’s most celebrated directors, is a four-part portrayal of life in rural India.

The film focuses on how the artistic community is often used as a bait to serve personal interests of the society. The original story is about what the hunter uses as bait to catch the prey and whether the bait knows about its fate.

Tope screened at multiple International festivals and received critical acclaim throughout; every scene of the film is a work of art. One of the reviews stated that appreciating this film is an acquired taste, but it is a taste worth acquiring.

Brahman Naman


Brahman Naman directed by Q (Qaushiq Mukherjee), known for his cult hit film Gandu, is a smart, boisterous sex comedy that’s raunchy and endearing in equal measure.

The film set in the 80s follows Naman and his best friends, who are hell bent on losing their virginity during a college championship tournament in Calcutta.

The film is a hilarious roller coaster ride, which received raving reviews at the Sundance Film Festival, IFFLA and also was the first Indian original film to premiere on Netflix.

Mukti Bhawan (Hotel Salvation)

Faced with his father's untimely and bizarre demand to go and die in the holy city of Varanasi and attain salvation, a son is left with no choice but to embark on this journey.

Directed by Shubhashish Bhutiani, Mukti Bhawan is a celebration of all things we miss when we stop exploring. Not only did the film receive positive reviews and a standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival, it was awarded the XXIIIrd prix “Enrico Fulchignoni” by UNESCO for expressing the importance of family, love and valuing human rights.

India In A Day

Directed by Richie Mehta, and powered by Google, India in a Day is a new form of non-fiction filmmaking that uses footage shot by millions of people in India on one single day to assemble a lyrical portrait of modern India.

On October 10, 2015, unlike any other day, millions of people across India turned on their cameras and smartphones and recorded their lives. The result is not only breath taking, but also fascinating in ways words can’t describe.

An Insignificant Man

An Insignificant Man directed by Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla, is about the rise of anti-corruption protests in India and the formation and rise of the Aam Aadmi Party.

The film received a standing ovation at its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, and screened at major festivals across the world.

The documentary captures the day-to-day functioning of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) between 2012 December and 2013 December, concluding with the Delhi elections.

The Cinema Travellers

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Image Source: Festival de Cannes

Directed by Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya, this lyrical documentary chronicles the vanishing tradition of the mobile tent cinemas that brought films to faraway towns and villages across India.

The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and won the Special Jury Prize - Le Prix du documentaire, it  was also awarded the Best Documentary at the Batumi International Art House Film Festival, Critics’ Choice Award at Mumbai Film Festival and Grand Jury Award at the New Hampshire Film Festival.

Is there an internationally celebrated Indian film I missed out on? Do let me know about it in the comments section!


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