Mainstream Hindi movies receive far more attention and promotion, and while there is nothing wrong with promoting movies, it does mean that more often than not, mediocre content becomes more popular than quality content. In 2021 itself, regional movies with better storytelling and performances did not receive the attention that many Hindi movies did, even though the former was better.
Here’s a look at our pick of films in languages other than Hindi, that are far better than mainstream Hindi-language hits from the year:
1. For sequels that are as good as the original, if not better, pick Drishyam 2, which excels at keeping you on the edge-of-your-seat, over Bunty Aur Babli 2, which disappoints in terms of both, story, and songs.
2. In the case of social dramas based on real-life events, Jai Bhim, which does not allow star power to overshadow the story, is miles ahead of Bell Bottom and Bhuj, in terms of both, storytelling and performances.
Bell Bottom may have been based on a significant historical event, but it delivered a story we’ve seen enough times already – Akshay Kumar’s hyper nationalistic avatar saving the nation! Bhuj, frankly, should have never been made in the first place. On the other hand, Jai Bhim, used a historical event to bring to light issues that still plague our society – caste-based atrocities, corruption, and abuse of power.
3. Movies that attack patriarchy are increasing in number but few get the point across as flawlessly as The Great Indian Kitchen did. Tribhanga, on the other hand, might have chosen feminism as a subject, but was just as problematic as patriarchy!
4. Sports dramas that are impactful and entertaining make for the perfect masala entertainer. And in this regard, Sarpatta Parambarai would serve you far better than Toofaan.
5. Clutter-breaking crime dramas that shock and intrigue in equal measures are truly rare. This is why Joji is a masterpiece whereas The Girl on the Train is a pale imitation that we could have done without.
6. Though there is no scarcity of fast-paced action dramas in Hindi cinema, most just end up attacking our logic and our ears. And that’s why Sooryavanshi can easily be skipped for Karnan, which does not compromise on logic for action sequences.
7. I’ve always been a sucker for good romances, but not the flawed, stereotypical kind that Meenakshi Sundareshwar served, but rather, the kind that Maara, with its imaginative storytelling, served, once again awakening the hopeless, romantic in me.
8. If Squid Game has you searching for Korean remakes that adapt to Indian society while also staying true to the source material, then Netrikann (remake of Blind) fits the bill, unlike Dhamaka (remake of The Terror Live), which was a massive let down in terms of screenplay.
9. If you’re in the mood for thrillers then Maanaadu will leave you delightfully entertained, and have you wracking your brains to figure out the suspense. Haseen Dillruba will also leave you wracking your brains… figuring out logic, or sense, or even, the romance it is supposedly based on.
This is not to say Hindi cinema completely disappointed. We did have gems like Sherni, Sandeep Aur Pink Faraar, Shershaah, etc. But there were more misses than hits in Hindi cinema. So, if you’re not familiar with languages other than Hindi or English, make an effort to cross that barrier of subtitles. Because the results, are totally worth it.