Some storytellers can take hours and still not tell a good story, while others can leave a lasting impact in minutes. Like filmmakers did with these exceptional regional-language short films:
1. Mozhi (Malayalam)
With over 1 million views, this romantic short film has become a crowd favourite, thanks to both, its music and the brilliant performance by the starcast. While Mozhi may not boast of a groundbreaking story, it is the kind of film that leaves you smiling, and sometimes, that's all that you need!
2. Idaivelai (Tamil)
In a country where joint families and cramped quarters are still the norm, how do couples explore romance and intimacy? This far too-common problem finds a sweet reflection in this short film that has just the right mix of romance and comedy.
3. Thoovana Thumbigal (Tamil)
Rarely do films explore non-romantic relationships between people of opposite genders. But Thoovana Thumbigal, with its brilliantly talented starcast, attempts an honest take at how friendships develop in our twenties, as we make the shift from young adults to barely adulting adults.
4. Horpal (Marathi)
Long before the pandemic brought alive the harsh reality of migrant workers, this beautiful but hard-hitting short film portrayed their struggles - but from a child's point of view.
5. Pavsacha Nibandh (Marathi)
Winner of the Audience Award for Best Short Film at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles in 2018 and the National Film Awards for Best Director and Best Audiography, Pavsacha Nibandh is a cinematic marvel by Nagraj Manjule. Rains, which usually form a romantic setting in Indian movies, become the unwitting backdrop for displaying social inequity in a subtle, effective manner. A Zee5 original, the film is streaming on the platform.
6. Kharvas (Marathi)
The winner of the National Film Awards for Best Short Fiction Film, Kharvas touches upon a topic that rarely gets the attention it deserves - the pain of a mother who loses her child by giving birth to a still-born baby. The lead Veena Jamkar's powerful performance accurately represents the physical and emotional trauma of a grieving mother, in this well-developed, poignant tale.
7. Dhummas (Gujarati)
Directed by Nainisha Dedhia, Dhummas is a brilliantly crafted drama that was India's official entry for the Oscars' live-action short film category. In just 19 minutes, Dhummas manages to expertly take on the all-pervasive but barely explored topic of women oppressing women and the long-standing tendrils of familial abuse. You can watch the film here.
8. Freedom @ Midnight (Malayalam)
While the ending left people conflicted, Freedom @ Midnight still deserves to be on your watchlist, thanks to its subject - the desire for sexual freedom in a married couple.
9. Arranged (Assamese)
Many filmmakers have used the pandemic as a backdrop to tell different stories. But few of them have managed to capture the disarming innocence of love blooming in an "arranged" set-up as director Samujjal Kashyap did with this short film.
10. Daai (Assamese)
Beautiful visuals, brilliant performances, and a heartwarming story makes Daai the kind of short film that leaves a long-lasting impact in a matter of minutes.
Is there a film you'd like to add to the list? Let us know in the comments section below.