Indian cinema is more than just Bollywood. The country produces a variety of films that you’re often unaware of, unless there’s either a Hindi version, it’s dubbed or it gets proper subtitles. 

Most of us remain unaware about other good films produced in our own country simply because we do not understand other Indian languages. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the regional films that won the national award this year: 

Pathemari: Best Malayalam Film. 

The film is based on the adversities and joys a Malayali community in Gulf faces from the 1960s till date. It focuses on the life of Pallikkal Narayanan, who flew to the Middle-East in the early 1960s, when the Kerala Gulf boom just began. 

Valiya Chirakulla Pakshikal (Malayalam) : Best film on environment conservation/ preservation

This is a fictional film on the environmental disaster caused by the misuse of pesticide endosulfan (a harmful pesticide) in the Kasaragod district of Kerala. It also speaks of how the misuse of pesticides affects human health. 

Nirnayakam :  Best Film on social issue

Ajay (Asif Ali) is an indecisive young man who drops out of National Defense Academy despite his dreams of becoming a soldier.  However the film is not based on just his ambitions. It also brings out the troubles citizens face when trapped in traffic jams due to political parties suddenly planning a rally. 

Duronto : Best Children’s Film. 

After Paan Singh Tomar, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Mary Kom, the latest addition to the list of biopics on sports persons in Indian cinema is Duronto. Budhia Singh, the world’s youngest marathon runner was the subject of this film by Soumendra Padhi. Just in case you’ve forgotten, Budhia made headlines in 2006, at the age of four, when he ran from Bhubaneswar to Puri in just seven hours and two minutes.

 Shankhachil: Best Bengali Film

The Bengali film Shakhachil is supposed to release on April 14.  Director Goutam Ghosh draws inspiration from the partition-themed films by Ritwik Ghatak, and portrays the angst of the people living near the Indo-Bangladesh border.  Set at a place near the Indo-Bangladesh border the film tells the story of a family whose relatives live on both sides of the barbed wire fencing.

Priyamanasam : Best Sankrit Film 

Yes, a Sanskrit film made it to the national awards too. The film was rejected by International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) for allegedly promoting Hindutva ideology despite the director denying the claims.  

Directed by Vinod Mankara, Priyamanasam, the only third movie to be made in Sanskrit, is about 17th century poet-scholar Unnayi Warrier. The one-and-a-half-hour-long period film revolves around the conflict experienced by Warrier while he penned his magnum opus ‘Nalacharitham aattakkatha’ (Kathakali play). 

Thithi : Best Kannada F

Winner of two Golden Leopards at the prestigious Locarno Film Festival 2015, Thithi is a realistic, light-hearted Kannada-language film about how three generations of sons react to the death of their patriarch.

Chauthi Koot: Best Punjabi Film

A farmer is informed that he has to kill the family dog. Five months later, two Hindu friends are trying to get to Amritsar. These two incidents in the film are connected by the theme of ordinary people trapped between the excesses of the army and the militant movement for a separate Sikh nation. 

Visaaranai : Best Tamil Film 

The film Visaranai is a powerful, chilling drama about how the system toys with us.  National awardee Dhanush told PTI that he was sure the film would earn a ‘special place’ when he took up the venture. Visaranai is based on M Chandrakumar’s novel ‘Lock Up’, has already received international accolades. 

Kanche: Best Telugu Film 

The film is about the rivalry between two men, based on caste and social status that extends from an Indian village to a war-torn Europe during World War 2.

Mithila Makhaan : Best Maithili Film

Mithila Makhaan is about the journey of Kranti Prakash, who works in Toronto, to establish his grandfather’s company that was shut down 35 years ago in Bihar. He visits the village in Bihar 23 years later and sees the corrupt side of the society. Despite many barriers he vows to restart the company called Mithila Makhaan Private Limited. 

Ringa: Best Marathi film

Ringa is a touching story about unrestrained paternal love of a farmer towards his son. The latter, who believes his dead mother is in the company of gods starts his hopeless search to seek her company. Amidst this, the film also captures tragic times farmers face during droughts due to which they choose to commit suicide.