13 Indian films awarded at international film festivals
Bollywood films are usually stored as masala pots, which serve hollow entertainment on a platter, with a side of subpar dialogue and narration. However, there is a different league of Indian cinema that deserves international accolades for its unparalleled storytelling and performances. Since Lagaan for Dil Se for Massaanlet’s look at 13 such Indian films that have made their way onto international platforms.
Indian movies that captured the hearts of the world
Cricket and Bollywood are followed as religions in India. It’s not new. But when this Ashutosh Gowariker director was nominated for an Oscar, he made headlines. It was the 3rd Indian film to hold this prestigious nomination. In 2010, the film was ranked 55 in Empire magazine’s 100 Greatest Films in the World of Cinema, and in 2011 it was listed in Time magazine’s special in the Top 25 Sports Movies of All Time.
Deepa Mehta is a directorial genius, just like her company Earth, released in 1998. The film takes place in 1947 during the partition of India. The film received praise not only in India but also abroad. Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Roger Ebert gave it 3 out of 4 stars and said the film had a universal message. The film was also highly recommended by The New York Times and The New Yorker, who praised Deepa Mehta’s directorial value.
It was the very first Indian film to be nominated for an Oscar. This is the story of a poor single mother who struggled to raise her sons. mother india was one of the biggest Indian box office hits of all time. Considered one of the best Indian films of all time, the film also won awards at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
Mani Ratnam’s directorial venture gave us Preity Zinta’s million dollar smile, a young Shahrukh Khan at his best, AR Rahman’s unrivaled music and the Netpac award at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1999 . Dil Se was the third film in Mani Ratnam’s trilogy of Indian films dealing with terrorism. It was also praised for its cinematography and screenplay at the Era New Horizons Film Festival and the Helsinki International Film Festival.
This is the film that gave Bollywood Vicky Kaushal. For others it was a moving story of love and loss and one of those Indian films the world deserved to see. The film won several awards, not only here but also abroad. The film caused a stir and won awards at SAARC Film Festival, Sri Lanka in 2016, Sundance Film Festival in 2014, Indian Film Festival Los Angeles in 2016 and Cannes Film Festival in 2015.
Anurag Kashyap’s directing genius paired with stellar class and brilliant acting, Wasseypur Gangs has a separate fanbase. With four Asia-Pacific Film Festival nominations, The Hollywood Reporter compared the film to a Tarantino-esque drama, and Variety pointed to the Coppola-like influences inherent in this mafia flick. Needless to say, it is one of those Indian films that has won several accolades overseas.
Starring Radhika Apte and Surveen Chawla in the lead roles, Dried is an intense drama written and directed by Leena Yadav. The film tells the story of four women living in a village in northwest India, where they are victims of Orthodox traditions, such as child marriage and other social problems. The four women maintain an endearing friendship, where they all struggle to find ways to freedom. Dried was screened at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. It was nominated for the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in 2016 and won awards at the Stockholm Film Festival in 2015.
The Disciple by Chaitanya Tamhane is a Marathi film that swept film festivals. It was one of the only Indian films to feature on the lineup of film festivals like the Toronto International Film Festival in 2021. At the Venice Film Festival, the film won Best Screenplay and at TIFF, it won the Amplify Voices award. . The film has also been part of prestigious festivals like the New York Film Festival and the Busan International Film Festival.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s adaptation of the classic Bengali novel has enjoyed huge critical and commercial success in India. But not only that, Devdas was also India’s submission for the Oscar and was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Foreign Language Film. Time Magazine called it the best world film of 2002 and included it in the top 10 millennial films worldwide.
If you think planning a wedding is stressful, watch Mira Nair monsoon wedding, which talks about the emotional cost of planning a wedding. This film won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and received a Golden Globe Award nomination. Plus, it inspired his own Broadway musical. Apart from that, it was also nominated for a BAFTA and won a British Independent Film Award.
Another Mira Nair directing venture on this list for all the right reasons. This 2006 film was based on the novel by eminent author Jhumpa Lahiri and was well received by moviegoers and critics. Starring Irrfan Khan, Tabu and Kal Penn, this film won the Love is Folly International Film Festival in Bulgaria and was nominated for the Gotham and Independent Spirit Awards.
One simply cannot have a list of the greatest Indian films of all time without including a film by Satyajit Ray. The visionary 1955 drama Pather Panchali was not only a highly acclaimed film, it also inspired a generation of filmmakers. It was the very first Indian film that caught the attention of international critics and also won the Best Human Document award at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival, among many others.
The lunch box
A moving film about food and love where simplicity was the hero, The lunch box was screened at International Critics’ Week at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. It also won the Critics Week Viewers Choice Award (Grand Rail D’Or) and was nominated in the Film category Not in the English Language from the British Academy Film Awards in 2015.