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Saturday, 28 January 2017

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Breakthrough Director

Best Breakthrough Director

This year alone has proven one thing, it is new and rookie filmmakers that are pushing the envelope  on India's filmmaking, as is apt for the future.

Of the ten films nominated for best picture this year in both categories, five of the filmmakers are near newbies looking to leave their own stamp. Two of the others are filmmakers who've already experienced their own breakthroughs.

It's a showcase that undoubtedly paints a picture of a hopeful future despite what can be considered a disappointing year of films in comparison to the rest of this past decade.

 Even then these filmmakers are a terrific bunch and some others more, here are honourable mentions and a bit more:

Raja Krishna Menon for Airlift-Despite some pitfalls, Menon's Airlift is made engaging by his ability to hold attention to a scene and create both intense thrills as well as purely melodramatic moments that resonate, nearly saving the film from mediocrity.

Soumendra Padhi for Budhia Singh Born to Run-Though his budget seems curbed to the point of making the film nearly ineffective , Padhi's greatest moment comes when he extracts a fine performance from his young star and stages the big running scene with such precision; the balance of the questions raised creates a scary ambiguity with the film [elaborated later in the screenplay award]

Anirudha Roy Chowdary for Pink-He tries, but the inconsistent tone with which Roy crafts Pink is what lets the film down despite some well created moments of tension.

And now these are the nominees...

Anu Menon for Waiting

The simplicity with which Anu Menon makes Waiting speaks volumes to her understanding of her craft, she knows the sad yet not necessarily grand dramatic movie requires no frills.

Instead her simple staging of scenes and mounting of the production, allows for a film that lets its strong script do the talking.

The direction makes an art out of the easy, as Menon lets her characters the space and her actors the moment to build the films hopeful yet equally saddening climax.

It's the kind of work that is both artistic and accessible.

Ali Abbas Zafar for Sultan

Ali Abbas's moment is finally here, after multiple attempts at making the right film yet failing he cracks the mainstream formula and presents us with an exciting underdog sports tale centred around a finely detailed love story; barring the stupid short changing of Arfa's character.

It is in the second half however that Zafar proves to make the kind of film that many have failed to create; he crafts absolute stunning MMA sequences that not only feel authentic [something the Warrior remake Brothers failed to do] but also have a grit and brawn to them that just throw you off the edge of the seat.

But more importantly let us go to the fact that Zafar does what most in a decade or so have failed to do and bring forth a performance out of Salman Khan.

Ashwini Iyer Tiwari for Nil Battey Sanata

By making the same movie in different languages in one year, Ashwini Iyer Tiwari proved she isn't a one trick pony. She absolutely killed it in not only leaving her own stamp on her cinematic pieces but adding a distinct flavour to both the above mentioned film and its remake; Amma Kannaku.

 With Nil Battey Sanata Tiwari proves to understand the semantics of crafting an emotional piece and letting the details of the film breath and speak in order to build character.

The devil is in the details and the visual richness in Nil Battey Sanata makes the world such a breezy place to be in that the touching story makes you laugh and touches you in equal parts.

Ram Madhvani for Neerja

It might have taken a decade long for Madhvani to finally make his second film, but it was well worth the wait.

With Neejra not only does Ram Madhvani build dramatic moment upon dramatic moment to pay off with a tear inducing climax that realizes the importance of character building in helping make a justifiable melodrama, he also makes it unbelievably tight.

A taut thriller that keeps the viewer on his feet and rooting for its underdog protagonist.

Despite the expected tragic fate of the protagonist, for a moment and more Madhvani immerses you in the tense situation such that one forgets and roots for her victory and then tears your heart apart with absolute brilliance. It's equal parts tragic and hopeful.

Pavan Kirpalani for Phobia

For a man that has made two absolutely ballsy but eventually terrible horror movies, the question was whether Radhika Apte had made a bad choice with Phobia.

That was never meant to be, as not only does Kirpalani use his horror expertise to make a tense moody piece but also trains his focus on Apte such that she comes up with one of the finest performances of the year.

As a filmmaker overall, Kirpalani keeps the viewer in a vice grip by building an absolutely haunting atmosphere with the smallest of devices and adds such unbelievable depth to the detail in each moment.

It teaches you about the very things on rape and consent that films these days seems to be to overt and ignorant with, it never simplifies the morally and emotionally complex situation and that is all Kripalani's insight making it happen.

Leena Yadav for Parched

Prior to Parched, Leena Yadav made two films that were smartly and stylishly directed but are left vapid because they come off as commissioned projects yet passionate works of art.

It's not a knock on Yadav whose still growing directorial skills showed flash, but with the right narrative and game team; Yadav leads her flashy work to some fizzle in building a film that is haunting and insightful in regards to its understanding of societal judgement, the hypocrisies between genders and the flight of liberation.

Intoxicating with an authentic milieu and using space with an astute understanding, Leena Yadav makes an unbelievably poignant and profound film that will stand the test of time, make a statement on the atrocities of patriarchy but never feel like a forced lesson just a cinematic masterpiece.

Shefali Bhushan for Jugni

Taking from experience and building on her musical passion, Shefali Bhushan makes a movie that is rife with a plethora of tonal shifts that are smooth and moving.

The showcase of the film is her romantic leads duets, music oozes from the film and that passions builds into a romance that is as aptly pure and simple as should be for the movie to be touching and worth it despite a tepid second half.

Heart warming in its reverence of music and musicians, Shefali Bhushan's Jugni is a lyrical piece that will touch and break hearts in equal measure.

And the winner is...

Pavan Kirpalani for Phobia!!!

With this win Phobia soars high towards the best picture trophy, can the others catch up.

Up Next: Not one actor, or star, this is not half the performances but the whole cast...Best Ensemble Cast!!!

'Nuff Said,

Aneesh Raikundalia

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