The reputation of popular Indian cinema is growing, but its theatrical distribution remains limited. Fortunately, it is possible to catch up online with these blockbusters that have nothing to envy of those in Hollywood. Selection.
Published on January 12, 2024 at 9:00 p.m.
lOn October 18, they were released in theaters. Flower Moon Killers, Trolls 3 and A difficult year. Three potential box office heavyweights, surpassed by a much less publicized outsider: Lion This first Wednesday it achieved the best average number of spectators (8,500 tickets for 32 theaters). A spectacular start for Lokesh Kanagaraj’s epic film, which reinforces the rise of Indian blockbusters in France. This growth is due in part to RRRlast year’s international success (almost 175 million dollars in revenue worldwide), loaded with a hundred awards (even the Oscar for best song), which will have confirmed the reputation of a popular cinema now more inventive than its equivalent from Hollywood.
Enough to reinforce its distribution in France (from jawan has tiger 3, no less than fifty films released in 2023), but with a stealthy distribution model: exhibition for a reduced number of days, screenings at a single, sometimes exorbitant, price, with no subsequent release on DVD. This volatile visibility does not prevent growing recognition, both in the film-loving communities on social networks and among YouTubers. But also a frustration among his followers who live far from the theaters that screen the new pearls of “masala” cinema (which combines several genres in a single film) or “Kollywood”, more specialized in action films.
The good news is that it is possible to taste them at home: most platforms have an endless number of these productions in their back rooms. After having worked hard to discover them (a search for results in Hindi, even if only on Netflix, in almost a hundred titles), we still have to do some cleaning to get to the top of the basket. Follow the guide.
The legend of Baahubali
Avant RRR, SS Rajamouli stood out with this two-part epic, which combines the splendor of big Hollywood productions in the style of Cecil B. De Mille and the skill enabled by cutting-edge digital effects. The destiny of an orphan who becomes a mythical warrior (fighting a bull with his bare hands and entire armies by himself) merges legendary figures, from Tarzan to Hercules or Moses. The battle scenes, including a forty-five-minute one that would make Peter Jackson the Lord of the Rings – without impeding the fluidity of an ultra-romantic story.
Part 1 on Netflix, part 2 on VOD on Apple TV+.
Another diptych, Drishyam recontextualizes the Indian social class system in contemporary times. Through the confrontation between a self-taught man and a police commissioner, the film directly addresses issues such as revenge porn, harassment and police violence. In the tradition of Anurag Kashyap’s urban film noir (Wasseypur Gangs), This investigation in permanent tension surprises with its gallery of antiheroes. Drishyam showing off his cinephilia (one of the characters is inspired by film classics to disguise his actions) to better delve into the territory of a Hitchcock or a Michael Mann.
Drishyam 1, on netflix, Drishyam 2 on Prime Video.
Official remake of Run, Lola, run. (Tom Tykwer, 1999), this first film by Aakash Bhatia takes up the beginning – the race, almost in real time, of a young woman to raise enough money to pay her boyfriend’s debts – but adds the twist of time loops. Each iteration rushes towards a different register, black comedy like the Coen brothers, romance, for a butterfly effect cinema. The insect also serves as a common thread in this highly charged story…
On Netflix, under two different titles: Lapeta Loop and The hellish loop.
Devotees of Michael Bay’s cinema will not be disoriented by sooryavanshi, since this story of tracking down a group of terrorists by a specialized brigade is the same excess. The script contents itself with the essentials (a race against time to find a bomb), to focus on gigantic chase scenes. The most amazing combination of motorcycle, boat and helicopter! Obviously not recommended for exegetes of Ingmar Bergman, since the slightest psychology is anesthetized by irritating humor or survirilism, but it is pure nonsense for fans of popcorn sessions.
If a game of dice is the recurring motif of Ludo, Above all, Anurag Basu puts together a narrative puzzle that combines blackmail with sex tapes, a suitcase overflowing with rupees and deranged city goons. This tangle of four stories recalls the fantasy of the early works of Danny Boyle or Guy Ritchie, to the point of swallowing its façade, pushing further the sliders of a playful amoralism or the energy of an unleashed staging.