Indian Documentaries No Longer a Niche Segment, Get Global Fame | Hindi Movie News

At Cannes 2022, Shaunak Sen’s documentary All That Breathes won Best Documentary. The victory of an Indian documentary for the second consecutive year at Cannes put Indian documentaries in the spotlight. Not only Cannes, but Indian documentaries have won awards at the Sundance Film Festival and have been nominated for Oscars as well. A documentary filmmaker points out that “Indian documentary films have been screened many times in festivals like IDFA, Berlinale, Hot Docs, Cannes, where Indian fiction struggles to get screened in premier film festivals. plan”. The filmmakers say the past year has been a glorious one for Indian documentaries and also point out that OTT platforms are playing a major role in this change. In recent times have seen Indian documentaries – About Love, Kagaz Ki Kashti, Period. End of sentence. – on OTT platforms. We spoke to documentary filmmakers to understand the expanding documentary palate of desi audiences and what led to this global recognition.

“STORIES ARE NOW TOLD IN A SUPERIOR WAY”
Archana Phadke, whose documentary About Love is on an OTT platform, says the superior quality of documentary filmmaking is one of the main reasons for recognition. She adds that now the stories are told in a technically superior way, which appeals to the audience.

Shaunak says, “It was about time Indian documentaries got to such a stage. Clearly, there is worldwide interest in Indian non-fiction. With the kind of critical acclaim and festival successes like – Writing With Fire and A Night Of Knowing – have had at Cannes and Sundance, I think it would be fair to say that there is something unheard of right now.

He adds that the outstanding performance of Indian documentaries can be attributed to a broader cultural and infrastructural change. He adds that platforms like Docedge in Kolkata – an annual international forum for incubating and showcasing documentaries for Indian and Asian filmmakers – help filmmakers. He says: “It was there that a young filmmaker like me, and my first film eight years ago, became familiar with the grammar of documentary. Chandan Samrah, who has been associated with MIFF (Mumbai International Film Festival), says, “Over the years, with Oscar-winning and Cannes-winning documentary filmmakers, this genre has gained more interest among Indian viewers. . Additionally, platforms like MIFF and Films Division provide infrastructure for young filmmakers.

“A NEW GENERATION OF FILMASTERS ARE TELLING INCREDIBLE STORIES”
Vinay Shukla, who co-directed An Insignificant Man (2016) – a newsroom thriller, says: “People in India watch the news all day, so there is an appetite for non-fiction content. Now a new generation of filmmakers has come forward who tell incredible stories with excellent non-fiction skills. Movies like Writing With Fire and Machines And Cinema Travelers have done extremely well globally. These films are inspiring and attract new audiences.

Shaunak, however, also points out that even though this glory has come now, Indian documentary makers have been doing a remarkable job for years. Agreed Utpal Kalal, whose documentary was screened at the IFFI (International Film Festival of India). He says: “Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s 1978 documentary An Encounter With Faces was nominated for an Oscar. Young documentary filmmakers are re-creating history in documentary scripts and they are telling stories that go to the best film festivals. Documentary production has been changing for a long time. The recent worldwide recognition is not so sudden, but it is the result of technical advances and new forms that filmmakers have followed.

Lubdhak Chatterjee, a documentary filmmaker whose film Vaikhari was produced by Public Service Broadcasting Trust India (PSBTI), says the recent success of Rintu, Sushmit and Shaunak will intrigue viewers. He points out, “What is most important is that people are now aware of this successful space in Indian cinema, which has never attracted so much attention before.”

Khushboo Ranka, co-director of An Insignificant Man, says, “The most successful international section of a global OTT platform is not fiction. Whether it’s The Social Dilemma or such documentaries, everyone has heard of them. I feel like it’s definitely

will get a wider audience and recognition.

“OTT PLAYS A MAJOR ROLE IN THE RELEASE OF DOCUMENTARIES IN THE NICHE CATEGORY”
Archana says that when she started watching world cinema, it made her realize that documentary is not just about talking heads. She says that in recent years, it has been OTT platforms that have made viewers aware of what a documentary can be. She credits streaming services for taking the documentaries out of the niche category. She says, “Last year was great in terms of documentaries in India. A lot has happened in terms of documentary in India – high standard of documentary making, not just good stories, but the stories are even told in a technically superior way. There is no casualness in it. The sup-

the port of the public of the filmmakers is much more than before like the success of the documentaries.

She adds, “Before making a documentary, I thought documentaries were boring and preachy. But when I was first exposed to world cinema, I realized that documentaries could be so much more than that. You can do a lot more than in fiction. Certainly, it’s not just for a niche audience anymore. A popular OTT platform broke it with The Last Dance or Wild Wild Life. These are high profile, but with these documentaries, people have suddenly opened their eyes to non-fiction.

Lubdhak points out that OTTs have played a major role in generating interest in documentaries, “OTTs, especially platforms, have brought documentaries to a wider audience. won’t be widespread until we allow more screenings in mainstream spaces. Vinay Shukla agrees and says, “In India, almost all the OTT platforms are commissioning big-budget documentary projects. So we’re in a era of expanding budgets and audiences.

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