J Hurtado's Ten Favorite Indian Films Of 2015

Editor, U.S. ; Dallas, Texas (@HatefulJosh)
2015 has been a very odd year for me. While I have struggled to get to the theater as often as I'd like to review new releases, I have been able to see a lot of independent Indian films that never made landfall in the US. A lot of these films were submissions to various film festivals and as such it wasn't appropriate to write reviews of them at the time, but since most of them have landed on screens either in Indian cinemas or at different festivals around the world, I think it's about time that I share a few brief thoughts.

As usual, I offer my standard admonition that my list should in no way be considered as a list of the best Indian films of the year. First of all, I didn't see nearly enough of the mainstream critical darlings to make that distinction. Second, to me, "best" indicates some kind of objective truth, which just doesn't exist. Instead, I offer up a list of my favorite Indian film experiences of the year and hope it encourages you to seek out a few things on your own!

Pierce Conran contributed to this story.

My favorite.

Follwing Eega was never going to be easy for director SS Rajamouli. That film was my favorite overall from 2012 and introduced his particular brand of cinemania to the world after numerous festival placements around the world. However, with Baahubali, Rajamouli has shown the world what we fans already knew, he is the real deal. I reviewed the film upon its release this summer, so rather than attempt to wring new superlatives from my vocabulary, I'll share a brief bit of that review:

What it all boils down to is that SS Rajamouli is a director with a heart as big as a house, and ambitions bigger than you can imagine. His films redefine what the scope of Indian Cinema can mean, both in terms of this kind of epic story as well as who the audience for this largely regional cinema is. Baahubali - The Beginning is a film for the child in everyone, the one who wants to believe in heroes and derring-do, and for the adult in everyone who wants to believe that they can be the hero of their own story, that they just need the right motivation. I've waited all summer for a great film, and Baahubali - The Beginning is the first film that feels to me like it hits all of those notes. When Hollywood comes knocking on Rajamouli's door, don't say I didn't tell you first.
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