11 Indian Short Films That Prove You Don’t Need More That 20 Minutes To Impress

 At a point in time when mainstream Bollywood feature films are getting increasingly derivative, it might be time for a change.

But sometimes change needs ot happen quickly and effectively. Two words that perfectly describe the films on our list. Far from huge budgets and viral marketing campaigns, there’s some Indian short films that do away with all the excess.

Focusing on one thing and one thing only, effective and memorable storytelling.

#1 Afterglow

A widow mourning the death of her husband is turned into an almost-comedy. Following her as she deals with the condolence visits after his death, the film depicts just how fast life moves on. Without taking a moment to ponder the dead, because the visitors in this short really don’t shut up about themselves.

Written and directed by Kaushal Oza, the movie gets at your emotions unexpectedly and stays there.

#2 Sujata

A woman pushed to the edge by her torturous cousin and a lack of help from any authority figure, Sujata is quietly played by Huma Qureshi. Her justice is grim and oddly domestic, making the film as satisfying as it is terrifying.

Part of a short film anthology called Shorts, Sujata by Shlok Sharma is tight and unmissable.

#3 Ahalya

Even though the tale’s dark twist is obvious as soon as an ominous Radhika Apte clutches at the dolls on the table. But the film manages to unnerve mainly because of Tota Roy’s understated performance against the unease that Apte and Soumitra Chatterjee bring to the table.

#4 Tubelight Ka Chand

Put enough bulbs together and you’d make a moon just for yourself. It’s faulty logic, but the brilliant imagination that plays out in Tubelight Ka Chand. From Shlok Sharma and Anurag Kashyap comes a whimsical story about a boy with a simple dream to touch the moon.

If you need to have your spirits lifted this one’s a pretty good bet.

#5 Dharmam

A rookie cop and a jaded senior make their way through the city and their encounters are what keep the plot moving along. The insights on who is and isn’t a desirable member of society couple are what this film is concerned with, and the kind of examples we set for those who look up to us.

Written and directed by Madonne Ashwin, Dharmam turns our gaze to the places we’d rather not look.

#6 Selfie

More for the subject matter than anything else, Selfie is one man’s examination of the treatment he receives because of his appearance. Small, dark and relaxed might not say much about a person. But in a country with high stock placed on fair skin, mistaking a man for a cab driver has a deep-rooted meaning.

And it’s exactly that which Selfie concerns itself with.

#7 Bypass

Showcased at Edinburgh and Aubagne film festival, Bypass is quiet and fills its silence with only the absolute worst of humanity. Murder, assault, theft all feels blase by the end of your 20-minute viewing. Featuring Irrfan Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, the short is a great example of minimalistic storytelling.

#8 Teaspoon

Teaspoon is pretty much a brilliant rendering of the movie Baghban gone horribly wrong.

A small tense household with an elderly paralytic patriarch and a frustrated daughter-in-law sets the scene for chilling realization of a harmless fantasy. The woman trapped in a dead end situation with no out decides to take a step that continues ot haunt her long after, and not for the reason she imagined.

#9 Khujli

Sex doesn’t end in your 20’s and if you’re lucky, a healthy sexual life in your 60’s and beyond is not that hard to imagine. Which is why Jackie Shroff and Neena Gupta‘s fun romp around the bedroom with fluffy pink handcuffs is so endearing to watch.

Written by Sonam Nair, Khujli isn’t overly explained, it’s as personal as you can get without being heavy or challenging.

#10 Chutney

There are countless films about cheating husbands and the wives who have their revenge. But none really like this one. Chutney’s tension builds around a herb garden and a housewife who’s having a conversation with her husband’s mistress.

Keeping things spoiler free with Chutney is pretty simple because the story really ends up in a place you didn’t see coming, and keeps things entertaining the entire way there.

#11 Mumbai Mirror

Anyone who lives in this country is well aware of tensions that can spring up between communities in this country and just how rapidly violence can envelop a city with no warning.

Mumbai Mirror is fast and it is relevant and in 3 minutes, the story heads to a place you don’t see coming. Shlok Sharma proves hit penchant for grounded stories yet again with performances by Rajkummar Rao and Vijay Maurya that need no more than 3 minutes to shine.

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