Stills from Manjummel Boys and Magoan Express
A round-up of 5 recent releases across various genres that'll keep you glued to the screen. L: Manjummel Boys R: Madgaon Express

Homegrown Watchlist: 6 Exceptional New Movies & Short Films That You Might Have Missed

Struggling to pick a Saturday night movie?

We've chosen a diverse selection of films and shorts, encompassing a wide range of genres to cater to every cinematic preference. From adrenaline-pumping thrillers to laugh-out-loud comedies, this is a round-up of 5 recent releases across various genres that'll keep you glued to the screen. All of which are fresh on OTT or youtube so you won't be scrambling to find these on the internet.

1. Manjummel Boys

This film stands out as one of India's finest survival thrillers, living up to the hype with a gripping storyline and impactful true-story elements. Manjummel Boys is based on a true story that follows a group of friends on a trip to Kodaikanal, where their adventure takes a dangerous turn when one of them falls into Guna Caves, which ignites a test of unity in a fight for survival.The music and background score by Sushin Shyam heighten the suspense, while Shyju Khalid’s cinematography captures the beauty of Kodaikanal and the terror of the caves. Director Chidambaram portrays the bond of friendship among the characters, shifting from lighthearted scenes to intense moments. The cast delivers impeccable performances, making their characters come alive with natural humour and camaraderie.

2. Madgaon Express

Madgaon Express directed by Kunal Khemu, follows three childhood friends on a trip to Goa that goes awry when they wake up to find a cache of cocaine belonging to a don in their hotel room. This film is an entertainer with natural humor that tickles your funny bones. Pratik Gandhi shines with impeccable comic timing, supported by fun performances from Divyendu Sharma and Avinash Tiwari. The film film has a quirky, fun flavour and natural comedy that makes it worth watching.

3. Jal Tu Jalaal Tu

Jal Tu Jalaal Tu is a whimsical short film about a senior employee whose life turns upside down after inadvertently triggering a laughter spree among overworked factory workers. The film is shot on an iPhone, showcasing excellent shot composition and a well-told story. The lead actor delivers a terrific performance, and the film's technical prowess highlights the beauty amid the mundane. It’s a 20-minute gem that provides a commentary on capitalism and the working class. Read more here.

4. Crossing Borders

Directed by Saurav Rai, it follows three lives entangled in Catch-22 situations as they illegally enter a country to smuggle goods for their livelihood. The film, shot on an iPhone, captures the harsh terrains of Nepal and the mountainous regions, evoking the simplicity of Iranian films. The characters, including two children and a self-made woman, share relatable bonds and struggles. Rai's unobtrusive camera work allows the characters to breathe within their environment. Rai’s films never lose their heart and honesty, making Crossing Borders a beautiful and poignant watch.

5. Aavesham

In Jithu Madhavan's delightfully unhinged comedy, three college freshmen hatch a wild plan: befriend a gangster for revenge on their cruel seniors.  The unpredictable flow of events and ample chuckles keep the narrative engaging. Fahadh Faasil is electrifying, taking over the show entirely with his whimsical, eccentric performance. Sajin Gopu shines with his comic timing, and Sushin Shyam's soundtrack adds to the film's appeal. Aavesham is a fun, action-packed film that stands out for its character depth and engaging storytelling.

6. Premalu

Directed by Girish A D, Premalu is a charming coming-of-age romantic comedy about Sachin, who finds himself caught between two potential partners, leading to amusing complications. Despite its generic storyline, the film excels with fantastic writing, perfectly apt casting, and an outstanding soundtrack, making it a joyous and refreshing experience. The characters are endearing and their charming innocence turns even absurd dialogues into big laughs. 'Premalu' is a wholesome stress buster, perfect for a laugh-filled outing with friends.