Films have always been the preferred mode of entertainment through time. Yet when relaxation is all but over and you are more than refreshed, it’s creativity that you yearn rather than just entertainment. This is where short, indigenous films have evolved to make the picture even better than the whole. Here are the top 29 best Hindi short films you certainly don’t want to miss if you want to explore films beyond the ordinary-
Radhika Apte has been one of those actors who have always dazzled in unconventional roes, with a thriller undertone. And her 2015 short film Ahalya with the legendary Soumitra Chaterjee indeed has to be one of the best Hindi short films ever.
Ahalya explores the investigation about a missing man by a police officer that leads the latter on a path gone awry. Suspense and intrigue keeps viewers hooked in this edge of the seat thriller which ends a riddle as open ended as it was at the beginning.
#2 Period. End of Sentence.
Award winning director Rayka Zehtabchi ‘touches upon’ the taboo issue of menstruation particularly in rural India and documented Indian women fight the stigma surrounding menstruation and begin manufacturing sanitary pads. What makes this short film even more inspiring is that it is based on the exploits of a real life hero.
#3 Plus Minus
As a young woman is almost on the verge of leaving her marital home all thanks to a dominating mother in law, a chance encounter with a 22 year old Indian Army Soldier teaches her new meaning of love and lends her a new perspective of life. The film Plus Minus indeed teaches us what it advocates- that every minus is half of a plus. How very hopeful!
#4 Old Monk
A tribute to the good old friend of the winters, Old Monk is a short film that is as antique as the product it nostalgically yearns for. The film beautifully makes viewers revisit all those precious friendships forged over glasses of Old Monk doing the rounds.
After all those years of easing pain and stress and making life a bit more bearable, the forever young Old Monk does deserve all of the adulation and this short film is a beautiful attempt at that.
As a young man Sapan falls in love yet again, he has a rather important task at hand. As Sapan falters in pursuit of deciphering whether his love is true or real, it is his psychiatrist who can be his only rescuing hope. That, only after he has ‘proved’ to her that his lady love actually exists.
#6 Ambani The Investor
Award winning short film Ambani The Investor is one of those best Hindi short films that is as inspiring as it is a treat to the senses. A poor boy, who starts earning money by selling his father’s liquor bottles for money which he invests in many small businesses finally earns some profit. The film is a story of how the boy made it big through his hard work and entrepreneurial skills besides relying a bit on being lucky.
Another award winner, Teaspoon is a short film that dwells on the predicament of a working woman having to tend to her paralytic father in law. A travel agent husband who is on the go most of the time leaves his wife in a state of virtual dilemma.
Even as the woman resorts to working from home in accordance with her responsibilties, she finds herself continuously perturbed by her father in law’s preferred method of summon. A teaspoon banging against a bedpost proves to be a headache for the woman. Even worse is that her husband fails to understand her situation as the ritual rarely unfolds in his presence. As things start getting more nervy, what emerges is a real dilemma this time, that which is almost unable of being resolved.
Indeed romantic and definitely slice of life, though of things extraordinaire among the ordinary, Filmfare award winner Khamakha is one of those films that will make you long for a similar real life encounter.
As a suave, ‘urbane’ guy finds himself in public transport after his car ditched him mid way, he is inevitably drawn to a co passenger, a striking girl. ‘Love’ however manages to find expression at the end of their charmingly meandering debate about language and life.
#9 Bombay Mirror
A brilliant take on the unpredictability of human nature with a pot shot at fanaticism, Bombay Mirror is easily another of the finest among the lot of best Hindi short films.
As the seemingly secular protagonist goes into a barber’s shop to get all trim and proper for an upcoming interview, he emerges a different man. A random incident outside and it doesn’t take long for our hero to be the forebearer of the communal pride. The film thrives on this twist that is also its essence and gives a stark insight into just how cheap lives can cost at times.
A writer facing a writer’s block finds an unusual ‘inspiration’ in a garbage collector who seems to be searching for something elusive in the dustbin. As the writer starts spying on this unconventional muse of sorts, things get interesting and very soon a brewing friendship gets on the cards. As the two indulge in a warming conversation about their most queer of life instances one night, mysteries emerge and are solved as the riddle finally runs free of the reins.
#11 Interior Cafe Night
Interior Cafe Night has to be among the best Hindi short films at least for its commonplace relatability, if not for anything else. As two lovers meet for the last time before trying to make a long distance relationship work, either are overcome by what would happen at the worst. Sensible yet vulnerable, the fear of what if their significant other finds happiness in someone else doesn’t let the hearts find peace.
Parallely though, another much older couple find love returning as they meet after a long separation. The crux of what follows is the universal desire of not wanting to let love slip away.
This one among the best Hindi short films is a depiction of how the age old institution of arranged marriage need not always be a farce. This short film shows how a wedding arranged between two strangers with dynamically different personalities can work out just fine despite all the inhibitions and apprehensions. Unarranged shows how arranged marriages need not always be as scary as regular predictions present them to be.
The 2012 National Award winning short film Afterglow is easily one of the best Hindi short films that you must watch for an altered perspective on mourning death. The film was also part of the list of Best Indian Short Films of the Past Decade.
A tragi- comedy, Afterglow depicts how a Parsi widow deals with the loss of her terminally ill husband and the many condolences offered to ‘ease her grief’. Delightfully enriching is the fact how this ‘poor woman’ seeks to embrace emancipation instead by rejecting mourning rituals and society dictums to allow herself a personal grieving process.
#14 That Day After Everyday
Directed by Anurag Kashyap and dealing with the menace of eve teasing, That Day After Everyday is one of the definite must watches among the best Hindi short films. Revolving around three somewhat timid women who are everyday victims of being teased by some roadside goons, the film is a shocker in that it offers a twist when you least expect it. Obviously Anurag Kashyap and some action sequences, you get the hint!
One short film that everyone needs to watch just because it is based on daily incidents faced by every common man, Selfie is another award winning entry in the ranks of best Hindi short films.
Letting ourselves get affected by every random opinion and judgement while we still keep on judging the world, we have come to be more ‘dependent’ on validation as the human race. The film Selfie is a fantastic critique of instead delving deep into our inner selves to capture the truest version of ourselves which is what would be the prettiest selfie!
#16 Going Dutch
A film with a feminist theme to the very core, Going Dutch depicts the beginnings of the ushering in of an arranged marriage scenario in a manner that is plainly refreshing.
As expected, the protagonist discovers early on during her meeting with her to be groom that his strong tones of promoting women empowerment are still dominated by subdued tones of patriarchy. What emerges in the course of this over five minutes long film is the manner in which the woman make the man realise what he actually is over what he pretends to be.
Starring Saurabh Shukla and Parambrata Chatterjee, Anukul transports us to the futuristic world of artificial intelligence where a machine starts questioning the ways of the world. With proper ‘rights’ and opinions, the ‘piece of metal with a heart of cold’ stems out a futuristically gripping short film that is a must watch.
#18 Nayantara’s Necklace
With friendship taking unhealthy leaps towards being an obsession as the main theme, Nayantara’s Necklace is one of those acclaimed best Hindi short films that should be a definite feature in every movie lover’s list.
As two women bond with each other when they meet every afternoon at the bus stop waiting to pick up their kids, a friendship is on the cards. But what is an approaching but unwanted reality is that one of the ladies develops an obsession for the other, wanting to be like her that shapes up this film.
#19 The Guest
The winner in the ‘Large Short Films’ category at the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) Film Festival, The Guest is another of the best Hindi short films that would tug at your heart. In its 8 minute run time, The Guest picturises a young man who finds himself in wilderness after his car breaks down in the mountains.
In its conclusion, The Guest is also a riveting story of fear in all its progress with a feeling of unsettling uneasiness creeping in the atmosphere. Inherently though, the film is a reflection of the feelings in our heart that needs to be not the rarity but the norm.
The film Juice showcases the gender difference common to a middle-class background. Mr. Singh hosts a get together in their house along with his wife Manju. While the men are busy having a good time, Manju along with the other ladies are seen putting all their efforts in keeping the party going.
The film Chutney takes a deep into the world of the common Indian middle class. Anita, a middle class housewife meets Rasika. She asks Anita to teach her how to cook. On the other hand, Rasika is seen flirting with Anita’s husband. Anita meets Rasika the next day leading to a conversation that uncovers some shocking secrets previously kept under the wraps.
#22 Line Of Duty
A Young Indian Army recruit gets posted at a remote bunker. Under rigid border regulations, he however has to give up his principals of humanity. The big question is- with a natural calamity at hand, will he abide by these regulations?
#23 Little Terrorist
The film follows the life of Jamal, a 10-year-old kid from Pakistan who accidentally crosses the border to India. He finds refuge in the house of a Hindu Brahmin. Little Terrorist also went on to grab a nomination at the Academy Awards.
The film narrates the story of two bandits crossing paths with a corrupt police officer. No one seems to be what they showcase in this gory short film titled Bypass featuring Irrfan Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
Kamera focuses on the life of a kid from the slum. The film beautifully portrays the struggles of the people for whom survival is the only thing that matters. Dreams and passions are often left at the corner of the mind palace awaiting to shine.
#26 That Sunday
A thriller, That Sunday was the official selection as one of the short films for the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. The movie revolves around a wife and her sick husband who gets to know her dark secret.
The official selection for a couple of international festivals, short film Kunal is a depiction of the life story of three characters. As a young Payal gets married to an older man against her wishes, it is surprisingly her step son Kunal who cares for her and comes to her rescue.
A seemingly happy couple comes to the fore in this five minutes long short film titled El’ayichi. In an eerie expression of love, a clingy husband takes resort to a fossilized dodo to keep his irritated wife company. Clearly, the film is an exploration of a relationship where the love might be dwindling, or even non- existent.
Kheer is a delightful take on the evolution of relationships as life ambles along its own course, which makes it one of the best Hindi short films. As bonds get more intense and relations get more comfortable, there is obviously a sharing of the deepest secrets and a reveal of the weirdest talks. The film explores the changing definition of companionship throughout life in all its glory.