Recommended: 10 Indian documentaries on Netflix that you must watch

WION Delhi, India May 11, 2017, 11:47 AM (IST) Written By: Zeba Khan

Netflix was launched in India on 6 January, 2016 and faces stiff competition from other online streaming channels (Source: Netflix) Photograph: Others


Although Netflix still does not have any Originals for the Indian audience, this will satisfy your quench for movies with an Indian twist


Saeed Mirza – The Leftist Sufi


Released: 2016
Director: Kireet Khurana, Padmakumar Narasimhamurthy

Saeed Mirza – The Leftist Sufi (Source: Netflix) (Others)


The documentary stars the legend himself. Based on the story of Saeed Mirza himself, the movie follows the man’s poetic vision which has contributed to parallel cinema in India from the ’70s to the ’90s. The film explores his ideologies, his quest for the ever-changing truth and discovers his moments of epiphany that rightly give him the title of an auteur.  


In Their Shoes 


Released: 2015
Director: Atul Sabharwal

In Their Shoes (Source: Netflix) (Others)


Inspired from his personal life, the documentary chronicles the rise and fall of Agra’s shoe industry. There was a time when the city of Agra was home to the largest shoe industry in the country, dating back to the Mughal era. This was a time when shoes were made from the wasted leather pouches that carried hing (asoeftida) from Iran. The industry subsequently died when China introduced leather substitutes and the Indian government pushed for exports. The personal angle takes entry when the director’s father, who has been in the same industry for years doesn't want his son to join. 


Fireflies in the Abyss


Released: 2015
Director: Chandrashekhar Reddy

Fireflies in the Abyss (Source: Netflix) (Others)


Fireflies in the Abyss is a documentary that takes you into a world of Nepali immigrants, who earn a livelihood in the unmonitored, unregulated coal mines in Meghalaya. The director had shot it two years before ‘rat hole’ coal mining was banned across meghalaya in 2014 by National Green Tribunal. The concept is called rat hole mining as it involves working in narrow pits under the earth that see no rain or sun. The documentary presents a dark grim world of the industry that not only employed child labor but also posed health and environment hazards. 


The ’90s: India Rediscovered 


Released: 2015

The ’90s: India Rediscovered (Source: Netflix) (Others)


90’s in India was an interesting mix of good and bad. Where on one hand, Indian beauties were crowned Miss Universe and Miss World, there was killings and violence. Marked with rise of pop culture, politics and several breakthroughs: the documentary features special moments with Dia Mirza, Raveena Tandon, P Chidambaram, Ram Gopal Varma, Prahlad Kakkar, Nandita Das and Shekhar Suman, to name a few.


Inshallah, Football


Released: 2014
Director: Ashvin Kumar

Inshallah, Football (Source: Netflix) (Others)


Inshallah, Football deals with the issue of Kashmir but from the eyes of an aspirant footballer. It captures the struggles and dilemmas of an 18-year old Kashmiri boy who aspires to play football in Brazil. He gets selected to play in Brazil but he’s unlikely to make it there because his father is an ex-militant. The story starts from where the Indian government denies him a passport. The documentary not only throws light on the aspirational angle but also tries to convey how the past generations and the future generations have a disconnect with one another. 




Released: 2014
Director: Abhay Kumar

Placebo (Source: Netflix) (Others)


Placebo is a dark and intriguing documentary which tries to understand the Indian education system, the side no one talks about. The documentary is based on the India’s prestigious medical college, AIIMS, after his brother (Sahil) smashes his right arm on a window and loses motor control. Placebo explores issues of competitiveness among students in Indian institutes and the toll it takes on young minds. 


Meet the Patels


Released: 2014
Director: Geeta Patel

Meet the Patels (Source: Netflix) (Others)


This documentary is funny and sweet at the same time and guarantees to leave you with a smile. It follows the journey of a soon-to-be 30, Indian-American Ravi Patel torn between the love for his parents and life’s choices. The docu-comedy has no melodrama and is based on situational hilarity for its comedy. Interestingly, the film is based on real-life experiences of actor Ravi Patel and is directed by his sister, Geeta Patel. 


My Friend Hussain 


Released: 2013
Director: Bhavana Sresht

My Friend Hussain (Source: Netflix) (Others)


Internationally recognised artist MF Hussain was one-of-a-kind artist. Often called the Picasso of India, this documentary is a biography docu-drama of his life. The story explores his life journey touching upon his art, struggles, achievement and journey with friends. In the movie, artists like Raza, Kishan Khanna, Ram Kumar and others have spoken about the great painter. 


The ’80s India


Released: 2013

The ’80s India on Netflix (Source: Netflix) (Others)


80’s was a time when you could get away with anything as there was no internet to corroborate it or couriers or traffic, for that matter. The documentary profiles some of the most historic moments and people that made news in India. 


Celluloid Man 


Released: 2012
Director: Shivendra Singh Dungarpur

Celluloid Man on Netflix (Source: Netflix) (Others)


The documentary is a look into the life of PK Nair, fondly remembered as the preserver of Indian cinema and founder of National Film Archive of India. He is credited with the task of saving nine films from the silent era. There were in all 1,700 films made during that time but noen survived apart from the saved nine. The documentary offers a tribute to the Indian cinema legend whose love for celluloid has inspired filmmakers time immemorial. The film takes a look at the nature and importance of preserving our visual art and heritage- cinema.



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