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Best Indian Documentaries and Where to Watch Them

by Puja Barman
We are so caught up with the fictional world brimming with tales of fantasy and imagination, we tend to neglect the fact that there is a real-world out there with countless stories to tell. India is like rich heaven for any non-fiction filmmaker, and Indian documentary films have already made a special space for themselves on many global platforms. Here is a list of the best Indian documentary films to look into the world of non-fiction.
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Watch Tuning 2 You: Lost Musicians of India Online

Tuning 2 You: Lost Musicians of India (2017)

Documentary, Adventure, Music
Key Actors : Soumik Datta
Recommend

Two Londoners, virtuoso sarod player Soumik Datta and his brother Souvid, an award-winning photojournalist, visit six Indian states to investigate and celebrate the country's rich folk music heritage.


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Watch The 14th February & Beyond Online

The 14th February & Beyond (2020)

Documentary
Directed By : Utpal Kalal
Key Actors : Shilpa Agrawal, Venkat Aravala, Sudhir Bhave, Rajiv Malhotra
Recommend

The first ever closest look into the Valentine's Day that unveils the strange face of this global love fest and its impact on the mental health of our society.


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Watch Chiseled Online

Chiseled (2017)

Documentary, Short, History
Directed By : Ram Alladi
Key Actors : Matthew Sanger
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
9.4   

"Chiseled" is an heritage documentary about magnificent temples, splendid forts and beautiful lakes ruled over by a warrior civilisation called "Kakatiya Dynasty".


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Watch Ram-Path Online

Ram-Path (2017)

Documentary
Directed By : Ashish Dubey, Ishan Jacob
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
9.4   

A narrative on the RAMLEELA art form performed in JASWANT NAGAR, India. It is not performed on a stage but on the roads of the town. Recognized by UNESCO as the world's best field Ramleela and categorized as an UNESCO intangible heritage.


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Watch Secrets of Sinauli Online

Secrets of Sinauli (2021)

Key Actors : Manoj Bajpayee
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
9.4   

Sinauli, a place near baghpat, was excavated by ASI 2 years back. The site revealed a chariot and some metal objects along side. Basic chronology of the site is assumed to be of mahabharat times which by archaeological remains is dated back to the pre or post harappan phase or some even consider it as the harappan phase.

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Watch Sindhustan Online

Sindhustan (2020)

Documentary
Directed By : Sapna Bhavnani
Key Actors : Leila Advani,Sapna Bhavnani,Laj Badlani,Chaho Bhara,Kishanchand Bhavnani
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
9.3   

Sindhustan is the story of the largest migration of a culture in history told through ink (tattoos).


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Watch Machines Online

Machines (2017)

Documentary
Directed By : Rahul Jain
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Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
7.2   
Metacritic
76%
Rotten Tomato
93%

This portrayal of the rhythm of life and work in a gigantic textile factory in Gujarat, India, moves through the corridors and bowels of the enormously disorienting structure—taking the viewer on a journey of dehumanizing physical labor and intense hardship.


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Nearly 2, 00, 000 farmers have committed suicide in India over the last 10 years. But the mainstream media hardly reflects this. Nero´s Guests is a story about India’s agrarian crisis and the growing inequality seen through the work of the Rural Affairs Editor of Hindu newspaper, P Sainath. Through sustained coverage of the farm crisis, Sainath and his colleagues created the national agenda, compelling a government in denial to take notice and act. Through his writings and lectures, Sainath makes us confront the India we don’t want to see, and provokes us to think about who ‘Nero’s Guests’ are in today’s world.

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Watch God of gods Online

God of gods (2019)

Documentary
Directed By : Venkatesh Bk
Key Actors : Tejaswini Manogna, Triyug Mantri, Raj Singh Verma
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
9.5   

Can we all be united in the love of One? If each religion represents a different musical note, then together what a beautiful music we could make with a shared love of One Universal God. ...


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Watch Vidyoday Online

Vidyoday (2018)

Documentary
Directed By : Vidhi Kasliwal, Aarti S. Bagdi(co-director)
Key Actors : Alok Nath
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
8.9   

Even after 50 years of sacrifice, simplicity, peace, and non-violence in thoughts, actions, and deeds, which have made Acharya Vidyasagar ji the most loved and revered Digambar Jain Monk in...


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Watch Bunkar Online

Bunkar (2018)

Documentary
Directed By : Satyaprakash Upadhyay
Recommend

Bunkar presents the history of the artisan hand loom weavers of Varanasi, India. Through interviews with craftsmen, the film conveys the details of the ancient craft also how mechanization has brought hard times to the craft.


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Watch The Flip Side: A Truth That Could Not Reach You Online

The Flip Side: A Truth That Could Not Reach You (2015)

Documentary
Directed By : Utpal Kalal
Key Actors : Subramanian Swamy, Shiva Shambh Bhatt, Asaram Bapu
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
9.2   

Filmmaker Utpal Kalal and cinematographer Kaustubh Manchekar traveled to Sant Asaram Bapu's Hermitage in Motera, Ahmedabad; looking to observe the reality and investigate the disciples living there.


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Watch Reason Online

Reason (2018)

Documentary
Directed By : Anand Patwardhan
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Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
9.1   

In India, the ideology that murdered Mahatma Gandhi has finally captured power. Murder and mind control are being applied to dismantle a secular democracy that once aspired to the values of enlightenment and non-violence. As accusations fly of “eating cow meat” or “treason of Mother India,” minorities and all those who fight for the poor bear the brunt of rising Hindu majoritarianism and a complicit corporate media.

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Watch The Yakshagana Puppets Online

The Yakshagana Puppets (2014)

Documentary
Directed By : Kiranraj K
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
9   

The Yakshagana Puppets, is a 2016 Indian documentary film directed by Kiranraj K. This is the first ever documentary film on Yakshagana Puppets. The film is regarding the long time ...


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Watch Toxification Online

Toxification (2020)

Documentary
Directed By : Rehmat Rayatt,Leva Kwestany
Key Actors : Nicola Cannon,Inderjit Singh Jaijee,Gurmeet Kaur,Harjeet Kaur,Manjeet Kaur
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Recommend

India's prosperous Green Revolution was led by Punjab, a state in northern India famous for its lush rice fields and wet, fertile soil. But as farmers are conned into buying more and more pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers that they don't need, which demand often ten times more water, the water table is sinking at an alarming rate. Punjab's water has been poisoned by the chemicals, and the farmers poison their bodies with opium, helping them to work longer and harder. Loans from a middleman are taken out, with extortionate interest rates that are impossible to pay back. As a result, hundreds of Punjabi families are left without a father, husband or son as more and more farmers cave in under the pressure and drink their own chemicals to end their lives.

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This Movie is currently not available anywhere.

This Movie is currently not available anywhere.
Watch Rubaru Roshni Online

Rubaru Roshni (2019)

Documentary
Key Actors : Aamir Khan
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
8.9   

The movie traces three real-life incidents that took place in '80s, 90s and 2000s respectively through the stories titled 'Orphan and the Convict', 'The Farmer and the Nun' and 'The Terror and the Mom'.


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Watch Kaagaz Ki Kashti Online

Kaagaz Ki Kashti (2016)

Documentary
Directed By : Brahmanand S. Singh
Key Actors : Jagjit Singh,Chitra,Gulzar,Ghulam Ali,Talat Aziz,Mahesh Bhatt
Recommend

Documentary on the life of ghazal samrat Jagjit Singh, who changed the landscape of Indian Music.


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Watch Rediscovering India Online

Rediscovering India (2014)

Documentary
Directed By : Meenal Dixit, Benny John
Key Actors : Benny John, Meenal Dixit, Richa Baghel, Shubham Nema
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
8.8   

First ever documentary feature film that covers the entire country of India. Five people drive around India in 50 days, covering 19,000 kms. The Film covers the drama involved in the discovery and the socio-cultural diversity of a country.


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Watch Nashebaaz Online

Nashebaaz (2016)

Documentary
Directed By : Dheeraj Sharma
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
8.1   

A documentary, which explores the poignant, painful and in-depth life of the roadside drug abusers of Delhi, who are also considered as dangerous, untouchables of untouchables and menace to the society.


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MX Player

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Watch The Unreserved Online

The Unreserved (2017)

Documentary
Directed By : Samarth Mahajan
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
9.1   

The Unreserved is an inquiry into the lives of passengers who use the Unreserved Compartment, the cheapest way to travel across India on the Indian Railways system. The film portrays the ...


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Watch Bastion of the Giants Online

Bastion of the Giants (2015)

Documentary, Action, Adventure, History
Directed By : Sumesh Lekhi
Recommend

A journey into the lives of the Asian Elephant and stunning wildlife in the bio-diverse verdant North Eastern Jungles of India and the challenges of conservation amidst human-animal ...


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Watch Foresting Life Online

Foresting Life (2013)

Documentary, Biography, Family
Directed By : Aarti Shrivastava
Recommend

In a world where uncaring Eco-terrorists undertake deforestation, this story is about one man's generous drive behind creating the world's first man-made forest on a sandbar. It is the ...


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Watch The Miracle Water Village Online

The Miracle Water Village (2010)

Documentary, Short
Directed By : Sushmit Gosh, Rintu Thomas
Recommend

As the world reels under the threat of unrelenting climate change, erratic monsoons and fast depleting groundwater reserves, 'The Miracle Water Village' narrates the inspirational story of ...


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Watch Father, Son and Holy War Online

Father, Son and Holy War (1994)

Documentary
Directed By : Anand Patwardhan
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
8.8   

Filmmaker Anand Patwardhan looks to history and psychology as he delves into the possible reasons behind the demolition of the Babri Mosque.


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Watch Writing With Fire Online

Writing With Fire (2021)

Documentary
Directed By : Sushmit Ghosh,Rintu Thomas
Key Actors : Meera Devi
Recommend

In a cluttered news landscape dominated by men, emerges India’s only newspaper run by Dalit women. Armed with smartphones, Chief Reporter Meera and her journalists break traditions on the frontlines of India’s biggest issues and within the confines of their own homes, redefining what it means to be powerful.

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Watch Goonga Pehelwan Online

Goonga Pehelwan (2014)

Directed By : Vivek Chaudhary,Prateek Gupta,Mit Jani
Recommend

A documentary that follows India's most successful deaf athlete on his unlikely quest to reach the Rio Olympics 2016 and become only the second deaf wrestler in the history of the Olympics to do so. This is Virender Singh's story, a captivating account of an incredible athlete largely unknown and snubbed by the bureaucracy.Now, as Virender gears up for his third Deaflympics appearance in Bulgaria, this film delves into his life from the bylanes of a small village in Haryana to becoming India's most successful deaf athlete ever and aims at fulfilling the long cherished dream of every athlete that is competing at the Olympics.On the way, it looks at all that he has achieved through a glittering decade and a half long career.

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This Movie is currently not available anywhere.
Watch Beyond All Boundaries Online

Beyond All Boundaries (2013)

Documentary
Directed By : Sushrut Jain
Key Actors : Kunal Nayyar
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
8   

The stories of three ordinary Indians, a penniless super fan, a boy superstar and a girl cricketer, for each of whom the sport of cricket is a lifeline.


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Watch Dhrupad Online

Dhrupad (1983)

Documentary
Directed By : Mani Kaul
Key Actors : Fariduddin Dagar,Zia Mohiyuddin Dagar
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
7.8   

A documentary story told through images, poetry and the Dhrupad, a vocal genre in Hindustani classical music, said to be the oldest still in use in that musical tradition.


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Watch Bombay, Our City Online

Bombay, Our City (1985)

Documentary
Directed By : Anand Patwardhan
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
7.8   

A documentary on the socio-economic injustice meted out to the slum-dwellers in Bombay, and an attempt to understand the factors responsible for it.


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Watch Amoli Online

Amoli (2018)

Documentary
Directed By : Avinash Roy,Jasmine Kaur Roy
Key Actors : Rajkummar Rao,Kamal Haasan,Sanket Mhatre,Vidya Balan,Nani,Jisshu Sengupta
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Recommend
IMDB
7.8   

In India, a child goes missing every 8 minutes. Where do these children go? What happens to them? This is not just a story of one missing child. This is the reality of our nation. And yet, we sit in silence.


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Watch Mind of Clay Online

Mind of Clay (1985)

Drama,Documentary
Directed By : Mani Kaul
Key Actors : Anita Kanwar,Robin Das,Ashok Sharma
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
8.3   

In a poetic hour and a half, director Mani Kaul looks at the ancient art of making pottery from a wide variety of perspectives.


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Watch Narmada Diary Online

Narmada Diary (1995)

Documentary
Directed By : Anand Patwardhan,Simantini Dhuru
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
7.6   

"Narmada Diary" introduces the Narmada Bachao Andolan (the Save the Narmada Movement), which has spearheaded the agitation against the Sardar Sarovar Dam. As government resettlement programs prove inadequate, the Narmada Bachao Andolan has emerged as one of the most dynamic struggles in India today. With non-violent protests and a determination to drown rather than to leave their homes and land, the people of the Narmada valley have become symbols of a global struggle against unjust development.

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Watch Gulabi Gang Online

Gulabi Gang (2012)

Documentary
Directed By : Nishtha Jain
Key Actors : Sampat Pal Devi,Ram Dulari,Devrati,Bharat Patel,Chandrakali
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
7.6   
Rotten Tomato
100%

In Bundelkhand, India, a revolution is in the making among the poorest of the poor, as the fiery women of the Gulabi Gang empower themselves and take up the fight against gender violence, caste oppression and widespread corruption.


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Watch Famous in Ahmedabad Online

Famous in Ahmedabad (2015)

Comedy,Documentary,Drama
Directed By : Hardik Mehta
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Recommend
IMDB
7.5   

Set during the kaleidoscopic backdrop of the kite-flying festival in India, 'Amdavad Ma Famous', witnesses the transformation of an 11-year-old Zaid from a boy next door to an aggressive and a passionate kite-runner until he comes across a hindrance that prevents him from flying kites on the terrace. And thus begins the fight for the terrace on the day of the biggest kite flying festival in India.

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This Movie is currently not available anywhere.
Watch Siddheshwari Online

Siddheshwari (1990)

Documentary
Directed By : Mani Kaul
Key Actors : Malviya,Muhar Biswas,Pandit Narayan Misra,Shravani Mukherjee,Ranjana Srivastava,Mita Vasisht
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
7.5   

An impressionistic biographical look at Siddheshwari Devi (1908–1977), the classical Indian singer whose voice was appreciated by the maharajas and public alike.


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Watch Period. End of Sentence. Online

Period. End of Sentence. (2018)

Documentary
Directed By : Rayka Zehtabchi
Key Actors : Arunachalam Muruganatham,Ajeya,Anita,Gouri Choudari,Shabana Khan,Preeti
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Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
7.4   
Rotten Tomato
86%

Spinoff of padman, This time women in India start manufacturing and marketing sanitary pads with a hope of ending the stigma once and for all.


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Watch Children of the Pyre Online

Children of the Pyre (2008)

Documentary
Directed By : Rajesh S. Jala
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
7.4   
Rotten Tomato
71%

This documentary follows the life of Seven children who are working under extreme conditions at India's busiest cremation ground, Manikarnika in Banaras.


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Watch Born Into Brothels Online

Born Into Brothels (2004)

Documentary
Directed By : Zana Briski,Ross Kauffman
Key Actors : Zana Briski,Avijit,Geeta Masi,Kochi,Mamuni
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Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
7.2   
Metacritic
78%
Rotten Tomato
95%

Documentary depicting the lives of child prostitutes in the red light district of Songachi, Calcutta. Director Zana Briski went to photograph the prostitutes when she met and became friends with their children. Briski began giving photography lessons to the children and became aware that their photography might be a way for them to lead better lives.

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Tubi TV

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Watch Ladies First Online

Ladies First (2017)

Documentary
Directed By : Uraaz Bahl,Shaana Levy
Key Actors : Deepika Kumari
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
7.2   

Ladies First is a short documentary based on the life of Deepika Kumari, who went on to become the worlds best female archer. The film captures her incredible story as Deepika herself recounts it. Born amidst a poor family, Deepika ran away from her house as she saw herself to be a burden on her family. Searching for food and shelter, she came across this sport and gave it her everything to reach where she stands now. The film, through various interviews of popular sports personalities such as Sachin Tendulkar, recounts Deepikas journey in archery and how she became the worlds best female archer. Ladies First sheds some light on the disparity that a girl child faces in a patriarchal society like India where women dont even enjoy the most basic of rights. The film also puts forth the prejudice and bias women athletes face in India by the system itself and how they are discouraged in various ways.

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Watch Red Ant Dream Online

Red Ant Dream (2013)

Documentary
Directed By : Sanjay Kak
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
7.2   

This documentary deals with the Maoist insurgency in India. It focuses on the Maoists in Bastar, Chhattisgarh fighting against industrialists in Niyamgiri, Odisha, and protesters acting in memory of the Leftist revolutionary Bhagat Singh in Punjab.


This Movie is currently not available anywhere.

In the summer of 1974, the Indian government organized an expedition to the Andaman islands. What you are about to see is the first ever released film about the native peoples of these islands. After a brief review of Port Blair history, the expedition leaves to meet the Onge people on Little Andaman island, then to meet the Jarawa people on Interview island and finally to the Sentinel island where the Sentinel people have been filmed for the very first time.

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This Movie is currently not available anywhere.
Watch Qissa-e-Parsi Online

Qissa-e-Parsi (2014)

Documentary, Short, History
Directed By : Divya Cowasji, Shilpi Gulati
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
7   

The Film explores the history of the Parsi community, its relationship to the Indian state and association with the city of Mumbai.


This Movie is currently not available anywhere.
Watch A Suitable Girl Online

A Suitable Girl (2017)

Documentary
Directed By : Sarita Khurana,Smriti Mundhra
Key Actors : Dipti Admane,Ritu Taparia,Seema Taparia,Amrita Soni
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
6.9   
Rotten Tomato
88%

A SUITABLE GIRL follows three young women in India struggling to maintain their identities and follow their dreams amid intense pressure to get married. The film examines the women's complex relationship with marriage, family, and society.


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Watch An Encounter with Faces Online

An Encounter with Faces (1978)

Directed By : Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
6.7   

Oscar nominated documentary short from 1978 about an Indian juvenile reformatory.


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Watch Love in India Online

Love in India (2009)

Documentary
Directed By : Qaushiq Mukherjee
Key Actors : Divyaa Dwivedi,Rii Sen
Recommend
Recommend
IMDB
6.5   

A filmmaker explores the cultural traditions and contradictions across the sexually conservative land of the Kama Sutra.


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Watch Faces After the Storm Online

Faces After the Storm (1981)

Documentary
Directed By : Prakash Jha
Recommend

This award-winning documentary is about the communal riots that took place in Bihar, India, in 1946, wherein a vast number of Muslims were massacred by Hindu extremists.


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Watch Cities of Sleep Online

Cities of Sleep (2015)

Documentary
Directed By : Shaunak Sen
Recommend

'Cities of Sleep' takes us into a heady world of insurgent sleeper's communities as well as the infamous 'sleep mafia' in Delhi where just securing a safe sleeping spot often becomes a ...


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Watch The Secret Life of Frogs Online

The Secret Life of Frogs (2019)

Documentary
Directed By : Ajay Bedi, Vijay Bedi
Key Actors : Jeff Alan Greenway
Recommend
Recommend
Rotten Tomato
60%

Deep in the swampy rain-forests of India, a handful of scientists are at work, trying to save species smaller than a thumbnail. Sadly, more than 80% of the 400 species of amphibians found ...


This Movie is currently not available anywhere.

Author: Puja Barman

I want to help all my users to find the entertainment which is best for them. With information from 20+ sources, I can tell you where you can watch a Movie or TV Show you have in mind.