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Popular Indian Documentary Films

A documentary film is a moving presentation that documents some or the other aspect of reality. The film presents to the viewers some facts or information about a person or an event. While presenting reality, such films help a great deal in spreading social and inspiring messages within and across the boundaries.

Listed below are some of the most popular Indian documentary films:

Smile Pinki

This is a 39-minute documentary film that received the 81st Academy Award for Best Documentary. Directed by Megan Mylan the film shows the plight of a five year old girl living with a severe cleft lip. The girl lived in a small village and was deprived from the right to education. Furthermore, she also faced rejection and ignorance in the village because of her cleft lip. One fine day a social worker visited the village to gather patients with cleft lip and offer them freedom from this deformity completely free of cost. Pinki also undergoes the free surgery and thereafter her life gets completely transformed.

Mahatma Gandhi – Life of Gandhi (1869-1948)

Mahatma Gandhi – Life of Gandhi is also a popular documentary life picturized on the complete life story of the Father of Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. The entire story gives a complete description of his life in terms of his education, political spirit, spiritual leadership, and his significant contribution to India’s freedom struggle. His unbound love and his never-ending search for truth are also presented in the film.


Swayam is a documentary film by Arun Chadha that received the Golden Conch Award in the 2004 International Documentary Festival held in Mumbai. The film showcases the impacts of micro-credit on women’s self-help groups. It also highlights the social and financial support from the NGOs linked to such groups. Swayam actually means ‘oneself’ and the film delivers a holistic approach to put an end to ongoing violence against women. It aims to draw people’s attention on the increasing efforts of self-help groups.

Made in India

Made in India is a very meaningful and significant documentary film that showcases the desperation of an infertile couple to have a child. The film shows the journey of an American couple traveling to India in search of a surrogate mother. The innovation and the advancement in technology have given a completely new dimension to the issue. The phenomenon of outsourcing surrogate mothers to India has increased tremendously to resolve severe family clashes.

Kumar Talkies

Kumar Talkies is a documentary film directed by Pankaj Rishi Kumar. The film exposes the real life story of people living in the small city of Kalpi situated in North India. It also shows the importance of cinema in the life of people living in that small town and also explores the relationship between Kalpi and it’s only surviving cinema hall.

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