Brief History of Indian Cinema
The story of the Indian cinema it is a rich and fascinating journey that extends for over a century. Known as “Bollywood”, Indian cinema is one of the largest and most prolific in the world, producing a staggering number of indian movies every year. Among Indian movies are some of the greatest cinematic masterpieces of all time. Here is an overview of the history of Indian cinema:
- Pioneering Beginnings: Indian cinema has its roots in the early years of the 20th century when cinema pioneer Dhundiraj Govind Phalke known as Dadasaheb Phalke directed the first Indian silent film called ‘Raja Harishchandra’ in 1913. This film pioneered the film industry in India.
- Silent Film Era: In the 1920s and 1930s, Indian cinema was mainly developed as a silent film. Films like ‘Alam Ara’ (1931) marked a major breakthrough by introducing sound to Indian cinema.
- Golden Era: In the 1950s and 1960s, Indian cinema experienced its ‘Golden Era’. This period saw the emergence of directors such as Satyajit Ray, who brought an artistic and realistic approach to Indian cinema with films like ‘Pather Panchali’ (1955). Also, commercial Hindi cinema thrived with directors like Raj Kapoor and Guru Dutt making iconic films like ‘Awara’ (1951) and ‘Pyaasa’ (1957).
- Regional Cinema: India is a diverse country with many different languages and cultures. In addition to Hindi-language cinema, there is also a rich tradition of regional cinema in languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Bengali. These regional cinemas have produced many successful films and top talent.
- 1970s and 1980s: This period was characterized by a combination of commercial and experimental films. Films like ‘Sholay’ (1975) and ‘Deewaar’ (1975) became immense successes, while directors like Shyam Benegal and Govind Nihalani explored important social issues through their films.
- The Modern Era: From the 1990s till today, Indian cinema has undergone a significant evolution. Music and dance have become key elements in films, making Indian cinema known for its choreographed dance sequences and songs. Indian cinema has also spanned genres such as romance, action and comedy, producing a large number of commercially successful films.
- Contemporary Cinema: Today, Indian cinema continues to thrive and evolve. Bollywood remains an important part of the Indian film landscape, but there are also independent filmmakers who are creating innovative and experimental films. Also, language barriers have been overcome through the distribution of Indian films worldwide, gaining international popularity and recognition.
This overview represents only a brief summary of the vast history of Indian cinema. There are many other important aspects and personalities who have contributed to its evolution. Indian cinema continues to inspire and influence audiences worldwide with its diversity, creativity and engaging narrative.
The Themes of Indian Films
Indian movies tackle a wide range of themes that reflect the complexity of Indian society. Here are some of the major themes covered in Indian films:
- Love and Romantics: Love is a recurring theme in Indian movies. The love stories range from traditional to modern romance, tackling topics such as forbidden love, social obstacles, destiny and the search for a soul mate.
- Family and Relationships: Indian movies place a great emphasis on family ties. The stories often revolve around complex relationships between parents and children, siblings, and enduring friendships. The family is seen as an important entity in people’s lives.
- Social dramas: Many Indian movies deal with critical social issues such as poverty, social oppression, caste discrimination and inequality. These films aim to raise awareness of disadvantages and promote social change.
- Patriotism and Nationalism: National pride and patriotism are common themes in Indian cinema. Films like ‘Lagaan’ (2001) and ‘Rang De Basanti’ (2006) explore the concept of homeland, fighting for freedom and facing social and economic challenges.
- Comedy and Humour: Comedy is a staple of Indian movies. Comedy films and romantic comedies provide levity and entertainment to audiences, often through funny dialogues, hilarious jokes, and hilarious situations.
- Religion and Spirituality: India is a land of many religions and spiritual beliefs. Indian movies often explore religious themes such as faith, spirituality, karma and the search for truth. Some films also deal with the theme of religious tolerance and interfaith harmony.
- Gender Issues: In recent years, Indian movies have addressed issues such as female empowerment, feminism, gender-based violence and sexual discrimination more directly. These films seek to challenge gender stereotypes and promote equality.
- Politics and Corruption: Some Indian movies explore the world of politics and the corruption that comes with it. They tell stories of fighting corruption and heroes trying to bring about justice and change.
These are just some of the major themes addressed by Indian movies. It is important to note that the Indian film industry is diverse and features a wide range of genres and styles, so the themes can vary greatly from film to film.
Mainstream Films and Independent Films in India
In India, there is a distinction between mainstream films and independent film. This distinction is mainly based on the production, distribution, budget, content and goals of the films. Here is an overview of the differences between the two:
- Production and Distribution: Mainstream films are made by major production houses and film studios that have an extensive distribution network. These films are often financed by large corporations and have a substantial budget.
- Commercial Goal: Mainstream films are primarily profit-driven and seek to reach a large mass audience. These films are made with the intention of making big box office profits and often promote well-known stars to attract audiences.
- Content and Styles: Mainstream films often feature elements such as choreographed song and dance, spectacular action sequences, and melodramatic storylines. They are known for their fun nature, entertainment and romance. Mainstream Hindi-language films, commonly known as “Bollywood” films, are especially popular.
- Wide Distribution: Mainstream films are usually released in a large number of cinemas across India and abroad. They are widely promoted and benefit from extensive exposure in the media.
- Production and distribution: Independent films are made by directors and producers who work outside the mainstream circuits. These films often have limited budgets and can be financed through private investment, crowdfunding or government funds.
- Exploration of New Themes: Independent films are known for tackling bolder, more innovative and experimental themes. They explore complex social, political and cultural issues and often seek to advance a social message or create a significant impact.
- Alternative Cinematic Styles: Independent films often adopt unconventional and experimental cinematic styles. They can use innovative camera techniques, non-linear storytelling and unique artistic approaches to tell their stories.
- Limited Distribution: Unlike mainstream films, independent films can have limited distribution. They are mainly shown in film festivals, art halls, independent cinemas or can be distributed through online streaming platforms.
- International Recognition: Indian independent films have often earned international acclaim and recognition at prestigious film festivals. These films are appreciated for their originality, compelling storytelling and unique vision.
While mainstream films have mass impact and wider commercial reach, independent films often offer a different perspective and greater artistic freedom for auteurs. Both sectors contribute to the diversity and richness of Indian cinema, offering audiences a wide range of cinematic options and experiences.
Indian cinema has seen the emergence of many great directors who have contributed significantly to the evolution and growth of the film industry. Here is a brief summary of some of the greatest directors of Indian cinema:
- Satyajit Ray: Regarded as one of the greatest Indian directors of all time, Satyajit Ray has left an indelible mark on cinema with his realistic and artistic approach. He is famous for his ‘Apu Trilogy’ consisting of the films ‘Pather Panchali’ (1955), ‘Aparajito’ (1956) and ‘Apur Sansar’ (1959), which tell the story of a Bengali boy from childhood to adulthood.
- Guru Dutt: Guru Dutt was a director and actor who brought to life such iconic films as ‘Pyaasa’ (1957) and ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ (1959). He is known for his poetic style, innovative use of music and depiction of existential hardships.
- Mani Ratnam: A prominent Tamil filmmaker, Mani Ratnam is known for his engaging narratives and complex stories. His films like ‘Roja’ (1992), ‘Bombay’ (1995) and ‘Dil Se’ (1998) deal with political and social issues in an engaging and innovative way.
- Bimal Roy: Bimal Roy was a pioneer director in Indian cinema who directed such memorable films as ‘Do Bigha Zamin’ (1953) and ‘Bandini’ (1963). His films often address social and humanitarian issues, bringing a realistic approach to the stories he tells.
- Yash Chopra: Yash Chopra was an influential filmmaker and a major proponent of commercial Hindi cinema. He directed several successful films including ‘Deewaar’ (1975), ‘Kabhie Kabhie’ (1976) and ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ (1995). It is known for its romantic stories, lavish sets and captivating music.
- Shyam Benegal: Shyam Benegal is a director known for his realistic approach and for tackling social and political issues in his cinema. His films like ‘Ankur’ (1974), ‘Nishant’ (1975) and ‘Manthan’ (1976) stood out for their artistic rigor and social commentary.
- Rajkumar Hirani: Rajkumar Hirani is one of the most acclaimed contemporary directors in the Indian film industry. His films like ‘Munna Bhai MBBS’ (2003), ‘3 Idiots’ (2009) and ‘PK’ (2014) became huge hits with audiences and critics alike, blending humor with socially conscious storytelling.
These are just some of the great directors of Indian cinema but there are many more who have left their mark on the Indian film industry with their unique visions and artistry.
Pather Panchali (1955)
‘Pather Panchali’ is a critically acclaimed and influential 1955 Indian film. It was directed by Satyajit Ray, renowned Indian director, and is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of world cinema. The film is based on the novel ‘Pather Panchali’ by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay.
The film is the first installment of the “Apu Trilogy,” which also includes “Aparajito” (The Victorious) and “Apur Sansar” (The World of Apu). The trilogy follows the life and growth of Apu, a young boy in rural Bengal, India.
‘Pather Panchali’ is known for its realistic depiction of rural life in Bengal during the early 20th century. It explores the struggles, dreams and aspirations of its characters, capturing the essence of human emotion and the beauty of simplicity. The film mainly focuses on Apu’s family including his sister Durga, his parents and his elderly aunt. It beautifully depicts the bond between the family members and the harsh realities they face in their impoverished village.
Satyajit Ray’s directorial debut with ‘Pather Panchali’ brought international recognition to Indian cinema and is often credited for putting Indian cinema on the global map. The film received numerous awards and accolades, including the “Best Human Documentary” award at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival.
‘Pather Panchali’ remains a cultural touchstone in the landscape of cinematic history and continues to be admired for its timeless storytelling and artistic brilliance. He has inspired many filmmakers and continues to be celebrated for his contributions to world cinema.
“Devdas” is a famous Indian film from 1955, directed by Bimal Roy and based on the novel of the same name by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. The film is one of several film adaptations of this beloved classic story of Indian drama and has become an icon of Hindi cinema.
The storyline of ‘Devdas’ revolves around the protagonist, Devdas Mukherjee played by Dilip Kumar, a young man from a wealthy Bengali family. Devdas is in love with Parvati ‘Paro’ played by Suchitra Sen, a humble girl with whom he shared a happy childhood. Despite their feelings for each other, differences in social class prevent Devdas and Paro from getting married, and Devdas, unable to face reality, leaves his home and gets carried away in debauchery and alcoholism.
During his self-destructive path, Devdas meets Chandramukhi, played by Vyjayanthimala, a courtesan with a heart of gold who sincerely falls in love with him. The story unfolds through the drama of Devdas’ inner struggle, his mixed feelings for Paro and Chandramukhi and the consequences of his choices.
“Devdas” is famous for the masterful performances of the actors, beautiful songs and heartwarming script. The film is praised for its powerful portrayal of human emotion, unrequited love, and sacrifice. The story of Devdas has become an archetype in Indian cinema and has inspired numerous other film versions and stage adaptations over the years.
The 1955 version of ‘Devdas’ is still regarded as one of the best renditions of this classic and helped establish its status as a cult film in Indian cinema.
Mother India (1957)
“Mother India” is a 1957 Indian epic film, directed by Mehboob Khan. It is one of the masterpieces of Hindi cinema and one of the most iconic films in the history of Indian cinema. The film is known for its engaging storyline, remarkable performances, and deep social themes.
The story of ‘Mother India’ is set in a rural village in India and follows the life of Radha, played by Nargis, a strong and courageous woman who faces life’s hardships with determination and devotion to her family. After being abandoned by her husband, Radha struggles to survive and bring up her two sons, Birju and Ramu.
The film explores themes such as maternal sacrifice, family honour, social injustices and the contrast between tradition and modernity. Radha is portrayed as an icon of Indian motherhood and femininity, embodying the values of loyalty, courage and wisdom.
‘Mother India’ was a smash hit both in India and internationally. It was the first Indian film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The film received numerous accolades and helped cement Nargis’ position as one of the greatest actresses in Indian cinema.
The film is also famous for its soundtrack, with music composed by Naushad and lyrics written by Shakeel Badayuni. The songs of the film have become evergreens and continue to be listened to and loved by Indian viewers even many years after its release.
‘Mother India’ is a film of considerable historical and cultural significance in Indian cinema and remains one of the immortal classics of the country’s cinematography.
“Thirst” is a famous Indian film from 1957, directed by Guru Dutt, which is regarded as one of the masterpieces of Hindi cinema. The film is appreciated for its profound reflection on society, its poetic themes and the superb performances of the actors.
The plot of ‘Thirst’ revolves around Vijay, played by Guru Dutt himself, a talented and idealistic poet who is disillusioned with life and society. Despite his talent, his literary works are ignored and despised by the world. Even the people he cares about, including his family and the love of his life, Meena, abandon him.
The story takes a significant turn when Vijay meets a young prostitute named Gulabo, played by Waheeda Rehman, who is the only one who recognizes the true value of his talent and encourages him. The songs from the film, composed by S.D. Burman with lyrics written by Sahir Ludhianvi, add an emotional and poetic element to the narrative, and the song “Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye toh kya hai” became especially famous.
‘Thirst’ is known for his sharp social criticism and commentary on the commercialization of art and literature, the superficiality of society and human hypocrisy. The film deals with themes such as the artist’s alienation, unrequited love and the struggle between human values and the thirst for material success.
Guru Dutt’s performance as Vijay is regarded as one of his finest performances, and the film’s direction received wide praise for his artistic sensibility. ‘Pyasa’ was enjoyed not only in India but also internationally, and is regarded as one of the great films of the golden era of Hindi cinema.
Apart from its cinematic value, ‘Thirst’ has left a lasting impact on Indian cinema and continues to be admired and studied as an example of auteur cinema which blends art and social engagement.
Paper Flowers (1959)
“Paper Flowers” is a 1959 Indian film, directed by Guru Dutt, which has become one of the most admired and influential classics in the history of Hindi cinema. The film is known for its innovative storytelling, impeccable direction by Guru Dutt and the extraordinary performances of the actors.
The storyline of ‘Paper Flowers’ follows the story of Suresh Sinha who is played by Guru Dutt, a famous Bollywood director. Sinha is acclaimed for his box office successes but feels dissatisfied and empty due to the lack of substance and meaning in the films he directs. While shooting a new movie, Suresh falls in love with young actress Shanti, played by Waheeda Rehman, and starts a secret love affair.
However, their love is hampered by social and professional obstacles, and Suresh’s career begins to decline due to his choice to follow his heart over commerce. The film explores themes such as the artist’s struggle for creative freedom, the disillusionment behind the lights of fame and the aftermath of forbidden love.
‘Paper Flowers’ is known for its innovative non-linear storytelling, which challenged the cinematic conventions of the time. Guru Dutt uses flashbacks and flashforwards to tell the story in an unconventional way, giving the film a poetic and melancholy tone.
The film, however, was not successful at the box office when it was released but over the years it has been re-evaluated and recognized as one of the greatest masterpieces of Indian cinema. Directed by Guru Dutt and cinematography by V.K. Murthy’s were particularly praised for their beauty and technical innovation.
‘Paper Flowers’ is now regarded as a cultural and cinematic icon, admired for his artistic depth and reflection on the nature of art and love. It continues to be studied and celebrated as one of the great arthouse films in the history of Hindi cinema.
The Cloud-Capped Star (1960)
‘The Cloud-Capped Star’ is a classic Indian Bengali film directed by the famous director Ritwik Ghatak. The film was released in 1960 and is regarded as one of the masterpieces of Indian cinema. It is based on a story written by Shaktipada Rajguru.
Plot: The film tells the touching story of a young woman named Neeta (played by Supriya Choudhury) and her struggles in the aftermath of the partition of Bengal in 1947. Neeta belongs to a refugee family who had to leave their ancestral home in East Bengal (now Bangladesh) and settle in Kolkata (then Calcutta) after the partition.
Neeta is the eldest of her siblings and takes on the responsibility of taking care of her family. Sacrifice your dreams and aspirations to support your loved ones financially. However, while she devotes herself entirely to her family, her personal life and happiness suffers.
The title “The Cloud-Capped Star”, symbolizing Neeta’s dreams and longings, as distant and unattainable as a star hidden behind the clouds. The film beautifully captures her emotional journey, her struggles and the constant weight of responsibilities she carries.
Directed by Ritwik Ghatak: Ritwik Ghatak, a pioneer of parallel cinema in India, was known for his innovative and artistic approach to storytelling. “Meghe Dhaka Tara” shows her unique style, with deep emotion and social message at the core of the story. The film’s narrative reflects the turmoil experienced by thousands of refugees during partition and the impact this has had on their lives.
Legacy: “The Cloud-Capped Star” has won praise both domestically and internationally. It remains a vital part of the history of Indian cinema and is celebrated for powerful performances, emotionally engaging narrative and atmospheric cinematography. The depiction of human resilience and the aftermath of a major historical event make this film a timeless classic.
Ritwik Ghatak’s works have influenced several generations of filmmakers and continue to inspire many artists to this day. ‘The Cloud-Capped Star’ is a testament to the brilliance of Indian cinema and the art of storytelling.
“The Lonely Wife” is a famous Indian film directed by Satyajit Ray which was released in 1964. It is regarded as one of the masterpieces of Bengali cinema and director Satyajit Ray himself.
Synopsis: The film is set in 19th century India, during the period of British colonialism. The protagonist of the film is Charulata (played by Madhabi Mukherjee), a cultured and intelligent young woman, but trapped in the boredom and loneliness of her home. Charulata’s husband Bhupati (played by Sailen Mukherjee) is a publisher engaged in journalism and devotes a lot of time to his career, often leaving Charulata alone.
Charulata’s humdrum life takes a turn when her cousin Amal (played by Soumitra Chatterjee) comes to live with them to help Bhupati in publishing work. Amal and Charulata develop a deep connection and share the same literary and artistic interests. This understanding leads them to spend a lot of time together, reading and discussing books and newspapers.
As their friendship grows, Charulata secretly falls in love with Amal, but is plagued by the moral conflicts that this entails. The film explores the complex dynamic between the three main characters and the consequences of the affection that grows between Charulata and Amal.
The main theme of “The Lonely Wife” is about the exploration of human emotions, repressed desires and the nuances of interpersonal relationships. The film offers a sensitive and profound look at the condition of women in 19th century India and the struggle between personal desires and family duties.
Legacy: ‘The Lonely Wife’ was critically acclaimed and received numerous international awards. Satyajit Ray’s direction, actresses’ performance and fine storytelling of the film were praised worldwide. It has become a landmark in Satyajit Ray’s filmography and Indian cinema in general.
The film is regarded as one of the best examples of poetic realism in Indian cinema and has left an indelible mark on the cinematic history of the country. “The Lonely Wife” continues to be loved and appreciated by cinephiles and auteur cinema lovers from all over the world.
‘Guide’, released in 1965 and directed by Vijay Anand, is based on the novel of the same name by R.K. Narayan.
‘Guide’ is a major Hindi-language Indian film which is regarded as a classic of Indian cinema. The film is famous for its engaging storyline, performances of the actors and its memorable music composed by S.D. Burman.
Plot: ‘Guide’ tells the story of Raju, played by Dev Anand, a young con man and amateur dancer who gets together with an older woman named Rosie, played by Waheeda Rehman. Rosie is an accomplished dancer, but her career is hampered by the oppressive control of her husband, Marco, played by Kishore Sahu. Raju and Rosie bond through their passion for dance and music, and soon become inseparable.
Raju decides to help Rosie achieve her dream of becoming a famous dancer, and in the process, transforms from con man to mentor and guide. However, their relationship begins to arouse suspicions and scandals in the conservative society in which they live, leading to serious consequences for both of them.
The film explores themes such as love, sacrifice, redemption and the pursuit of personal freedom. ‘Guide’ is also known for its outstanding soundtrack, featuring iconic songs like ‘Din Dhal Jaaye’ and ‘Piya Tose Naina Lage Re’, sung by Lata Mangeshkar.
Legacy: “Guide” achieved great success both commercially and critically. It was selected as India’s representative at the 1967 Academy Awards in the ‘Best Foreign Film’ category. The film earned several awards and accolades, further cementing its position in the Indian film scene.
Even today, ‘Guide’ is celebrated as one of the best Indian films ever made, lauded for its gripping storyline, actors’ performances and unforgettable music. It’s a timeless classic that continues to be loved and enjoyed by cinephiles around the world.
Ankur is an Indian film directed by Shyam Benegal, released in 1974. It is one of the first films of the director, who is known for being one of the pioneers of the New Wave movement in Indian cinema. The film is regarded as a classic of Indian cinema and has received praise for its complex plot, excellent performances and realistic depiction of India’s rural social dynamics.
Synopsis: Ankur tells the story of a small farming community in rural India, with its caste system and rigid social hierarchies. The main protagonist is Lakshmi (played by Shabana Azmi), a young woman from a poor background and low in the social ladder. Lakshmi is married to a farmer named Kishtaya (played by Sadhu Meher), who is having an extramarital affair with an upper caste woman named Saru (played by Anant Nag).
The storyline focuses on Lakshmi’s struggle to face the hardships of her life with dignity and courage while dealing with her husband’s infidelity and social discrimination. Meanwhile, the story also deals with the question of the caste system and its impact on the people who are its victims.
The film highlights the social inequalities, injustices and entrenched patriarchy in rural Indian society. The narrative compares the traditional social order and the struggle of women for their emancipation and personal freedom. The events develop in a dramatic and touching way, offering a reflection on India’s social problems and on the inequalities that still characterize the country today.
Cast and Awards: The film Ankur marked the film debut of Shabana Azmi, who received wide acclaim for her portrayal of Lakshmi. Anant Nag and Sadhu Meher, playing Kishtaya, were equally praised for their performances.
Ankur won the Best Film Award at the National Film Awards in India in 1974. Also, Shyam Benegal received the National Film Award for Best Debut Director for his direction. The film helped establish Benegal as one of the most influential filmmakers in Indian cinema, and was an important forerunner of the Indian New Wave movement.
The film Ankur addresses important social and emotional issues with a realistic and reflective perspective, leaving a lasting impact on Indian cinema and the history of cinema in general.
Sholay is an iconic Indian film released in 1975, directed by Ramesh Sippy and regarded as one of the greatest films in the history of Indian cinema. It is an action-adventure film that skillfully mixes different genres, such as western and drama, and has become a cultural icon in India.
Plot: The story of Sholay takes place in a remote village of India called Ramgarh which is threatened by the presence of a feared bandit named Gabbar Singh (played by Amjad Khan). A former police officer, Thakur Baldev Singh (played by Sanjeev Kumar), decides to hire two thugs with turbulent pasts, Jai (played by Amitabh Bachchan) and Veeru (played by Dharmendra), to catch and kill Gabbar Singh, responsible for the death of his family and the amputation of his arms.
Jai and Veeru accept the job and arrive in Ramgarh to face Gabbar Singh and his men. In the village, the two men fall in love with Radha (played by Jaya Bachchan) and Basanti (played by Hema Malini), respectively, and these relationships play a key role in the unfolding of the plot. The story is filled with action, humour, drama and a little romance, with a thrilling climax involving an epic showdown between the protagonists and the dreaded Gabbar Singh.
Cast and Credits: Sholay features an all-star cast featuring some of the greatest actors in Bollywood. Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra created a unique chemistry between their characters of Jai and Veeru which has become legendary. Amjad Khan’s performance as Gabbar Singh was unanimously praised and made the character one of the most memorable in the history of Indian cinema. Sanjeev Kumar, Jaya Bachchan and Hema Malini also received wide acclaim for their performances.
The film garnered numerous awards and accolades, including the National Film Award for Best Popular Film which underlined its cultural relevance and box office success.
Cultural Impact: Sholay is one of the most loved and celebrated films in India. His quotes, dialogues and iconic scenes have become an integral part of the country’s popular culture. The character of Gabbar Singh, in particular, is still very popular and often referred to today.
The film set a high standard for action spectacles in India and is considered a benchmark for Indian cinematic storytelling. The song “Yeh Dosti” has become a friendship anthem and is still played at different social occasions and parties.
Furthermore, Sholay was one of the first Indian films to have wide-scale distribution and set new box office records. Despite being released more than forty years ago, the film still maintains its appeal and popularity among the new generation of moviegoers.
Overall, Sholay remains one of the masterpieces of Indian cinema and a film that has gone down in history as an enduring icon of the country’s film industry.
Manthan is a 1976 Indian film directed by Shyam Benegal. It is another of the director’s emblematic films, which is based on an innovative collaboration between the private sector and the public sector in the dairy industry in India. The film is known for its social impact and its contribution to the so-called “milk cooperative movement” in the country.
Plot Summary: The story of Manthan revolves around the life of farmers in a rural village in the state of Gujarat, India. The village is characterized by poverty, agricultural resource management problems and lack of basic infrastructure. The situation gets even worse due to fraud and oppression by the local landowner.
To address the problems related to milk production and low incomes of farmers, a young veterinarian named Dr. Rao (played by Girish Karnad) comes up with the idea of a milk cooperative, where farmers can pool their resources and work together to get a fair price for their milk.
Despite initial resistance and conflict with the landowner, the farmers eventually unite and start working together to create the milk cooperative. The process of creating the cooperative is full of challenges and difficulties, but it demonstrates how the unity and autonomy of people can lead to significant change in their lives.
Cast and Production: Manthan was financed through donations raised by farmers, who contributed a minimum of two rupees each to finance the film. It was a one-of-a-kind effort, with people from the rural community directly involved in financing the project and also in the making of the shoot.
The film features a cast of well-known and up-and-coming actors including Girish Karnad, Smita Patil, Naseeruddin Shah and Amrish Puri among others.
Impact and Recognition: Manthan has received great acclaim from critics and audiences for its engaging storytelling and powerful social message. The film was an important tool in raising public awareness of the importance of dairy cooperatives and agricultural self-sufficiency.
Furthermore, Manthan has made a significant impact on the lives of Indian farmers, encouraging them to organize and form milk cooperatives to improve their economic conditions. The film was one of the main reasons behind the success of the milk cooperative movement in India, led by the famous dairy cooperative ‘Amul’.
The film was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 1976 and was presented in many other international reviews, helping to spread the message of the power of unity and cooperation in the fight against poverty and social injustice.
Altogether, Manthan is one of the classics of Indian cinema, appreciated for its engaging storyline, solid performances and enduring social significance.
The Chess Player (1977)
‘Shatranj Ke Khilari’ is a celebrated Indian film from 1977, directed by the legendary director Satyajit Ray. The film is based on a short story by Bengali writer Premchand and features a historical storyline set in 1856 during the time of British rule in India.
Plot Summary: The film is set in Awadh (now Uttar Pradesh) during the reign of the last Nawab, Wajid Ali Shah (played by Amjad Khan). The Nawab is known for his passion for music, poetry and the arts, but he is also disinterested in state affairs, which his British ministers and officers use to take effective control of the region.
Two noble friends, Mirza Sajjad Ali (played by Sanjeev Kumar) and Mir Roshan Ali (played by Saeed Jaffrey), are avid chess players. Their obsession with gambling is such that they neglect their duties and responsibilities. The political and social situation worsens around them as the British plan to annex Awadh.
One day, a young British officer, Captain Weston (played by Richard Attenborough), arrives to monitor the Nawab’s activities. Weston notices the indifferent attitude of the two friends and of the Nawab’s court and decides to put an end to this situation. Weston uses the game of chess as a weapon to manipulate and defeat the two nobles, thus demonstrating the superiority of British rule.
The story develops showing the conflict between the two friends’ personal passion for chess and their responsibility as nobles at a crucial moment for the future of their country.
Legacy: ‘Shatranj Ke Khilari’ is appreciated for its sophisticated storytelling and portrayal of the culture and politics of the era. Satyajit Ray’s direction was lauded for his craftsmanship and ability to bring a complex and engaging story to the screen.
The film was selected for the official competition at the 1978 Cannes Film Festival and received international acclaim. ‘Shatranj Ke Khilari’ became another major contribution of director Satyajit Ray to Indian cinema and earned a place in the country’s cinematic history for its artistic prowess as well as its political and social message.
Ardh Satya (1983)
Ardh Satya is a 1983 Indian film directed by Govind Nihalani. It is a crime-drama film that deals with issues of corruption, violence and internal conflicts in society and the police. The title ‘Ardh Satya’ means ‘half truth’ or ‘incomplete truth’, reflecting the complex nature of the characters and situations in the film.
Plot: The plot of Ardh Satya revolves around the life of a young police inspector named Anant Velankar, played by the legendary actor Om Puri. Anant is an honest and idealistic man who enters the police service with a strong desire to make a difference and fight crime in society.
However, Anant is faced with a series of challenges and moral dilemmas as he tries to maintain his integrity in a corrupt and violent system. He faces conspiracy and oppression involving some of his superiors and colleagues, some of whom are involved in illegal activities.
The story unfolds showing Anant’s frustration and anguish as he struggles to maintain his righteousness and morality, despite the forces that try to suppress and corrupt him. The film also explores Anant’s personal conflicts, his strained family relationships and the difficulty of separating good from evil in such a complex reality.
Cast and Awards: Om Puri received wide praise for his portrayal of the lead, Anant Velankar. His performance was considered one of the best of his career and earned him the National Film Award for Best Actor.
The film also features other talented actors including Smita Patil, Amrish Puri and Naseeruddin Shah who helped make the film an amazing cinematic experience.
Impact and Accolades: Ardh Satya was a critically acclaimed film and received many accolades. It was also a big hit at the box office and helped cement Govind Nihalani as one of the most influential directors in Indian cinema. The film is praised for its realistic and gritty portrayal of social problems, corruption and the hardships of life as a policeman in India.
Om Puri’s performance and candid portrayal of the characters made Ardh Satya an unforgettable film that remained in the hearts of viewers and critics over the years. It is regarded as one of the classics of Indian cinema and continues to be lauded for its emotional and social potency.
Salaam Bombay! (1988)
Salaam Bombay! is a 1988 Indian film directed by Mira Nair. It is one of the most acclaimed and awarded films in Indian cinema and has gained international acclaim for its realistic and engaging storytelling.
Synopsis: Salaam Bombay! is set in the chaotic streets of Mumbai and follows the story of a young boy named Krishna, played by young actor Shafiq Syed. Krishna is an eleven-year-old boy who lives in a difficult environment and earns his living by doing small jobs. His life changes drastically when his mother sells Krishna to a traveling circus. Krishna manages to escape the circus and returns to Mumbai, but finds his savings stolen. With no home or family, the boy ends up living on the streets.
Krishna joins a group of other street kids and immerses himself in the harsh reality of surviving on the streets of Mumbai. The film explores the life of street children, their experiences, their dreams and the daily challenges they face. Throughout the story, Krishna finds himself caught up in a world of poverty, prostitution, drug trafficking and organized crime.
During his journey, Krishna befriends Chillum (played by Raghubir Yadav), a drug addict who becomes an important figure in his life. In an effort to improve his situation, Krishna tries to save enough money to return to his home village, but realizes that escaping street life is not as simple as he hoped.
Cast and Credits: The Cast of Salaam Bombay! it is made up mostly of non-professional actors, many of whom were real street children. Shafiq Syed, as Krishna, was particularly notable for his moving and authentic performance.
The film received much critical acclaim and won the Camera d’Or at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival. It was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Impact and Legacy: Salaam Bombay! it was a turning point in Indian cinema and made Mira Nair known as a very talented director. The film shed light on the difficult life of street children in India and raised important issues regarding poverty, exploitation and children’s rights.
Furthermore, the involvement of non-professional actors and its realistic style helped make the film even more powerful and engaging. Salaam Bombay! it has had a significant impact on social consciousness in India and has helped raise public awareness of the problems of street children.
Overall, Salaam Bombay! is a touching and powerful film that offers a raw and realistic insight into the life of street children and has left an indelible mark on the history of Indian cinema.
Bombay is a 1995 Indian film directed by Mani Ratnam. It is a social drama that deals with tensions and religious violence between the Hindu and Muslim communities in Bombay (now Mumbai), with the aim of promoting harmony and understanding between religious groups.
Plot: The Bombay storyline takes place in the 1990s and follows the forbidden love between a young Hindu named Shekhar (played by Arvind Swami) and a young Muslim named Shaila Banu (played by Manisha Koirala). The couple gets married against the wishes of their families, who belong to different religions.
However, their relationship becomes more and more difficult due to the growing religious tensions and clashes between communities in the city of Bombay. Violence and conflict between religious groups lead to serious consequences for the lives of Shekhar and Shaila, and their family faces hatred and division.
The film offers a touching and unbiased perspective on the reality of religious tensions and violence in the Indian context, showing how love and unity can be threatened by religious divisions and how the characters try to overcome such challenges to live together in peace and harmony.
Cast and Reception: Bombay features a talented cast of actors, including Arvind Swami, Manisha Koirala, Tinnu Anand, Nasser and many more. The actors’ performances have been widely praised for their authenticity and their empathy in conveying the characters’ emotions.
The film received great acclaim from critics and audiences and was a box office success. He has won numerous awards and accolades, demonstrating the effectiveness of his storytelling and his ability to treat such a sensitive subject in a sensitive and thoughtful way.
Impact and Legacy: Bombay is regarded as one of Mani Ratnam’s best films and one of the best Indian films on coexistence and religious tolerance. He addressed the theme of religious tensions with a human and humanistic perspective, underlining the importance of harmony and understanding between different communities.
The film had a significant impact on social consciousness in India and helped promote dialogue and reflection on the subject of religious diversity in the country. Its soundtrack, composed by A.R. Rahman, became very popular and helped consolidate the fame of the composer.
Overall, Bombay is a touching and engaging film that tackles an important social issue with sensitivity and commitment. It has continued to be regarded as a classic of Indian cinema, lauded for its profound social relevance and its ability to excite and make audiences think.
Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001)
Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India commonly known as Lagaan is a 2001 Indian film directed by Ashutosh Gowariker. It is one of the most acclaimed and successful works of Indian cinema and one of the few Indian films to have been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Synopsis: Lagaan is set in 1893, during the British colonial era in India. The story takes place in a small village called Champaner, which is oppressed by the Lagaan tax, a levy on farmers’ crops. Farmer boy Bhuvan (played by Aamir Khan) leads his community in the challenge of opposing the tax, but British officer Captain Andrew Russell (played by Paul Blackthorne) offers a wager: if the farmers can beat a British cricket team in a match, they will be exempt from paying the lagaan for three years.
Bhuvan accepts the challenge and along with his team of inexperienced farmers starts training for the cricket match, a discipline wholly unknown to them. The film follows their journey of preparation, their commitment to overcoming difficulties and their progressive development as a team. The cricket match becomes not only a sporting challenge but also a symbol of resistance against British rule and the struggle for freedom.
Cast and Credits: Lagaan features an outstanding cast, with Aamir Khan in the lead role of Bhuvan. The film also boasts the participation of Gracy Singh, Rachel Shelley, Paul Blackthorne and many other talented actors.
Lagaan was a major commercial success and received wide critical acclaim. It has won numerous awards, including eight National Film Awards and five Filmfare Awards, including Best Film and Best Director. It was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, representing India in the competition.
Impact and Legacy: Lagaan has had a significant impact on popular culture and social consciousness in India. The film touched deep emotional chords with its message of determination, unity and resistance against injustice. It has also sparked a great deal of interest in cricket in India and helped boost the love of the sport in the country.
Lagaan is regarded as a masterpiece of Indian cinema and one of the most important and influential films of the 2000s. It demonstrated the ability of Indian cinema to create high quality and engaging stories, pushing the boundaries of storytelling and cinematic innovation.
Overall, Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India is an amazing film that skillfully combines entertainment, emotion and a powerful social message. Its engaging storyline, memorable songs and outstanding performances made Lagaan a milestone in the history of Indian cinema.
Monsoon Wedding (2001)
Monsoon Wedding is a 2001 Indian film, directed by Mira Nair. It is a comedy-drama that deals with themes such as love, marriage, family and the social dynamics in an Indian family during the days leading up to a wedding.
Synopsis: Monsoon Wedding takes place in Delhi and follows the preparation and celebration of a wedding in the Verma family. Aditi (played by Vasundhara Das) is the eldest daughter of the family, and she is getting married to a man who lives in the United States. However, Aditi’s marriage is not a traditional romantic experience, as she is in a secret affair with a married man named Vikram (played by Sameer Arya).
Meanwhile, Aditi’s father Lalit Verma (played by Naseeruddin Shah) is trying to arrange the wedding and faces the challenges and pressures of preparation. As the celebrations unfold, other parallel stories also emerge within the family and among staff members.
The film explores a number of themes, including love, secrets, arranged marriage, gender identity, sexuality and abuse, all set in the context of the traditions and challenges of modern life in an Indian family.
Cast and Awards: Monsoon Wedding features a talented cast with actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Vasundhara Das, Lillete Dubey, Shefali Shah and many more. All have received widespread acclaim for their authentic and engaging performances.
The film received numerous awards, including the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival. It has been highly praised for its innovative storytelling, realistic depiction of Indian culture, and blend of tradition and modernity.
Impact and Legacy: Monsoon Wedding has become a highly regarded film worldwide and is regarded as one of Mira Nair’s best films. It opened up new opportunities for Indian cinema and demonstrated the potential of Indian cinema in capturing universal themes and reaching global audiences.
The film was also a box office hit, both in India and abroad, proving its commercial and critical impact. Monsoon Wedding has helped establish Mira Nair as one of India’s most influential and talented filmmakers.
Overall, Monsoon Wedding is an immersive cinematic experience that deftly mixes comedy and drama, giving us a loving yet realistic look at the life of an Indian family during their wedding days.
Pyaasa is a 2002 Indian film directed by Amir Khan and produced by his production company, Aamir Khan Productions. It should not be confused with the 1957 film Pyaasa, directed by Guru Dutt, which is a classic of Indian cinema.
Plot: 2002 Pyaasa tells the story of a young poet and singer named Surinder “Surya” Kapoor (played by Aftab Shivdasani), who is fond of poetry and music. Surya lives with his family but his artistic talent is ignored and underestimated by everyone around him.
Surya is in love with his peer, Preeti (played by Yukta Mookhey), but she is only interested in material possessions and successful people. Surya’s frustration and sense of inadequacy lead him to leave home and seek his way in the world.
During his journey, Surya meets an elderly blind poet named Guruji (played by Anupam Kher), who inspires and encourages him to follow his passion for poetry. With time, Surya becomes a famous poet and singer with the stage name of ‘Pyaasa’ but still faces personal challenges and intrigues that threaten his happiness and success.
Cast and Reception: Pyaasa has a cast consisting of Aftab Shivdasani, Yukta Mookhey, Anupam Kher, and other actors. While the film had a strong cast, it did not achieve the critical or commercial success it had hoped for. The film’s plot and making were criticized for being unconvincing, and the actors’ performance received mixed reviews.
Importantly, 2002’s Pyaasa was directed by Aamir Khan, but it doesn’t star him. Aamir Khan is one of the most celebrated and acclaimed actors in Indian cinema, known for his iconic roles and intense performances. Thus, the lack of her presence in the film may have contributed to its not-so-positive reception.
Despite the negative reviews, the film tried to address important themes such as the pursuit of dreams and the struggle against social expectations, but its execution did not meet the expectations of the audience and critics.
In conclusion, 2002’s Pyaasa did not achieve the same success and recognition status as the 1957 classic Pyaasa. Though the film dealt with significant themes, it failed to leave a lasting imprint on the history of Indian cinema.
Black Friday (2004)
Black Friday is a 2004 Indian film directed by Anurag Kashyap. It is based on the book “Black Friday: The True Story of the Bombay Bomb Blasts” by Hussain Zaidi, which narrates the events related to the 1993 bombings in Bombay (now Mumbai).
Synopsis: The film chronicles the events leading up to the 1993 Bombay bombings, which were a series of coordinated bombings at different locations in the city. Black Friday follows investigations by police and security forces as they try to identify and apprehend those responsible for the bombings, while also revealing the complexity and ingenuity behind their planning.
The plot of the film is complex and involves several characters, both among the terrorists involved in the attacks and among the investigators. The film focuses on the social and political factors that led to the attacks and focuses on the manhunt to locate and capture those responsible.
Black Friday takes place mainly in flashbacks, with interviews and interrogations of the protagonists and those involved in the bombings. The film offers a realistic and incisive perspective on violence and terrorism and delves into the psychology of the characters, providing a reflection on human nature and the motivations behind such extreme acts.
Cast and Reception: The film features a talented cast of actors, including Kay Kay Menon, Pavan Malhotra, Aditya Srivastava and Kishore Kadam. Their performances have received widespread praise for their authenticity and poignancy.
Black Friday has had an outstanding critical reception and has won numerous awards and accolades, demonstrating the strength of its storytelling and the courage to tackle such a sensitive and controversial subject.
However, due to its controversial content and realistic depiction of bombings and terrorists, the film was initially subject to legal disputes and censorship. Its release was delayed due to legal issues, but it received a redacted release in 2007.
Impact and Legacy: Black Friday is regarded as one of the most influential and audacious films in Indian cinema. It opened new avenues for independent cinema and proved that Indian cinema could tackle controversial and complex subjects with maturity and realism.
The film also helped solidify Anurag Kashyap as one of the most daring and talented directors in the Indian film industry. His ability to approach controversial topics with an uncompromising and realistic perspective has attracted the attention of audiences and critics alike.
Altogether, Black Friday is a powerful and poignant film that tackles a dark page in India’s history. Its realistic portrayal and immersive storytelling make it a classic of Indian cinema and a milestone in the genre of cinema based on historical and social events.
“Udaan” is a 2010 Indian film directed by Vikramaditya Motwane and produced by Anurag Kashyap. It is a Hindi language drama which has received wide acclaim from critics and audiences for its engaging storyline and powerful performances of the actors.
The film tells the story of Rohan Singh (played by Rajat Barmecha), a 17-year-old boy who gets expelled from boarding school for breaking the rules. Back home in the small town of Jamshedpur, Rohan is forced to live with his father, Bhairav (played by Ronit Roy), an authoritarian and domineering man.
Bhairav is a very oppressive father and wants his son to follow a pre-arranged path of education for him. However, Rohan has creative aspirations and dreams of becoming a writer, but is forced to confront his father’s expectations and the harsh reality of his family life.
While living in his father’s restrictive house, Rohan reconnects with his younger half-brother, Arjun (played by Aayan Boradia), who lives in the same house and also suffers from his overbearing father. Together they try to find comfort and support in each other as they deal with the difficulties of their family situation.
The story unfolds by showing Rohan’s growth journey as he struggles to fulfill his dreams and free himself from his father’s oppression. The film deals with profound themes such as generational conflict, individual autonomy and the struggle to pursue one’s desires despite adversity.
‘Udaan’ was praised for its engaging narrative, touching performances by the actors and sharp direction by Vikramaditya Motwane. The film won numerous awards and accolades at various film festivals and earned a special place in the hearts of audiences for its authenticity and realistic portrayal of family dynamics and youthful aspirations.
Ship of Theseus (2012)
‘Ship of Theseus’ is a 2012 Indian film directed by Anand Gandhi. It is a philosophical drama that explores complex themes such as identity, ethics and mortality, taking its cue from the philosophical paradox known as the “ship of Theseus”.
The film is divided into three interconnected stories revolving around the concept of identity and the continuity of the self. These stories follow three different characters and their unique life experiences:
- Aaliya (played by Aida El-Kashef): She is a blind photographer who is gradually losing her sight. Her story explores the experience of adjusting to and coping with vision loss and how it affects her identity and her passion for photography.
- Maitreya (played by Neeraj Kabi): is a charismatic man and philosopher, known for his progressive ideas. When he discovers that he has kidney disease, he is faced with a difficult ethical decision regarding an organ transplant.
- Navin (played by Sohum Shah): He is a ruthless young businessman involved in the trafficking of illegal organs. After a series of events, he finds himself having to reconsider his way of seeing the world and the consequences of his actions.
All three stories intertwine thematically, exploring underlying philosophical questions regarding self-identity and transformation. The film’s title is inspired by the “ship of Theseus” paradox, a philosophical question about the persistence of identity through change.
‘Ship of Theseus’ was critically acclaimed for its philosophical depth, engaging performances by the actors and bold direction by Anand Gandhi. The film received numerous awards and accolades at various film festivals and sparked in-depth discussions about its intriguing storyline and philosophical themes. It is regarded as one of the most significant and influential films in contemporary Indian cinema.
Gangs of Wasseypur (2012)
“Gangs of Wasseypur” epic movie indian of 2012 directed by Anurag Kashyap. It is set in the city of Wasseypur in the state of Jharkhand and revolves around the rivalry between two powerful crime families who clash for power and control of the region.
The film is divided into two parts, both very long, and follows a family saga that spans several generations.
Part 1: The first part begins in the 1940s and focuses on the Khan family, headed by Shahid Khan (played by Jaideep Ahlawat). Shahid Khan is a local outlaw who works for the family of Ramadhir Singh (played by Tigmanshu Dhulia), an influential and ruthless man. After being betrayed by Ramadhir, Shahid Khan is killed, and his family vows revenge.
The story then shifts to the family of Shahid Khan, headed by his son Sardar Khan (played by Manoj Bajpayee), an ambitious and ruthless man who decides to take his revenge on the Singh family. The rivalry between the two families escalates, leading to a series of violent conflicts.
Part 2: The second part of the film takes place in the following years and follows the successive generations of the two conflicting families. The narrative mainly focuses on Faizal Khan (played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui), son of Sardar Khan, and his rise to power in the criminal underworld.
Revenge and violence continue to dominate the tale as the story unfolds through intrigue, betrayal and struggle for control of Wasseypur.
‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ is known for its unique style and raw realistic storytelling. The film was critically acclaimed for the brilliant performances of the actors, masterful direction by Anurag Kashyap and authentic portrayal of the culture and context of the Wasseypur region. It has become a cult film in Indian cinema and helped launch several careers of talented actors who gained wide recognition domestically and internationally.
The Lunchbox (2013)
‘The Lunchbox’ is a 2013 Indian film directed by Ritesh Batra. She’s a delicate one love story set in Mumbai, known for its unique storyline and touch of nostalgia.
The film tells the story of two people who develop a special connection through exchanging lunchboxes. Lunchboxes, known as “dabbas,” are containers of home-prepared food that are delivered to workers during lunch hours by an efficient delivery system.
The plot focuses on two main characters:
- Ila (played by Nimrat Kaur): is a young woman dissatisfied with her marriage. Hoping to win back her husband’s attention, she starts preparing delicious lunches and sends them to him via the lunchbox system. However, the lunchboxes end up in Saajan Fernandes’ bag by mistake.
- Saajan Fernandes (played by Irrfan Khan): is an old man, grumpy and lonely, employed in the administrative services sector. Saajan is heartbroken by the death of his wife and is about to retire. When he receives the lunchbox prepared by Ila by mistake, he is intrigued and impressed by the delicious food.
Through appointments and letters written in the lunchbox, Ila and Saajan get to know each other and share their thoughts, desires and disappointments. This epistolary correspondence gradually transforms their lives, forging a special bond between two strangers.
“The Lunchbox” is a film notable for its delicacy and for the masterful interpretation of the actors. It has been highly praised by international critics and has received numerous prizes and awards at film festivals. The film captured the audience’s attention for its original plot and ability to convey sincere emotions through a simple and charming story.
‘Court’ is a 2014 Indian film written and directed by Chaitanya Tamhane. It is a dramatic Marathi-language film that explores the Indian judicial system and offers a critical analysis of contemporary society.
The film follows the story of Narayan Kamble (played by Vira Sathidar), a folk singer and social activist who is arrested and charged with inciting the suicide of a worker who sacrificed himself in protest against social injustice. The accusation is based on one of the songs performed by Kamble, which according to the authorities pushed the worker to the extreme.
The legal process becomes the focus of the film and shows us how the Indian judicial system works. The film highlights the inefficiency and bureaucracy of the system, showing how judicial proceedings often become long, confusing and distant from the reality of the people involved. Furthermore, ‘Court’ highlights the social inequality and systematic injustice plaguing the Indian legal system.
The film also explores the lives of those involved in the trial, including public defenders, prosecutors and judges, and highlights their personal and professional concerns.
‘Court’ is known for its realistic style and thoughtful storytelling. It received widespread international critical acclaim and was screened at various film festivals, earning numerous awards and accolades. The film was particularly praised for the way it tackles complex social and legal issues, offering an insightful look into Indian society and its justice systems.
“Masaan” is a 2015 Indian film directed by Neeraj Ghaywan. It is a drama that interweaves the stories of several characters who live in the vicinity of the ghats (stairways) on the River Ganges in Varanasi, one of the sacred cities of India.
The film features two main storylines that take place in parallel:
- Devi (played by Richa Chadda): is a young woman from a modest family. After being involved in an act of immorality, she is forced to confront the prejudices and stereotypes of the conservative society in Varanasi. You have to fight for justice and free yourself from the burden of social conventions to live a decent life.
- Deepak (played by Vicky Kaushal): is a boy who works in the ghats to cremate the bodies of the deceased. Meet Shaalu (played by Shweta Tripathi), a girl from a more affluent family. The two fall in love, but must face the barriers of social class that divide them.
The lives of the protagonists intertwine and collide as they face the challenges imposed by traditional society, struggle against the restrictions imposed by caste and try to find meaning and hope in the difficult circumstances in which they find themselves.
‘Masaan’ was highly praised for its heartwarming storytelling, outstanding performances by the actors and realistic depiction of life in the city of Varanasi. The film received international critical acclaim and won several awards at various film festivals. It managed to touch the hearts of the audience with its sensitivity and intense portrayal of human struggles and individual aspirations, making it one of the most acclaimed Indian films in recent years.
‘Thithi’ is a 2015 Indian film directed by Raam Reddy. It is a Kannada-language comedy-drama set in a rural village in the state of Karnataka in South India.
The film tells the story of three generations of a family living in a village. The plot develops around the death of the head of the family, ‘Century’ Gowda, a 101-year old man, and the traditional ceremony of ‘thithi’ (the funeral ceremony), which is to be performed eleven days after the death.
After Century Gowda’s death, his son Thamanna (played by Singri Gowda) and grandson Abhi (played by Abhishek H.N.) learn that Century Gowda’s estate included only one cow. The cow is the most precious possession of the family and becomes the subject of a dispute when the young nephew Abhi decides to sell the animal to get the money needed to buy a motorbike.
The story follows the events that occur in the eleven day period between the death of Century Gowda and the ‘thithi’ ceremony, showcasing the complex family dynamic, interpersonal relationships, traditions and tensions between different generations.
‘Thithi’ is known for its realistic style and its cast of mostly non-professional actors, many of whom belong to the village where the film was shot. Director Raam Reddy has tried to authentically capture the rural life and traditions of Karnataka. The film was highly praised by international critics and won several awards at prestigious film festivals. It has been praised for its original storytelling, subtle humor and depth of exploring family relationships and social dynamics in a rural setting.