It sure needs a certain amount of courage and craft to deal with a touchy topic like caste-based reservations in a country like India. Courage, we know Prakash Jha has. And as for his craft, we’ll have to reserve our comments till we see Aarakshan. Over the years, Bollywood has churned out a number of movies that speak out about social issues: some with finesse, some not so much. Koimoi.com looks at some of the social drama films over the years:
No One Killed Jessica
A young girl fighting for her dead sister, killed by a politician’s son. A journalist who joins the cause. And hundreds of others who decide to stand up with them for the cause of justice. Based on the real life case of Jessica Lal’s murder, director Raj Kumar Gupta packed a hard punch with Vidya Balan and Rani Mukerji’s powerhouse performances in No One Killed Jessica.
Politics is dirty business. Religion is divine. Prakash Jha did the unthinkable when he put the epic Mahabharata in context of contemporary Indian politics and wove a powerful tale around it in Raajneeti. Though we didn’t know what to expect with a star cast like Katrina Kaif, Ranbir Kapoor, Nana Patekar, Manoj Bajpayee, Ajay Devgan and Arjun Rampal, Jha didn’t disappoint us one bit!
Mumbai Meri Jaan
How does a city deal with pain caused by a terror attack? In Mumbai Meri Jaan, director Nishikant Kamat explored the lives of five people trying to come to terms with a terrible event that has shaken their lives to the core. The film had some very good performances by R. Madhavan, Soha Ali Khan, Kay Kay Menon, Paresh Rawal and Irrfan Khan.
Even for one second, you couldn’t imagine this movie without Tabu. The shy, sobbing teen to the brash woman and finally the pleading mother, Tabu made your heart wrench as the bar dancer in this Madhur Bhandarkar film.
The movie that brought two acting powerhouses together – Madhuri Dixit and Shabana Azmi – showed the docile and ferocious sides of women. This Prakash Jha film spoke against the patriarchal and unjust rules of society, speaking, in effect, for the millions of women in India.
From being the ‘heaven on earth’ to one of the most troubled areas in the world, the Kashmir valley has rarely found a voice in Bollywood. But when it did, it played out sensitively in Piyush Jha’s film on a young boy in Kashmir who discovers the power of a gun.
City Of Gold
You have to be in Mumbai, India’s business capital, to know why the word ‘mill’ can almost grind the city to a halt. The city’s mill-workers, abandoned by their employers decades ago, found voice in director Mahesh Manjrekar’s gritty social drama.
To end on a slightly lighter note, we choose Kamal Rashid Khan’s Deshdrohi. While KRK did pick the topical theme (of outsiders vs. natives in Mumbai) for his film, his robotic dialogue delivery and pathetic acting made this film one of the most talked about films of its time, for all the wrong reasons! (Rejoice, Deshdrohi 2 is supposed to be in the pipeline.)