10 Hindi Films that Boldly Brought the Caste Narrative to Center Stage

Anubhav Sinha’s Article 15 is ready for release on June 28th, and if the promos are anything to go with, it is going to be a hard hitting commentary on the darkest impact of caste based politics on basic human agency and living rights of the common Indian. In today’s date of extreme chaos and cacophony, where almost every other ism is exploited by a select few to evoke mass hysteria and dangerous results, Article 15 may be the film that India needs desperately, and what the Indian youth should watch in masses and retrospect about. Hoping for it to be a well made film just like Mulk was, one that hits it where it hurts and raises the right questions. As we prepare for this experience, here is looking back at a few other Hindi films that made a statement by raising the caste issues unabashedly in a format and tone relevant to their times and left long lasting impressions.

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Rabindra Sangeet in Films – This Millennium

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The songs composed by Rabindranath Tagore have always been a lifeline of Bangla films. For decades, they have been the voice of soul in our films, and when at the turn of the century a decision was taken to allow experimentation with the arrangement in Tagore Songs, there was a fear that it would be a disaster as far as preserving the sanctity of these songs was concerned. Has it really been the case in the whole?

Yes, there has been a Oo lala added to a Pagla Hawa in some cases, but Rabindra Sangeet has stood firm with its soul and its form preserved for the most, a few modern rhythmic adaptations like Jagorane jaaye bibhabori have actually worked, and in most cases even the form has remained as pure as possible. How much ever our storytelling might have changed, our filmmakers still fall back to the ever reliable and the deepest emotions of Rabindra Sangeet even today, and rightfully so.

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50 Years of Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne

50 years ago, on May 8th 1969, Satyajit Ray‘s Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne saw the light of the day…

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The charismatic children in the world of Ray

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Apu & Durga (Pather Panchali & Aparajito), Kajal (Apur Sansar), Ratan (Postmaster), Mrinmayee (Samapti), Mukul (Sonar Kella), Ruku (Jai Baba Felunath), Pikoo (Pikoo), Dingo (Shakha Proshakha), Satyaki (Agantuk), or the ‘Two’ kids…

Just these characters can continue reminding us for decades to come how brilliant a film maker the Maestro was… It takes a genius to get the best and most natural out of children in cinema, and He did it every single time with each one of them. The characters above have become legendary, not just with their writing, but also with the kind of performances these kids could deliver under the guidance of Ray..

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Manhattan – To beautiful beginnings…

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“He adored New York City. He idolized it all out of proportion…no, make that: he – he romanticized it all out of proportion. Yeah. To him, no matter what the season was, this was still a town that existed in black and white and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin.”

Uh, no let me start this over.

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50 Hindi Films inspired from Bengali Literature

Bengali literature in all its richness has been a constant influence on the world of films, both for bengali and hindi films. While some of the adaptations like Devdas, Parineeta or Kabuliwala are more common and widely acknowledged, there are a host of films influenced by bengali literature that are not so commonly recalled. This includes films based on full scale novels, short stories, poems and more. Some of these films credit the source as the official adaptation, some of them do not. But the inspiration behind the story-line is not be be missed, especially when the authors behind the literary references are some of the most illustrious names of Bengali Literature ranging from Rabindranath Tagore to Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay to Ashutosh Mukhopadhyay to Ashapoorna Devi to Subodh Ghosh and more.

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#40YearsOfGOLMAAL hain bhai sab golmaal hain!

Golmaal directed by the legendary filmmaker Hrishikesh Mukherjee is an all time classic! Arguably the best comedy ever written for the hindi film screen, the film thrives on its brilliant one liners written by Rahi Masoom Raza, so full of unadulterated humor that they can invoke a laugh any time of the day and every single time! They have forgotten to write such films and dialogues now. We also hence do not remember the films of today and their dialogues by heart like that of this classic film!

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Srijit Mukherji Filmography – Ranked

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Srijit Mukherji has been the most prolific filmmaker for Bengali cinema in the last one decade. He is also the one who has possibly the most loyal fan base at one end, and the harshest critics of his work on the other. The filmmaker, who started his journey with the intent to make one film with each letter of the English alphabet, made his first film in 2010, and has already made fourteen films in his last ten years of active filmmaking. He will add a couple more to his filmography by the end of this year, and there are at least three more active projects already lined up for next year too.

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The Enchanting Female Duets

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Recently with a few films trying to explore a rare genre of female bonding in Hindi cinema, it got me excited to explore how has this genre shaped up in the past years through cinema.. Come to think of it, forget cinema centered around female bonding, even good and impactful female duets have been few and far in between, although Bollywood is blessed with the two of the most enchanting voices ever in the two legendary sisters!

So given that it is a relatively rare genre, here are my favorite picks of the best female duets and in no particular order… (And I did not want the space to get crowded with the likes of relatively mediocre ‘Hastaa huya noorani chehra‘, ‘Mere mehboob me kya nahi‘, ‘Reshmi shalwar‘ or the more recent ‘Dola re‘, ‘Pinga‘ and their likes, which may be popular but not impactful to my musical sensibilities!)

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Holi hai! Load a Fresh, Vibrant Playlist!

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If there is one festival that has been celebrated in its full glory in Hindi Cinema, it is the festival of colors – Holi! And why not – the vibrant colors, the energy of the festival, the smiling faces, the mischievous gestures, the sensuous overtones – they all provide the rich and colorful cinematic tropes for the screen! No wonder, Holi Songs are extremely popular too – they almost form a separate genre for Hindi Film Music! We think of Holi songs, and typically there is always a Rang Barse, Holi Khele Raghuveera, Ang Se Ang Lagana, Lets Play Holi, Holi ke Din, Balam Pichkari and many other extremely popular and overplayed Holi songs that always come to mind first. But Hindi Cinema has also composed some other beautiful holi songs in this very millennium that possibly don’t get as much love as they should, and they are equally vibrant in orchestrating a sensory treat, if not more, as the more popular ones.

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