Bollywood in 2019: From Article 15 to Judgementall Hai Kya, films hit hard with their messages
Who said that hard-hitting socially-relevant, issue-based movies or films tackling taboo subjects have to be a bore fest? Bollywood this year proved that such stories can be told in an entertaining and engaging manner.
And the subjects ranged from depiction of lesbian relationship in Sonam Kapoor-starrer Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga, alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that often results in unpredictable hair loss in Gone Kesh, a girl running her family sex clinic in Khandaani Shafakhana, to premature balding in men in two films- Bala, starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Ujda Chaman.
Filmmaker Anubhav Sinha’s Article 15, dealt with Article 15 of the Constitution of India, which prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
“The audience is getting most of the other kind of stories from various other platforms - TV and OTT. So the story that is rooted within our society is what the rest of the world is not making. So that becomes a unique kind of content for the Indian audiences as it is very close to their own lives, they get hooked and interested and engaged to see films that show what they can see happening around them,” shares Anubhav.
While #MeToo continues to be discussed in India, Section 375 was a film that encapsulated it through its story which was about a Bollywood director, who is accused by a female member of his crew of having raped her at his residence. Akshay Khanna and Richa Chadha played lawyers in it. Rani Mukerji’s latest Mardaani 2 saw her rerun as a cop and this time to solve violent rape crimes in Kota.
Rani says, “In my head, the only way we can protect ourselves is by educating ourselves about the crime. We can’t hide away from the reality because it is happening. So it is important to show the reality to the audience as that creates awareness.”
Echoing similar sentiments, Gone Kesh actor Shweta Tripathi says that since cinema is a strong medium, one can really make a difference with the kind of stories that you tell. “I had no clue about alopecia until I did the film. I feel o grateful as an actor I played such a character. But such films don’t have to be made in a documentary style; we can add songs and love angles. But we should not shy away from such topics,” she explains.
Kanika Dhillon, the writer of Judgementall Hai Kya, which was a black comedy with its focus on mental health issues and mental health well being, feels that it’s important to tell socially relevant stories because only through stories one can educate, inspire, entertain and engage.
“The audience is embracing these stories because we are in an age of awareness, connectivity and individuality. It’s an age where we want to question the patriarchal and bigoted ideals and values that have been thrust upon us. We are a young nation. We want to challenge and question the current situation. We want to evolve and evaluate. As audiences, we are trying to embrace things that make us uncomfortable or question the status quo,” she says.
So is it important for filmmakers to make more of such films? “I don’t think so, it’s a personal choice of the creative person,” shares Anubhav, adding, “That’s why I made my films Mulk, Article 15 and now Thappad. All kinds of movies should be made - the fun films, epic sagas and the ones that I make. I don’t think it should be worn as a responsibility.
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