With the nation hooked on to the events unfolding at JNU this week, it is a good time to catch up to some Bollywood classics that tackled the politics of the nation.
Aandhi starring Sanjeev Kumar and Suchitra Sen is directed by Gulzar himself. The film centring around an ambitious female politician whose work clashes with her marriage was seen as a veiled depiction of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. It was very controversial at the time and even banned for a while.
BR Chopra’s Kanoon was one of the first films to tackle the ethics and politics of the court system in India. It starred Rajendra Kumar, Nanda and Ashok Kumar among others. The film is about a murder case and makes argument against capital punishment and mishandled trials.
Another Gulzar film this time starring Tabu, Chandrachur Singh and Jimmy Shergill. The director is known for his social films. The film portrays the rise of the Sikh insurgency in Punjab in the 1980s and traces the transformation of a youth to a dreaded terrorist bent on vengeance.
Garam Hava (1973)
Directed by MS Sathya and starring Balraj Sahni, Garam Hava is considered one of the best films about partition and one of the best Indian films of all time. It deals with the plight of a Muslim family after India’s partition in 1947.
Starring Manisha Koirala and Arvind Swami, this film is one of director Mani Ratnam’s most well known. It is the story of a couple living through the 1993 Bombay riots and AR Rahman’s music is considered some of his best. It was a huge hit across India.
Hey Ram (2000)
Hey Ram was directed by and starred Kamal Haasan along with Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukerji and many others. The plot revolves around the partition of India and murder of Mahatma Gandhi by Nathuram Godse. It was India’s official Oscar submission that year.
This film was directed by Prakash Jha who is known for his political stories and stars Ajay Devgan and Gracy Singh. It is about politics and crime in small town Bihar and how a new police officer takes extreme measures to clean up corruption.
Kai Po Che! (2013)
Kai Po Che stars Sushant Singh Rajput, Rajkummar Rao and Amit Sadh and was directed by Abhishek Kapoor. The film was an adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s “The 3 Mistakes of My Life” and the story revolves around three friends in Ahmedabad who are affected by the 2002 riots.
Vishal Bharadwaj’s controversial film starred Shahid Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor and Tabu. It is an adaptation Shakespeare’s play Hamlet set during the Kashmir insurgency of 1990s. The film was a critical and commercial hit and is considered Shahid’s best performance.
This small gem directed by Chaitanya Tamhane was a big hit at international film festivals and was India’s official Oscar submission for 2015. It a story set in Mumbai’s lower courts and deals with casteism, poverty and other social issues.
What do you think? Are there any other films you’d like to see on this list? Sound off in the comments below!