The Cinema world has since forever been quite an influential industry. Breaking free from the clutches of ancient practices of the patriarchal society was very difficult for India. And in the fight, Bollywood played a great role. The challenging classical movies that dared to fight the world for the rights of women or for the issues that were never openly talked about actually , made a difference! We bring to you 10 classic movies that successfully challenged the stereotypes of the Indian society.
A powerful movie that came in 1993, focusing on how a woman stood up against the society and her own family to bring justice to the housemaid who was raped by her Brother-in-law and his friend.
2. Prem Rog
‘Prem Rog’ an epic classic that stirred a lot of disapproval from the society for it focused on a very sensitive issue of widow remarriage. The concept of two consenting adults falling in love and choosing their own partner is still not completely accepted in India no doubts that this movie would have enraged the so-called protectors of ‘Indian-Culture’.
3. Achoot Kanya
An ancient movie dating back to 1936, this movie was probably the first movie that focused on Inter caste marriage while crushing the infamous caste system of the Indian Society. The movie challenges the hollow caste system that barred the people of the Brahmin(so-called upper class) to engage in any kind of relationship with the Harijans (untouchables as per the caste system). This movie was a great blow to the mindset as it showed the romantic relationship between an upper caste man and a lower caste untouchable woman.
A 1972 cult classic that changed the way people looked at the sex workers. A wonderful movie starring Meena Kumari who gave her epic performance in this movie, which was her last performance. The film tells the story set in Muslim Lucknow at the turn of the century, its central character is a Lucknowi nautch-girl. Set in Muslim Lucknow at the turn of the century, the movie centers on the mental plight of a tawaif (courtesan and dancer) and their longing to be loved, accepted and respected by society. The Movie was busy breaking and challenging Stereotypes while it earned a lot of respect from the audience.
Another movie that took a dig at the social issue of Female Foeticide. The movie talks about a world where there are no more women and the peril women. The rising rate of female foeticide raised a lot of concern. The Patriarchial Indian Society considered girl child as a burden and worshipped a male child hence giving to rise in the number of female fetuses being killed.
6. Kya Kehna
Released when the society was actually accepting the changing wind and was ready to mold itself. The movie, Kya Kehna, came out in the year 2000 starring Preety Zinta as a teenage mother. The movie focused on the society’s reaction and acceptance of Pre-marital pregnancy
7. Fire, Water, and Earth
3 films by Deepa Mehta or the three element trilogy by Deepa Mehta. All of the Three movies focused on some real problems that concerned the society at large. The Movie, Fire, the first mainstream movie that shook India showcasing the homosexual relationship between two women. The movie received a lot of backlash from the public. While the movies earth and water dealt with the issue of the partition of India and Sati-Pratha respectively.
8. My brother… Nikhil
A movie that brought Awareness about HIV/AIDS to the public view. The movie is centered around a young talented boy who was tested Postive with AIDS and how the society reacts towards him and how he wins against them all with the help of his sister and friend. The movie, being low-budget could actually not reach many but was a great step towards AIDS awareness in India.
9. Peepli Live
A satirical comedy, that deals with the farmer’s suicide because of the inflation and the political responses to them! The movie manages to take a sarcastic dig at the state of farmers in India. The movie left everyone pondering over the horror faced by the Indian farmers daily.
10. Phir Milenge
A 2004 Drama that focused on the sensitive issue of AIDS. Talking about sex was more of breaking a social norm hence the awareness about a sexually transmitted disease was quite difficult few years back. Bollywood helped with such movies in increasing awareness and decreasing the awkwardness.