India is an endless sea of diversity, disparity and differences. Even everyday sights and experiences here overwhelm the senses with their unique metaphors and unforeseen conclusions.
Despite its exasperating extremes and delightful contrasts, a shared love for cinema binds the nation as it gathers to applaud inside dimly lit movie halls. At this point, all social distinctions disappear and an unexplained wave of solidarity takes over.
While our cinema continually evolves and filmmakers aspire for international scale finesse in thought and treatment, others choose to tell a story about India and Indianness — capturing its vivid fantasies, heightened emotionality and rudimentary morality like the triumph of good over evil.
Here’s a look at the 10 celebrated contemporary Hindi films that embody India’s many extraordinary facets — heartening, bleak, poignant, explosive and sublime.
Ashutosh Gowariker’s Swades examines the gap between modern and rural India through an NRI NASA employee (Shah Rukh Khan) and his experiences when he visits an electricity-devoid Indian village to meet his nanny and convince her to return with him.
Instead the extent of paucity and discrimination his homeland tolerates on a grass-root level unsettles SRK’s Mohan Bhargav so much, he resolves to come back and facilitate its progress and upliftment.
Its restrained and realistic nationalism, credible depiction of what plagues the interiors of India and the visionary message of bringing about change inspires and impresses.
Rang De Basanti
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s influential Rang De Basanti shakes the modern-day apathetic youth out of its comfort zone dubbed as the RDB effect.
Mehra constructs parallels between five carefree college-goers and eminent freedom fighters, as they revolt against the heavily corroded ‘system’ in a manner most volatile while taking full responsibility for the tragic consequences to follow.
The metamorphosis of Rang De Basanti’s care-a-damn bunch of merrymaking Delhi University students to secular, solid and justice-seeking comrades is what’s most thought provoking.