03 April, 2012

Powerful Indian Movies

We were discussing events in World history yesterday, when the topic turned to movies (wholly based on real-life events as well as semi-fictional). The depiction of World War 2 in Saving Private Ryan, the brutalness of The Whistleblower, the masterful research and accuracy of the mini-series - Band of Brothers and The Pacific, the sadness in Schindler's List, the visuals in The Last King of Scotland, the brilliant mind in A Beautiful Mind, the barbaricness of Munich.. all were discussed. Not to mention the one not for the faint-hearted - The Passion of the Christ. Many other documentaries and movies chronicling the significant events in History were also discussed. The topic then turned to Indian History and we realised that there are very few Indian movies that successfully chronicle India's History. There have been attempts with movies like Mangal Pandey and Border, but the result was horrible.

Consequently, I am setting out to list Indian movies that depict significant events or matters of social importance. The criteria is that the movie should be great (good acting, great direction), realistic (atleast in its depiction if not the story and characters), should pertain to an important social/historic settings in India. Anything from Harappan Civilisation to Gujrat riots and 26/11 is acceptable.

Readers, I seek your contribution to the list too.

1) Black Friday - Anurag Kashyap's work on 1993 bomb blasts.
2) Parzania - Rahul Dholakia's film on the Gujrat Riots on 2002. Loosely based on a true story.
3) 1947 Earth - Deepa Mehta's (possibly) fictional film set during India's partition in 1947.
4) Water - Deepa Mehta's fictional film set in 1938 when widows were grossly mistreated.
5) Matroobhoomi - Manish Jha's depiction of a world where killing the woman child is so deep-rooted that it leads to a world devoid of women. The story of Kalki (Tulip Joshi) in this world is truly moving. 
6) Gandhi - A non-Indian movie.
7) Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi - Sudhir Mishra's movie set during the time of Indira Gandhi.

There are many additions to be made. Please do leave comments :)
Missing are movies from the Freedom Struggle (Vir savarkar, Subhashchandra Bose, Bhagat Singh, Tilak and their stories), movies from the Moughal occupation, Shivaji raje, movies on Kargil war, stories of people like Bhanwari Devi, story of Mahatme Phule, stories of sporting legends, etc etc.


Salil said...

I don't think all of the below movies will fall into "Powerful" category - just thought they are worth mentioning.

1. Kala Paani - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0255289/

2) Jinnah -

3) Hey Ram -

4) Parition (This one is supposed to be an over-the-top rosey-dovey love story - just listing)

5) Sachin Khedekar's film/documentary on Subhash Chanra Bose - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0349878/

There are a couple of books that I know of -
1) Jhumpa Lahiri - she is the author of The Namesake. There is this book of hers "Interpreter of Melodies" - I had read it - its frigging brilliant. Its a collection of short stories - all are not India's Freedom Struggle or Partition related - but its good as a book.
2) Khushwant Singh's Train to Pakistan - this one is very famous and is supposed to be pretty good. Never had the chance to read it though. :-/

And also, there is supposed to be this documentary called "The Day India Burned" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9siw6qMxz4
Not sure how good it is or how historically correct.

Hoping for some great additions to the list!

FrostBite said...

Good movies indeed....but I would like to add some to that list

1. Lage Raho Munnabhai
2. Rang De Basanti.
3. Dil Chahta hai

siddhya said...

On the start of indian cinema
Harishchandrachi Factory

From the Kashmir Valley

From the Chambal Valley
Bandit Queen
Paan Singh Tomar

On the mumbai underworld
Ab tak chappan

Sanyo said...

Rudaali - plot based on a custom in certain areas of Rajasthan where women of a lower caste are hired as professional mourners upon the death of upper-caste males.

Pinjar - based on partition times

Maachis - based on Khalistan movement time.

Sehar - based on life of police officers fighting UP mafia.

Najim said...

Firaaq - The Movie follows life of several ordinary people, some who were victims, some silent observers and some perpetrators one month after the 2002 violence in Gujarat http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firaaq