There are umpteen situations when cinephiles end up feeling disappointed after watching a film that did little to fill their intellectual appetite. When it comes to Bollywood, we are more careful about choosing the kind of film we want to watch as our film industry’s formula for success results in adding more and more masala thus losing all means to make meaningful films.
But Indian film industry does not get it wrong all the time. There has been a consistent effort from their side to create films that not just display moving images on screen but which have a deep purpose and message. India is a land of stories, surprises, mystery and inexplicable beliefs. The enigma of Indian culture and heritage goes beyond what is explainable and here comes the hold of superstitious religious and cultural beliefs handed down from generation to generation. Our film industry has time and again tried to exhibit these ancient, ruthless and brutal customs woven beautifully within stories of human emotions, aspirations, desperation, survival and hope.
Let us take a look at films that did their part in unfurling the curtains of culture revealing brutal religious beliefs.
Sangharsh, loosely inspired by The Silence of The Lambs, boasts of some real spine-chilling scenes to depict the horrors of the child sacrifice ritual for religious appeasement, prevalent in many remote villages even today.
If you need another reason, watch it for the stellar performance by Ashutosh Rana as a religious fanatic hell-bent on attaining immortality.
Marathi cinema has been evolving constantly and is known for films made on intense and socially relevant topics. Jogwa, starring Upendra Limaye and Mukta Barve, shows the true disgusting face of the Devdasi system followed by the Yellama cult.
This National Award winning film broke all records and went on to become the highest-grossing film of the Marathi film industry. Directed by Nagraj Manjule, it is hard-hitting and disturbing end, it raises questions about the barbaric trend of honor killings and resistance against inter-caste marriages.
Poetic and aesthetically rich, Water, directed by Deepa Mehta, explores the plight and wretched lives of widows and their exploitation. It depicts the hollowness of our society’s age-old but inhuman customs and gives an inside look at the terrible lives of the innocent women who are forced to live a life of austerity.
Masaan, starring Vicky Kaushal and Richa Chadha in the lead roles, talks about caste discrimination that exists in our society. It shows Vicky Kaushal as Deepak Chaudhary, a young man belonging to the Dom lineage, a low caste group that burns dead bodies for a living.
If you can think of any other thought provoking film that did not make it to our list, let us know in the comment below.