Bollywood is largely known for big budget masala entertainers with superstars playing larger than life characters. However, amidst all the glitz and glamour there also exist movies which eschew the glamour in favor of hard hitting and socially relevant subjects. Such movies may not earn the kind of money that a typical Bollywood ‘entertainer’ earns but they do succeed in establishing a niche and are fondly remembered as ‘cult classics’. So here are 5 such Bollywood ‘cult classic’ films that you probably haven’t seen.
- Earth (1998 film)
Starring Aamir Khan in a negative role, Deepa Mehta’s 1947: Earth is based on Bapsi Sidhwa’s novel Cracking India. The story is set in Lahore during the time of partition and follows a small group of friends from different religions who are divided due to partition. The film received wide critical acclaim and also won the best film award at the Asian films festival. The film was also India’s official entry in the Academy award in the year 1999, however; it failed to make it to the final five.
Directed by Vikramaditya Motwane, Udaan is a coming of age drama film which is roughly based on the real life of Anurag Kashyap. Upon release the film received positive reviews and majority of the critics felt that the story was simple and heart touching. Despite overwhelming response from the critics, Udaan was declared as an average grosser at the box office however, it is regarded as a cult classic of Indian cinema. A testament to the film’s success was the fact that it managed to bag almost 21 national awards, 3 of which were for the best film of the year.
Despite performing below expectations at the box office, Anurag Kashyap directed Gulaal received unanimous praise from the critics. The political drama film is set in present day Rajasthan and the plot revolves around a Separatist movement by former Rajput leaders. The film was also featured in Avijit Ghosh’s book, 40 Retakes: Bollywood Classics You May Have Missed and is a must watch for anyone who is tired of mainstream Bollywood films.
- Peepli Live
Produced under the banner of Aamir Khan Productions, Peepli Live was another Bollywood film that was shortlisted for academy awards however, failed to make it to the final five nominations for the best foreign film. The film is about a poor farmer who is bankrupt and is considering committing suicide to pay off his loan and help his family. The twist of the plot comes when a local reporter spreads this news garnering a lot of political and media attention. The film received generally favorable reviews and managed to succeed at box office despite featuring a relatively unknown cast.
Adapted from the play Macbeth by Shakespeare, Maqbool was a crime drama film directed by Vishal Bhardwaj. The film was also first in a series of films that were adapted from Shakespeare’s plays. The movies received international acclaim and made Vishal Bhardwaj one of the most sought after directors in Indian cinema. The film received critical acclaim but failed to succeed at the box office. Pankaj Kapoor won the film fare award for best supporting actor for his performance in the film.
Have you watched some of these films? If yes leave your opinion in the comments below, plus tell us some of the films missing from the lists. As always stay tuned to GenY world for your favorite articles.
By Abdul Basit