Friday, May 3, 2013

Most progressive Movies from Bollywood in memory of its 100 years by Harsh Thakor.

                                                           Picture : Raj Kapoor

Today on May 3rd Bollywood completes 100 years.

The 1st film was made by Dadasaheb Phalke on May 3rd 1913. I am compiling a list of films here which reflected the social reality of society ,irrespective of whether melodrama was used or the message was conveyed in the subtlest of manners.

To me these films even if not ideological, brilliantly portrayed the evils of feudalism and capitalism. Films like ‘Awaara ‘,’Shri 420’ and ‘Do Bhiga Zameen’ gained major acclaim by the people of  U.S.S.R and China which has significance. 

Socialist themes won over the hearts of people. Today and in the past we have had a genre of films representing the imperialist or capitalist values. The majority of acclaimed film represent the decadent values ,promoting liberalization and globalization.

This selection is a tribute to the inherent genius of the artists who had deep knowledge of the Social situation. Without the study of the broad masses these films would not have been made.

1.Do Bhiga Zameen

championed the cause of the oppressed peasant.(made by Bimal Roy)relevant even today when landless peasants commit suicide unable to repay debts and lands are seized from them.Brilliantly portrays feudalism and the socio-economic plight of apoor peasant.

The story revolves around a farmer Shambu Mahato (Balraj Sahni), who lives with his wife Parvati `Paro’ (Nirupa Roy) and son Kanhaiya (Rattan Kumar) in a small village that has been hit badly by a famine. After years of drought, the region finally gets rain, leading to the farmers to rejoice. Shambu owns two bighas (a unit of land measurement where 3 bighas is 1 acre) of land, which is the only means of livelihood for the whole family. 

The local zamindar (landlord) Thakur Harnam Singh (Murad) partners with some city business men to construct a mill on his large parcel of land, which in return would profit them and bring prosperity to the village. The only problem is that in the middle of Harnam singh's land lay Shambu's meager two bighas of land.

Harnam Singh is very confident that he could buy Shambu's land. Shambu has borrowed money from Harnam Singh several times in the past and has not paid back his debt. Harnam Singh calls for Shambu and proposes Shambu to sell his land to him in exchange for his debt. Shambu disagrees to sell his only livelihood and Harnam Singh gets upset. Harnam Singh orders him to pay back his debt by the next day or risk auctioning his land.

Shambu comes back home to discuss the issue with his father, and with the help of his son, they figure out that the debt amounts to 65 rupees. Shambu wants to save his land by all means and sells all his household items including his wife's gold earrings. When Shambu meets Harman Singh's accountant to pay back his debt of 65 rupees, he's shocked to know that he actually owes 235 rupees. The accountant had forged the accounts and now refuses to consider the labor provided by Shambu's father Gangu as portion of debt payoff. The case goes to court and Shambu being an illiterate, has a tough time explaining to the judge how the accountant forged the numbers and how he took accountant's word of mouth and did not demand any receipt. Shambu loses the case, however the judge orders Shambu to pay back 235 rupees to Harnam Singh in three months. If Shambu is not able to pay back his debt, then his land would be auctioned off and the proceeds would go to pay off his debts.

Shambu now struggles to get the money and he is unable to get a loan because he has no collaterals. One of his village friends gives him an idea to go to Calcutta (now Kolkata) and try to get a job to earn enough money to pay off his debt. Shambu likes this idea, but faces resistance from his wife as she's pregnant and does not want to live away from him. Shambu persuades her that he'll be gone for three months only and it would benefit his family and the new born baby. Kanhaiya wants to join his father too, but Shambu refuses and scolds him. On the train to Calcutta, Shambu finds Kanhaiya hiding and hitchhiking with him and after a brief confrontation agrees to take Kanhaiya with him.

In Calcutta, Shambu and Kanhaiya face a harsh welcome. Nobody is willing to talk with them, let alone help them. Kanhaiya befriends a street side shoe shiner named Lalu `Ustad’ (Jagdeep). They hope for no prospective and even loose their last possessions while they are asleep on the street sides. Kanhaiya falls ill, and Shambu ends up renting a small room in the slums with the help of a tea vendor and the landlady's adopted grandchild rani. In order to pay the rent, Shambu works a coolie. Shambu befriends an old rickshaw-puller (Nasir Hussain), who helps him to get a license as a rickshaw-puller. Kanhaiya tries to help his family by taking up shoe shining with the help of old rickshaw-puller and Lalu `Ustad’. Back in the village, Parvati and Gangu survive on eating water chestnuts picked up from the local river. She's seeks help from Bahu (Meena Kumari) to write letters to Shambu and stay in touch.

As the three months end date nears by, Shambu becomes aggressive about earning and saving more money. One day, a man asks Shambu to chase another rickshaw that is carrying his girlfriend. Shambu is insisted to pull the rickshaw very fast for more money. The rickshaw loses a wheel and Shambu meets with an accident. Looking at the condition of his father, Kanhaiya joins a pick pocketer in order to earn quick money. Shambu gets mad and beats Kanhaiya when he comes to know about his dirty earnings. 

Meanwhile, Parvati gets worried since she receives no letters or money from Shambu and the Zamindar's accountant accuses Shambu that he has forgotten his family. She ends up working on a local construction site and gets devastated when she receives the news that Shambu has met with an accident. 

Finally, Parvati decides to visit Shambu in the city even though Gangu is on bed rest suffering of high fever.

Parvati arrives in Calcutta, and is taken by a strange man, who claims he knows Shambu and will take her to him. He takes her to his shed and tries to steal and force her. She flees from him, but comes under a car. The crowd gathers around her and they call for a rickshaw to take her to the hospital. Shambu who was passing by offers a ride, and is shocked to see his injured wife. Meanwhile, Kanhaiya not able to withstand his father's condition steals money from a lady and runs back to the slum. He comes to know about his mother's condition and rushes to the hospital. He cries after seeing his injured mother and claims that God has punished them because he started stealing money. He rips the money into pieces. The doctors tell Shambu that he has to spend money on medicine and blood in order to save his wife. Poor Shambu has no choice but so spend all his earnings to save his wife.

Back in the village the land is auctioned because Shambu fails to pay back the debt and Gangu develops a mental disorder. The land is now owned by Harman Singh and the mill construction has begun. Shambu and his family come back to the village only to see their land sold and a factory being constructed over it. He then tries to get a handful of dirt from his land, but is stopped and forced to throw away by a security guard. The film ends as Shambu and his family walks away from their land.


2.Awaara- (Raj Kapoor)

Although a fiction story superbly depicts the evils of a capitalist society  and the impact of environment.The movie reflects a Charlie Chaplinesque theme and the story reminds you of a Charles Dickens Novel.The life of a vagabond tramp is superbly portrayed by Raj Kapoor as ‘Raju’.Without doubt even if not ideological ,brilliantly bases itself on social reality.Raj Kapoor displays materiality in creating fiction based on the theme of the evils of an oppressive society.

Judge Raghunath is a wealthy district judge who convicts Jagga, a man whose father was a criminal, of rape on little evidence. The judge believes that "good people are born to good people, and criminals are born to criminals." Jagga later escapes and kidnaps the judge's wife Leela for revenge. When he finds out that she has just become pregnant, he releases her after four days and plans a different kind of revenge. The judge suspects that Leela was unfaithful to him with Jagga, and throws her out of the house.

She has a son, Raj, and they live in poverty as a result of being estranged from the father. As a child, Raj befriends Rita(played by Nargis) in school, but he is removed from the school rolls while trying to maintain a job, and Rita moves to another city. Even though they are separated, Rita remains in Raj's thoughts. On the streets, Raj turns to a life of petty crime and finds a father-figure in Jagga, who helps him to become a talented criminal.

While planning a bank robbery with his friends, Raj realizes they need an automobile. He snatches a woman's purse after she steps out of the car, but finds no keys, and pretends to pursue the thief to release suspicion from himself. After his elaborate act, he returns the purse to the woman, who is soon revealed to be Rita. Rita is now the warden of the Judge, who suspects that Raj is no good and eventually restricts Rita from seeing him. Raj and Rita, who is becoming a lawyer, eventually realize that they are the same childhood friends, and they fall in love. Raj tries to quit his life of crime, but his employers fire him when they find out that he was a thief.

Becoming desperate he goes back to Jagga for a money loan, but Jagga wants him to commit more crimes. Raj refuses, but steals a necklace from a man he meets on the street, not knowing it was the judge. When he gives the necklace to Rita for her birthday, she discover that he is indeed a thief. Rita goes to Raj's mother and finds out the whole truth about his life.
When Raj realizes that Jagga is responsible for his mother's misery, he kills Jagga in a fit of rage. At his trial the judge in the case is Raghunath. Rita persuades him that Raj acted in self-defense. However, when Raj learns that the judge is his father, he escapes and attempts to kill him. Due to these actions, Raj is brought to another court, and is defended by Rita. In the end, Raj is sentenced to 3 years in prison for his crime, but Rita promises to wait for him.
3.Shri 420
Depicts the evils of the capitalist system more intricately than even ‘Awara’,with a brilliant portrayal of interplaying characters. Again Raj Kapoor creates entertainment from the base of social reality.


Shree 420 is the tale of a country boy, Raj (Raj Kapoor), from Allahabad, who travels to the big city, Bombay, by walking, to earn a living.

He falls in love with the poor but virtuous Vidya (Nargis), but is soon seduced by the riches of a freewheeling and unethical lifestyle presented to him by an unscrupulous and dishonest businessman, Seth Sonachand Dharmanand (Nemo) and the sultry temptress Maya (Nadira). He eventually becomes a confidence trickster, or "420," who even cheats in card gambling. Vidya tries hard to make Raj a good man but fails.

Meanwhile, Sonachand comes up with another scheme to exploit poor people, whereby he promises permanent homes to them at just Rs. 100. The scheme pays off, as people start hoarding money for a home, even at the cost of other important things. Vidya's contempt for Raj increases even more. Raj becomes wealthy, but soon realizes that he paid a very high price for it. When Raj discovers that Sonachand has no plans to fulfill his promises, he decides to make wrongs right.
Raj takes all the bond papers of the people's homes and tries to flee Sonachand's home, only to be caught by Sonachand and his cronies. In a scuffle that occurs, Sonachand shoots Raj dead. When people hear the shooting, they come and see Raj dead. Sonachand tells police that Raj was trying to flee after stealing money from his safe, hence Sonachand shot him.
Upon this, the 'dead' Raj springs back to life and using pure logic, proves Sonachand's guilt. Sonachand and his partners are arrested, while Vidya happily forgives Raj. The film ends with Raj saying "Yeh 420 nahin, shree 420 hain"(These are not just con men, they are respectable con men).

4. Jagte Raho

A film which reflects the injustice of society and its contradictions in asubtle manner.,without a complex plot.(Raj Kapoor)
A poor peasant (RajKapoor) from the village, who comes to the city in search of work, is looking for some water to quench his thirst. He unwittingly enters an apartment building, whose residents take him for a thief and chase him. He runs from one flat to the other trying to escape his predicament. Along the way, he witnesses many shady undertakings in the flats where he hides. Ironically, these crimes are being committed by the so-called "respectable" citizens of the city, who by day, lead a life totally in contrast to their nighttime deeds behind closed doors.
He is shocked by these events, and tries to escape by evading the search parties, that are patrolling the apartment building in search of the elusive thief. He is unfortunately seen, and people chase him to the roof of the building. He puts up a brave resistance, and then descends by the water pipes onto the porch of a flat. He goes in to find a young girl (Daisy Irani). She talks to him and kindles a self belief in the peasant, who determinedly tries to face the adversity waiting outside. But when he ventures out of the flat, he is surprised to find that nobody takes notice of him. He eventually leaves the apartment building, his thirst still unquenched. He hears a beautiful song and searching for its source arrives at the doorstep of a woman (Nargis) drawing water from a well. His thirst is finally assuaged.

5.Sahib Bib aur Ghulam-(Guru Dutt

Displays the feudal characteristics of Bengali Society and its effects with a touch of genius.

No over-acting,melodrama in a film which portrayed art at its best..with the deftest of scene changes. Bhoothnath (Guru Dutt), a middle-age architect, wanders through the ruins of an old haveli.
There is a flashback to the end of the 19th century. The lower-class and educated Bhoothnath arrives in colonial Calcutta looking for work. He lives in the grand haveli of the Choudhurys, a family of zamindars while working beyond its compound at the Mohini Sindoor factory run by Subinay Babu, a dedicated member of the Brahmo Samaj. Subinay Babu's daughter Jaba (Waheeda Rehman) is amused by Bhoothnath whom she considers an unsophisticated rustic. Bhoothnath becomes fascinated with the goings-on in the haveli and every night observes the decadent lifestyle of the Choudhury brothers.

Chhoti Bahu (Meena Kumari) becomes a desperate alcoholic to make zamindar Rehman stay at home, in Sahib Bibi Aur Gulam
One night the servant, Bansi, takes Bhoothnath to meet the younger zamindar's (Rehman) wife Chhoti Bahu (Meena Kumari) who implores him to bring her Mohini Sindoor believing it will keep her unfaithful husband home. Bhoothnath is struck by her beauty and sadness and inadvertently becomes Chhoti Bahu's secret confidante.

A bomb explodes in the marketplace and Bhoothnath is injured in the ensuing crossfire between freedom fighters and British soldiers. Jaba looks after him. Bhoothnath becomes a trainee architect and goes away to work on a training project.
Chhoti Bahu's repeated attempts to appease her husband fail until she becomes his drinking companion to keep him by her side. Bhoothnath returns some years later to Calcutta to find that Subinay Babu has died and that he and Jaba were betrothed as children.

He returns to the haveli and is shocked to find it in partial ruins. Chhoti Bahu is now a desperate alcoholic and her husband, paralyzed. She asks Bhoothnath to accompany her to a nearby shrine to pray for her ailing husband. Their conversation is heard by the elder zamindar, Majhle Babu.

He orders his henchmen to punish her for consorting with a man outside the Choudhury household. As Bhoothnath and Chhoti Bahu travel in the carriage, it is stopped. Bhoothnath is knocked unconscious and Chhoti Bahu is abducted. When he wakes up in hospital, Bhoothnath is told Chhoti Bahu has disappeared and the younger zamindar is dead.

The flashback ends.

Bhoothnath's workers inform him a skeleton is found buried in the ruins of the haveli. From the jewellery on the corpse, Bhoothnath realizes it is the remains of Chhoti Bahu.

The last scene shows a nostalgic Bhoothnath riding away on a carriage with Jaba, who is now his wife. In this, the filmed version departs significantly from the novel, where Jaba and Bhoothnath do not get a happy ending.

6. Mother India
Although a melo-drama a film which brilliantly illustrates the oppression of the peasantry by the landlords  and money-lenders.The characters are superbly cast in relation to their chemistry.Nargis,superbly portrays an Indian women’s values.
The film is set in 1957, the present day at the time of shooting. When construction of a water canal to the village is completed, Radha (Nargis), considered to be the "mother" of the village, is asked to inaugurate the canal. She remembers her past, when she was newly married.
The wedding between Radha and Shamu (Raaj Kumar) is paid for by Radha's mother-in-law, through moneylender Sukhilala.

This event starts the spiral of poverty and hardship that Radha endures. The conditions of the loan are disputed, but the village elders decide in favour of the moneylender, after which Shamu and Radha are forced to pay three quarters of their crop as interest on the loan of 500 (valued at about US$105 in 1957).[a][b]

While trying to bring more of their rocky land into use, Shamu's arms are crushed by a boulder. Ashamed of his helplessness and humiliated by his fellow villagers, Shamu decides that he is of no use to his family and permanently leaves Radha and their three sons.

Soon after, Radha's mother-in-law dies. Radha continues to work in the fields with her two elder sons and gives birth again. Sukhilala offers to help alleviate her poverty if she marries him, but she refuses. A severe storm and the resulting flood destroys houses in the village and ruins the harvest, during which Radha's two younger sons die. Although the villagers begin initially to evacuate the village, they decide to stay and rebuild it, persuaded by Radha.
The film skips forward several years to when Radha's two surviving children, Birju (Sunil Dutt) and Ramu (Rajendra Kumar), are young men. Birju, embittered since childhood by the demands of Sukhilala, takes out his frustrations by pestering the village girls, especially Sukhilala's daughter, Rupa. Ramu, by contrast, has a calmer temperament and is married soon after. Birju's anger finally becomes dangerous and, after being provoked, he attacks Sukhilala and his daughter and steals Radha's kangan (marriage bracelets) that were pawned with Sukhilala.

He is chased out of the village and becomes a bandit. Radha promises Sukhilala that she will not let Birju cause harm to Sukhilala's family. On Rupa's wedding day, Birju returns with his gang of bandits to enact his revenge. He kills Sukhilala and kidnaps Rupa. When he tries to flee the village on his horse, Radha, his mother, shoots him. He dies in her arms.
The film ends back in 1957. Radha opens the canal and its reddish water flows into the fields.

7.Rang de Basanti-(Amir Khan)

In a fiction form superbly gives the message of Bhagat Singh in relevance to the modern era.
A young, struggling British filmmaker Sue McKinley (Alice Patten) comes across the diary of her grandfather, Mr. McKinley (Steven Mackintosh), who served as a jailer in the Imperial Police during the Indian independence movement.

Through the diary, she learns about the story of five freedom fighters who were active in the movement: Chandrasekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru, Ashfaqulla Khan, and Ram Prasad Bismil. McKinley, in his diary, states that he had met two type of people in his life: the first one... who died without uttering a sound and the second kind ... who died with lots of anguish.. crying over their deaths... McKinley reveals that it was then that he met with the third kind....

Having decided to make a self-financed documentary film about these revolutionaries, Sue travels to India, with the help of her friend, Sonia (Soha Ali Khan), from the Institute for International Studies at the University of Delhi. After a few unsuccessful auditions in search of the actors, Sue finally casts Sonia's friends, four young men — Daljit "DJ" (Aamir Khan), Karan Singhania (Siddharth Narayan), Aslam Khan (Kunal Kapoor) and Sukhi Ram (Sharman Joshi) — to portray the revolutionaries.

Though they aren't very enthusiastic at the idea of acting in a film about the independence movement, Sue eventually manages to convince them. Laxman Pandey (Atul Kulkarni), a political party activist, joins the cast later, despite initially being unpopular due to his anti-Muslim beliefs and contempt for Aslam Khan. In the process of filming, the idealism of India's revolutionary heroes seeps into the protagonists. They gradually begin to realize that their own lives are quite similar to the characters they portray in Sue's film and that the state of affairs that once plagued the revolutionaries continues to torment their generation.

Meanwhile, Ajay Singh Rathod (R. Madhavan), a flight lieutenant in the Indian Air Force who is Sonia's fiancé, is killed when his jet, a MiG-21, crashes. The government proclaims that the crash was caused by pilot error and closes the investigation. Knowing that Rathod was an ace pilot, Sonia and her friends do not accept the official explanation. Instead, they claim that he sacrificed his life to save hundreds of other lives that would have been lost had he ejected from the aircraft and left it to crash into a populous city.

They investigate and learn that the crash was due to a corrupt defence minister (Mohan Agashe), who had signed a contract exchanging cheap and illegal MiG-21 aircraft spare parts for a personal favour. To their surprise, they learn that the key person who was responsible for organizing the deal was Karan's father, Rajnath Singhania (Anupam Kher).

Angered by the situation, the group and their supporters decide to protest peacefully at India Gate, a war memorial in New Delhi. Police forcefully break up their protest using batons; in the process, Rathod's mother (Waheeda Rehman) is severely hurt and she slips into a coma. DJ, Karan, Aslam, Sukhi, and Laxman decide that they must emulate the early freedom fighters and resort to violence to achieve justice. As a result, they kill the defence minister to avenge Rathod's death, while Karan murders his father for his corrupt actions.

The minister is reported to have been killed by terrorists and is hailed as a martyr by the media. To bring forth their intentions behind the killings, the five of them attempt to reach the public through a radio station.

They forcibly take over the All India Radio station premises after having evacuated its employees. Karan goes on air and reveals the truth about the defence minister and his wrongdoings.

While still on the air, the police proclaim that they are dangerous terrorists who have forcefully taken over the AIR, and therefore they are to be shot on sight. The first to be shot is Daljit, who tries to get out of cover and establish that they are not terrorists, however the shot is not a fatal one. Sukhi, unable to control his anger at this gets out and is instantly shot to death.

He dies with the last smile still etched on his face. As they are trying to lock the terrace doors, Aslam and Pandey are then killed due to a grenade explosion and the once archenemies die holding hands and smiling, as they have visions of Ram Prasad Bismil and Ashfaqullah.
Daljit manages to crawl to the Recording Room, where Karan is still on air. When Karan understands that he has been shot, they speak amongst themselves for the last time, regarding the others, about Sue and about Daljit's love for her. It is there that they are shot to death, but not without the sound of their hearty laughter still hanging in the air like an echo of a long dead music. It is then revealed that McKinley described the third kind of people he came across as being the ones who embraced death as a friend and an equal, with a heartfelt laughter.

The film comes to an end with Sue describing the impact of the boys on her life. As Sue and Sonia watch from the rooftop that Ajay proposed to her on, they have a vision of the boys running in the fields, singing happily and victoriously throwing their shirts in the air, acting as if they are celebrating life itself, as if the ebb of their once-there vitality still reverberates in the places where they once used to go. A wave of melancholy comes over them as the film ends.

8.Mirchi Masala (Shyam Benegal)

The oppression of women is depicted with perfection in this film . It illustrate the life and circumstances that make women revolt a and the high-handedness of men.

Champion sthe cause of liberation of women.

The film opens with an arrogant subedar (Naseeruddin Shah) (local tax collector in colonial India) and his soldiers rampaging through a village. The subedar has an eye for women and soon spots Sonbai (Smita Patil) on the riverbank. Sonbai is an intelligent, beautiful and strong woman. Her confidence intrigues the subedar.
The film moves deeper into the village. The subedar holds ultimate authority over the village. Subservient to him is the mukhi (Suresh Oberoi) (village chieftain) and all the villagers. The villagers do their best to scratch out a living, of which the subedar invariably exacts a heavy tax. We learn also that the villagers are mostly illiterate and ignorant of the outside world. They are most stupefied by a gramophone the tyrant possesses.

The only literate person in the village is the schoolmaster (Benjamin Gilani) who insists on educating the children, even girls (the mukhi's wife even enrolls her only daughter, only to be rebuked by the mukhi, who, like all the others believes that girls should not be sent to school).

The mukhi's younger brother (Mohan Gokhale) (who also loves a low-caste girl secretly) even asks the school-master the meaning of the word swaraj, which shows that film is set in times of British Raj (later the exact date is revealed as written on the school blackboard - which is 20 September 1941 ).[1] The subedar and his men routinely attack the village and raid the food, livestock and supplies. The subedar is a haughty and cruel man. He exploits his power in every possible way. The villagers are compelled to keep him satisfied; they regularly set up parties for him and his men, often at great expense to their meager means. They also arrange a steady supply of women for his pleasure.

The mukhi means well but is generally weak and powerless before the subedar. His principal goals are to negotiate concessions to the tax and to keep the subedar happy. The safety and security of the village are mostly dependent on the moods of the subedar, and so he tacitly arranges to keep the subedar sated and out of his way.

The mukhi also represents the prevailing male attitude in the village: women are mostly confined to their homes and have no education. The other character in village life is the school master. He is a Gandhian and a reformer, and hopes the village may someday be liberated from the shackles of the likes of the subedar.
Things take a turn when on one such occasion he boldly asks Sonbai to yield to his desires. Equally bold, she slaps him across his face.

She flees immediately with the soldiers in hot pursuit. She takes refuge in a masala karkhana (spice factory where red chillies are ground into powder). Abu Mian (Om Puri), the wizened old guard Muslim gatekeeper of the factory admits Sonbai and slams the factory doors shut in the nick of time.
The soldiers try to coax and cajole Abu Mian into opening the door. When this fails, they try to trick (he sees through the trick) and then threaten his life. Abu Mian stands his ground and refuses to open the door. The subedar tries to get the factory owner to reason with Abu Mian. This turns out to be fruitless. Abu Mian refuses to compromise on his job of providing security to the factory employees.

Smita Patil as Sonbai in Mirch Masala

The matter is escalated. The mukhi convenes the village panchayat. The villagers are quick to condemn Sonbai and decide that she must turn herself over to the subedar. The schoolmaster opposes this view; once they give in for one woman, he says, there will be nothing to stop the subedar from demanding others, even perhaps the mukhi's own wife. (He is immediately thrashed for this.) The panchayat is dissolved and the mukhi reports back to the subedar. They will hand over Sonbai on the condition the subedar will not make further demands of this nature. The subedar laughs off this condition and has the schoolmaster thrashed soundly again. He asks the mukhi to reason with Sonbai; her obstinacy is liable to bring trouble to the entire village.
The mukhi brings pressure on Sonbai but she stands firm. Within the factory, the women who once supported Sonbai now turn upon her. They fear that if she does not yield then the subedar may send his men to indiscriminately molest the womenfolk. Sonbai nearly relents, but is stopped by Abu Mian. She resolves to stand firm. Abu Mian chides the mukhi and the villagers: they may lord over their wives at home, but are not man enough to face the subedar, leaving Abu Mian himself as the only man in the village who has the courage to back his convictions.
The subedar orders his soldiers to charge the factory.

They smash down the door. Abu Mian manages to shoot one of the soldiers, but he is shot dead immediately after. The subedar enters the factory and tries to grab Sonbai. The women of the factory mount a sudden and surprising defense. They attack the subedar with fistfuls of mirch masala (fresh ground red chilli powder). The film ends with the subedar on his knees, screaming in pain as the chilli burns his face and eyes. The last shot is Sonbai holding a sickle over the subdued subedar, whether she ends up killing him or injuring him is not shown in the movie.

9.Neecha Nagar (Chetan Anand)

Written by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, it was a pioneering effort in social realism in Indian cinema and paved the way for many such 'parallel cinema' films by other directors, many of them written by Abbas. It starred Chetan Anand's wife Uma Anand, Rafiq Ahmed, Kamini Kaushal, and Zohra Sehgal.Neecha Nagar became the first Indian film to gain international recognition, after it shared the Grand Prix du Festival International du Film (Best Film) award at the first Cannes Film Festival in 1946.[1]

It was based on a Hindi story, Neecha Nagar, written by Hayatulla Ansari, which in turn was inspired by Russian writer Maxim Gorky’s Lower Depths.

It took an expressionist look at the gulf between the rich and poor in society.[2][3]Neecha Nagar is the debut film of actress Kamini Kaushal and for Ravi Shankar as a music director.

10.Garam Hawa

The film deals with the plight of a North Indian Muslim family, in the years post partition of India in 1947, as the film's protagonist, deals with the dilemma of whether to move to Pakistan or stay back. The film details the slow disintegration of his family, and is one of the most poignant films ever made on India's partition.[2][4]

It remains one of the only films that deal with the (immediate) plight of Muslims in post-Partition India,[5][6] with Shyam Benegal's Mammo (1994) being a notable exception.[7]
The Mirzas are a Muslim family living in a large ancestral house and running a shoe manufacturing business in the city of Agra in the United Provinces of northern India (now the state of Uttar Pradesh). The story begins in the immediate aftermath of India's independence and the partition of India in 1947. The family is headed by two brothers; Salim (Balraj Sahni), who heads the family business, and his elder brother Halim, who is mainly engaged in politics and is a major leader in the provincial branch of the All India Muslim League, which led the demand for the creation of a separate Muslim state of Pakistan. Salim has two sons, the elder Baqar, who helps him in the business, and Sikander (Farooq Shaikh), who is a young student. Halim's son Kazim is engaged to Salim's daughter, Amina. Although he had publicly promised to stay in India for the sake of its Muslims, Halim later decides to quietly emigrate to Pakistan with his wife and son, believing that there was no future for Muslims in India. Salim resists the notion of moving, believing that peace and harmony would return soon, besides which, he has to care for their ageing mother, who refuses to leave the house of her forefathers.

This puts Kazim and Amina's marriage plans on hold, although Kazim promises to return soon to marry her. Halim's stealthy migration affects Salim's standing in the community. In the aftermath of partition, the sudden migration of many Muslims from Agra left banks and other lenders deeply reluctant to lend money to Muslim businessmen like Salim Mirza, who had previously been held in high esteem, over fears that they would leave the country without repaying the loan. Unable to raise capital to finance production, Salim Mirza's business suffers. Salim Mirza's brother-in-law, formerly a League supporter, now joins the ruling Indian National Congress in an attempt to get ahead in independent India while his son Shamshad unsuccessfully woos Amina, who is still devoted to Kazim and hopeful of his return.
Halim's migration to Pakistan makes the family home an "evacuee property" as the house is in Halim's name and Halim did not transfer it to Salim Mirza. The Indian government mandates the take over of the house, forcing Salim Mirza's family to move out of their ancestral home, which is very hard on Mirza's aged mother. Salim's wife blames him for not raising this issue with his brother Halim before he left for Pakistan. Mirza resists his wife's hints that they also move to Pakistan and his elder son's calls for modernizing the family business.

Mirza finds it difficult to rent a house, facing discrimination owing to his religion and fears that a Muslim family would skip out on rent if they decided to leave for Pakistan. He finally succeeds in finding a smaller house to rent, but his business is failing and despite his son's exhorting, refuses to change with the times, believing that Allah would protect them. Salim Mirza's passiveness and disconnection from the outside world leaves his wife and son frustrated. The Mirza family house is bought by a close business associate, Ajmani, (A.K. Hangal) who respects Mirza and tries to help him. Despite growing troubles, the family is briefly buoyed by Sikander's graduation from college.

Amina and her family have almost given up on her marrying Kazim after Halim breaks his promise to return soon from Pakistan. Kazim returns on his own, and reveals that his father had become opposed to his marrying Amina, preferring that he marry the daughter of a Pakistani politician. Having received a scholarship from the Government of Pakistan to study in Canada, Kazim desires to marry Amina before he leaves, but before the marriage can take place, he is arrested by police and repatriated to Pakistan for traveling without a passport and not registering at the police station, as is required of all citizens of Pakistan. Amina is heart-broken, and finally accepts Shamshad's courtship.

Sikander undergoes a long string of unsuccessful job interviews, where the interviewers repeatedly suggest that he would have better luck in Pakistan. Sikander and his group of friends become disillusioned and start an agitation against unemployment and discrimination, but Salim prohibits Sikander from taking part. Despite his political connections, Salim Mirza's brother-in-law ends up in debt over shady business practices and decides to flee to Pakistan. Amina again faces the prospect of losing her lover, but Shamshad promises to return and not leave her like Kazim. Salim Mirza's reluctance to modernize and cultivate ties with the newly-formed shoemakers union results in his business not receiving patronage and consequently failing.

Disillusioned, his son Baqar decides to migrate to Pakistan with his son and wife. Salim's aged mother suffers a stroke, and through his friend, Salim is able to bring his mother to her beloved house for a final visit, where she dies. While Salim is traveling in a horse-drawn carriage, the carriage driver, a Muslim, gets into an accident and a squabble with other locals. The situation deteriorates into a riot, and Salim is hit by a stone and suffers injuries. With his business and elder son gone, Salim begins to work as a humble shoemaker to make a living. Shamshad's mother returns from Pakistan for a visit, leading Amina and her mother to think that Shamshad would also come soon and their marriage would take place.

However, Shamshad's mother merely takes advantage of Salim Mirza's connections to release some of her husband's money, and reveals that Shamshad's marriage has been arranged with the daughter of a well-connected Pakistani family. Shattered with this second betrayal, Amina commits suicide, which devastates the whole family.

Amidst these problems, Salim Mirza is investigated by the police on charges of espionage over his sending plans of their former property to his brother in Karachi, Pakistan. Although acquitted by the court, Mirza is shunned in public and faces a humiliating whisper campaign. Mirza's long aversion to leaving India finally breaks down and he decides in anger to leave for Pakistan. Sikander opposes the idea, arguing that they should not run away from India, but fight against the odds for the betterment of the whole nation, but Salim decides to leave anyway. However, as the family is travelling towards the railway station, they encounter a large crowd of protestors marching against unemployment and discrimination, which Sikander had planned to join. Sikander's friends call out to him, and Salim encourages him to join the protestors. Instructing the carriage driver to take his wife back to their house, and the film ends as Salim Mirza himself joins the protest, ending his isolation from the new reality.


Although based on cricket conveys the anti-imperialist message with artistic flair.

Lagaan takes place in the small village of Champaner, now in the State of Gujarat, in western India during the height of the British Empire in India in 1893.

Captain Andrew Russell (Paul Blackthorne), the commanding officer of the Champaner cantonment, has imposed high taxes ("lagaan") on people from the local villages which they are unable to pay due to a prolonged drought. Led by Bhuvan (Aamir Khan), the villagers beg Raja Puran Singh (Kulbhushan Kharbanda) to help them. He tells them that much to his regret, he is also bound by British law.
It is after their visit to the Raja that the people of the village first witness a cricket match. Bhuvan mocks the game and gets into a fight with one of the British officers. Taking an instant dislike to Bhuvan, Russell offers to cancel the taxes of the whole province for three years if the villagers can beat his men in a game of cricket.

If the villagers lose, however, they will have to pay three times the amount of their normal taxes. Bhuvan accepts this wager on the behalf of all villages without their consent.

When the other villagers find out about the bet, they are furious with Bhuvan. He argues that it is important for everyone to fight against British rule.

Bhuvan thus begins to prepare the villagers for the match. He initially finds only five people willing to join the team. He is aided in his efforts by Russell's sister Elizabeth (Rachel Shelley) who feels that her brother has mistreated the people in the villages.

As she teaches them the rules of the game, she falls in love with Bhuvan, much to the anguish of Gauri (Gracy Singh) who is also in love with him. After Bhuvan reassures Gauri of his feelings for her, the woodcutter Lakha (Yashpal Sharma) becomes enraged as he is also in love with Gauri. In an attempt to discredit Bhuvan, Lakha offers himself as a spy for Russell and joins the villager's team in order to destroy it.

Eventually, as the villagers realise that winning equals freedom, and as a few of them are insulted by the British, they join the team. Still short one player, Bhuvan also invites an untouchable, Kachra (Aditya Lakhia), who can bowl leg spin.

The villagers, conditioned by longterm prejudice against untouchables, refuse to play if Kachra joins the team. Bhuvan chastises the villagers, leading them to accept Kachra.

The second half of the film focuses on the match itself. On the first day, Russell wins the toss and elects to bat, giving the British officers a strong start. Bhuvan brings Kachra into the match only to find that Kachra has lost his ability to spin the ball. In addition, as part of his agreement with Russell, Lakha deliberately drops many catches.

During the evening, however, Elizabeth sees Lakha meeting with her brother. She races to the village and informs Bhuvan of Lakha's deception. Rather than allow the villagers to kill him, Bhuvan offers Lakha the chance to redeem himself.

The next day as part of his promise to Bhuvan, Lakha takes a diving one-handed catch. However the British score almost 300 runs, losing only three wickets by the lunch break. Kachra is brought back to bowl and takes a hat-trick which sparks the British batting collapse. The villagers soon start their innings. Bhuvan and Deva (a Sikh, who has played cricket earlier when he was a British sepoy) give their team a solid start.

Deva misses out on his half-century when a straight-drive from Bhuvan ricochets off the bowler's hand onto the stumps at the non-striker's end, while Deva was backing up too far. When Lakha comes on to bat, he is hit by a bouncer on his head, and he falls on to his stumps. Other batsmen get out trying to score a boundary off each delivery. Ismail (Raj Zutshi), a good batsman, retires hurt as he is hit on his leg. The villager's team ends the day with 4 batsmen out of action with barely a third of the required runs on board.

On the third and final day, Bhuvan passes his century, while most of the later wickets fall. Ismail returns to bat with the help of a runner and passes his half-century, reducing the required runs to a gettable total. The game comes down to the last over with Kachra on strike. With one ball remaining and the team down 5 runs, Kachra knocks the ball a short distance, managing only a single.

However, the umpire signals no ball and Bhuvan returns to bat, and swings extremely hard at the next ball. Captain Russell backpedals and catches the ball, leading him to believe the British team has won. However, Russell caught the ball beyond the boundary which gives 6 runs, and the win, to Bhuvan's team. At that moment, the drought ends as a rainstorm erupts.

Bhuvan's defeat of the British team leads to the disbanding of the humiliated cantonment. In addition, Russell is forced to pay the taxes for the whole province and is transferred to Central Africa. After realising that Bhuvan loves Gauri, Elizabeth returns to London. Heartbroken, she remains unmarried for the rest of her life. Bhuvan marries Gauri.


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