Three Most Hard-Hitting Hindi Movies
Hindi movies have gone through a glorious journey of over 100 years. Hindi movies cover a fascinating spectrum that includes pure love stories, social documents, political sagas, underworld stories, stories awakening social awareness, stories highlighting women’s issues, stories of a woman’s revenge, biographies, filmdom stories, and what not. A movie-lover who watches Hindi movies is bound to have their own favorites – they might find some sweet, some exciting, some thought-provoking, some intriguing, and some hard-hitting.
I, being a Hindi movie-buff, have my own list of 3 Most Hard-Hitting Hindi Movies that I have ever watched. The list that I share with you, however, does not follow a ranking of any kind whatsoever.
“Arth”, directed by Mahesh Bhatt,is a 1982-movie that surprised Indian audiences who were not yet used to seeing bold decisions from women. The sensitive story and screenplay of this low-budget film was co-authored by Sujit Sen and Mahesh Bhatt.
Although it was a familiar story of a love-triangle around an extra-marital relationship, Arth was a treat for the sober and cultured urban audience, thanks to Mahesh Bhatt’s directorial finesse and stalwart acting performances from both the leading actresses, namely Smita Patil and Shabana Azmi. Kulbhushan Kharbanda also attracted the critic’s attention by his portrayal of the adulterous husband’s character. Other impressive actors who featured in this movie included a young man named Raj Kiran and the powerful Rohini Hattangadi. Smita Patil steals the show when Kavita, the “other woman” character she plays, senses that she might lose Inder (played by Kulbhushan). The hysteria and insecurity that she portrays sends chills down the spine, making the Hindi-moviegoers realize her acting caliber once again.
The movie also owes a lot to lyricist Kaifi Azmi and music composers Jagjit and Chitra Singh for the soft, intriguing and sensitive fabric that it has. Jagjit Singh’s voice makes the songs all the more moving and haunting, making “Arth” almost a “cult” film.
Shabana Azmi won the National Award (Silver Lotus) and Filmfare in Best Actress Categories in 1982 for Arth.
To those of us who grew up in the 80-s and 90-s, Mani Ratnam was one of the most hard-hitting directors who gave us a movie like “Bombay”. Based on the 1992-93 riots of Bombay, his high-grossing Tamil film “Bombay” got dubbed in Hindi and rocked the rest of India.
When India watched the movie in 1995, it was known to all that the devastating riots and killings we were seeing on screen had really taken place just a couple of years back. The portrayal horrified and shook India.
It showed an inter-faith romance and marriage between a Hindu boy and a Muslim girl, something Bollywood was not very used to seeing. Directors and produces wanted to play it safe and were not very eager to draw wrath from communal groups. Moreover, Bombay hit the theaters just 2 years after the Babri Masjid massacre.
The romantic ingredient in the movie was soothing and passionate. The innocence and charm of a never-seen-before onscreen chemistry between Manisha Koirala (then a familiar face in Bollywood) and Arvind Swamy (whom India had seen in another dubbed Mani Ratnam creation “Roja”, just a year back) was refreshing and soul-touching. The character artists were brilliant actors whose expressions stay etched in our minds.
Songs, composed by A R Rahman (to whom Bollywood got introduced through Mani Ratnam), had an essence that we had never experienced before.
The movie gave us a vivid idea of what hatred and riots do to people and their lives. It also portrayed the idealistic belief that love is powerful than hatred and love survives.
Bombay won the National Award in the category Nargis Dutt Award for “Best Feature Film on National Integration”, in 1996.
“Pinjar” (meaning: Cage), a novel penned by the renowned authoress Amrita Pritam, was made into a heart-wrenching film by a debutante director Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi in 2003. This is a movie that would intrigue a viewer and keep haunting them, thus making them long to read the original story and watch the movie again and again.
Pinjar portrays multiple issues of pre-partition and post-partition India in an impressively unbiased manner. The backdrop of the movie is Punjab and the story begins around August 1946. Punjab, being the most hard-hit areas in India due to the Partition as one part of it went to Pakistan and another part stayed with India, saw mayhem during that devastating period. There were large-scale migration which led to riots, unimaginable violence and cruelty, kidnapping and rape of thousands of women, ruthless killing and destruction. Thousands of people were separated from families and most never reunited. Houses were forcefully occupied.
Puro, the central character of the movie, is a tragic victim of these circumstances, although her plight begins a year before the partition when she is abducted by a Muslim man named Rashid to settle old family scores. Puro’s pain was heart-wrenchingly depicted on screen by the excellent actress named Urmila Matondkar. The scene where she escapes from Rashid and returns home only to keep pleading and thumping on the door as her parents do not open the door due to their inability to accept the daughter who had been kidnapped by a Muslim man chokes most viewers.
Manoj Bajpai, playing Rashid, showed us the finesse of his acting skills throughout this movie.
The fact that Rashid was a good human being and loved Paro was comprehended and honored by Paro as she did not think of returning to her ex-fiance even if she got such an offer when times had changed. The eagerness with which she kept searching for Rashid and ran calling after him when Rashid had left assuming she would leave him was poignantly portrayed by Urmila! Rashid’s helpless and accepting demeanor was wonderfully expressed by Manoj! This is another scene that remains etched in our memories.
Soulful lyrics by Gulzar and poignant music composition by Uttam Singh make the intriguing moments more touching.
Manoj Bajpai won the Special Jury Award (National Film Award, 2004) for his portrayal of Rashid’s character.
Pinjar is a movie you never forget if you have watched it once.
Lovers of Hindi movies must watch these 3 above-mentioned hard-hitting Hindi films. These are not-to-be-missed material!
- By Paromeeta
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