2021 indeed came along ringing reopening bells for the empty theatres all across the globe. While in India, OTT platforms provided a broad base and popularity for the Bollywood content that huge superstars’ movies would have otherwise overshadowed. We witnessed a range of new and unique stories shifting the spotlight on different issues of society and multiple perspectives on it. Along with the talent behind new faces, we saw some of the biggest celebrities transform themselves into new avatars and roles. However, with all that has been happening today in the industry, there are also a few gems from the past that can undoubtedly be called the milestones in the evolving journey of Bollywood. These scripts, stories, and content laid a foundation for the modern society and its modern ways.
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The top 10 movies that introduced the Indian audience to a better way of living life are mentioned below
Released in 1997, the melodrama film stars renowned names such as Sridevi, Anil Kapoor, and Urmila Matondkar. Sridevi is seen playing the role of a greedy wife who goes through series of ordeals to attain wealth and status. She goes beyond limit to sell her husband (Anil Kapoor) to the wealthy daughter of his boss named Jhanvi (Urmila Matondkar).
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The plot is insanely entertaining and introduces the concept of an open marriage. However, later on in the film, Sridevi begins to experience displeasure. The story displays all three individuals happily living under one roof, which is still not accepted in Indian society. Hence, the movie is still way ahead of the current times.
Kabhie Alvida Na Kehna
It’s no doubt that this movie was bound to create a heavy buzz since it had a remarkable star cast with names such as Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Kirron Kher, Preity Zinta, and Rani Mukherjee. However, the buzz was also considered because of the controversial plot. The story revolves around the married couple of Sharukh and Preity and Rani and Abhishek. Sharukh and Rani wind up in an extramarital affair even after not facing any issues within their marriage. Infidelity was comparatively a new concept back in the releasing era of the movie. But that couldn’t stop the compelling plot to convince people to seriously think about their relationships and how happy they are with them.
The film stars Amitabh Bachchan (Big-B) and Jiah Khan being linked romantically. Jiah is shown young enough to be Big-B’s daughter. However, her yearning for a father figure in her life induces her romantic liking for Big-B. This sounds weird even in 2021, so of course, back in 2007, it would have been way forward even to witness, let alone accept, in the society.
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Something similar to Nishabdh, Big B is again seen falling in love with a half his age girl. Mr. Bachan is a 64-year-old chef who lives along with his mother at 85 and runs a restaurant. When Tabu walks into his restaurant, this is where the love story begins. Another movie that breaks the stereotype of the age gap.
Written and directed by Anurag Kashyap, No smoking is an excellent thriller film loosely adapted from a short story of 1978 called “Quitters. Inc.” and written by Stephen King. The plot is weaved around a narcissist chain smoker named K (John Abraham), who willingly gives up his smoking habits. He further joins a rehabilitation center and continues his struggle to save his marriage and family. However, the protagonist winds up in a puzzling game with Baba Bengali (Rawal), who promises that K will quit on his own.
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The movie was subjected to criticism due to its dark storyline and unconventional elements such as fantasy, horror, dream, dark humor, and surrealism. Indian audience was baffled at watching such a story. However, later on, the movie garnered positive attention and was even praised by critics.
‘Hey Ram’ stars Kamal Hassan as the protagonist named Saketh Ram. The movie is categorized as a fictional and controversial political drama. Saketh is a disappointed citizen of India who goes to plan a murder and attempts to kill Gandhi (Naseeruddin Shah). Owing to violence induced by anarchist elements of the-then India, Saketh lost his wife Aparna (Rani Mukherjee) to the violence. Suffering through grief and anger, he converts to a Hindu extremist and begins hating Gandhi. He starts to blame him and his non-violent approach for all that went wrong with his wife. And even though the violence was a consequence of actions taken by Muslims, he is deeply influenced by his desire for revenge and shoots Gandhi ultimately.
My Brother Nikhil
The movie is based in Goa, where the plot revolves around the life of a swimmer named Nikhil, who is diagnosed with HIV-AIDS. Nikhil battles for his life as he has to face resistance from society. Only the motivation from his sister Anamika and his friend Nigel keeps him going. When the film was released, which was back in 2005, the film was discussing a disease that the Indian audience wasn’t familiar with. To even release the movie, the director Onir had to sign a promise with the government to promote the story as fiction instead of the real history of an individual named Dominic D’Souza.
Love Sex Aur Dhokha
With the initials LSD, the film depicts three narratives centrally attached to the technology of hidden cameras. The hidden cameras record an MMS scandal creating chaos in a woman’s life, a female victim of the casting couch, and a couple subjected to honor killing. Despite being dark and raising issues that are still not discussed openly in our society, the reality depicted in the movies stimulates your mind to think in a direction you don’t generally focus upon. Indeed the film is forward from its time and providing us a glimpse into the significant issues of the near future.
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Queen became the box office queen with the way it displayed Kangana Ranaut dealing with the circumstances in her life. The plot revolves around Rani Mehra, whose wedding is called off after her fiance abandons her on the day of their wedding. But with courage, she decides to visit Paris and Amsterdam for her *alone* honeymoon nonetheless. The trip witnesses her transformation to a better and more confident version of herself. She interacts with the world for the first time through her little ways and methods. It’s remarkable how the director displays women’s empowerment in such a light-hearted way of comedy and with tints of drama. The story is undoubtedly a step ahead of reality.
Kya Kehna is built around our protagonist named Priya. She is a young college girl who is single and meets up with her first real love Rahul. However, the twist comes when Rahul becomes a womanizer and leaves Priya after getting her pregnant. Society disregards her and throws her out, blaming her for pre-marital pregnancy. Determined, she continues being a teenage mother where her best friend Ajay helps her. The movie discusses the taboo of pre-marital pregnancy and adolescent motherhood, which is still very much unacceptable in India.
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