I have felt proud of the way our Hindi film industry has evolved in the past few years. Cinema has not just remained a form of entertainment, but also a conversation starter when it comes to subjects that one might not feel comfortable talking about in public. While Ayushmann Khurrana has made a genre of himself in that field, he isn’t the only one bearing that torch. Even Rajkummar Rao and Bhumi Pednekar-starrer Badhaai Do is another addition to that list. The film’s trailer was released today and I have been in love with the story as well as the actors’ portrayals. But before I admire it, let’s take a look at the films that paved the way for it to happen.
Here are the films that spoke about poignant subjects in an entertaining way:
The John Abraham, Abhishek Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra Jonas-starrer was probably the first mainstream commercial Hindi cinema to touch the concept of homosexuality at its core. While the film didn’t move much into the depth of the subject, it surely paved way for filmmakers to think about exploring it further. I remember falling in love with Priyanka’s styling after watching the film and I am sure everyone else did too.
Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan
If Dostana touched the topic of homosexuality, Ayushmann and Jitendra Singh’s SMZS actually brought a gay love story into the commercial space. They made me laugh with them and also root for them. The film was surely a big step in the conversation of representation for the people on the spectrum, and the team did it quite respectfully in my opinion.
Before I talk about the successor, I do need to talk about the predecessor as Neena Gupta, Gajraj Rao, Surekha Sikri, Ayushmann and Sanya Malhotra-starrer Badhaai Ho actually touched a subject that is prevalent in the world but we usually tend to not notice it as much. Talking about middle-age pregnancy, this film offered a lot of laughs and a whole lot of heart and I remember becoming a fan of Neena ji all over again after watching it.
Periods and menstrual hygiene are subjects that are most often not talked about in Indian households with things kept hush-hush. But Akshay Kumar, Radhika Apte and Sonam Kapoor brought forward a story inspired by the life of Arunachalam Muruganantham, a social entrepreneur from Tamil Nadu who made sanitary pads accessible to women even in remote areas, and it was received really well. Akshay’s stint as Laxmi Kant really impressed me and seeing a star of his stature take a step in this direction was really a moment of pride for me.
Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui
The last month release starring Ayushmann and Vaani Kapoor gave India one of its first representation of trans-community in the commercial space, with Vaani’s performance as a trans-girl blowing me away. The film presented a love story between a trans-girl and a cis-het man and was appreciated for the dignity with which it handled the issue at hand. Vaani surely gave her breakthrough performance with the film.
Rajkummar and Bhumi’s first team up is well worth it as the duo tackles the issue of lavender marriage. For the unversed, a lavender marriage is a marriage of convenience where a gay man and a lesbian woman get married for society’s acceptance. The trailer of the film that released today, has raised my expectations and this is something that has never been attempted before in Indian cinema, so it just doubles up my excitement.
Not just these, but some other films are going to shatter the glass ceiling in the coming years with their concepts.
Janhit Mein Jaari
Condoms is something that almost every man uses in the country, but it is rarely talked about. But Nushrratt Bharuccha has taken up this role of a condom sales executive in Janhit Mein Jaari, and the film will depict the story of her character and how her life is affected because of her job.
Another film that will touch the issue of condom usage is Rakul Preet Singh-starrer Chhatriwali, but in a completely different light, as the actress plays the role of a condom tester in the film directed by Tejas Prabha Vijay Deoskar. For the unversed, a condom tester is a quality control executive hired by condom brands to test the quality of their products before releasing them to the market.
It feels great to see that Hindi cinema is taking such big steps towards representing stories and subjects that need a voice, and with an interesting line up like this in the making, it is going to be an exciting few years ahead.