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Bollywood Rewind 2017: 8 Unconventional Films You Should Not Have Missed

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2017 was yet another year which saw some solid hits being churned out. Right from veteran actor Sridevi’s power-packed comeback in “Mom”, to Irrfan Khan’s brilliant comic timing in “Hindi Medium”, to Akshay Kumar’s one-man show in “Jolly LLB 2”, we were treated to some mouth-wateringly delicious films throughout the year. Let us take a look at the very best of Bollywood in 2017.

1. Hindi Medium

Irrfan Khan’s “Hindi Medium” deserves to be at the very top of this list. Directed by Saket Chaudhary, the film throws light on the harsh truth surrounding the contemporary system of education in the country, where conversing in English is considered equivalent to education. The language itself is considered a precious commodity with only a privileged few getting to taste it.

The film also throws adequate light on the demerits of privatizing education, with private schools charging an alarmingly high amount of fees from parents in the name of education. The film relies heavily on Irrfan Khan’s fabulous comic timing. Saba Qamar is no less impressive. Deepak Dobriyal is the dark horse and packs a few lusty blows every now and then.

2. Jolly LLB 2

The second instalment of the “Jolly LLB” series, the film stars Akshay Kumar as a ‘Jugaadu’ lawyer who fights tooth and nail against a powerful and ruthless lawyer named Pramod Mathur, in his bid to win justice. The film aptly portrays how people in power misuse/abuse the power they are bestowed with. Directed by Subhash Kapoor, the film dives deeper and deeper into the Indian legal system, a vicious circle that is marred by red-tapism and corruption.

Akshay Kumar is undoubtedly the star of the show, but other actors, especially the likes of Annu Kapoor and Kumud Mishra, have done absolute justice as Pramod Mathur and inspector Suryaveer Singh respectively. And yes, not to forget Inaamulhaq’s portrayal of Mohammad Iqbal Qadri towards the end. The climax was solid.

3. Mom

The film reiterates the fact that mothers are the epitome of strength. Sridevi, the wise, old priestess of Bollywood, once again came out with a captivating performance. Sridevi plays a revenge-hungry mother who sets out to punish those who raped her daughter.

The film is packed with some powerful scenes. There are scenes and sequences which wordlessly describe the bond between a mother and her daughter. Akshaye Khanna is the silent performer amidst the cacophony with Nawazuddin Siddique playing a crucial part in bits and pieces. Directed by Ravi Udayawar, the film is far more engaging and convincing than a clichè rape and revenge drama.

4. Lipstick Under My Burkha

The film is beautifully multi-layered and skilfully showcases how societal conventions force women to stay quiet as they keep getting exploited. It further highlights how these women revel in their collective desire for freedom.

Konkona Sen Sharma plays Shireen, a Muslim housewife who is frequently exploited sexually by her husband. Ratna Pathak plays Buaji, the senior matriarch who falls for a swimming instructor. Then we are introduced to Rehana Abidi, who comes from an orthodox Muslim family and likes wearing jeans. She even goes and protests against a ban on jeans in her college. The film aptly tells us that there are countless towns and villages in India where women are still treated as nothing more than expendable assets.

5. Newton

The film tells the story of a rookie government clerk named Newton Kumar, who leaves no stone unturned in his bid to conduct free and fair elections in the Naxal-hit areas of Chhattisgarh. The film throws light on a problem as deep-rooted as corruption. Then, it shows us how a rookie clerk takes matters into his own hands in order to restore order and peace at a polling booth which is attacked by Naxals. Rajkummar Rao single-handedly steals all the applause in this political satire which was India’s official entry to the Oscars.

6. Haraamkhor

Directed by Shlok Sharma, “Haraamkhor” tells the story of an affair between a teacher and his student. Nawazuddin Siddique plays a school teacher who falls in love with a 16-year-old student. The rest of the film deals with how this relationship between the two of them drastically affects their lives.

Nawazuddin Siddique and Shweta Tripathi form the heart and soul of this film. The film takes us through the nooks and corners of a small village where this ‘forbidden’ love story blossoms. The film further reiterates the fact that love is not bound by societal constructs and conventions.

7. Tumhaari Sulu

Who says women are only meant to handle household chores? Vidya Balan’s latest outing “Tumhaari Sulu” tells us that housewives, too, can nurture the dream of becoming working women. It is a dream that gets sidelined after a woman gets married and has kids. Vidya plays a housewife who enjoys being ‘alive’.

The film traces her journey from being a housewife to becoming a popular Radio Jockey (RJ). The rest of the film deals with how she overcomes a set of problems she happens to be facing in her personal life while working as an RJ.

8. Trapped

A man can surpass any given limit in order to stay alive. Rajkummar Rao steals all the claps with his vulnerable, yet powerful performance in this survival-drama film. Rao was made to read books to hone his method acting skills. He is seen eating cockroaches, rats, and pigeons when he’s stranded in a high-rise building, completely void of people. He is stuck in an apartment without food, water, and electricity for close to a week. When he regains his senses, he realizes that his girlfriend has moved on and his friends didn’t care about his absence.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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