10 Lesser-Known Hindi Movies That Will Make You Re-evaluate Society

Apart from big Bollywood blockbusters, there are many lesser-known films of parallel cinema which you should watch to understand society and life in a better way. So, here are 10 lesser-known movies for you to watch this summer.

1. Saaransh

Director: Mahesh Bhatt

Cast: Anupam Kher, Madan Jain, Rohini Hattagadi, Soni Razdan, Suhas Bhalekar

“Saaransh” was India’s official entry for the 1985 Oscars in the best foreign language film category. It is a soul touching movie with a beautiful message – the victory of life over death and courage over fear.

This film depicts the story of an elderly couple whose son dies at a young age in New York. Their life takes a new turn when they try to protect their pregnant and unmarried renter from a powerful politician. What happens next is a must watch.

Fast fact: It is the debut film of Anupam Kher.

2. Apna Asmaan

Director: Kaushik Roy

Cast: Irfan Khan, Shobhana, Rajat Kapoor, Anupam Kher and Dhruv Piyush Panjauni

This film conceptualises a message for parents who have overambitious dreams for their child.

Ravi, a plastic salesman and his wife Padmini have a son named Buddhi, who is autistic (a type of developmental disorder characterised by troubles with interaction and communication and which shows restrictive and repetitive behaviour.)

One day, in a TV interview, a scientist Dr Sathya claims of inventing a controversial drug called “brain booster” which can cure mental problems. In order to cure their son, Ravi takes this drug and reluctantly injects it in Buddhi, which gives him intellectual strength but the situation turns worse.

3. Matrubhoomi: A Nation Without Women

Director: Manish Jha

Cast: Tulip Joshi, Sudhir Pandey, Sushant Singh and Piyush Mishra

This is cinema in its purest form. It depicts the situation of a village with no women due to female foeticides.

Due to the unchecked practice of female foeticides somewhere around 2050, a village becomes solely populated by males desperate for wives. A wealthy father of five boys finds out about a single young woman, named Kalki living in some distant village and buys her from her father and marries her to all his five sons. What happens next is a dark tale of dirty Indian tradition and patriarchy.

4. Lakshmi

Director:  Nagesh Kunkunoor

Cast: Monali Thakur, Satish Kaushik and Shefali Shah

A film that deals with the hard-hitting realities of human trafficking and child prostitution in India.

Lakshmi, a 14-year-old girl, is kidnapped from her village and thrown into prostitution, where she undergoes the journey of extreme pain and suffering. At last, against all odds, she decides to put her perpetrators in jail.

5. Under Trial

Director: Aziz Khan

Cast: Rajpal Yadav, Mukesh Tiwari, Kader Khan, Prem Chopra

A man is accused by his wife of raping his own daughters. The film revolves around an interesting twist in the family relationship.

6. Identity Card

Director: Rahat Kazmi

Cast: Tia Bajpai, Vipin Sharma, Saurabh Shukla,  Shoib Kazmi and Ragubir Yadav

This film is a depiction of police interrogation and tension that prevails in Kashmir. A journalist along with her friend and guide is detained by the Special Task Force. Later, she explores the life of ordinary Kashmiris and various social issues faced by them.

7. Aakrosh

Director: Govind Nihalani

Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Smita Patil, Om Puri and Amrish Puri

This film went to win 1980’s National Film award for the best feature film in Hindi and several Filmfare awards. It is also in the list of 60 films that shaped the Indian film industry spanning six decades.

Allegedly based on a true incident reported on page 7 of a local newspaper, the story revolves around a peasant, oppressed by his landowners and foremen. His wife is raped by a foreman who then has him arrested to hide his own crime. The film is a scathing satire on the corruption in the judicial system and the victimisation of underprivileged by the able and the powerful.

8. Paar

Director: Goutam Ghose

Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi and Om Puri

A depressing and cruel account of the exploitation of lower caste labourers in feudal Bihar. A labourer kills his own landlord’s brother to avenge the murder of a benevolent master. The family then flees to Kolkata, suffering many problems.

9. Shahid

Director: Hansal Mehta

Cast: Rajkumar Rao, Kay Kay Menon and Prabhleen Sandhu

Based on the life of lawyer and human rights activist Shahid Azmi, who was assassinated in 2010 in Mumbai. This film is an inspiration to every person fighting for justice and particularly for those who aspire to become a lawyer.

10. Kya Yahi Sach Hai

Director: Yogesh Pratap Singh

An international award-winning film directed by former IPS officer Yogesh Pratap Singh. It depicts the life of an honest IPS officer who is removed from service by a conspiracy of minister and bureaucrats. A must-watch movie for every civil service aspirant.

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