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From Anarkali To Jolly LLB: Has Bollywood Learnt How To Address Class Barriers?

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Understanding society through Bollywood cinema on the basis of class lines should include studying movies, beginning from the 1950s, the most important of which are:

  • Anarkali from 1953, in which leading roles are played by Pradeep Kumar and Noor Jahan.
  • Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (he who wins, is the king) from 1992 in which leading artist is Aamir Khan.
  • Jolly LLB from 2013 – the leading artists in this movie are Arshad Warsi, Boman Irani, and Amrita Rao.

The variation between different classes can be commonly termed as the ‘rich and poor difference’, exists from decades and this difference is getting wider by the day. In every decade, we see this problem existing. We cannot completely say that the difference between classes is getting wider; in some cases, they are tapering. If I relate the above-mentioned movies with class line, then it will be a perfect example where we can see the status difference of the rich and the poor. Also, we can see the mentality of rich towards poor and vice-versa.

Beginning with an 8-decade old movie ‘Anarkali’: In this movie, it is portrayed how rich people consider the poor very inferior and how they ill-treat them. Also, they don’t want their children to get married to lower classes. In this movie,Salim, son of the famous Mughal emperor Akbar and Anarkali, a dancer, are in love with each other and when Salim tells his father that he wants to marry Anarkali, he refuses the proposal. He says “how can I let my son marry a girl who doesn’t match our status” and Akbar further adds, “he can’t let a king get married to a slave”. Finally, Akbar renders Anarkali with a death sentence. In the movie, Anarkali delivers a superb dialogue, “Kya dukh, sukh, Mohabbat aur takraar, gareeb aur ameer dono ko nahi satate? Jab bhagwan ne yeh fark nahi banaya toh hum kaun hote hain yeh fark paida karne waale? Kya gareeb insaan nahi? It simply means that when God has not made any differences between rich and poor on the basis of love, sadness, and happiness, then who are we to create this difference? Anarkali also questions the emperor on what her fault is if she is born poor. Here, we can see the exploitation of class line with reference to profession, marriage, and love.

The 2nd movie in the line of the concept of the class line is Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander. This movie is filmed on two colleges, each being specific about the intake of a particular class of students, i.e, rich and poor. The rich students don’t have any skills but they still win competitions with the help of efficient equipment and the students belonging to the other college lose competitions despite being really talented because of lesser efficient equipment. In this movie, we can see how rich students humiliate poor students by showing off in front of them and insulting them on the basis of their class. At the end of the movie, it is proved that class doesn’t matter, until and unless you have real talent. Only talent and hard work can take you ahead in your future, and nothing else can. The movie depicts the exploitation of class line and students in remark with education, technology, and talent.

The last movie in the list Jolly LLB. In this movie, it is depicted how lower classes are victimized by lawyers, middle class and upper class. The movie opens when a millionaire kills 6 people sleeping on the footpath by driving a car upon them while being drunk. His lawyer saved him by giving strong arguments in the boy’s inclination. The lawyer further shifted all the obligations to a poor man, who worked as a driver in the accused’s family. Also, the driver accepts the crime (which he never committed) because he was offered a huge sum of money. On another hand, another lawyer named Jolly files a PIL (public interest litigation) against the same case and finds that one amongst the six persons who was killed is still alive and he was being threatened by police to keep his mouth shut. In the end, Jolly wins the case, proving the accused guilty.

Here, exploitation of class line can be seen in two phases – i.e, at the beginning when it was getting wider (when for a while the boy wins) and at the end, it gets constricted. Here, exploitation took the shape of money, justice, and power.


Through all the discussions done above, we can see that the divergence between rich and poor is very immense since the decade of the 50s and still following. But slowly, things are changing. Also, people have started changing their mindsets. Earlier, no one got involved to fight for lower classes, but now there are people who fight for their rights. Education, justice, love, marriage, money, power, police, talent, lawyers, technology, profession, etc. is the kind of exploitation faced by the lower classes.

In contrast to old times, we can see only a slight change in the status of lower classes. There exist some places like temples, mosques, etc. where the entry of these classes is prohibited, they are considered as untouchables due to their work. That is hard to digest, but yes, it exists and there is no end to it because, for some people, this is known as safeguarding their religion and class.

Government is also somewhat responsible for this because it doesn’t take any legal or strict action against these people. We need to change our mentality and accept every person as a part of this society because if God has made no variations amongst human beings, then how can we make such variations or judge someone on the basis of their class. There is a saying that goes “A rich dies once and a poor dies a thousand deaths.” Why have such quotes evolved? The answer to this is ‘we’; because we treat them very cruelly, as they don’t belong to our class. Why are people forced to beg? This is so because we snatch opportunities from their hands. Also, children from poor families are not able to get quality education, and for this particular reason, quota systems were launched. But here also, the poor ones are exploited. Seats reserved for them are taken by the rich folks of their caste.

We should remember that what we do with others comes back to us in some or the other form, so we should be wise and helpful enough with each and every person of this world. Richness and poorness don’t matter, what matters is how an individual is from within. Everyone should be treated evenly. We should always help each other; in that way, real development will begin. Just remember that we should respect humans and not their class, religion, caste or gender. We are humans so we should have a minimum amount of humanity towards other humans. At last, I want to say treat everyone fairly because until you treat everyone as equal, you have no right to complain about the ill-treatment you receive from any other person.

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