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Udta Punjab, Kahaani 2, Dear Zindagi: Films That Spoke About Issues in 2016

Udta Punjab, Kahaani 2, Dear Zindagi: Films That Spoke About Issues in 2016

Certain filmmakers decided to take risks and speak about issues that exist in society but are never spoken about.

Bollywood has often been accused of depicting a make-believe world to its viewers- a world far away from reality where stories have larger than life heroes and villains. Films either center on love or they are typical revenge sagas. And while we love to watch all the drama that unfolds on the big screen, most of us can’t relate to such stories personally. The films, thus, remain an escape route for most people.

In 2016, there were of course, the usual dramas, thrillers and love stories that Bollywood had to offer. But amidst all the typical, formula films- certain filmmakers decided to take risks and speak about issues that exist in society but are never spoken about. From rampant drug abuse in Punjab to child sex abuse to the importance of the term ‘No’, filmmakers made bold films and spoke about issues that needed to be addressed in mainstream cinema.

Taboo around Mental Health

Gauri Shinde’s Dear Zindagi came as a breath of fresh air with its simplistic story. But more importantly, it won accolades for starting a dialogue in mainstream cinema on mental health. While a lot of film celebrities have in the past year come out and spoke about how they have battled depression, India’s mindset on shrinks and their importance is yet to change. Shah Rukh Khan played therapist Jehangir Khan to the confused, rebellious Kaira (Alia Bhatt) who learnt accept faults in others, and the art of moving on thanks to the cool therapist.

Child Sex Abuse

Vidya Balan and Sujoy Ghosh came together after four years to narrate yet another Kahaani. But unlike the first film, which was an edge of the seat thriller, Kahaani 2 had a greater emotional connect because of the serious issue it focused on. Vidya Balan played a victim of sex abuse as a child who as an adult saves a girl who is being repeatedly abused by her own uncle and how the two escape the clutches of the evil uncle forms the rest of the story. A poignant scene in the film has Vidya explaining the difference between ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’ to the little girl. How many mainstream films have spoken about such an issue? None actually.

The power of ‘No’

Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury’s film Pink once again opened the debate about the importance of consent. In Bollywood, while most films have heroes pursuing the heroine and taking her ‘No’ to be an ‘Yes’, it was refreshing to see Pink highlighting the importance of ‘No’. That sexually liberated, modern women can drink and party with men but still hold the right to say a no to sexual advances if she wants to is something that the film brilliantly highlighted.

Drugs and Punjab

Perhaps the most talked about film of the year was Abhishek Chaubey’s Udta Punjab. While Censor Board made all efforts to ban the film as it showed Punjab in a ‘bad light’, makers cries hoarse stating that the film did not demean the state in any way. After Bombay HC passed the film with only one cut, viewers lauded the makers for making a film on an issue that has been rampant in the state for years now. A stark, realistic take on the drug abuse that is prevalent in the state, Udta Punjab struck a chord with one and all with his credible performance by the actors and a sharp story line.

first published:December 31, 2016, 13:41 IST