Bollywood, the world’s largest film industry, is renowned for producing movies that entertain, inspire, and, at times, provoke thought. It’s no surprise that many Bollywood filmmakers choose to incorporate political undertones into their narratives to convey powerful messages. A recent example is Shah Rukh Khan’s Jawan, which not only entertains but also reflects the socio-political realities of India.
In this blog, we will explore ten Political Bollywood movies that used political undertones to drive their messages across with significant impact.
Top 10 Political Bollywood Movies On OTT With Impactful Messages:
Rang De Basanti (2006): Netflix
Rang De Basanti, directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, is a poignant tale of a group of college students who, while filming a documentary about India’s freedom fighters, become politically aware and motivated to fight against corruption and injustice.
Moreover, the film’s message of political awareness and youth activism resonated with viewers, inspiring discussions and debates on social and political issues in India.
This film effectively blends past and present politics to urge the youth to be the change they wish to see in society. It continues to be regarded as one of the most influential and socially relevant films in Indian cinema.
Nayak: The Real Hero (2001): Prime Video
Directed by S. Shankar, Nayak is a political drama that delves into the fantasy of an ordinary man becoming the Chief Minister of a state for a day. It highlights the issues of political corruption and the power of the common man to challenge the system.
The film’s plot centers on Shivaji Rao (Anil Kapoor), a television journalist known for his fearless reporting and uncompromising integrity. One day, he interviews the Chief Minister of the state, Balraj Chauhan (Amrish Puri), who is widely seen as a corrupt and ineffective leader.
The film was well-received by audiences and critics alike for its engaging storyline, Anil Kapoor’s powerful performance, and its thought-provoking message. It sparked discussions about political accountability and the role of the media in exposing corruption.
A Wednesday (2008): Netflix
This thriller directed by Neeraj Pandey tells the story of an ordinary man who takes matters into his own hands to challenge terrorism. A Wednesday subtly questions the government’s inability to protect its citizens and the frustration that leads individuals to take extraordinary steps.
The man demands the release of four militants in exchange for information on the bomb locations. What ensues is a tense cat-and-mouse game between the common man and the police as they try to defuse the situation. As the story unfolds, the film raises questions about the limitations of the legal system and the frustration that can drive ordinary citizens to take extraordinary measures to fight against terrorism and corruption.
It serves as a powerful commentary on terrorism, vigilantism, and the complexities of justice in a society plagued by corruption and violence. “A Wednesday” is considered a must-watch in Indian cinema for its impactful storytelling and social relevance.
Satyagraha (2013): ZEE5
Directed by Prakash Jha, Satyagraha is a political drama inspired by real-life events. The film explores the power of non-violent protest and civil disobedience in fighting corruption and injustice in Indian politics. It encourages citizens to stand up for their rights.
Amitabh Bachchan plays the role of Dwarka Anand, a principled man who stands up against corrupt politicians and bureaucrats after a personal tragedy. Ajay Devgn plays the role of Manav Raghvendra, a young and ambitious journalist who joins Dwarka Anand’s movement for justice.
The film portrays the struggles and challenges faced by these characters as they engage in non-violent protest and civil disobedience to bring about change in the political landscape. It addresses issues like corruption, red tape, and the need for political accountability in a powerful and thought-provoking manner.
Aarakshan (2011): Prime Video
Directed by Prakash Jha, Aarakshan addresses the sensitive issue of reservation and caste-based discrimination in the Indian education system. The film raises important questions about equality and affirmative action policies, sparking debates on these topics.
Despite the mixed critical reception, “Aarakshan” generated discussions about reservation policies and caste-based discrimination in India. It remains a noteworthy film for its attempt to shed light on these important and complex issues within the context of the Indian education system.
Madras Cafe (2013): Netflix
Shoojit Sircar’s Madras Cafe is a political thriller that provides a fictionalized account of events leading up to the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. It sheds light on the politics, conspiracies, and intelligence operations surrounding this tragic incident.
“Madras Cafe” received critical acclaim for its realistic portrayal of political events and its bold approach to storytelling. John Abraham’s performance as both the lead actor and producer was widely appreciated. The film’s intense narrative and suspenseful storytelling kept audiences engaged.
Overall, “Madras Cafe” is a thought-provoking film that combines political drama, espionage, and historical context to create a gripping narrative. It sheds light on a complex period in South Asian history and explores the human side of those involved in high-stakes intelligence operations.
Lagaan (2001): Netflix
While Lagaan is primarily a sports drama, it carries strong political undertones. Directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, the film revolves around a group of villagers who challenge the oppressive British colonial rule through a game of cricket. It showcases the power of unity and resistance against foreign domination.
“Lagaan” is a beloved Bollywood film that combines elements of sports, drama, and historical fiction to tell a compelling story of courage, determination, and the fight against colonial oppression in rural India. It remains a must-watch for both Bollywood enthusiasts and those interested in cinematic narratives with social and political undertones.
My Name is Khan (2010): Prime Video
Karan Johar’s My Name is Khan addresses the issue of racial profiling and discrimination faced by Muslims after the 9/11 attacks in the United States. While it primarily focuses on the Indian diaspora, the film’s message resonates with the broader themes of tolerance and acceptance.
My Name is Khan received critical acclaim for its compelling storytelling and powerful performances, particularly by Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. It was praised for addressing sensitive social and political issues with sensitivity and depth.
The film resonated with audiences worldwide and remains one of the most memorable and thought-provoking Bollywood films of its time.
Gulaal (2009): Youtube
Directed by Anurag Kashyap, Gulaal is a political drama set in the backdrop of Rajasthan’s student politics. The film explores the murky world of student politics, power struggles, and the consequences of idealism in a corrupt system.
Gulaal explores various political themes, including power, betrayal, corruption, and the price one pays for standing up for one’s principles. It sheds light on the darker aspects of student politics and the impact of political ambitions on individuals.
Bollywood, with its wide reach and diverse audience, has been instrumental in bringing political issues to the forefront. These ten movies serve as examples of how filmmakers have used their craft to shed light on various political and social issues in India. Through compelling narratives, impactful performances, and thought-provoking dialogues, these films have not only entertained but also inspired viewers to think critically about the world around them. Bollywood continues to be a powerful medium for social and political commentary, encouraging discussions and debates on important topics.
Lead Image: UTV, TOI, JA Entertainment