Movies based on caste-based oppression in India
India’s history with the caste system dates long back. Though we have come far ahead, we are yet to pick up some pieces of caste-based prejudices that are rooted in our everyday culture. Knowingly or unknowingly, we have become part of a system that still discriminates based on caste. Though we claim to be a progressing nation, we still try to unsee several discriminations against the lower caste people in this country. Movies can often become a learning curve. Here are some movies based on caste-based oppression that can help you get more insight on this subject.
1.Pariyerum Perumal (2018, Tamil)
Pariyerum Perumal is a hard-hitting movie about the evils of caste-based oppression in our country. The film tells the story of a young aspiring man Pariyerum Perumal, also called Pariyan. He is happy to secure admission to a law college and aspires to be a lawyer like B R Ambedkar someday. He falls in love with Jothi, his classmate, which irks her upper-caste family. Reality hits Pariyan hard when he is subjected to all sorts of inhumane and fatal acts from them. The point that the film tries to prove is indeed a serious issue.
2.Article 15 (2019, Hindi)
Directed by Anubhav Sinha, Article 15 is a neo-noir crime drama that reflects on the harsh realities of lower caste people in Uttar Pradesh. Taking inspiration from some real-life incidents, the movie acts as a reminder of Article 15 of our constitution which forbids discrimination of Indian citizens based on religion, caste, race, sex, or birth. Though acting as a voice for the oppressed, I did feel that the film uses an upper-caste character as the savior figure. This is something that could have been avoided.
3. Sairat (2016, Marathi)
Sairat painfully visualizes the extreme horror of caste-based discrimination; honor killing. Archie and Parshya are two lovelorn college students who belong to different castes. This angers Archie’s family and the couple elopes from their hometown. The climax is devastating.
4.Jai Bhim (2021, Tamil)
Starring Suriya as advocate Chandru, Jai Bhim is a legal drama that sheds light on the adversities faced by the Irular tribe of Tamil Nadu. The general disregard for the tribal communities makes them victims of false accusations. Sengeni, who is fully pregnant, is told that her husband Rajakannu is arrested for robbing an upper-caste household. The next thing she knows is that he broke free from the jail and escaped, which Sengani does not believe. Chandru helps Sengeni find her husband through a set of legal procedures.
5.Serious Men (2020, Hindi)
Ayyan Mani is a middle-aged man who works as an assistant to Dr.Arvind Acharya, a professor at the National Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai. Tired of his life in slums and mediocrity, Mani spreads lies about his sons, claiming that he is a genius. The situation goes out of control and the real reason for Mani’s disappointment comes to the limelight in the end where he explains his childhood as a lower-caste citizen.
6.Vanaprastham (1999, Malayalam)
Vanaprastham stars Mohanlal as Kunjikuttan, a lower caste Kathakali dancer and is set in Travancore in the 50s. Estranged by his upper-caste father, facing rejections all along, and stuck in an unhappy arranged marriage, Kunjikuttan relies on alcohol for some relief. He finally finds his happiness when Subhadra, an educated, married upper-caste daughter of a dewan, is attracted to him after seeing a performance. But later does he come to realize that Subhadra fell in love with the character that he played and not the individual he is. This shatters him. With intense performances, the film will leave us mesmerized.
7. Aarakshan (2011, Hindi)
Aarakshan is a Bollywood movie that attempts to shed light on the caste-based reservation system in India. The film has an impressive cast that includes Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, and Manoj Bajpayee. Though well-intended, Aarakshan does not make it stand on the reservation system clear and therefore had received mixed reviews.
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