Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Badrinath Ki Dulhania and other films which captured the spirit of small town India

There are Hindi films that went beyond the tokenism of small town India. We bring you a list of beautiful films that were audacious and original in their attempt to tell a story set in the unexplored corners of India.

Written by Dipti Sharma | New Delhi |
February 7, 2017 4:44:50 pm
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Karan Johar’s latest offering Badrinath Ki Dulhania starring Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt is seemingly set in a small town India. It’s wrapped in the smell of the hinterland – local dialect, the vibrant colours and verbosity of its two characters. On the surface, the movie looks like a half-hearted effort to display the sensibilities of a small town India. One finds familiar elements of a Karan Johar film – bright use of colours, dance and song sequences and Alia Bhatt. It seems makers wanted to use the small town as the crutch for moving forward a story. The movie’s visual appeal can’t be denied but we keep our fingers crossed and hope the story is not just skin-deep.

Having said that, there are Hindi films that went beyond the tokenism of small town India. They mined the day-to-day hard, funny, edgy realities of life in towns. They endeavoured to weave a pattern out of the sleepy lifestyle. Films set in the heartland of India are ideal settings for edgy stories. Films like Omkara and Gangs of Wasseypur explored the underbelly of a small town. We bring you a list of beautiful films that were audacious and original in their attempt to tell a story set in the unexplored corners of India:

Masaan

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The beauty of Masaan can’t be put into few words. So many themes run parallel in this deeply moving story of life and death with a backdrop of Varanasi. The film takes a flight through poems of Dushyant Kumar and finds the anchor in harsh realities of daily life. With some of the most fascinating performances in a Hindi movie ever, Masaan is a meditation on delicacy and poignancy of life. What is endearing is the aspirations of its characters to dream and love.

Haraamkhor

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Nawazuddin Siddiqui brings a mystique, funny and warm side to his character in the film. His comic act as a small town school teacher is endearing. As other brilliant films, Haraamkhor finds its voice in the quirkiness of it’s characters. Director Shlok Sharma has deftly captured a sleeping town. The small, funny conversations between Nawaz and students lift the mood of this otherwise dark film.

Omkara

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Vishal Bhardwaj takes the Shakespearean tragedy in Othello to a small town India. The heartland gets a new identity in this film. The theme of revenge and betrayal are told through small power struggles. The film brings out the deep corruption, nepotism and dirty politics prevalent during the elections of UP.

Sairat

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Sairat is a compulsory viewing for ignorant city dwellers. The film takes you to the interiors of Maharashtra and shakes you to the core. That person still lives with a certain narrow-mind thinking originating from caste could be a new experience for someone who has never had to face those realities. However, the film does that with a light-hearted tone. It’s rare achievement lies in dealing with the grave subject with real characters who can be fun, despite difficult circumstances.

Gangs of Wasseypur

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Few Hindi films have explored the underbelly of a small town as expertly as Gangs of Wasseypur. Anurag Kashyap brings together a galaxy of brilliant actors — Manoj Bajpayee, Piyush Mishra, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and weaves pure magic. Anurag takes an inventive approach to explore the dilemma of its protagonist seeking revenge. Set in Dhanbad, the film narrates a story of the power struggle over coal mines.

Dum Laga Ke Haisha

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The film owes a lot to Sanjay Mishra’s funny act as a father. The movie also explores a relationship between father and son that is so characteristic of a small town. Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar learn to embrace imperfection and the audience leaves the theatre with a smile.

Raanjhanaa

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Anand L Rai’s version of a small town is engaging. Dhanush’s character falls for a girl from the rich family. You won’t find a single dull moment in this emotional roller coaster. The small-town habits and dialect are taken care of with a verve and precision. The heart of the film lies in Dhanush’s immaculate performance without a single false note.

Tanu Weds Manu

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Tanu Weds Manu goes deep into the nitty-gritty of daily life in a small town life. What makes this film an entertaining watch is the superb performances by its cast including Jimmy Shergill, Deepak Dobriyal, R. Madhavan and Kangana Ranaut. The story about an immature, wayward girl who falls for a bad guy and how a suave, gentle guy from city eventually comes to rescue her. It’s entertaining no matter how many times one watches the movie. All characters are at their quirkiest best.

Udaan

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A small town is an ideal setting for telling stories about adolescence. A daring and original film, Udaan takes you to the unusual journey of a teen. The film explores the strained relationship between a father (played by Ronit Roy) and a son set against a backdrop of Jamshedpur.

Kai Po Che

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Kai Po Che starring Sushant Singh Rajput, Amit Sadh and Rajkummar Rao is set in Ahmedabad. It does its best to bring out the daily life of a city in Gujarat. Based on the book “3 Mistakes of My Life,” a story by Chetan Bhagat, the film narrates the story of three friends who start their own venture.

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