The caste system has remained a black blot on the Indian society ever since it came in touch with the outside world.
And Indian cinema has never been shy of addressing the demons attached to it. We have compiled a list of best Hindi films based on the Indian caste system that deals with the worst devils of the supremely evil practice.
We have created a list of Best Bollywood Movies about the Caste System in India.
Best Hindi Movies about Caste System in India
The directorial debut of ace director Shyam Benegal, Ankur was, and still remains one of the most powerful Indian films that talk about the caste system. The film is based around real events that took place in the city of Hyderabad.
The film talks about a Dalit couple, that is deeply in love until a rich landlord’s son arrives and becomes intimate with the wife. The wife pays the price of being a Dalit and faces severe humiliation. The film won many awards at national and international film festivals.
Sadgati is one of the rare Hindi films directed by none other than the Bengali maestro Satyajit Ray. Sadgati was a telefilm which Satyajit Ray directed for Doordarshan.
The film talked about a Dalit man who goes to the village’s priest to seek help for the marriage of his daughter.
The priest agrees, on the term that the Dalit man will work for him for free. The film never loses its grip on the audiences and presents them with some deeply haunting sequences and dialogues that stay with us for a long time.
Also Read: Best Movies of Satyajit Ray
Chameli Ki Shaadi (1986)
Chameli Ki Shaadi was directed by Basu Chatterjee, one other pioneer of alternate cinema in India.
An upper-class wrestler named Charandas falls in love with a girl from lower caste and wants to marry her. But things go haywire when he expresses his wish in front of his family.
The film then deals with the man’s struggles as he goes about challenging the norms to be with the love of his life.
Bandit Queen (1994)
Shekhar Kapoor is not really known for his arthouse filmmaking skills, although he has made a great name for himself in Hollywood. He made Bandit Queen on a low budget with the best Indian actors available and took the nation by storm.
Phoolan Devi, a lower caste girl, faces severe sexual and mental assaults to finally lift a rifle and to become one of the most revered dacoits India has ever seen. If we put it among the best Indian films ever made, it won’t be an exaggeration. This is one of the Best Films based on Chambal Bandits.
Article 15 (2019)
Article 15 is in no way a parallel film or an art film, it’s as mainstream a film can be, starring Ayushmann Khurrana in the lead role.
The film revolves around the rampant caste discrimination that has become the signature of everyday life in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
Ayushmann plays a top positioned police officer who investigates the murder of two Dalit girls and decides to face the idiotic caste system head-on. The film was a big critical and commercial hit.
Aarakshan is a film directed by Prakash Jha, the man who has given us films such as Apaharan and Rajneeti. The film deals with the impact of caste-based reservations provided in the Indian constitution.
The film tries to understand the moral and political conundrums related to it as we enjoy the amazing performances by Saif Ali Khan and Amitabh Bachchan in the leading roles. The film was an average success at the box office.
Almost scene by scene remake of a modern classic Marathi film titled Sairat, Dhadak is still a highly relevant film in the current times.
The film tells the story about a couple from a different class of society. The guy is a Dalit while the girl is an upper-caste Hindu.
The couple elope together to seek happiness but the girl’s father and brother are behind them, leading us to a stomach-churning finale. Highly recommended.
Khap starred Om Puri and Yuvika Chaudhary in the lead roles and presents a very sad picture of the Indian caste system.
The socio-political commentary in the film makes way for a story that is based around the khap panchayat system that recently became notorious for deaths of many couples in north India for marrying somebody, not from their own castes.
The film although remained anonymous for the most part and did not attract many eyeballs but it still remained a hugely impactful film.
Manjhi- The Mountain Man (2015)
Manjhi was a real man, who lived in a small village in Bihar, who became famous when he decided to destroy a mountain which became the reason for the demise of his beloved wife.
Them being Dalit, they were subjected to live in the very poor conditions, which led his wife to cross a mountain every day. She slips one day and dies, leading her husband Manjhi to go crazy with rage.
The film was not a big success and remained hugely under-appreciated. Manjhi The Mountain Man is Bollywood’s best Motivational film.
Shudra: The Rising (2012)
Directed by Sanjiv Jaiswal, Shudra paints a different picture of the caste system as it takes us back to the time during the Harappan Civilization when the entire caste system was being forged.
The film deals with several different aspects of the caste system without proving its usefulness and still clears that it was a system totally based on the superiority complex by the rich people.
The film also remained unanimous and is a must-watch.
Starring Sunil Dutt and Neelam in the lead roles, Sujata was a film much ahead of its time.
The 50s was the best decade in the history of Hindi cinema and this film is yet another proof of that fact. Based on a Bengali story the film tells the story of a Dalit girl raised by Brahmins, who later falls in love with a Brahmin boy.
But the society looks down upon them due to that and the couple’s hardships have been portrayed brilliantly by the legendary director.
Directed by another social activist of a filmmaker named Shyam Benegal, Samar was based on the book titled ‘Unheard Voices’ by Harsh Mander.
The film is based around a real event that took place in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, where the caste system is most rampant. At the center of the story is a Dalit man who visits a temple in a nearby village for thanksgiving and the villagers don’t take it lightly.
This film is yet another shining crown on the head of filmmaker Shyam Benegal.
We have shared our list of Best Hindi Movies about the Caste System in India, now you can share which one is your favorite film in this list, you can also share some missing films on same subject in the comments.