RANKED: Bollywood Films That Started A Dialogue About Social Issues According To Their Box-Office Collection
- Authors: Avipsha Sengupta (Editorial Team)
Of late, if there has been one genre that has proved to be a sure shot hit at the box-office, it has been that of social drama. While in the last couple of years there have been many social dramas that raised pertinent questions on existing social issues, there has only been a few of them that managed to have an impact strong enough to start a dialogue about a particular social issue.
For the purpose of this list, we have not taken biopics into account and taken films where the social issue was the main highlight and not the secondary plot.
PK- 340 crores
Directed by the multitalented Rajkumar Hirani PK is Bollywood's third highest box-office earner ever. Starring Anushka Sharma and Aamir Khan, the film questioned the element of blind faith in every religion and how godmen and other unscrupulous organizations mint money by making faith and religion into a commodity. It opened our eyes about how religion has been used against us to terrorize us into silence. The film created a massive social impact and re-ignited our spirits to challenge medieval practices in the name of religion.
3 Idiots- 202 crores
If you ask 10 Bollywood fans to name 5 of their all time favorite films, chances are at least 6 of them would take the name of 3 Idiots. Such is the impact of this movie. Directed by Rajkumar Hirani, starring Aamir Khan, R. Madhavan, Sharman Joshi and Kareena Kapoor the film talked about the pressure on Indian youth to choose career paths and the loopholes in our education system. It also beautifully reflected the the country’s madness for engineering education. The film inspired many people to actually pursue their dream and not settle for a ‘safe’ career option.
Toilet: Ek Prem Katha- 168 crores
This film managed to do what even government policies fell short on. Directed by Sharad Katariya, starring Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar the film talked about the deep-rooted problem of open defecation that is more rampant in India that we care to admit or even talk about. Akshay and Bhumi’s powerful portrayal makes the film one of the best social dramas in Bollywood in the last couple of years. The narrative of the film focused fully on the social issue and did a great job at making people aware of the issue and start a dialogue about it.
Pink- 90.35 crores
There has been many court-room dramas and many film that talked about the cause of women empowerment, but if there is one film that got to root of the alarmingly high incidents of crime against women , was Shoojit Sircar’s Pink. Starring Amitabh Bachchan, Tapsee Pannu and Angad Bedi the film talked about the simple concept of consent and ‘no means no’. While there are so many films on assaults and exploitation, none of them managed to get to root of the issue and thus Pink is one film that started a dialogue on the concept of consent.
Padman- 78.95 crores
Menstruation is one topic in India that is not only shrouded in mystery but it is considered a taboo to even speak about it. As a result, for the longest we as a country has managed to overlook the fact that an alarming number of woman in India do not have access to sanitary napkins and they use rags which causes many diseases. Forget diseases, in India a woman is still considered impure while she is on her period. It was this relevant topic that R. Balki based his directorial Padman on. Starring Akshay Kumar, Radhika Apte and Sonam Kapoor, the film actually managed to make periods and pads an on-going conversation among people.
OMG- 77.80 crores
About 2 years before PK happened and became a phenomenon, it was Umesh Shukla’s OMG that questioned the element of blind faith and the mushrooming business of faith and religion in the country. Featuring a stupendous Paresh Rawal, an atheist Gujju businessman whose insurance money is withheld under the clause of Act of God, this film was all kinds of empowering. It not only questioned blind faith, but also talked about the massive religious ironies and the widespread corruption and commercialization of religion.
Hindi Medium- 77.61 crores
This film was perhaps one of the best film of 2017. Irfaan Khan and Saba Qamar beautifully portrayed the struggle that parents go through to get their kids into a decent school. It took a good hard look at the flawed system of school admission we have in place and the ridiculous demands that private schools make. Directed by Saket Chaudhry, the film surely forced the people of the country to take a good hard look at the way private institutions function in the country.
Taare Zameen Par- 74.82 crores
When one of India’s biggest superstars and best actors, Aamir Khan, decided to don the director’s hat, he re-defined parenting for the whole country. Aamir Khan and Darsheel Safary’s pitch perfect performance and a film that introduced most of the country to the problem of dyslexia in kids changed the way we looked at academic pressure on kids and parenting. It was after the film that many parents who crushed their kids under the burden of mounting expectations took a good hard look at what it was actually doing to their kids.
Swades- 23 crores
It is hard to believe that one of India’s best social dramas and perhaps one of Shah Rukh Khan’s best on-screen performance, Swades failed miserably at the box-office. Directed by Ashutosh Gowariker the film talked about many social issues, but at its core it talked how living in denial and making peace with our problems has made us complacent as a country that does not want to solve its problems. The film garnered rave critical review and is one of the best films in Bollywood to get crash course on developmental challenges we face as a country, especially in rural India.
Khosla Ka Ghosla- 6.38 crores
Back in 2006, director Dibakar Banerjee came up with a social issue that has seldom been addressed in films before. An urban comedy about a man whose live is turned upside down when a plot of land that he purchased with his life savings is forcefully encroached by land mafia. Starring a superb Anupam Kher and an equally awesome Boman Irani, this film talked about issues that every urban middle-class family knows to be true and even opened our eyes about how severe this issues can be.
Peepli LIVE- 39.84 lakhs
Written and directed by Anusha Rizvi, Peepli Live was a case-study on how ridiculous and often insensitive media’s greed for sensationalism can be. Starring Omkar Das Manikpuri and Raghubir Yadav the film is classic satire that talked about not just media sensationalism but was also a critical study on the palpalable condition of farmers in India and society’s severe lack of awareness about them. With a solid script, direction and refined performances the film’s achievements go much beyond its box-office failure.
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