Every movie needs a backdrop, and in a culturally diverse country like India, there is always a need to justify the backdrop in the light of the narrative of the film. Thus, our Bollywood directors always chose to play with the backdrop on which their film is set in to be incorporated into the story. While some films use the city they are set in simply as a geographical specification, there are films that go beyond and reflects the true essence of the city in the story itself. Here are 10 films that managed to do exactly that.
There is no dearth of movies in Bollywood that have tried to capture the unique glory of the ancient city of Benaras. The ghats, the meandering gullys, and the unique amalgamation culture make this city one of a kind and thus it needed a film that was one of a kind. Masaan managed to do what very few films could do that is to strike a balance between showing the real essence of the city and romanticizing it.
Wake up Sid
Bollywood has never shied away from giving an ode to the city that houses it, Mumbai. But of all films, Wake Up Sid actually gives a very authentic vibe of the city that is exotic without being stereotypical.
When it comes to Bollywood films, Kolkata it is all about Durga Pujo, women in red and white sarees and rasgullas. It needed a Mani Ratnam to bring out the real character of the city. From the intense student politics to the urban romances, it showed Kolkata in a real but unique light.
Band Bajaa Baraat
Bollywood director’s love affair with the capital city is not new. Many a film has had Delhi as a backdrop, but Band Bajaa Baraat stands out among all of them because nothing brings out Delhi better than weddings. Together with Shruti and Bittu audience discovered the idiosyncrasies of this city of many flavors.
The Charminar, biryani and a unique Hindi dialect, Hyderabad is one city that Bollywood needs to explore more. There aren’t too many films that do justice to the city of Nizams. But Bobby Jasoos did a decent job of capturing the essence of the city. Though the Vidya Balan starrer did not do too well at the box office, but managed to convey the city of Hyderabad in a convincing way.
Kashmir and its tumultuous politics has formed the crux of many stories in Bollywood and there was a time when Kashmir and its chinar leaves and Chinar lake was the Switzerland of the east for romantic songs. But if there is one film that manages to marry the beauty of Kashmir with its disturbances, it has to Haider.
Dil Chahta Hai was the movie that made Goa to the holy grail of friends trips in India, but Goa for those who know it is so much more than its beaches and parties. Even though the film went somewhat unnoticed due to its niche genre, Finding Fanny is one movie that captured Goa in all its glory. From the culture to language to the parts of Goa which are not beaches, it made Goa a character in the movie and not just the backdrop. In fact, it is one of the very few Bollywood movies set in Goa that does not show a beach even for once.
Kai Po Che
This movie was set in the backdrop of Ahmedabad and deserves applause for several factors including beautifully reflecting the real essence of the city. Together with the three friends exploring life and mistakes the film transports you to their world which is confined in Ahmedabad and is as authentic as khakras of the city.
There was a time when it was difficult to find a Bollywood movie that did not feature Punjab’s ‘sarson ka khet’ in at least one song. Films such as Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge immortalized the romance of Punjab in minds of an entire generation, but Mausam is one film that should be given credit for bringing out the minute details that gave audiences the truest feeling of rural Punjab.
Whenever we think of Rajasthan we think of Rajput men with swords on horses or beautiful women in their colorful lehengas peeping through the ‘jharokhas’ of palaces. But if there is one film that brings the raw and real Rajputi flavor on screens, it is Gulaal. It tried to bring to notice the murky world of politics and the famed Rajputi hot-headedness and thirst for revenge and gave a nuanced understanding of how life really plays out in the small towns of Rajasthan.