New Delhi: For sometime now, Bollywood has been romancing the smalltown. Films ranging from the simplistic "Bareilly Ki Barfi" and and "Raanjhanaa", to the glamour-packed "Badrinath Ki Dulhania" or "Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania" have been only a few examples among numerous that have been exploring various facets of heartland India.
In 2019, the Hindi film industry seems to be in the mood to take the game to the next level. Simple tales of the simple folk won't do anymore. Whether it is the street rapper of Gully Boy, or the underprivileged genius teenagers of "Super 30", or the low caste of "Article 15" whose right to dignified life is regularly violated, Bollywood is suddenly focussing on being the voice of the marginalised.
"Super 30", which opened this week, may have seen mixed reviews owing to flawed storytelling, but the film does have its heart in the right place. The film based on the life of Patna-based math wiz Anand Kumar, who launched the "Super 30" programme for underprivileged IIT-JEE aspirants, is an important reminder to the fact that poor, lower-caste kids with merit and a desire to enter IIT-Jee but no money also have the right to higher education.
The film has had a decent start at the box office collecting Rs 11.83 crore on day one, points out trade analyst Taran Adarsh: "'Super 30' has a decent day one. Business picked up at metros and urban centres (Mumbai and South specifically) towards evening though mass pockets are ordinary to dull. (The film) should witness growth on day two and three."
Just last month, Anubhav Sinha's film, "Article 15" made a hard-hitting case for prohibiting discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, in accordance with Article 15 of Indian Constitution.
"One of the reasons we wanted to make the film is that we want to reach out to rural India, to places where discrimination is still happening based on caste. If we made an arthouse film and only travelled to international film festivals, we would reach the audience who are already aware of such discrimination," the film's lead actor Ayushmann Khurrana told media.
"Article 15" began its third week on Friday on a steady note, having grossed Rs 53.68 crore in the domestic market despite its grim theme.
When Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt-starrer "Gully Boy" released earlier this year, underground rappers couldn't stop saying "Apna time ayega".
The hit movie that took the audience through the Dharavi slums of Mumbai, was inspired by the life story of street rappers Divine and Naved Shaikh --- aka Naezy --- known for their song "Mere gully mein".
Zoya Akhtar's "Gully Boy" managed to rake in Rs 139.8 crore in the domestic market and was delcared superhit, primarily riding the star power of Ranveer and Alia. That proves a vital truth. If the big stars of Bollywood show the guts to take up such gritty subjects, the audience will always respond positively.