Since the pandemic, Indian moviegoers have changed their attitude toward movies. Star power is no more the driving force of any movie, irrespective of the language. The Khan trio, Chiranjeevi, and even Rajinikanth have failed to help earn as much as they would have liked at the box office. On the same hand, the likes of Fahadh Faasil, Chaitanya Tamhane, the Shetty brothers, etc. are attracting much larger sets of an audience.
The success of Kantara is far bigger than what is visible to the naked eye. The success of a movie made on such a budget is a testament to the rising interest in the stories which come from the grassroots rather than the ones, having a star at the helm.
Here are a few examples of Indian movies from the last few decades which put the Indian culture at the forefront and yet succeeded financially –
The 2009 Marathi movie is directed by Rajiv Patil, who had earlier made a spine-chilling ‘Savarkhed – Ek Gaon’. Jogwa put forth the woes of ‘Jogta’ and ‘Jogtin’. A set of people who live in Maharashtra and Karnataka and follow a local deity, whose rules are often very strict.
Upendra Limaye was effective while portraying the role of Tayappa, a man who is forced to take up womanhood due to the local culture. This performance was listed in the Forbes list of ‘25 greatest performances by Indian actors’, in 2013.
Pather Panchali :
Directed by the legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray, Pather Panchali is the first movie of the Apu trilogy. Ray gained international acclaim for the portrayal of rural Bengal in the series.
Pather Panchali focuses on the life of an upper-caste Hindu family who lives on the outskirts of the Bengal Urban and struggles to make their daily bread. The movie was specifically praised for the attention to detail and the naive approach that the director took to tell the story. Pather Panchali is regarded to be the best Indian movie ever made.
Directed by Kanu Behl, this 2014 film is a nuanced approach to understanding the livelihood of an underprivileged gangster family in a metro city. The story covers the life of a man who wants to break free from the unlawful nature of life and decides to lead his life separately.
The movie stars Shanshan Arora, Ranvir Shorey, and Shivani Raghuvanshi in pivotal roles.
This Indian – American co-production is a light-hearted take on the reactions of a family to the death of their 101-year-old patriarch. The movie became famous because of the actors, the production decided to cast non-professional actors from villages in the Mandya district of Karnataka.
The movie was co-written and directed by Raam Reddy. It premiered at the 68th Locarno International Film Festival. The movie won the National Film Award For Best Feature Film in Kannada.
Punjab 1984 :
The Anurag Singh-directed movie was released in 2014. The movie followed the life of a woman who loses her husband in the riots of 1984, following the blue star operation. The movie became a talking point at the time of its release because of its ghastly portrayal of the riots.
The movie stars Diljit Dosanjh and Kirron Kher in important roles.
Visaranai is considered to be Vetri Maaran’s best film to date. The movie covers the story of four Tamil-speaking labourers who get caught in Andhra Pradesh. The movie shows the oppression of the lower caste labourers at the hands of a corrupt system.
Made on a small budget of 1 crore rupees, the movie was a theatrical success as it made over 11 crore rupees at the box office