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The New Bollywood: Substance That Will Have You In Splits

There was a time when an action sequence was enough to capture the Indian audience’s attention. Add a little vengeance, family politics, and romance to the story, and you would have found yourself an award winner.

However, in recent years, the audience has moved beyond masala movies to appreciating films which project real life onto the screen, sans the melodrama. While romance, tragedy, drama, and action remain essential pillars of the productions churned out by Bollywood, there’s a definite tilt towards peppering the same with pressing social issues. Be it filmmakers or film viewers, there has been a call for feature films that, albeit potboilers, touch upon causes faced by the community. Indulging in this new genre of entertaining yet socially-relevant films, #DSSCRecommends 5 films that represent the aware, concerned, and enlightened India.


Vicky Donor | Shoojit Sircar


The romantic comedy that touched all our hearts by going beyond the typical ‘boy meets girl, they fall in love and live happily ever after’ story and touching upon the rarely discussed topic of sperm donation. The story revolves around Vicky (Ayushmann Khurrana), Dr. Baldev (Annu Kapoor), the owner of a fertility clinic and a sperm bank, and the twists and turns Vicky’s life goes through as he donates his sperm for childless couples. The film expertly sheds light on a serious issue which is still considered a taboo among majority of the Indian society, deterring sperm donors and childless parents from adopting this route. Despite the gravity of the issue, it is impossible for one to not have a favourite comic line from Vicky Donor; a rare feat for a film discussing a serious and sensitive subject.


3 Idiots | Rajkumar Hirani


This cult film provided a whole new perspective on the Indian education system. Released in 2009, starring Aamir Khan, R. Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, and Kareena Kapoor as leads, this light-hearted comedy focuses on the present state of the Indian education system and questions its core tenets. From Aamir Khan trying to define a machine to Kareena Kapoor being a runaway bride; this film will have you in fits of laughter long after its various comic scenes have been viewed. At the same time, the film conveys the importance of focusing on children’s innate interests and respecting the path less travelled. A story of three friends and their experiences through engineering college, 3 Idiots nudges one to reminisce their time in college. It proffers a perspective that is often lost in city life – there are more ways of making a living for oneself than bagging a well-compensated job.


OMG – Oh my God! | Umesh Shukla


This film uses the backdrop of the protagonist’s (Paresh Rawal) decision to sue God as a device to explore the manner in which individuals have commercialised God, and emotionally manipulate individuals to meet their own ends. In an overtly and overly religious country, this production is a good means of uncovering the reality behind god-men and their pursuit of commercial gain. In spite of taking on a sensitive subject, the film received great reviews from audiences and critics alike. A myriad impact dialogues and impeccable comic timing by an ensemble comprising of Paresh Rawal, Akshay Kumar, and Mithun Chakraborty; OMG will certainly tickle your funny bone and force you to don that thinking cap.


Hindi Medium | Saket Chaudhary


At its heart a comedy, Hindi Medium critiques the divide between the English speaking and non-English speaking members of the Indian society. It does so by examining the travails of  Raj (Irrfan Khan) and Mita (Saba Qamar) as they yearn to get their daughter, Pia, educated at a reputed English medium school. When they realise that their social circumstances preclude them from doing so, they are willing to leave no stone unturned to augment their daughter’s fate. A film that catches everyday moments, exchanges, and virtues beautifully, Hindi Medium will make you smile and simultaneously hammer home the point.


Queen | Vikas Bahl


The quintessential feel good Bollywood film, gives one a peek at a young Indian woman’s journey of discovering her independence. Rani (Kangana Ranaut) decides to go on a ‘solo honeymoon’ after her fiancé calls off their wedding at the last minute. Backpacking through Europe, she discovers that she is far more than the conventional Indian girl. The film, with its several heart touching moments, explores how an individual’s independence is crucial for their growth. The director subtly explores the mentality of the Indian middle class through events such as Rani’s fiancé forbidding her from dancing at her friend’s wedding, discouraging her from learning how to drive a car, or even labelling her an inadequate match for him. This film artfully creates a masterpiece that every Indian female can relate to.


Go ahead, line your binge watch session of the week with Bollywood gems that bring you substance and a smile in one take.


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