Bollywood film industry is famous worldwide for its dance and musical numbers. Today, the commercial Hindi film industry has evolved to a level that we are garnering accolades from all over the globe.
With many films crossing the gigantic 500 crore mark at the worldwide box office collections, Bollywood film industry is definitely writing a new chapter in the global entertainment industry.
However, in the quest to be recognized and acknowledged globally, Bollywood has definitely forgotten the golden era of Hindi cinema. This golden era of Hindi cinema is defined as the emergence of parallel cinema in India.
Parallel cinema made way for new filmmakers and actors who dedicated their profession to the art of filmmaking rather than focusing on the box office success.
Some of the renowned gifts from Parallel cinema include filmmakers like Satyajit Ray, Shyam Benegal, Bimal Roy, Govind Nihalani, Basu Chatterjee and several others. This cinematic trend also paved way for a new breed of actors like Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Deepti Naval, Farooq Sheikh, Amol Palekar, Pankaj Kapur, and many others.
Today, we are offering a tribute to the parallel cinema and remembering the lost trend by sharing some of the best Hindi films from Parallel Cinema.
Best Hindi Movies in Parallel Cinema
Parallel Cinema began spreading its wings in the early 1950s through Bengali Cinema. Basically, parallel cinema is the alternative version of commercial cinema where the focus is on the art and reality rather fantasy or popular trends.
Let’s check out some of the best output from the parallel cinema.
Do Bigha Zamin (1953)
Do Bigha Zamin is the plight of a family who are exploited by the village Zamindar. To get back their piece of land, the family goes through many different atrocities and their quest to make enough money is described brilliantly narrated in the film by Bimal Roy.
Garm Hawa (1973)
Garm Hawa portrays the life of a Muslim businessman and the troubles he faces because of his religion in the post-partition India. Director M.S. Sathyu tries to draw our attention to the treatment of Muslim families in India after the partition. Garam Hawa is one of the Best Movies of Balraj Sahni.
27 Down (1974)
27 Down reflects at the past of a middle-aged man while his journey to Varanasi or Banaras. The flashback takes us to his young days and mainly focuses on the two sacrifices he made in his life; his dreams and his love.
Hells break loose when a Dalit woman has an illicit affair with the village landlord’s son. Based on a true story, Shyam Benegal tries to educate us about the human behavior as he narrates a story involving religious beliefs, caste discrimination, adultery, and child marriage. Ankur is credited as Shabana Azmi’s debut film.
Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastaan (1978)
Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastaan is all about what the title of the film suggests. It tells the interesting and weird story of Arvind Desai. Son of a rich businessman, Arvind Desai has different shades to his character. He begins an affair with his dad’s secretary, supports a Marxist ideology, visits a prostitute, and later dies accidentally. It’s the kind of film that raises so many questions by the end of the film.
Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai (1980)
Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai portrays the angst of the main protagonist of the film played by Naseeruddin Shah. Directed by Saeed Akhtar Mirza, the film draws our attention towards the plight of laborers in Mumbai during the 80s at the hands of the capitalists and industrialists. The film also stars Smita Patil, Shabana Azmi, Dilip Dhawan, and others.
Aakrosh is a 1980 film directed by Govind Nihalani starring Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, and Smita Patil in pivotal roles. The film is about a peasant’s plight as the judiciary system fails him and he must take a disastrous step to stop the atrocities on him and his family. Shah plays a lawyer, whereas Om Puri plays his defendant in the film.
Sparsh is a spectacular film about the blind and brilliantly portrayed by Naseeruddin Shah who plays a blind Principal of a school for the blind. He finds a ray of hope in his life after he meets a young girl with amazing voice played by Shabana Azmi. However, owing to the difference in views, both don’t unite despite touching the depth of each others’ feelings.
The 1981 crime drama film Kalyug can be considered as the first attempt to narrate the story of Mahabharata in the modern day setup, Directed by Shyam Benegal, the film basically tells the story of the feud between two families just like the Mahabharata. Kalyug is an interesting tale of intrigue, revenge, and jealousy, There are some other Movies Based on the Mahabharat, like Rajneeti, Thalapati etc.
Arth is a semi-biographical film inspired from the life of Mahesh Bhatt himself and his alleged affair with the Parveen Babi. The film narrates an epic tale of a woman who evolves as an independent person after betrayed by her husband. The film is directed by Mahesh Bhatt himself and stars Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil, Raj Kiran, and Kulbhushan Kharbanda in the lead roles.
Mandi is a 1983 film starring Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil in the lead roles. Directed by Shyam Benegal, the story of the film revolves around a brothel and its inhabitants. The brothel is run by Rukmini Bai, played by Shabana Azmi. The film keeps you intrigued with sudden twists throughout the film.
Jane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983)
One of the best satirical comedies of all time, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro is a story of two photographers whose life gets tangled in a political scandal. Directed by Kundan Shah, the film is about their quest unravel the corruption scandal. The film features an ensemble cast of Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Pankaj Kapur, Satish Shah, Satish Kaushik, Bhakti Barve, Neena Gupta, and Ravi Baswani.
Ardh Satya (1983)
Ardh Satya is the story of a honest police officer who starts a rift with the local don. However, the corruption and bureaucracy within the system make him question his own beliefs. In a sudden twist of fate, he succumbs to the same corrupt system that he despised once.
Also Read: Greatest Hindi Movies about Supercops.
A directorial debut film of Shekhar Kapur, Masoom is a 1983 coming-of-the-age drama film that revolves around a family. When a young boy enters their family, everything changes and once a happy family is totally disturbed by the presence of the new member of the family. The film stars Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi as husband and wife, whereas Jugal Hansraj plays the young boy.
Saaransh is a 1984 Hindi drama film starring Anupam Kher and Rohini Hattangadi in the lead roles. Directed by Mahesh Bhatt, the film narrates the story of an elderly couple and their quest to seek justice for a young girl who lives with them as a paying guest.
Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho! (1984)
Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho! is an interesting tale of an elderly man who frustrated with the bad maintenance of his locality by the landlord takes the matters into his own hands. He takes his landlord to the court, however, doesn’t get the justice he seeks, thanks to the corrupted system. The film is directed by Saeed Akhtar Mirza who narrates the life of Bombay in the 80s brilliantly.
Massey Sahib (1985)
Today, many conservative minded people criticize western fashion and habits in India. Here comes the story of a man set in 1929 when India was under the British rule. Released in 1985, Massey Sahib tells the story of the titular character who despite being an India considered himself as no different as the British, thanks to his religion. He makes every amends to please his British superiors and lives in an illusion believing that they treat him as their own. Directed by Pradip Krishen, the film features Raghubir Yadav in the titular role.
Ek Ruka Hua Faisla (1986)
Ek Ruka Hua Faisla is courtroom drama film that follows a particular case where the jury has to make the final decision. Directed by Basu Chatterjee, the film is a remake of 1957 Hollywood film 12 Angry Men.
Mirch Masala (1987)
Mirch Masala is a women centric film featuring Smita Patil as the protagonist and Naseeruddin Shah as the antagonist. Directed by Ketan Mehta, the film is set in the colonial India and tells the story of remote Indian village exploited by the subedar. For her brilliant portrayal of Sonbai, Smita Patil’s performance is named among the 25 Greatest Acting Performance of Indian Cinema.
Salaam Bombay! (1988)
Salaam Bombay! is a Mira Nair film narrating the stories of Children living on the streets of Mumbai set in the late 80s. The film draws our attention to lives of many street children in India’s largest city. The film was also India’s second film nominated for the Oscars for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film category.
A story of desires set in the historical era, Trishagni is a film inspired from Buddha’s Fire Sermon. The story takes place in 200 B.C. and is adapted from a historical short story penned by Saradindu Bandopadhyay. The film is directed by Nabendu Ghosh where he narrates a story about the inner desires burning within us.
Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro (1989)
Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro is a 1989 film set in the era when Hindutva mobilization was on the rise. Through the life of Salim Langda, one of the main leads and the titular character, the director tries to show us the plight of young Muslim men from working class segment in Mumbai. Directed by Saeed Akhtar Mirza, the film depicts a story suggesting what could have been the triggering point for the development on Mumbai underworld.
Also Read: List of Best Movies Produced by NFDC
Ek Doctor Ki Maut (1990)
Directed by Tapan Sinha, Ek Doctor Ki Maut is a film featuring the life of a doctor portrayed by Pankaj Kapur. The film brilliantly narrates how the life’s work of a doctor is neglected and his achievements are ridiculed and humiliated in the public, thanks to jealousy and bureaucratic negligence in the country. Shabana Azmi plays the doctor’s wife in the film.
Mammo is an interesting story of a lovely relationship between two elderly women and their grandson. Directed by Shyam Benegal, the film revolves around the titular character Mammo played by Farida Jalal. While we know Farida Jalal as one of the iconic Bollywood moms, her character portrayal of Mammo displays a completely different shade of her acting skills.
Rui Ka Bojh (1997)
Rui Ka Bojh is a 1997 Hindi drama film featuring Pankaj Kapur, Raghubir Yadav, and Reema Lagoo in the lead roles. The film depicts the story of an elderly man and his life with his youngest son and daughter-in-law. Directed by Subhash Agrawal, the film tries to draw our attention towards the modern generation losing affection for the older generation.
That’s it. Between the early 50s to the late 90s, many popular, as well as budding directors and actors, have displayed their cinematic art through parallel cinema and many films were produced by NFDC. Some of these films have gained nationwide acknowledgment and even worldwide recognition in some cases. However, many of the movies from parallel cinema are lost among the modern trends of masala commercial flicks.
By creating this list, we are trying to draw our readers’ attention towards these cinematic marvels. If you are also a fan of parallel cinema then don’t forget to let us know your favorite films from this category.