10 films that showcase India in 10 different ways

On the eve of Independence Day, Rediff.com looks at films which show India’s many extraordinary facets.

India is an endless sea of diversity, disparity and differences. Even everyday sights and experiences here overwhelm the senses with their unique metaphors and unforeseen conclusions.

Despite its exasperating extremes and delightful contrasts, a shared love for cinema binds the nation as it gathers to applaud inside dimly lit movie halls. At this point, all social distinctions disappear and an unexplained wave of solidarity takes over.

While our cinema continually evolves and filmmakers aspire for international scale finesse in thought and treatment, others choose to tell a story about India and Indianness — capturing its vivid fantasies, heightened emotionality and rudimentary morality like the triumph of good over evil.

Here’s a look at the 10 celebrated contemporary Hindi films that embody India’s many extraordinary facets — heartening, bleak, poignant, explosive and sublime.


Ashutosh Gowariker’s Swades examines the gap between modern and rural India through an NRI NASA employee (Shah Rukh Khan) and his experiences when he visits an electricity-devoid Indian village to meet his nanny and convince her to return with him.

Instead the extent of paucity and discrimination his homeland tolerates on a grass-root level unsettles SRK’s Mohan Bhargav so much, he resolves to come back and facilitate its progress and upliftment.

Its restrained and realistic nationalism, credible depiction of what plagues the interiors of India and the visionary message of bringing about change inspires and impresses.

  • Earlier in our Independence Day Special series: 10 things you need to know about India
  • 10 shuddh desi brands we grew up with
  • Books that best capture India

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