Movies, often, borrow from the happenings in society. Some movies take the prevalent issues in society and portray them truthfully as it is, while some movies take the same issue and portray them in a distinctive way that leaves the audience thinking. It can be a satire or a comedy.

We curated a list of 14 movies from Bollywood where social issues were presented in a distinctive way. Take a look below.

1. Darlings (2022)
Jasmeet K Reen’s directorial debut, Darlings revolves around the life of Badrunissa who suffers abuse at the hands of her husband. The movie takes the issue of domestic violence and skillfully portrays it as a dark comedy without trivialising it. It sheds light on important issues such as a woman reclaiming her agency, and her self-respect, while also putting a mirror on society.

Darlings starring Alia Bhatt
BBC

2. No Smoking (2007)
This movie is a classic Anurag Kashyap film. When it was released back in 2007, it was considered way ahead of its time. The movie is rife with symbolism and it depends on the viewer how they wish to interpret the plot. On a surface level, it can be seen as a commentary on any man quitting an addiction. But on a closer look, it is highly psychological.

No Smoking starring John Abraham
IMDb

3. Ungli (2014)
This Rensil D’Silva movie has an ensemble cast perfect for a movie of its kind. A group of friends form a gang with only a single aim – to unmask corrupt people. They do so by employing unconventional means that make them a public favourite.

Ungli starring Emraan Hashmi
Mubi

4. Jayeshbhai Jordaar (2022)
Directed by Divyang Thakkar, this film revolves around the life of Jayesh Patel. It is through Jayesh that the film highlights the illegal practice of female infanticide, the want for a male child, and all other discriminatory practices that continue to oppress women.

Jayeshbhai Jordaar starring Ranveer Singh
Film Companion

5. Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year (2009)
A fresh graduate lands a sales job. But when he comes face to face with the reality of how stuff works in a corporate, things change. Directed by Shimit Amin, the movie is a commentary on how young professionals wade through the demands of a fierce industry.

Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year starring Ranbir Kapoor
IMDb

6. Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (2017)
Directed by Shree Narayan Singh, the movie talks about the deplorable sanitation conditions of the country, especially in rural areas. People defecate in the open fields because they lack a toilet in their compounds. Newly married Jaya does not want to adhere to this norm. What ensues is how her husband engages in futile attempts with his father to have a toilet in his house until one fine day when things take a different route.

Toilet: Ek Prem Katha starring Akshay Kumar
Koimoi

7. Pagglait (2021)
Directed by Umesh Bist, the story revolves around the life of a young widow who is unable to grieve for the loss of her husband. In the short span of their arranged marriage, they were never a couple or let alone, in love. Nosy relatives are puzzled seeing how a wife is not sad about the death of her husband. Apart from this portrayal of how grief is different for everyone, the movie is also a self-discovery journey for Sandhya. Despite being an MA topper, she was never allowed to have a job. 

Pagglait starring Sanya Malhotra
Rediff

8. Table No. 21 (2013)
This Aditya Datt movie has also been touted as a desi version of Squid Games. Through the life of a newly married couple, the movie explores themes of greed, ragging, and the after-effects.

Table No. 21 starring Tina Desai
Filmi Beat

9. Peepli Live (2010)
This cult favourite movie highlights how a farmer’s suicide turns into a TRP fest for news channels. The movie is still relevant and highlights the plight of farmers, vote bank politics, and the state of Indian news media.

Peepli Live
Screen Daily

10. Bulbbul (2020)
On paper, Bulbbul looks like just another supernatural thriller. But it is not. Directed by Anvita Dutt, the movie talks about patriarchy, child marriage, and how a woman is seen as the root of all befalls in rural areas.

Bulbbul starring Rahul Bose
The Telegraph

11. OMG: Oh My God! (2012)
They do not make movies like this anymore. Directed by Umesh Shukla, the movie is a satire and a commentary on Indian society and the extent to which religion has been commercialized and is being misused. A topic not touched upon anymore.

OMG: Oh My God starring Paresh Rawal
Bollywood Hungama

12. Janhit Mein Jaari (2022)
Sex education is highly required in our country and this movie was one such attempt. A young girl takes on the job of selling condoms and explaining the importance of protection and safe sex in her small town. Directed by Jai Basantu Singh, the girl battles taboos and delivers an important message.

Nushhratt Bharuccha in Janhit Mein Jaari
Hindustan Times

13. Ugly (2013)
Just like its name, the movie paints an ugly picture of the reality of society, human emotions, ego, and jealousy. Placed against the backdrop of a missing minor, the Anurag Kashyap movie is a dark and gripping watch.

Ronit Roy in Ugly
Scroll

14. Jolly LLB (2013)
Placed against a judicial backdrop, this comedy film highlights the plight of daily wage workers, monopolies, corruption, and oppression. This Subhash Kapoor movie is a commentary on the judicial system of the country.

Jolly LLB starring Arshad Warsi
News 18

All of these movie are excellent and thought-provoking watch. Which other movies would you add to this list?