While you are sitting at home, here are 10 documentaries you can watch to learn more about India, our motherland.
1. The ’90s: India Rediscovered
The 90’s in India was an interesting mix of good and bad. Where on one hand, Indian beauties were crowned Miss Universe and Miss World, there were killings and violence. Marked with rise of pop culture, politics and several breakthroughs: the documentary features special moments with Dia Mirza, Raveena Tandon, P Chidambaram, Ram Gopal Varma, Prahlad Kakkar, Nandita Das and Shekhar Suman, to name a few. This documentary will tell us exactly about the past that has shaped what India is today.
2. India Untouched
Discrimination is something that can never go never go away. When it comes to India discrimination here is way more due to the caste system. This documentary takes the viewer across India to expose the harsh reality of the caste system that affects people across social strata and geographical boundaries. P.S. the documentary also triggered Ayushmann Khurrana to do Article 15.
3. Bollywood: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told
While the 21 day lockdown marks for no new film release in India, this documentary directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra & Jeff Zimbalis will tell you the power and beauty of Indian Film Industry, Bollywood. It talks about how cinema holds India together and yet tears it apart. Bollywood is not just an industry, it’s a lifeline that pumps blood to over two billion people across the globe. If you are a Bollywood fan, it’s a must watch.
4. War and Peace
War And Peace by Anand Patwardhan helps us understand India’s political fabric a little better. Filmed over four tumultuous years in India, Pakistan, Japan and the USA following nuclear tests in the Indian subcontinent, War and Peace is a documentary journey of peace activism in the face of global militarism and war. The documentary becomes important to watch right now to get a glimpse into India’s political history.
5. The Final Solution
In this era where India is slowly moving towards Hindu-Muslim violence, yet again, The Final Solution based on Gujarat roits becomes a film that we should watch. People who have already watched it might also want to watch it again to hear what people thought were the reasons for the riots and the politics behind it.
6. Beyond All Boundaries
This one’s for all the cricket lovers who miss IPL and are watching past matches. This is one film that you’ll relate to the most because in India, cricket is not just a sport but it’s a religion. This documentary by Sushrut Jain explores the moments of stress and larger than life celebrations carried out post 2011 Cricket World Cup Win. It also peeks into the lifestyle of three people, Sudhir, Prithvi, and Akshaya, who are hardcore cricket lovers.
7. The Forgotten Volunteers – Indian Army WWII
The award-winning BBC documentary series shows us the role played by over two and a half million Indian army in the Second World War. Although the Indian contribution to the war effort is now largely overlooked, it was their volunteers who helped Britain secure victory over the Italians in Ethiopia and Egypt, and against the Japanese in Malaya, Singapore and Burma. Included are interviews with Indian soldiers and British officers of the time, plus rare footage of the fighting in Burma and the Western Desert.
8. Prostitutes of God
The film explores the practice of religious sex slavery was made illegal 20 years ago, but there are more than 23,000 women in Karnataka, who sell their bodies every day in the name of the mysterious Hindu Goddess Yellamma. Prostitutes of God explore the lives of these Devadasis.
9. Children Of The Inferno
Part of The ‘Unreported World’, this documentary reveals a vision of hell where the earth is literally on fire as vast subterranean coal fires burn out of control beneath towns and villages, children mine coal day in day out, and half a million people are being moved out of their ancestral villages to make way for the coal mines fuelling India’s growth. Everywhere the team travels in Jharia the fires are burning.
10. Breaking Free
Produced by Solaris Pictures, with crowdfunding, this feature-length documentary interweaves testimonies of gay and transgender persons who have been victimized or exploited by police, family, law and society as well as wide-ranging interviews of advocates and activists across India. It gives an up close glimpse into the lives of the most vulnerable LGBTQIA+ community in India.