Survival and sustenance are not as easy and basic as they sound – specifically when we live in a country like ours. Living here comes with an instruction manual to follow. Understandably, renting or buying an apartment isn’t the easiest task – it comes with its own struggles. We either come across places that aren’t suitable to live or we do not fit in the landlord’s criteria. In between the hubbub, we’re hardly left with any choice.
Most Bollywood films show unrealistic apartments, that are easily available to rent – as if our society is so progressive that they wouldn’t have a thousand questions.
However, these are some films and shows that managed to show the struggle:
1. Dear Zindagi
There’s a scene in the film, where Kiara gets a phone call from her landlord asking her to vacate the apartment. This happens because their society had decided to stop renting apartments to people who’re single. This scene is sadly a harsh truth in a country like ours where renting is already a struggle, which gets worse for people who aren’t married – as if they’re criminals.
Bas building waalo ne mil kar decide kiya ki ab sirf shaadi-shuda log aur families reh sakte hain.
2. Made In Heaven
In an episode in the series, Karan is arrested after his landlord files a report against him. His landlords not only invade his privacy by setting up a camera in his room but go on and ask him to vacate the flat, even when he paid for the entire month. The heteronormative codes of our present-day society are too rigid and can be humiliating for a lot of people. It’s almost impossible to find oneself a place to live if we do not have a specific religion, gender, sexuality and a lot more pre-requisites.
3. Love Per Square Foot
The plot of the film is based on a couple entering a ‘marriage of convenience’ only to purchase a house. Both Vicky Kaushal and Angira Dhar’s character want a house of their own, but it’s almost impossible to get a home loan in the city. And, they’re both so annoyed with their current living situations that they decide on getting married, just to avail a housing scheme. Even though exaggerated, the scene and the plot does justice to the issues associated with buying a house in our country.
4. Masaba Masaba
Masaba Masaba is a scripted version of Masaba Gupta’s life and follows the journey and struggles of the fashion designer. After her divorce, she decides on finding an apartment of her own, but that’s an added trouble in its own. Some apartments do not allow single women, some are too shady to live in while others have their own issues. The struggle, even though scripted, is as real as it gets for women in our country – when it comes to living alone.
The series focuses on the struggles of well, adulting. And, no struggle is more prominent than renting an apartment every few months. In one of the episodes, Nikhat (the protagonist) thinks of venting in front of her mother and having to change the apartment is shown on top of her list. They had been living in an apartment but have to find another place to live, before they even settle in. This is such a common practice, that it’s now normalized in a country like ours.
The entire film follows the journey of the friends, finding an appropriate place to cook Axone. In a scene, the landlord picks up a fight with Chanbi just because she doesn’t like the smell of the food that they’re cooking. She adds that it was one of the things that she mentioned while renting them the apartment and people start gathering to join in the fight. It’s no news that people from North-East find it difficult to rent places in metropolitans like Delhi and Mumbai, but the treatment they face even after renting, is an added struggle.
Maine yeh ghar dene se pehle hi bol diya tha ki yahan pe yeh badbu wala khana nahi chalega.
7. Luka Chuppi
The film follows the story of a couple who enter into a fake marriage, just so they can live in together. In a scene from the film, the broker suggests Vinod and Rashmi to pretend that they’re married in order to rent an apartment. He mentions that people and political parties in the city frown upon live-in relationships, and hence the only way to get an apartment is to lie. Sadly, this is a bitter truth in most cities and localities of our country – where you have to have a family to rent an apartment together.
The 1977 film that was actually a love-story, also focused on the issues of finding a suitable place to live in a city like Mumbai. Chhaya and Sudip, who want to build a life together, struggle to get an apartment while dealing with the expenses of the city. Something as simple as buying a place to live, costs them a relationship – just because they cannot afford the place without someone else’s help. It was a remark on the tiring process and toxicity associated with finding a living in metropolitan cities.
9. Mission Mangal
The film didn’t shy way from putting emphasis on how our society treats renters. Kriti Kulhari’s character Neha Siddiqui is already given a list of rules to follow before even renting the apartment. And like changing one’s lifestyle isn’t enough, she was denied the apartment for being a Muslim. People often tend to change their decisions by judging people on the basis of their stereotypes – and something as basic as renting a flat can also be denied in our country just because you practice a certain religion.
It is a never ending struggle.