Kartik Aaryan starrer thriller Dhamaka recently released on Netflix. The movie revolves around Arjun Pathak (Kartik Aryan), a TV anchor who was demoted to a RJ by his boss following his involvement in some corruption. As he tries to reclaim his lost glory with the help of a breaking news, we get to see the real face of TRP-hungry media.
While the movie has received mixed reviews from the audience, Indian cinema has had several other movies on journalism and state of media. Here's a few that you might have already watched. If not, give them a shot.
1. Page 3 (2005)
This refreshingly original and hard-hitting film revolved around the story of a journalist, Madhavi Sharma, played by actor Konkana Sen Sharma. She comes to Mumbai with the hopes of making it big in the entertainment media industry and starts writing for page 3 of a daily tabloid.
She sees the grim reality of the showbiz industry and tries to show the ugly side of the industry. Being Page 3's only moral voice, she brings a sense of reality into the story.
2. Peepli Live (2010)
The film is a satirical take on how a family's tragedy is milked for political gains and media does nothing to help, rather amplifies it. Although a work of fiction, it's observations on media are brilliant
It shows the story of an impoverished farmer family who lost their piece of land to the bank since they couldn’t repay the loan. The helpless farmer family convinces one of their family members to commit suicide in order to gain monetary benefits of a government scheme. Eventually, they become fodder for national news and a scapegoat for political parties, both of which do not leave any stone unturned in exploiting them.
3. No One Killed Jessica (2011)
The film is based on a real life incident from 1999 when a New Delhi model Jessica Lall was shot dead by an influential minister’s son in an upmarket club. Following a long legal battle, the court acquits the murderers due to lack of evidence and political influence. This is when Meera Gaity (played by Rani Mukherjee), a journalist takes the case in her hands and performs various sting operations in the process.
While working on the case and fighting fo justice for Jessica, she exposes the failure of law and order in the country and raises important questions about the police and authorities.
4. Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani (2000)
The film talked about commercialisation of TV news and its nexus with the establishment.
It revolves around two TV reporters Ajay Bakshi (played by Shah Rukh Khan) and Ria Banerjee (played by Juhi Chawla) who work with rival news channels. Both of them try to save a man who was falsely framed by politicians.
5. Rann (2010)
The film is about a television news channel run by Vijay Harshvardhan Malik (played by Amitabh Bahchchan) that swears by its ethical code of relaying only truth. The channel begins to lose TRP because of its focus on telling the truth at a time when other channels were focused on sensationalism. Vijay Malik's ambitious son tries to win the TRP war by stooping to an all new low.
It makes the audience question what they see in the film.
6. Nayak (2001)
The political-action film stars Anil Kapoor as Shivaji Rao and Amrish Puri as Balraj Chauhan in lead roles. Shivaji Rao is a fearless TV reporter who publicly interrogates the Chief Minister Balraj Chauhan on the pathetic state of affairs.
Shivraj goes on to become the CM of the state for one day as the part of a challenge and later goes on win the elections by a vast majority.
7. Satyagraha (2013)
The film directed by Prakash Jha borrows certain elements from real life events to show the sad state of affairs in government. When Dwarka Anand (played by Amitabh Bachchan) slaps the DM and is imprisoned, his son Manav (Ajay Devgn) starts a campaign to free him, using social media, roping in Arjun Singh (Arjun Rampal) and journalist Yasmin (Kareena Kapoor).
The film was Bollywood's trial at protraying the anger of urban Indians through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
8. Ulidavaru Kandante (2014)
The Kannada film written and directed by Rakshit Shetty involves an anthology of 5 stories connected by the murder of one person. Translated literally, 'As seen by the rest', the film revolves around the the investigation of a high-profile murder throught the efforts of journalist Regina (Sheetal Shetty) to find the truth.
9. Pathram (1999)
This Malayalam political thriller, directed by Joshiy, is set in the backdrop of the newspaper industry. Suresh Gopi plays the role of a journalist and newly appointed editor at for a vernacular newspaper in Kerala and exposes how business interests fund newspapers.
10. Ko (2011)
Jiiva plays the role of Ashwin Kumar, a photojournalist, in this Tamil political-action thriller. Throughout the film he exposes political scandals with his pictures.
The film also shows how journalists are faced with choice between pursuing the truth or letting a public untruth stand for the good of society.
11. Kavan (2017)
Kavan is a bold attempt of Tamil cinema to expose the hypocrisy and corporatisation of the media and journalism. It stars Vijay Sethupathi and Madonna Sebastian in lead roles.
The story revolves around Thilak (Vijay Sethupathi) an idealist reporter working a TV channel. He goes against the will of his corrupt boss and eventually gets blacklisted from the media.
#VINTAGEVISTAS K.V.Anand’s Kavan(2017) was a political thriller about the battle launched by a channel news anchor cum cameraman(Vijay Sethupathi) against a corrupt media baron & a politician who lets out pesticide wastes into the neighborhood village! pic.twitter.com/dwWAGv2LmW— r.s.prakash (@rs_prakash3) May 4, 2021
12. New Delhi (1987)
This Malayalam film directed by Joshiy tells the story of G Krishnamoorthy aka GK, a cartoonist and investigative journalist based in Delhi. He is falsely framed and imprisoned for the rape of a dancer.
On his return, he plans to take revenge and starts a newspaper named 'New Delhi'. The movie showing a vengeful journalist was one of the most successful Malayalam films of that time.
How many of these have you watched?