Projection of rural India

Rohit Vadhwana Tuesday 21st July 2020 07:41 EDT
(Expressed opinions are personal.)

Recently I watched a Hindi movie, Chaman Bahar, on an online streaming platform. Starring Jitendra Kumar and Ritika Badiani, the movie is directed by Apurva Dhar Badgaiyann. The movie is certainly not one of the 100 crore clubs but is in the line of a new generation, real-life movies. A rustic village life, seemingly realistic depiction of small villages and its youth, is interesting. How a young girl, a new entrant in the village, creates an economic opportunity for a small pan walla boy and how his indulgence in one-sided love ruins everything, is humorous as well as touching.

Earlier there was one web series named Panchayat, again featuring Jitendra Kumar, in a rural setting where he was posted as a Panchayat Secretary. In the series, the young secretary coming from Delhi struggles to fit in a small-village life where he is all alone amidst petty politics of Gram Samiti. When Pradhan looks in him a potential groom for his young girl, it adds to enigma for the young government servant who is preparing for MBA entrance exam. Trifling and hilarious incidents also bring out the kind-heartedness of rural people. Whole set up of the countryside area, people and their activities were similar to what I saw in the movie Chaman Bahar. 

This movie and series bring to us new themes which were not much explored for a long time. Earlier when rural setups were depicted in movies, they were more on romantic or feudal stories. Daily life settings of slow-moving villages could give us a good and entertaining story, much closer to real life. Not only big-budget and action-filled blockbusters are a source of entertainment, is clearly proven by this new rustic genre which might also create nostalgia in many of the viewers. It has also brought to limelight new actors who may not be the immediate superstars of Bollywood but certainly could go well in the semi-commercial cinemas and web series. And once successful, the only sky is the limit for any actor.

Some people may question why dusty and poor villages are shown in such movies? Are they derogatory to India, the third-largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity?  Well, opinions may differ but they are not showing a darker picture, rather it shows the Great Indian Dream type village and small-town set-ups, full of hopes and enthusiasm. Optimistic nature of people and willingness to adjust to the situation is evident. Simplicity is another virtue we could see in such setups. We may hope this genre will be further explored successfully.

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