We often tend to overlook unconventional regional films that are overshadowed by mainstream cinema. Over the years, regional filmmakers have delivered films that have gained popularity for their distinctive style and storytelling. It is no surprise that the Hindi film industry has adapted and will continue to do so to meet the choices of Hindi cinema audiences.
Over the years, regional filmmakers have not only introduced audiences to tremendous performers, but also delivered perceptive content through thought-provoking storytelling. They have delved deep into social constructions to create cinematic works of art that challenge conventional socio-cultural norms with their unconventional rendering. These narratives also include feminism as a common trope taken up by various filmmakers. Realistic and truthful portrayals of women in society in regional feminist films provide an understanding of how society works that has reached audiences.
Here are five feminist regional films that Bollywood should surely remake to present Hindi audiences with an unconventional narrative:
Great Indian cuisine
Directed by Jeo Baby, Great Indian cuisine is a 2021 Malayalam comedy-drama starring Nimisha Sajayan, Suraj Venjaramoodu and T Suresh Babu in leading roles. Great Indian cuisine follows the story of a woman who attempts to challenge social constructs regarding conventional roles of a housewife. The film was highly praised for its realistic portrayal of a housewife and also received the Kerala State Film Award for Best Film in 2021. Cargo director Arati Kadav is currently working on the Hindi remake of the film.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video
Imago features Marathi actors Aishwarya Sakhuja and Amol Deshmukh in the lead roles. Directed by Karan Chavan, the film revolves around the story of an introverted teenager with vitiligo. The film attempts to present the complex issue with powerful and truthful inner conflicts that the teenager faces as she encounters unwanted stares and attention due to the white patches on her skin.
Where to watch: Netflix
Suggested reading: Jhimma, Sinjar, Uyare and more: 21 regional films every feminist should watch
Naked is a Marathi language led by Ravi Jadhav. The film revolves around Yamuna (Kalyanee Mulay) who escapes an abusive marriage and reaches Mumbai in an attempt to start a new life. In order to ensure the education of her son, she begins to work as a nude model in an art school. When the woman is faced with strong protests, she ignores it and continues to fight for her rights. The film introduces its audience to subtle feminism and a strong thought-provoking message.
Where to watch: Zee5
bulbul can sing
As Bollywood tries to create more gender-inclusive content, bulbul can sing can serve this purpose right for the representation of subjectivity in film. Directed by Rima Das, Bulbul Can Sing is a 2018 Assamese drama film about a schoolgirl who discovers her budding sexuality during her teenage years. When the villagers find the schoolgirls exploring their sexualities, they are subjected to orthodox constructs of closed society.
Where to watch: Netflix, YouTube
The 1984 Bengali film Ghairé Baire is a romantic drama directed by famous filmmaker Satyajit Ray. The film deals with the difficult position of women in Indian society which takes place during the period of Indian independence struggle. The film was highly praised with numerous accolades and international recognition at the Cannes Film Festival.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video