Hindi moves that were the torchbearer of the Parallel cinema

With great narrations, characters and backdrops these films are reality on screen

The Parallel or the more aesthetic name Art cinema originated in the 1950s in the West Bengal. From there it came into Bollywood with Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak and Mrinal Sen bringing a New Wave of cinema that brought to screen the real portrayals minus the glamour. The story, characters, portrayals, and locations touched the audience for its realm of reality and speaking on subjects that were important to society. While we are absorbed in commercial cinema, there are narrations that are relevant even today. Here is a list of such movies.

Pestonjee This Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi, and Anupam Kher film take you through the Parsi community of Mumbai giving you a glimpse of how the community is from the inside. Shah and Kher are two best friends, who besides doing everything together also fall in love with the same woman. This is where the story gets interesting.

Bazaar Highlighting the social issue of a woman brought as a bride for her virtue of being poor by her needy parents to an affluent couple in the Gulf region. Starring Farooq Shaikh, Smita Patil, Supriya Pathak and Naseeruddin Shah, the film explores the dark world of bride buying in India. It was lauded for its realistic portrayals of social evil while being subtle.

Mandi Directed by Shyam Benegal, the film is a satire on the bureaucracy trying to move a brothel from the city to the outskirts. It gets interesting when the sex-workers stand up for their rights in an unusual way. Starring the ever great Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah, Smita Patil, and Kulbhushan Kharbanda, the film was internationally acclaimed for the satire on Indian politics and prostitution.

Ankur This is Shyam Benegal’s directorial debut starring Shabana Azmi and Anant Nag. The film revolves around analyzing human behaviour as it follows their stories set in a village. From how the people in their individual story deal with a situation or a problem, won three National Film Awards and 43 other prizes, both in India and abroad. It was also the debut film of both, Ananth Nag and Shabana Azmi.

Ardh Satya This Govind Nihalani directional is a cop-drama with Om Puri as the protagonist playing a policeman who is out on a mission to change the system and erode the widespread corruption around him. The film showing his struggles of dealing with the evils around him and his own frailties was widely praised especially for Puri’s monologue towards the end.

While these remain at the top of the list, a few other art movies are Mirch Masala, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, Arth, Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro, Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai and Aakrosh.