Marathi films have been exploring social issues and taking a stand for marginalized communities in India. They have played an important role in raising awareness about socioeconomic inequalities. Films that highlight caste discrimination and people with disabilities, and how they are isolated from society and deprived of basic human rights have been listed in this article.
The film Court revolves around a lower-caste folk singer who is accused of provoking the suicide of a sewage worker through his song lyrics. The film revolves around the social and political issues that exist in India, regarding caste discrimination. It depicts the struggles of people, who are deprived of basic human rights through being under democratic rule. The reality of the judicial system and marginalized communities is through this film. The Court raises important questions about the need for social justice and equal opportunities for all the citizens of the country.
Fandry portrays the story of a Dalit boy and his struggle with social and caste discrimination. The film shows the reality of caste-based discrimination, which is still prevalent in rural India, where Dalits are subjected to inhumane treatment. It highlights the difference between Dalits and the upper caste who struggle for basic necessities, such as water and education. The protagonist faces utter humiliation and violence by the upper-caste boys. It also depicts the issue of inter-caste relationships, that the boy faces being in love with an upper-caste girl. So, this societal pressure prevents him from expressing his feelings.
The film Sairat revolves around the portrayal of a young couple from different castes who fall in love and faces harsh consequences from society, who belong to different castes. The film is set in a village where the upper caste rules and has a strict rule for the family members to not interact with people from lower castes. However, the daughter of the ruler elopes with a fisherman’s son Both elope and realize it’s easier to fall in love than to live together in a faraway city slum. Sairat has been praised for its realistic portrayal of rural life and its challenges to social norms.
4. Half Ticket
The film Half Ticket depicts the lives of two young children who belong to a slum and dream of a better life. The film highlights the hardships faced by marginalized communities in urban areas and the daily challenges faced by them in order to thrive. The kids here face a lack of education, lack of access to basic necessities as well as discrimination. The children’s innocence and their optimism toward life despite these circumstances, are the beauty of this film. The film portrays resilience and hopes in overcoming the challenges faced by such communities.
5. Kaccha Limbu
Kaccha Limbu shows the struggles of a middle-class family dealing with their son’s intellectual disability. The film revolves around the stigma and discrimination faced by individuals with disabilities in this society. The child and his desires, mental illness, and parent’s plight to set him free, are well portrayed in a black-and-white frame. The protagonist is shown struggling with his academics and his parents being unsupportive initially. He is ridiculed and mocked by other parents of his classmates. The film brings about the lack of awareness and support for families and children with disabilities who are often isolated from society.
The film Dashakriya is based on a novel by Baba Bhand, which shows the practice of the Dashakriya, a ritual where the family of the deceased belonging to a lower caste, especially Dalits, is forced to give gifts to the village head and other high-caste men. The story depicts a lower-caste family who is unable to bear the burden of this ritual. This film portrays the visible caste discrimination that divides people and its impact on the lives of marginalized communities. It highlights the need for social and economic justice and solutions for poor and vulnerable communities.
The film Nude revolves around the life of a single mother who Is professionally a nude model for fine arts students in order to make ends meet. It depicts the struggles of women who are marginalized due to poverty and societal norms. It challenges the societal norms related to sexuality and how the model faces social stigma and discrimination due to her profession. It highlights the struggles of a single mother, who must flow against society in order to provide for her family. The film questions the perspective of the viewers, of either art or sexual objectification, encouraging critical thinking.
The film Chumbak depicts the life of a young boy, working as a parking lot attendant in Mumbai. He comes from a poor family with an abusive father, who has difficulty struggling to lead his life. The boy dreams of a better life and forms a bond with a businessman with whom he develops an innocent connection. The man learns about the difficulties faced by marginalized communities from the boy, who belongs to the lower caste. So, he decides to serve as a commentary on the socioeconomic divide in India and the hardships faced by marginalized communities.
Kaasav deals with the issue of marginalized communities’ depression and suicide. The film depicts the challenges faced by the farmers and their families, who are often pushed to take drastic steps due to financial difficulties and a lack of support from the government. It tells the story of a depressed and suicidal young woman who is rescued by a middle-aged man, who runs a shelter for people with mental illness. It shows the reality of these communities that impact their mental health, which is often stigmatized making it difficult for people to seek support. This film centers around highlighting the need for help and equality for basic rights in this society.
The film Dhag tells the story of a young boy and his mother and his aspirations. They face difficulties against the backdrop of their socioeconomic standards. The boy wants to escape the legacy of his father’s profession, but after his mother widows, he must come back to his roots. He wants to break the successions of traditional jobs in his low-caste family. He was raised by a father who cremated people and a mother who always wanted her son to take away from the sorrow and hardship of this profession. Dhag portrays the moment of hardships faced by this profession especially those belonging to the lower caste.