India’s caste system has always remained a black spot in society. On the one hand, we fight for equality in all matters, but even 75 years after India’s independence, we do not want the caste system and its attendant reservations to go away.

One of the earliest films that comes to mind when talking about the caste system is the 1959 film Sujata. Directed by Bimal Roy, this film is about the relationship between a man from a Brahmin family and a woman from a Dalit background. A Dalit girl was raised in a Brahmin family, but society still looks down on her when she falls in love with a Brahmin boy.

The film revolves around the hardships the couple was exposed to as a result. It was based on a Bengali story. At this year’s National Awards, the film starring actor Sunil Dutt and actress Nutan won the All-India Award for 3rd Best Feature Film.

Then there was his Ankur in 1974, filmmaker Shyam Benegal’s first directed film. The film depicts a Dalit woman living happily with her deaf and alcoholic husband. But things go awry when the son of a wealthy landlord comes home and takes care of him.

One day he gets intimate with a Dalit woman, and she has to bear the brunt of the humiliation and accusation. The story then revolves around how society, including men, treats Dalit women. Actress Shabana Azumi and actors Sadhu Meher and Shyam Benegal all won National Film Awards for their work in this film.

The 1986 Basu Chatterjee-directed Chamelikishadi is another of his films that stands out from the crowd. It features an upper caste wrestler falling in love with a lower caste girl. Things are going well until the boy tells her family that he wants to marry a lower caste girl. The rest of the film revolves around the struggles he faced while trying to fight for his love.

In 2011, “Aarakshan” itself, directed by filmmaker Prakash Jha, made some very logical and pertinent points regarding reservations for lower caste people in educational institutions and government jobs. The film highlights his failure to abolish the caste system more than 60 years after India’s independence.

People of lower castes were still treated badly and not treated equally. The film starred actors Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Pratheek Babbar and actress Deepika Padukone.

Another New Age film ‘Dadak’ tells the story of a Dalit boy who falls in love with a high caste Hindu girl and has to run away only because his family tried to kill them. Because I fell in love… their caste. The 2018 film was a remake of the popular Marathi film Sairat released in 2016.

In 2018, you might think that families would not give in to honor killings and bring their children back after being tied up and creating their own families…but that’s not the case. The film shows that caste killing is still widespread today and can happen to anyone.

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