Twiddling through classic cinema, our minds are flooded with countless visuals of romance gyrating around a tree, flowers signifying an exchange of love vows, protagonists rolling down hillsides and so on. Sadly, two decades ago, this trend shifted to non-green locales highlighting that nature is no longer a meaningful part of the urban consciousness. Similarly, Indian cinema is far from contributing to environmental awareness. Despite innumerable short films and documentaries, there is an alarming dearth in the number of commercial and impactful movies. On the forthcoming occasion of Earth Day, BollyCurry has managed to gather and list a few such attempts.
An Indian natural horror flick, a first of its genre, Kaal (2005), revolves around wildlife experts and hunting enthusiasts, in a fictional Orbit National Park, where their deliberation and negligence in breaking laws brings them head on with a hostile paranormal entity. It emphasizes on animals' sentiments for their home, the forest sending out the message of protecting the endangered wildlife of India. Five years later, Shyam Benegal directed a national award-winning socio-political comedy, titled Well Done Abba (2010), with Boman Irani essaying the titular role and Minissha Lamba playing his daughter. The movie portrays the hardships faced by a common man on his quest to build a well to battle water scarcity. Much recently, Kaun Kitney Paani Mein (2015) focused on similar issues of water wastage and conservation but received mixed reviews. However, performances by Kunal Kapoor, Radhika Apte, Saurabh Shukla and Gulshan Grover garnered praises.
Mahesh Mathai directed a film set against the Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 1984, Bhopal Express (1999) that exposes the irresponsibility of large corporations towards the environment and human lives alike, leading to a catastrophe and cursed aftermath. Jal (2014), based in the Rann of Kutch, narrates a tale of stark human behaviour when water, our most valuable and perhaps most vulnerable commodity, appears to be endangered. Industrial pollution and water toxicity have been subtly conferred about in the box office debacle, A Flying Jatt (2016), where a community stands by a superhero to battle an antagonist, conceived of toxicity. Based on true events from a drought prone Bundelkhandand vanishing coasts of Odisha, Kadvi Hawa (2017) touches upon the subject climate change with utmost sensitivity and technical brilliance. It rightfully deserved a Special Mentionat the 64th National Film Awards, due to acting stalwarts like Sanjay Mishra, Ranvir Shorey and Tillotama Shome.
Tragedy: A Teacher
Starring Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi, Divya Dutta and Sharad Kelkar, Irada (2017) deals with contemporary ecological issues of uranium poisoning, reverse boring, fertilizer poisoning and their immediate adverse impacts. It went on to make history by being the first ever Hindi language movie to be honoured with the National Film Award for Best Film on Environment Conservation/Preservation; despite it being a hit-and-a-miss run commercially, due to poor marketing and varying audience interests. The latest to join the bandwagon is the controversial, Kedarnath (2018) starring Sushant Singh Rajput and debutante Sara Ali Khan. Though the main theme focuses on interfaith romance and professional casteism, it makes an understated reference to the growing activity in the designative valley ultimately leading to the Uttarakhand Floods of 2013.
Bollywood has failed to produce a full-fledged mercantile drama on environment preservation since the time of its inception. But environment activism is a serious issue that needs to be brought to the forefront sooner than predicted. Unfortunately, Bollywood is far, far away from greener pastures. Anyhow, as a growing superpower, are we environmentally conscious? Are we an evolved audience to kickstart and join the cinematic green revolution? Leave your comments below to let us know!
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