INDIA. Mumbai. Caste discrimination in India is highly valued and practiced by affluent educated people across all fields right from the political system to art fraternity. Indian Bollywood is mainly a field which is very much ignorant towards the social background of India and the prevailing caste system. If we start looking at the top 35 films released between January 2019 to March 2020, we can easily make out the ignorance of the writer / director towards the caste dynamics and it also defines the identity of the protagonist and its social background.
All 35 popular films do not have a single protagonist, who belongs to lower caste or from the ‘untouchable’ community. It’s not about the real identity of actors, but the name or character played by actors in the films. They keep blabbering about the diversity but are still not aware of the fact. Or maybe the writers are purposefully penning the stories only about the upper-caste society and community. Looking at the social structure of 35 films the protagonist only belongs to the upper caste and not a single from backward community or Dalits.
Following list of films with protagonist name and caste.
War – Hrithik Roshan – Major Kabir – Upper Caste
Kabir Singh – Shaheed Kapoor – Dr Kabir Singh – Upper Caste
Uri – Vicky Kaushal – Vihaan Shergill – Upper Caste
Good News – Akshay Kumar – Varun Batra – Upper Caste
Mission Mangal – Akshay Kumar – Rakesh Dhawan – Upper Caste
Dabangg 3 – Salman Khan – Chulbul Pandey – Upper Caste
Lukka Chuppi – Karthik Aryan – Vinod Shukla – Savarna
Ek Ladki ko Dekha tho Aisa Laga – Anil Kapoor – Balbir Chaudhary – Upper caste
Sonchiriya – Sushant Singh Rajput – Lakhan Singh – Upper Caste
Badla – Amitabh Bachchan – Badal Gupta – Upper Caste
Student of the Year 2 – Tiger Shroff – Rohan Sachdev – Upper Caste
De De Pyar De – Ajay Devgn – Ashish Mahara – Upper Caste
Article 15 – Ayushmann Khurrana – Ayan Ranjan – Upper Caste
Judgmentall Hai Kya – Kangana Ranaut – Bobby Garewal – Upper Caste
Jabariya Jodi – Siddharth Malhotra – Abhay Singh – Upper Caste
Saho: Prabhas – Ashok Chakraborty – Upper Caste
Chhichhore – Sushant Singh Rajput – Anirudh Pathak – Upper Caste
Dream Girl – Ayushmann Khurrana – Karamveer Singh – Upper Caste
Article 375 – Akshaye Khanna – Tarun Saluja – Upper Caste
Pal Pal Dil Ke paas – Karan Deol – Karan Sehgal – Upper Caste
Prasthanam – Sanjay Dutt – Baldev Pratap Singh – Upper Caste
Made in China – Rajkumar Rao – Raghu Mehta – Upper Caste
Ujra Chaman – Sunny Singh – Chaman Kohli – Upper Caste
Bala – Ayushman Khurana – Balmukund Shukla – Upper Caste
Motichur Chakna Choor – Nawazuddin Siddiqui – Pushpendra Tyagi – Upper Caste
Commando 3 – Vidyut Jamwal – Karanvir Dogra – Upper Caste
Pati Patni Aur Wo – Karthik Aryan – Abhinav Tyagi – Upper Caste
Mardaani 2 – Rani Mukherjee – Shivani Roy – Upper Caste
Baghi 3 – Tiger Shroff – Ronnie Chaturvedi – Upper Caste
Street Dancer – Varun Dhawan – Bachao Singh Narula – Upper Caste
Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan – Ayushman Khurana / Jitendra – Karthik Singh / Aman Tripathi – Upper Caste
Malang – Aditya Roy Kapur – Advait Thakur – Upper Caste
Jai Mummy Di – Sunny Singh – Puneet Khanna – Upper Caste
Thappad – Pavel Gulati – Vikram Sabarwal – Upper Caste
English Medium – Irrfan Khan – Champak Bansal – Upper Caste
Bollywood plays a very vast role in establishing the character in society. If we look at the film Bajirao Mastani, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Peshwa Bajirao is depicted as the greatest warrior, according to filmmaker but the writer was so ignorant towards the oppression of Dalits and ‘untouchables’ during Bajirao’s reign. If it is a biographical account of Peshwa then why such important elements were ignored? It raises question marks on the true intentions of filmmakers who want to establish a cruel oppressor as a hero. Similarly, last year a film named Article 15 was released and the main protagonist of the film again was an Upper Caste man, even though the story was about caste oppression of Dalits in Uttar Pradesh.
Dalits are often shown in a supporting role and they purposely cast actors with the dark complexion to portray the image of Dalits. Only a common backward community called Yadav are majorly found in Indian films, but they are also projected as criminals or corrupt politicians.
Indian writers and filmmakers should now be aware to their ignorance and should step down on the ground to look at the real face of the Indian society. If you call films a reflection of society then why 85% of the Indian society and their problems have been ignored. Why can’t Bollywood writers or directors digest the fact that even a character from backward community can be a protagonist or they simply feel that the caste of the protagonist matters?