Before Raees, here are five films that explore and are based in Gujarat
Raees explores all the nuances of Gujarat, from the vibrancy of its festivals to the dark world of illicit liquor that has plagued the state.
'Ek din toh guzariye Gujarat mein," Amitabh Bachchan's ad for Gujarat tourism has not gone unheard, especially in Hindi cinema. The state has been depicted in multiple Hindi films over the years, the most recent being Rahul Dholakia's Raees.
Apart from a Makar Sakranti song in Udi Udi Jaye, the film treads into the underbelly of the 'dry state' and addresses the issue of illicit liquor, though in the most entertaining way possible. It serves as a detour from the quintessential underworld films of India that are largely based in Mumbai.
Firstpost lists down five films that have showcased the state so prominently that it becomes a character integrated seamlessly into the narrative.
Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
Sanjay Leela Bhansali seems to have done a thesis on Gujarati culture. From Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam to Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela, he has projected Gujarat in the most poetic way possible. The art direction, costumes, choreography and music of his films celebrated Gujarat like no other film ever has. With Dheel De and Dholi Taro to Nagada Sang Dhol, Bhansali replicated Gujarat on celluloid so aesthetically that it could potentially make even snooty South Mumbai kids appreciate garba.
Kai Po Che
Unlike Bhansali's films, which are set in a fictional world, this buddy film by Abhishek Kapoor explored the flip side of living in Gujarat, particularly in the turbulent early 2000s. Though the narrative also incorporated a garba number in 'Shubhaarambh', it was a more layered song. The Bhuj earthquake and the Godhra train burning case in 2001 and 2002 respectively served as crucial inflexion points in the narrative of the film.
Gujarat is not all about khakhra, fafda and garba. It also boasts of the premiere management institute of India, the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad. Directed by Abhishek Varman, 2 States is probably the only urbane romantic comedy set in Gujarat that revolves around the love story of two IIM students. Like Kai Po Che, this one is also based on a novel by Chetan Bhagat, who just like Bhansali, seems to have made Gujarat his Bae.
Gandhi My Father
Gujarat is also the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi. Ferroz Abbas Khan has presented a few historic locations associated with Gandhi in this biopic. The icing on the cake in this film is that there's no blind reverential treatment of MK Gandhi. Instead the film focuses on a lesser known aspect of his life, and the strained relationship he shared with his son Harilal Gandhi.
This intense film, and Raees have one aspect in common — director, Rahul Dholakia. This film fetched him a National Award for his sensitive portrayal of the chaotic times of Gujarat riots in 2002. At the core of it, Parzania tells such an emotional story that it will make you smile despite moist eyes.
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