It wouldn’t be wrong to say that every individual in their own way has developed a perception of our country. Over the time, media houses have become a major medium to aware, educate, inform and entertain the mass. The Indian film industry has tried its hand in exploring certain social structure, educating and engaging the audience to break down the stigma, documentaries don’t blur the realities.
A Documentary showcases the harsh reality about the society we live in. So, here we have listed down 10 Documentaries that which definitely change the way you perceive the country you live in.
This is the story of Loha, an electrician who is hailed as the Robin Hood of a locality in Kanpur. He achieved this status by stealing electricity and supplying it to a locality where 15-hour-long power-cuts were common. Providing a contradictory view is Ritu, the first female chief of the Kanpur Electricity Supply Company (KESCO), who is hellbent on eradicating the practice of setting up illegal electricity connections. This documentary effectively puts forward the concept of urban decay in one of the world's fastest growing economies.
#9 Beyond All Boundaries
In India, cricket is not just a sport; it’s a religion. This documentary by Sushrut Jain explores the anxiety and larger than life celebration after the 2011 Cricket World Cup Win. It also peeks into the lifestyle of three people, who have devoted their lives to cricket; Sudhir, Prithvi, and Akshaya.
#8 Gulab Gang
Directed by filmmaker Nishtha Jain, Gulabi Gang is a documentary that moves around the story of Sampat Pal Devi and the women in her gang. They are an unflinching representation of a real world. (Gulaab Gang starring Madhuri Dixit is a different one). Based around the Banda district in UP, the film follows a vigilante gang of rural women armed with lathis and dressed in pink saris.
#7 Prostitutes of God
The practice of religious sex slavery was made illegal 20 years ago, but there are more than 23,000 women in Karnataka, who sell their bodies every day in the name of the mysterious Hindu Goddess Yellamma. Prostitutes of God explore the lives of these Devadasis (servants of God).
#6 Inside the Mahakumbh
This documentary by National Geographic shows the Maha Kumbh Mela in its full glory. The Mela is not only the world’s largest religious festival but it is also believed to be the largest gathering of humans in one place, at one time on earth. The documentary covers the 55-day celebration that occurs once in every 12 years. The host not only covers the aspects of religion but also diversity and spirituality. It’s a must watch.
#5 Children Of The Pyre
This one is my personal favorite from the list. Directed by Rajesh S. Jala, the film documents the story of seven children who cremate bodies at the India’s largest crematorium, Manikarnika, on the banks of the Ganges, in Varanasi. The childhood of these kids is spent in stealing cremation shrouds and burning dead bodies.
#4 India Untouched
You might have thought that the malpractice of casteism is not as much as it was before Independence. But this documentary shows us a harsh reality. Filmmaker Stalin K explored the topic of casteism and untouchability that has not subsided over the years. Spanning eight states and four religions, this film will make it impossible for anyone to deny that Untouchability continues to be practiced in India.
#3 Born into Brothels
Born into Brothels is a documentary about children of prostitutes in Sonagachi, Kolkata’s red light district. It is directed by Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman. In the film, Briski teaches photography to the kids and the pictures clicked by them depict a life in the red light district through their eyes.
#2 The Story of India
Written and presented by historian Michael Wood, The Story of India is one of the most beautiful and praiseworthy documentaries made on India. This BBC documentary series consists of six episodes which beautifully tell the journey of the country since its genesis and how it evolved over the period of hundreds of years. The episodes are: Beginnings, The Power of Ideas, Spice Routes and Silk Roads, Ages of Gold, The Meeting of Two Oceans and Freedom.
#1 The World Before Her
Written and directed by Nisha Pahuja, The World Before Her is a Canadian documentary film, which studies the contradictory scenario for young girls in India by portraying two groups of young women participating in two very different type of training camps. The focal point of the narration are two girls, Ruhi Singh, who aspires to become Miss India, and Prachi Trivedi, a Hindu nationalist with the Durga Vahini.