Kangana Ranaut
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9 films you won't believe are about finding freedom..

By HT

Freedom has different meanings for different people. As India celebrates 70 years of independence, here’s looking at how freedom as a concept has been dealt with by the Hindi film industry. 
 
A woman caught within the bounds of patriarchy wants nothing more than making her own identity. A school kid burdened with the pressure of picking a certain career would love to pursue his dreams. 
 
Similarly, a businessman cowed down by the tax structure and bureaucracy would ask for a better system. In short, the idea of freedom varies from person to person. So, on this Independence Day, we decided to revisit films that promote the freedom of choice in unique ways.
 
I Am: Onir’s film narrated four stories set in different cities. Be it Juhi Chawla’s Megha or Sanjay Suri’s Abhimanyu, each story focussed on tales of personal suffering and belongingness. All four leading characters keep revisiting their past and how it shaped up their personalities. Then comes the time when they realise how they need to get out of their previous selves. Eventually it happens and the audience realises the value of coming out of your personal dark and accept the person you are.
 
Aligarh: A Marathi professor Ramchandra Siras (Manoj Bajpayee) working at the conservative Aligarh Muslim University faces a tough time because of his sexuality. The frail teacher tries to live a private life, but everybody seems to be taking a peek into his drawing room. Soon the level of suppression begins to touch a disturbing level. Eventually he dies, but leaves behind a voice against the oppression and how the society couldn’t protect an individual’s freedom to privacy.
 
Lipstick Under My Burkha: This again is the story of four women whose roles have been thrust open them by the society. If Konkona Sensharma doesn’t have the courage to confront her cheating husband, Aahana Kumra doesn’t know where she is heading in her love life as her partner doesn’t respect her. Similarly, Ratna Pathak Shah’s Bua ji is condemned for having a crush on a young swimming coach. The last story involves Plabita Borthakur, a college student, who thinks jeans is a way to claim her freedom from a conservative society. Director Alankrita Srivastava’s movie suggests that these women might be ready to take on the world.
 
Chauranga: Bikas Mishra’s debut feature tackled one of the most disturbing aspects of the Indian society - casteism. A dalit boy wants to study in a school like his elder brother, but he is not ready to bend his knees in front of Dhaval (Sanjay Suri), an upper-caste village strongman. His life gets more prone to problems when he falls for Dhaval’s daughter. It’s an intriguing tale of oppression, realisation and rebellion.
 
English Vinglish: Shashi Godbole’s (Sridevi) husband has never treated her more than a domestic help. Her inability to speak English becomes so much of a hindrance that even her children think her lesser for it. Things change drastically for her once she finds her lost confidence and courage to confront her demons. Ultimately, in a very powerful scene, she exposes the lack of depth in the characters of people around her. Gauri Shinde’s film describes how the freedom to live a life of your choice is important.
 
Rocket Singh Salesman Of The Year: One of the most underrated films of recent years, this was a man’s battle against corporate greed. Harpreet Singh Bedi (Ranbir Kapoor) works overtime and goes way beyond his limits to set up a company that adheres to high standards and human values. Harpreet’s anxiety to break free from the clutches of his bosses and a valueless work culture was an internal fight that resembled many of us.
 
Queen: Rani (Kangana ranaut), a typical West Delhi girl, finds herself in a tough spot when her fiancé tells her that he no longer wishes to marry her. He has relocated to London and Rani maybe too desi for him now. She chooses to travel to Europe alone and this turns out to be the journey of her lifetime. She finds herself and realises that there is more to her life than being defined as someone’s wife.
 
Pink: A defining film of the year gone by, the Taapsee Pannu-starrer brought the concept of consent in the public discourse. Given the rampant crime against women in India that is a debate we need to have. In a key scene in the film, Kirti Kulhari accepts that she took money for soliciting. Even as the frame captures people’s reactions, she argues how even this doesn’t make the other person a master of her body.