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Bollywood films have been pushing the envelope for quite some time now, experimenting with genre and innovative subject matter as well as addressing societal issues. Yet even when being serious, Hindi films tend to balance the entertainment factor quite well. Here are some entertaining and important Bollywood movies from last year.

1. Pink: There’s no doubt about the internalized patriarchy in Bollywood or in any film-making industry that churns out item numbers and objectifies women. But recently, there have been efforts to counter the male gaze and address women’s issues on the silver screen and the best example is Pink. The courtroom drama movie tells the story of three women- one of whom is wrongly accused of assaulting a man when it’s actually the other way round. The film is particularly important because it talks about women’s rights and dignity in a sensitive manner and may play a role in sensitizing the patriarchal viewer who feels no qualms at making rape jokes and turns a blind eye to feminism.

2. Dear Zindagi: A beautiful drama starring Alia Bhatt in the lead and Shah Rukh Khan as a therapist, the movie feels like a love letter that celebrates life. It is an important film as it addresses the youth and the troubles they face be it in work or in relationships and it also explores the hypocritical societal stigma that is attached when one chooses to visit a doctor regarding mental health. This is a fun and engaging film that may even offer you a new perspective on life.

3. Nil Battey Sannata: This is a magical film that explores the mother-daughter relationship. Apu is a student who doesn’t care at all for studying and Chanda is an impoverished single mother who works several jobs including that of a maid to support the family. Apu is particularly weak in maths and unless she improves her grades it is unlikely that she’ll be able to graduate from school. So what does Chanda do and what are the repercussions? The impeccable performances and clever narrative make the film a very real and a very refreshing family watch.

4. Ki and Ka: Although a typical romantic comedy does have its flaws, what makes this film important is the way it questions gender roles in society. The film which deals with a working woman and house husband points out that no role is more important than the other and that it is illogical to define roles as either masculine or feminine because gender as we know is a social construct perpetrated by patriarchy. All this, the film accomplishes with delightful humour and grace and makes for an enjoyable watch.

So which was your favourite Hindi film from last year? Let us know in the comments below!