Haryanvi sensibilities have been conspicuously absent from the big screen. For the first time, a credible place is given to them in Bollywood cinema through two filmsGurgaon (2015) and NH10 (2015). These two films are massively impactful in their depiction of the region, people and culture of Haryana. This article analyzes these two films in the context of present-day Haryana to show how they succeed in highlighting the transition phase and the difficulties of this state.
Recently there has been a stream of films with either Haryana as their theme or location in Bollywood unlike the usual filmmakers favoritesGurgaon made in 2015 (released in 2017) and NH10 (2015). They were closely followed by sports-themed movies like Dangal (2016), Sultan (2016), and Chhalang (2020), which were huge box office hits. In all of these films, perhaps for the first time, Haryana finds a credible place in Bollywood cinema. Bollywood has created stereotypes of various regions in its films. For example, a madrasi collapses the entire southern region into a stereotypical representation. A Bengali, a Parsi, a Muslim, a Sikh and a Christian all occupy a subordinate place in this universe. Haryana has been the subject of much hilarity in Bollywood. The stereotype of a Haryanvi is that of a rude and clumsy type, rustic and devoid of any refinement. An introduction to Haryanas culture has been through folk dances on public platforms or tasteless, flashy and poorly produced music albums with poor choreography and overdone music (Sharma, Aakanksha 2011). As a result, Haryanvi music and Haryanvi cultural expression on screen started to be looked down upon by people from other states. Haryanvi sensibilities have been conspicuously absent from the big screen. After this long neglect, the first two filmsGurgaon and NH10 mark massively in their attempt to portray contemporary Haryana, from its location, both rural and urban, to its people and culture. They successfully portray the story of the growth and rise of many problems of Haryana, all of which find a reflection in these two films.
I will first briefly give the script of the two films, then analyze them in the context of present-day Haryana and how these two films manage to highlight the transition phase and the difficulties of this state. Both films, which claim to be inspired by real events, are set in Gurgaon (now renamed Gurugram). They are essentially violent and depict several facets of the city and this region. Highlighting the process of transformation, both testify to the clash of tradition and modernity that takes place there.
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