Cinema has a great impact on people and the stars are the biggest influences. There are few movies that give a sense of having witnessed something historical, something that touches a deep chord. Indian films have dared to explore a sensitive topic like prostitution. There are many Bollywood films based on prostitution and sex workers that show that they are not merely a toy.
Let’s look at some important Bollywood films revolving around sex workers –
Written and directed by Nagesh Kukunoor, the movie shows the tragedy of a 13-year-old girl who has been kidnapped and sold and enters the prostitution business. For the first time in her life, she faces the inhumanity of the world around her and is brutally beaten for protesting against the business. Kukunoor got his inspiration for this film after he met human trafficking victims during his visits to NGOs.
2. Laaga Chunari Me Daag
The movie showcases the journey of a girl, who moves to Mumbai to find work as she does not want her younger sister to suffer due to poverty and wants her to complete her education. After she encounters many obstacles in the city that she is forced by her circumstances to become “Natasha”, an exclusive call girl. The story very strongly portrays what difficulties a woman has to go through while searching for work and the cruelty of the city that turns her into a prostitute.
Kareena Kapoor in the lead role opposite Rahul Bose played the prostitute in the movie. Chameli, who was sold to a brothel by her uncle in her childhood, is shown to be a tough woman and has a strong philosophy of life with which she is able to positively influence Rahul Bose in the movie. The movie is about a guy who is suffering depression after his pregnant wife died. He comes across a prostitute named Chameli. After he met Chameli, he comes across many incidents. So when he comes back home from all the occurrences, he is a changed man because of Chameli. Kareena was awarded a Special Award for Best Performance by Filmfare for the role.
The same year, Indian filmmaker Guru Dutt made Pyaasa which tells the story of a lovelorn and jobless poet who eventually settles with a prostitute named Gulabo. He comes across a prostitute, Gulabo who falls in love with him. The woman helps him to publish his poem. In the end, he becomes sick with the hypocrisy and leaves everyone with Gulabo.
5. Chori Chori Chupke Chupke
It is a story about a couple. The wife becomes permanently infertile when she trips. They plan for a surrogate mother. A prostitute agrees to get impregnated and then give the baby to a couple (Raj and Priya) in exchange for a million rupees. Everything changes when she develops feelings for the baby and Raj.
6. Umrao Jaan
It is the story of a girl abducted in her early age and sold to a procuress who trains her for prostitution. Amiran (girl played by Rekha) is trained to captivate men and grows up as Umrao Jaan. Forbidden to ever fall in love, she lives by her own rules, never afraid of taking the fight to those who oppose her.
Released in 1983, the film changed the way Hindi cinema looks at sex work, the lives of sex workers and the paradoxes within society that lead to their marginalization. The movie highlights the hypocrisies of a corrupt patriarchal society that looks down upon prostitutes in the name of morality. The same men who visit a brothel to fulfill their physical needs in the darkness of the night speak of relocating it in broad daylight.
You must watch these movies once!