These 2016 Movies From Bollywood Unpack Some Interesting, Bold And Pertinent Themes

Here's a list of 2016 movies from Bollywood that are totally worth watching because they deal with socially important and pertinent themes.

Here’s a list of 2016 movies from Bollywood that are totally worth watching because they deal with socially important and pertinent themes. 

2016 movies in Bollywood discussed some rare themes that were avoided or weren’t given much importance, and need more attention. The year 2016 was a great year for Bollywood and I don’t mean only in terms of box office collections (about which I frankly don’t have much idea!). This year was remarkable in terms of Bollywood exploring some rare themes for the first time.

From the concept of consent to child sexual abuse, from the openness to discuss mental diseases to homosexuality, a lot of so called tabooed topics were dealt with in mainstream Bollywood.

Below we give you a list of such movies, some of them might have been traditional hits and others might have only done average in terms of earnings, but all of them spoke about themes that we need to discuss more. Kudos to Bollywood for maturing with every passing year.

Dear Zindagi

The story revolves around Kaira an upcoming cinematographer who seems to be in search of a happy life. When she meets Jug, a psychologist, she starts seeing life in a new way. The movie talks about the importance of psychological counseling and how talking about mental health should no longer be considered a taboo in our society.

This movie has garnered a lot of love from the audience because of its theme which is so relevant and yet so less talked about in our country, even to this day.

Watch the trailer here.


Pink might be one of the first Bollywood movies that highlight the importance of consent in a big way. The film revolves around three young urban women who are implicated for a crime when a retired lawyer comes forward to help them.

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Bollywood has always glorified the hero stalking and harassing the heroine till she loves him back or agrees to date him. This movie shatters that warped notion by showing that every woman has the right to say ‘no’. Irrespective of her attire, whether she is drunk, or whether she is a virgin, a ‘no’ should always mean ‘no’.

Watch the trailer here.

Nil Battey Sanatta

This is an unconventional story of a mother daughter duo and their journey towards a better future. The mother, Chanda Sahay, works as a domestic help and does several odd jobs to save money for her daughter’s education. However, the daughter is in no mood to study because according to her, children follow their parents’ footsteps and hence, she can only hope to become a ‘Bai’ or domestic help like her mother.

The movie goes on to show how Chanda’s grit and resilience along with Chanda’s employer, Dr Dewan’s wisdom help her to teach her daughter through her own example that anything is possible if one has the will to work for it. This is a heartwarming story of empowerment and mother daughter bonding.

Watch the trailer here.


This is the tale of an unlikely friendship between a young woman and an older man. The newly wed Tara’s husband suffers from a car accident and lies in a coma in a hospital in Kochi. Over there, Tara meets an older man, Shiv Kumar, whose wife of forty years is also in coma for the last eight months. An unlikely friendship grows between two strangers tied by the common threads of their griefs and hopes.

There is no ‘hero’ or ‘heroine’ in this movie like most Bollywood movies – the two meet and connect on an intensely humane ground, and are regular, flawed people, all the more real for that.

Watch the trailer here.


Neerja is based on the true story of the flight attendant Neerja Bhanot and her unprecedented bravery in the face of terror.

The story revolves around the Pan Am 73 flight that got hijacked by terrorists and how Neerja’s courage and wit helped save 359 passengers in the flight, ultimately leading her to sacrifice her life for the sake of others. The movie also shows how Neerja was married off to an abusive man and how she broke the marriage to live a life on her own terms. The movie is a true tribute to an empowered, independent, and brave woman.

Watch the trailer here.

Kapoor & Sons

Kapoor & Sons is an apparently simple movie that shows the tensions within a family and how they cope with financial and personal tragedies to come out more united in the end.

However, what makes the movie remarkable is its portrayal of a homosexual man and that too by a mainstream lead actor. Also, unlike previous Bollywood movies where gay characters were shown as stereotypical tropes, this showed how normal it is for a person to have a different sexual orientation. This film will go down in Bollywood’s history for being the first commercial movie to show homosexuality in a normal light instead of making fun of it.

Watch the trailer here.

Ki & Ka

This movie is yet again another path breaker in Bollywood as it shows a reversal of gender roles between married couples. While the woman in the relationship is a career-oriented ambitious woman, the man loves to look after the house and cook delicious meals. Though the ending of the movie could have been better, the overall concept again raises questions about the prevalent mindset around a woman and a man’s roles in the Indian society and how that needs to change.

Watch the trailer here.

Kahaani 2

Though this movie is a suspense thriller, it deserves a special mention for something else. This movie talks about the impact of child sexual abuse and is one of those rare Indian films that show how a child can be abused even by his or her own family members raising much needed awareness about a tabooed issue in our society.

Watch the trailer here.


Two young siblings, Pari and Chotu live in a small village in Rajasthan with their aunt and uncle. While Chotu, who is eight, is a happy and lively child, he is visually impaired. His elder sister Pari who is ten years old acts like his eyes. They are best friends and so, when Pari promises Chotu that he will be able to see by the age of 9, he believes her.

Meanwhile, Pari sees an advertisement of Shah Rukh Khan appealing to people to donate their eyes and she is convinced that only SRK can help Chotu gain his eyesight. She writes to SRK everyday without any reply. However, when she hears that SRK is coming for a shoot in a location that is 300kms from their village, with the faith and innocence that only children are capable of, she sets on an adventure with Chotu to meet SRK and appeal to him for her brother’s eyesight.

This is a story of the adventure and the people they meet on their way. This is also a story of childhood, hopes, and dreams.

Watch the trailer here.

Udta Punjab

Udta Punjab exposes the problem of drug abuse that has deeply impacted the affluent state of Punjab and how the young people there are getting deeply involved in this evil that is leading to the state’s socioeconomic degradation.

Watch the trailer here.

Chalk N Duster

With its stellar cast of Shabana Azmi and Juhi Chawla, this movie is based on teachers in a high school in Mumbai and how their love for teaching helps them create a special environment of learning for their students. However, when a cunning new Principal tries turning the school into a profitable entity and starts sacking experienced teachers, the friendship between the two teachers helps them to come forward. Together they unite all the teachers to fight against the management.

Watch the trailer here.


This movie revolves around four women and their life’s journey in the parched rural setting of Rajasthan. We witness their everyday struggles as they talk about issues related to men, sex, and their lives while fighting their own battles of survival.

Watch the trailer here.


This is based on the true story of Dr. Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras, a professor of Marathi at Aligarh Muslim University, who was suspended from his position of Reader and Chair of Modern Indian Languages on grounds of homosexuality.

The issue of homosexuality has again been dealt with in a sensitive manner in this movie where the justice to the script has been done by Manoj Bajpai’s stellar performance. In our country, where homosexuality is still considered illegal, such movies are extremely important to build awareness and ultimately bring about a positive change.

Watch the trailer here.


This much awaited movie’s trailer (releasing 22nd December) itself is enough to give you goose bumps.

The biopic based on the life of Mahavir Singh Phogat, an Indian wrestler who fails to win a Gold Medal for India but trains his daughters Babita Kumari and Geeta Phogat to win the same. Geeta goes on to become India’s first female wrestler to win at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, where she won the gold medal (52 kg) while her sister Babita Kumari won the silver (55 kg).

The movie seems to be all about women power and how she can do anything that a man can, given the opportunity.

Watch the trailer here.

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About the Author

Kasturi Patra

Kasturi’s debut novel, forthcoming in early 2021, had won the novel pitch competition by Half Baked Beans Publishers. She won the Runner Up Position in the Orange Flower Awards 2021 for Short Fiction. Her read more...

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