The hidden protagonist of the cinema

Khevna.P.Shah, INN/Bangalore

@Shahkhevna1, @Infodeaofficial

It is a rare occurrence that a Bollywood movie gives importance to the milieu because the cities are equally important as the characters, plot, and music. And sometimes the story might have been narrated in a different course if not shot in the city where the plot is based.  Some films have used the cities, states, or towns as the hidden protagonist of the story.


Dil Chahta hai is the first movie that comes to mind when Goa is in reference. In this movie, Goa is shown as an embodiment of friendship and relationship. A sequence from this movie shot in the Chapora Fort became soo famous after the film that it is marked as the Dil Chahta hai Fort. When Goa is shown for its beaches, parties, and beer Finding Fanny did an absolutely fantastic job in revealing the other side of Goa- without the beaches and beer. Goa wasn’t just a place in this movie, but rather an important character with its own language and culture that had not been explored by Bollywood yet.


Known as the city of Nawabs, Lucknow holds a very rich heritage city. From the crowded street full of laughter and lights to the aroma of Biriyani and kebabs, this movie captures the true feeling of the city and leaves you craving for Biriyani from this city. On the other hand, Gulaboo Sitabo captures the entirely different face of Lucknow. The film captured the fading Lacknavi essence by continuous adulteration.  The panoramic view of the city and the close-up shots of the haveli, the courtyard reiterate the beauty of the city.


Even though Mumbai and Delhi are often considered as the mainstream of Cinema, Kolkata has impressed a lot of filmmakers with its tramline tales, bustling streets with yellow ambassadors, and iconic call to the Goddess Durga. Kahani, a gripping tale about a resilient quest of pregnant women for her missing husband takes you around the city through the covert metro station and the lanes of Kumartuli. At times the city itself creates the conflict between the characters and the motive.  Other than the bustling streets and rosogulla, Yuva a Mani Ratnam classic shows Kolkata in its real unique sense. The movie revolves around intense student politics to the urban romance and shows the city of joy in a different but real way. Unlike Yuva, Kahaani shows an immaculate insight into modern-day Kolkata.


Bollywood’s love affair with Kashmir brings out two different faces of Kashmir from two different movies. Haider, an adaption of Shakespeare’s Hamlet shows the political side of Kashmir along with its beautiful snow-covered land. This tale of vengeance depicts the true horror of the state. Set in the 90s insurgent conditions, shows Kashmir in its brutal and cold state. Haider is an acute comment on the gruesome yet artistic side of Kashmir. On the other hand Fitoor, an adaption of Charles Dicken’s Great Expectation turns the beautiful vast valley of Kashmir into a pivotal role as the narrative of the film.


The prime city used in Bollywood as the narrative. The culture, heritage, and charm of old Delhi have perfectly portrayed in Dilli-6. The movie has shown the fusion of old Delhi and New Delhi that literally plays an important role in the lives of people staying there. From flying kites to singing songs on rooftops, Delhi 6 shows the very hospital side of families living in the narrow lane of old Delhi, trying to balance tir life between tradition and modernity. Apart from this, the only movie that picked up the organic tonality of Delhi was Khosla ka Ghosla. Often used for its political reference, this movie manages to bring forth the problems of the common households.

When each city or town is used to its potential, then the story becomes about the city than the characters themselves Sometimes it is the milieu that gives life to the characters. It is astonishing to watch how the same city can be shown from two different perspectives, both soo compromising and realistic.

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