Drama takes on many hues in Indian cinema, from emotion-charged melodrama to poignant relationship sagas and ruptured family stories.
THULABHARAM (1968) – Malayalam – When the lives of widowed Vijaya and her three children turn pathetic, she poisons the children but is stopped just before she can commit suicide. Vijaya is implicated for the childrens' death by her old friend, Vatsala, a lawyer.
KOSHISH (1972) – Hindi - Hari and Arti, both hearing and speech impaired, get married. Despite the many challenges due to their disabilities, they build a life together, bringing up a son who they hope, will one day marry a girl with a disability.
YAADON KI BAARAAT (1973) - Hindi – When their parents are murdered, three brothers are separated from each other. Years later, when fates makes them cross paths, the grown siblings don't recognise each other but are finally brought together by a song unique to their family.
AVARGAL (1977) - Tamil – Anu returns to Chennai, divorced and with a small child, to find support from an unexpected quarter - her mother-in-law. She rekindles her relationship with an old love and has a secret admirer at work, but in a strange twist of fate, her abusive ex-husband returns, repentant.
MULLUM MALARUM (1978) - Tamil – Winch operator Kali dotes on his sister Valli, but is at loggerheads with everybody else including the new manager. Following a freak accident, Kali loses his job. When the manager asks for Valli's hand in marriage, Kali's stubborn pride blinds his affection for his sister.
ELIPATHAYAM (1981) – Malayalam – Unni lives in denial of the changes happening in the external world, whiling away his time ensconced in his ancestral house, tended by his two unmarried sisters.
ARTH (1982) - Hindi - Pooja's world falls apart when she learns of her husband's infidelity. Her self-respect kicks in and she pieces together an independent identity with a little support from a musician, Raj.
SAARAANSH (1984) - Hindi – An elderly couple grieve the death of their only son. When they learn that the young woman they have sublet a room to, is pregnant, the elderly woman's will to live is renewed as she believes her son will be reborn as the young woman's child.
DWEEPA (2002) - Kannada – When their village is inundated, help arrives for Nagi and her husband Ganapa in the form of an acquaintance. Ganapa suspects Nagi's fidelity and withdraws into himself, leaving her to safeguard their home and life. Nagi's isolation mirrors that of Sita's in the Ramayana.
SHALA (2011/2012) - Marathi – Shala is the innocent adolescent love story of Joshi and Shirodkar, and of Joshi's band of school friends, all growing up in the rural India of the 1970s.
An edited version of the article was published in Culturama's May 2013 Issue.