10 best Bollywood movies on social issues: Darlings to Thappad

Cinema serves as a medium to convey essential messages to society. Here's a compilation of Bollywood films that address various social issues, aiming to provoke thought and initiate conversations.

Updated on Dec 26, 2023  |  04:29 PM IST |  151.8K
10 best Bollywood movies on social issues: Darlings to Thappad
10 best Bollywood movies on social issues (Pic Courtesy: Netflix India YouTube, Taapsee Pannu Instagram)

The impact of cinema is undeniable; films wield significant influence over societal perspectives and can serve as a potent catalyst for positive change when employed judiciously. Numerous filmmakers and actors have actively embraced the responsibility to not only captivate audiences with their creations but also to communicate vital messages and raise awareness about pressing issues, both within their countries and globally.

In the following compilation, you'll find movies based on social issues, poised to inspire positive transformation and shed light on specific societal challenges.

1. Darlings (2022)


  • Running Time: 2 hours 14 mins
  • IMDb Rating: 6.6/10
  • Movie Genre: Comedy/Drama/Thriller
  • Movie Star Cast: Alia Bhatt, Vijay Varma, Shefali Shah, Roshan Mathew
  • Director: Jasmeet K Reen
  • Writer: Jasmeet K Reen, Parveez Sheikh, Vijay Maurya
  • Year of release: 2022
  • Where to Watch / OTT Platform: Netflix

Darlings unfolds the narrative of Badru, whose marriage takes an ugly twist as her husband spirals into alcoholism and becomes abusive, leading to Badru and her mother concocting a plan for retribution. This film addresses the harrowing issue of domestic violence through the lens of dark comedy, and artfully underscores the significance of women empowering themselves to stand against such adversities.

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2. Badhaai Do (2022)


  • Running Time: 2 hours 27 mins
  • IMDb Rating: 7/10
  • Movie Genre: Comedy/Drama
  • Movie Star Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Bhumi Pednekar, Sheeba Chaddha, Chum Darang, Gulshan Devaiah
  • Director: Harshavardhan Kulkarni
  • Writer: Harshavardhan Kulkarni, Suman Adhikary, Akshat Ghildial
  • Year of release: 2022
  • Where to Watch / OTT Platform: Netflix

Badhaai Do delves into the unconventional story of a gay man and a lesbian woman who embark on a marriage of convenience to pacify their respective families. The film boldly shatters stereotypes, centering around the theme of homosexuality, and serves as a vehicle for raising awareness about the LGBTQ+ community.

3. Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui (2021)


  • Running Time: 1 hours 56 mins
  • IMDb Rating: 6.8/10
  • Movie Genre: Romance/Comedy/Drama
  • Movie Star Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Vaani Kapoor
  • Director: Abhishek Kapoor
  • Writer: Abhishek Kapoor, Supratik Sen, Tushar Paranjpe
  • Year of release: 2021
  • Where to Watch / OTT Platform: Netflix

In Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui, the vibrant romance between bodybuilder Manu and Zumba instructor Maanvi takes an unexpected turn when Manu discovers Maanvi's profound personal journey, prompting him to confront his own ingrained biases. This lighthearted movie on social issues with a focus on transgender representation, delves into their struggles and emphasizes the transformative power of changing one's mindset.

4. Thappad (2020)


  • Running Time: 2 hours 22 mins
  • IMDb Rating: 7/10
  • Movie Genre: Drama
  • Movie Star Cast: Taapsee Pannu, Pavail Gulati, Dia Mirza
  • Director: Anubhav Sinha
  • Writer: Anubhav Sinha, Mrunmayee Lagoo Waikul
  • Year of release: 2020
  • Where to Watch / OTT Platform: Amazon Prime Video

Thappad tells the story of a young woman leading a fulfilling marriage until a pivotal moment at an office party when her husband's slap alters the course of her life, prompting her to seek divorce. Regarded as one of the best movies on social issues, it imparts a powerful lesson on the significance of self-respect and agency for women

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5. Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan (2020)


  • Running Time: 2 hours
  • IMDb Rating: 5.8/10
  • Movie Genre: Comedy/Romance
  • Movie Star Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Jitendra Kumar, Neena Gupta, Gajraj Rao
  • Director: Hitesh Kewalya
  • Writer: Hitesh Kewalya
  • Year of release: 2020
  • Where to Watch / OTT Platform: Amazon Prime Video

Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan tackles the pervasive issue of homophobia within the country, in an entertaining but sensitive manner. The narrative is about the poignant journey of the gay protagonists, Kartik and Aman, as they grapple with familial rejection and mockery.

6. Article 15 (2019)


  • Running Time: 2 hours 10 mins
  • IMDb Rating: 8.1/10
  • Movie Genre: Crime/Drama
  • Movie Star Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Nassar, Manoj Pahwa, Kumud Mishra, Isha Talwar, Sayani Gupta
  • Director: Anubhav Sinha
  • Writer: Anubhav Sinha, Gaurav Solanki
  • Year of release: 2019
  • Where to Watch / OTT Platform: Netflix

Article 15 earns its place on the list of powerful movies on social issues, with Ayushmann Khurrana portraying a police detective. He investigates the unsettling disappearance of three girls in a small village, gradually discovering a dark history of caste-based discrimination that underscores the film's powerful and thought-provoking narrative.

7. Pad Man (2018)


  • Running Time: 2 hours 20 mins
  • IMDb Rating: 7.9/10
  • Movie Genre: Comedy/Drama
  • Movie Star Cast: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Apte, Sonam Kapoor
  • Director: R Balki
  • Writer: R Balki, Swanand Kirkire
  • Year of release: 2018
  • Where to Watch / OTT Platform: Netflix

Pad Man, hailed as one of the highly acclaimed social movies, tells the compelling story of a man who becomes disheartened upon discovering his wife using unhygienic materials during her menstrual cycle. Motivated to make a change, he invents a machine capable of producing low-cost sanitary pads, using his innovation to raise awareness about menstrual hygiene.

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8. Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (2017)


  • Running Time: 2 hours 35 mins
  • IMDb Rating: 7.2/10
  • Movie Genre: Comedy/Drama
  • Movie Star Cast: Akshay Kumar, Bhumi Pednekar, Anupam Kher
  • Director: Shree Narayan Singh
  • Writer: Siddharth Singh
  • Year of release: 2017
  • Where to Watch / OTT Platform: Netflix

Toilet: Ek Prem Katha stands as another one of the impactful Bollywood social movies, where a woman makes the decision to leave her newlywed husband due to the absence of a toilet in their home. The movie powerfully spreads awareness about the crucial need for proper sanitation, particularly in rural areas.

9. Pink (2016)


  • Running Time: 2 hours 16 mins
  • IMDb Rating: 8.1/10
  • Movie Genre: Crime/Drama/Thriller
  • Movie Star Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, Andrea Tariang, Vijay Varma, Angad Bedi
  • Director: Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury
  • Writer: Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Shoojit Sircar, Ritesh Shah
  • Year of release: 2016
  • Where to Watch / OTT Platform: Amazon Prime Video

In the movie Pink, Minal and her friends courageously stand against the harassment inflicted by a politician's nephew. The film delivers a strong social message, challenging the patriarchal mindset and emphasizing the unequivocal importance of consent with the resounding mantra, "No means no." 

10. OMG - Oh My God! (2012)


  • Running Time: 2 hours 5 mins
  • IMDb Rating: 8.1/10
  • Movie Genre: Comedy/Drama/Fantasy
  • Movie Star Cast: Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal, Mithun Chakraborty
  • Director: Umesh Shukla
  • Writer: Umesh Shukla, Saumya Joshi, Bhavesh Mandalia
  • Year of release: 2012
  • Where to Watch / OTT Platform: YouTube

In OMG - Oh My God, an atheist decides to sue God after an earthquake demolishes his antique shop. He is assisted by Lord Krishna in the legal battle against frauds, and gets his faith restored. The movie conveys a powerful social message by questioning blind faith, and the exploitation of religion for personal gains. 

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ALSO READ: 7 famous actresses in Bollywood: Alia Bhatt, Katrina Kaif to Priyanka Chopra

FAQs

What is an example of a social problem film?
Thappad, Badhaai Do, Pink are some examples of movies tackling social problems.

What social issues are represented in movies?
Domestic violence, caste discrimination, homophobia, etc. are some of the issues that have been addressed in Bollywood films.

What is the importance of films on social issues?
Movies based on social issues have a profound impact on shaping public opinion and fostering positive change in society.

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About The Author

A Bollywood enthusiast and ardent writer, Apeksha Juneja’s heart beats for the glitz and glamor of Indian

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Credits: Netflix India, T-Series, Zee Music Company, Sony Pictures India, Viacom18 Studios, Times Music YouTube
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