Top 10 Bollywood Movies on Farmers Life and their Condition in India

Top 10 Bollywood movies on farmers life and their condition in India
Top 10 Bollywood Movies on Farmers Life and their Condition in India

India’s cultural and economic landscape has been shaped by agriculture from the luxuriant green fields in Punjab to Rajasthan’s arid plains for hundreds of years. Yet, few movies have ever depicted what the lives of such people are like in real life. Here’s a list of 10 best Bollywood films that took risks to bring out farmers’ tribulations, their dreams, hopes and unwavering spirit. These films entertain and at the same time inevitably promote several discussions on topics such as land ownership, water rights, globalization consequences and fight for justice in terms of livelihood.

Let us hop right into the Top 10 Bollywood movies that shed light on farmers and their conditions!

1. Peepli Live (2010)

Peepli Live - A film on Farmers' life in India
  • Genre: Comedy/Drama
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Director: Anusha Rizvi
  • Cast: Omkar Das Manikpuri, Raghubir Yadav, Malaika Shenoy, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Naseeruddin Shah
  • IMDb Rating: 7.4/10

Directed by Anusha Rizvi, “Peepli Live” isn’t your run-of-the-mill drama. The movie is a social commentary on real life farmers’ issues shown through satire. The story follows an impoverished farmer named Natha (played by Omkar Das Manikpuri) who is living in debt. His piling debts will make the bank take away their house and land.

In a bid to get money, he plans to commit suicide to get farmer’s compensation. Little did he know that this move would drastically change his life, unexpectedly involving the media and powerful politicians. The film skillfully shows what it means to be an Indian farmer in a country where they have no choice but to live with huge debts all their lives, constantly losing land and fighting for their daily existence. “Peepli Live” is a must see for anyone looking for a film about something serious yet wanting a laugh.

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2. Kadwi Hawa (2017)

Kadvi Hawa is a film based on the true events, It shows how Drought in arid regions in India affects farmers' life
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Director: Nila Dixit
  • Cast: Sanjay Mishra, Ranvir Shorey, Tillotama Shome, Bhupesh Singh
  • IMDb Rating: 7.9/10

Kadwi Hawa” is a 2017 drama film based on true events of drought in arid regions of India that presents a bleak and disturbing picture of the tough times faced by farmers in a region affected by drought. Set in Bundelkhand, a region that hasn’t seen the face of rain in fifteen years, a blind man (played by Sanjai Mishra) is worried about his son Mukund, who struggles with debts as he strives to keep his family alive. The blind man strikes a deal with a debt collected by giving him information on the village for money. More than characters, Kadwi Hawa portrays farmers as individuals burdened by a system stacked against them. The movie’s narrative leaves a mark long after the film ends, owing to its powerful delivery from director Nila Madhab Panda.

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3. Ringan (2015)

Ringan is a Marathi film which explores the Indian farmers' life.
  • Genre: Drama/Romance
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Director: Makarand Mane
  • Cast: Shashank Shende, Sahil Joshi, Suhas Sirsat
  • IMDb Rating: 8.4/10

Directed by Makarand Mane, “Ringan” is a Marathi heart wrenching drama that explores the emotional and economic hardships Indian farmers face. In the movie, Arjun (played by Shashank Shende) is portrayed as a farmer who loses his land and most of his income through recurring droughts. Now a widower, he faces the burden of bad health while dealing with the despair of losing his job and ancestral house. The only thing stopping him from ending his life is his 7-year-old son, Abhimanyu, a young boy who thinks that his mother has gone to meet God, so he embarks on a pilgrimage to Pandharpur, a holy place.  Arjun follows his son, however weak he feels. A film reflecting morality and integrity, this is one of the top-rated films in this genre. 

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4. Manthan (1976)

Manthan is an old film presented by Amul which talks about the white revolution in India.
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run Time: 134 minutes
  • Director: Shyam Benegal
  • Cast: Smita Patil, Girish Karnad, Naseeruddin Shah, Amrish Puri
  • IMDb Rating: 7.6/10

Directed by Shyam Benegal, “Manthan” is a popular classic that generated crucial conversations about the White Revolution in rural India in the mid-1970s. The story follows Dr. Rao, a veterinarian who comes to Moti, a village in rural Gujarat, in the 1970s, with the aim of mobilizing peasants to form a cooperative dairy society. Throughout the movie, he faces opposition from corrupt politicians and middlemen who want to dominate the milk trade. However, with brave villagers like Bindu, he overcomes these challenges to create a better future for the villagers. An interesting fact about this film is that it was financed by a Gujarat-based milk cooperative, where each of its 500,000 members donated ₹2 to make the film happen. We recommend this one for its direction, message, and historical significance. 

5. Nero’s Guests (2009)

Nero's Guests is a documentary film on farmers' suicide.
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Run Time: 57 minutes
  • Director: Deepa Bhatia 
  • IMDb Rating: 9.3/10

Directed by Deepa Bhatia, “Nero’s Guests” is not a film but a thought-provoking documentary on farmers’ suicides due to corporatization in rural India. It follows P. Sainath, a journalist, as he moves around India, interviewing farmers who are incurring debt, experiencing crop failure and lacking support. “Nero’s Guests” is called so since it refers to a historical account involving a Roman emperor who played a violin while Rome was burning. By comparing this aspect with society’s indifference towards the suffering of farmers, the film brings out this point. Nero’s Guests is not an easy watch. It reveals the painful realities that many subsistence farmers face every day.

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6. Do Bigha Zamin (1953)

Do Bigha Zamin is an oldest bollywood movie that shows the harsh reality of poverty faced by small farmers.
  • Genre: Drama/Melodrama
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Director: Bimal Roy 
  • Cast: Balraj Sahni, Nirupa Roy, Meena Kumari
  • IMDb Rating: 8.3/10

Do Bigha Zamin” is the oldest movie on this list. Directed by legendary filmmaker Bimal Roy, “Do Bigha Zamin” brings to light the harsh realities of poverty faced by small farmers. The premise of the movie revolves around Shambhu Maheto (played by Balraj Sahni), a poor farmer who battles to save his ancestral land (two bigha, or 0.33 acres) from the clutches of a cruel landlord named Harnam Singh. He is compelled to move to Calcutta to earn money and pay off his debts to save his land. However, his journey is filled with hardships as adversity keeps coming his way. Typical of neo-realistic films from the 50s, this movie too brings to the screen the hardships of the real world and poverty faced by the downtrodden. 

7. Maharshi (2019)

Maharshi is a telugu film based on the lives of farmers in rural areas.
  • Genre: Action/Drama
  • Run Time: 178 minutes
  • Director: Vamshi Paidipally
  • Cast: Mahesh Babu, Pooja Hegde, Allari Naresh, Prakash Raj
  • IMDb Rating: 7.2/10

Released in 2019, “Maharshi” is an action-packed masala entertainer directed by Vamshi Paidipally. Starring Mahesh Babu in the leading role, we see Rishi, a wealthy CEO of an American company. Despite being rich and successful, his life does not feel fulfilled, so he comes back to his roots in India. It is here that the story unfolds, and we learn about Rishi’s humble beginnings. He goes to his old friend Ravi’s village Ramavaram and learns some tough facts about the lives of farmers in rural areas. Rishi takes a decision, motivated by an urge to bring about change and make an impact by helping these farmers use what he has. As he goes down this road, he faces obstacles from the corrupt politicians and businessmen who are afraid for their selfish interests. 

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8. Gabhricha Paus (2009)

Gabhricha Paus is a Marathi film on farmer's suicide.
  • Genre: Comedy/Drama
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Director: Satish Manwar
  • Cast: Sonali Kulkarni, Girish Kulkarni, Jyoti Subhash, Veena Jamkar
  • IMDb Rating: 7.8/10

Gabhricha Paus” is a comedy-drama Marathi film directed by Satish Manwar. The movie revolves around the life of Kisna, a poor farmer living in a drought-ridden village in Maharashtra where farmer suicides are abundant. Kisna fights to earn a living through farming under adverse conditions. The absence of rain causes Kisna’s crops to fail, leading to a financial crisis for his family. Despite his efforts, Kisna finds it difficult to feed his wife and children. The movie expertly blends a serious topic with doses of light humor, making it a unique and entertaining experience. This is an underrated gem that we highly recommend.

9. Summer 2007 (2008)

Summer 2007 is based on farmer's suicide, their upliftment and other social issues.
  • Genre: Thriller/Drama
  • Run Time: 166 minutes
  • Director: Suhail Tatari
  • Cast: Sikandar Kher, Yuvika Chaudhary, Gul Panag, Arjan Bajwa
  • IMDb Rating: 6.4/10

Summer 2007” is the debut film of director Suhail Tatari that entails a group of medical students who live carefree lives. Things change when they go for an internship in a remote village in Maharashtra. The group of youngsters is faced with the devastating reality of farmer suicides in the village. They rise against a zamindar and his son, who exploit the villagers. Many more opponents try to stop them as they try to uplift the villagers. The movie highlights the need for awareness of social issues and the crucial need for identifying their root causes. Watching this movie, you will go through waves of emotions and experience friendship, love, as well as life at its harshest.

10. Kisaan (2009)

Kisaan 2009 - a film based on farmers and the challenges they face from commercial businesses
  • Genre: Action/Thriller
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Director: Puneet Sira
  • Cast: Jackie Shroff, Arbaaz Khan, Sohail Khan, Dia Mirza
  • IMDb Rating: 5.5/10

Kisaan” is a 2009 action-drama film that looks at the complex relationship between patriarch Dayal Singh (Jackie Shroff) and his two sons, Amrit (Sohail Khan) and Jassi (Arbaaz Khan). The plot revolves around Dayal Singh, a respected farmer, who witnesses the changing landscape of the agricultural industry. He is determined not to part with this heritage land and traditional farming approaches. However, trouble comes his way when he refuses offers from a businessman named Sohan Seth to turn his land into a commercial zone. This action-packed thriller touches upon farmers’ attachment to their land and livelihood, which goes beyond earning money.

In this article, we have tried to list one aspect of Bollywood films that depicts the hard lives of Indian farmers, who comprise the vital backbone of this country. We hope you enjoy watching these movies!