Caste System in Bolywood

In this class we learn about the culture and life of South Asians, past and present, through different films and shows.  We learn about important topics that shape/have shaped the lives of south Asians over many years, these topics include gender, colonialism, diasporic aspects, and many more.  But one of these topics that seems prevelant in all movies is class.  The class system in South Asia is based on a 5 tiered hierarchy that one is generally born into.  In “Slumdog Millionaire” and  “Gangs of Wasseypur” the viewer is able to see a progression of characters lives from on class to another.  In both of these you see a clear progression through the show or movie and see why somewhere is where they are.

In the movie “Lagaan” the movie is immediately introduced to a character that is unlike any of the characters so far in the film in that he is a Dalit/untouchable.  What’s different about this movie is that we have no background information on this guy and know nothing about him other than he is of the lowest caste.  When we are introduced to Kachra for the first time everyone seemed to push him away and wanted nothing to do with him.  That is everyone except for Bhuvan, who decides to stick up for him.  Bhuvan, knowing very little of Kachra other than he’s an untouchable, decides to stick up for him and even do the unthinkable and touch him.  While Kachra has no lines in this movie, I believe he plays a key role in showing the heart and acceptance of the village members and Bhuvan for accepting him.

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