Though Gehraiyaan left many disappointed with the glamorous portrayal of adultery or extra-marital affairs, there are some old movies that explored the theme in a much more progressive way! It is sad how Bollywood has taken a regressive route and either glamourized the infidelity or turned it into a comical subject with movies like Pati, Patni Aur Woh, Masti, Thank You, and No Entry.
Here are the movies, that were released decades ago, but handled the topic of infidelity with maturity and sensitivity!
Starring Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, and Rekha, the movie handles the topic of adultery and complex relationships. The movie managed to treat the subject of infidelity with so much maturity that it makes you applaud the makers. With the astounding performances, this movie is a must-watch. Though, initially, the movie was surrounded by controversies, has now turned into a classic.
Tracing what could have gone wrong in the protagonists’ marriage, Gulzar’s ijaazat is a complex love triangle. The movie has handled infidelity with so much warmth and compassion. And, how could we forget its beautiful breakup song – Mera Kuch Saamaan.
Based on his own extramarital relationship with actress Parveen Babi, Mahesh Batt’s movie Arth managed to treat the subject of infidelity in a very mature way. The movie is well-known for the great performances by Smita Patil and Shabana Azmi.
Starring Tabu, the film showcases how patriarchal norms treat women differently when it comes to infidelity. It forgives a man for infidelity but punishes the woman. Other than an extra-marital affair, this movie is about a woman’s struggle to find her own identity.
Another movie, that captured the adultery-themed film in a much better way than many regressive Bollywood movies. The couple’s marriage goes through a really tough time when another man enters the picture.
Shekhar Kapur’s directorial debut Masoom is definitely a must-watch. With the powerpacked performances by Naseeruddin Shah & Shabana Azmi, this film is based on American writer Erich Segal’s novel Man, Woman, and Child. The story is about a family and its acceptance of an illegitimate child from an old extramarital affair.
One of the most controversial films of its time, Deepa Mehta’s Fire explored the unconventional subject of queer romance in a patriarchal society. The story is about two young Indian women whose husbands choose celibacy or mistresses over their wives. This leads them to form an intimate, passionate relationship amidst a close-minded society.
Other than these movies, there are a handful of films in recent times that captured the topic of infidelity in a more sensible way. The movies such as Bombay Talkies, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, and The Lunchbox, handled the topic with much more thoughtfulness. We hope Bollywood understands the complexity of adultery and would give us better crafted movies in the future!