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Bold Hindi films dealing with the controversial & shocking theme of INCEST. (Did You Know - 77)

31 Jul, 2014 | 10 Most popular Articles AT BTC / Did You Know! / Articles on Cinema

Since the beginning of the last century, Hindi cinema has mostly been about pretty routine & comfortable subjects with quite rare exceptions to the rule and that too more towards the last few decades post the 90s. But surprisingly one of the most controversial and shocking subject of INCEST (objectionable relationship between close relatives, also considered as a serious crime) was adapted in an indicative way even before the independence in the early 40s and since then has been a part of few mainstream projects too mentioned below.
1. BAHEN (1941) - Directed by one of the best directors of Indian Cinema Mehboob Khan, the film is about an obsessive brother who doesn’t wish his sister to leave him even after her marriage. Though the film didn’t deal with the subject being discussed here directly (as my personal conception). Still it is considered to be one of the first films indicating towards the same by many. However its quite possible that the reference of 'Incest' might have surfaced in the later decades with the so called development of our questionable social structure.

2. BAMBAI KA BABU (1960)
 - Written by Rajinder Singh Bedi, this had a storyline similar to O’ Henry’s short story “A Double-Dyed Deceiver” having an imposter living with a family posing as their son. But as an added plot the musical masterpiece had Dev Anand romancing the gorgeous Suchitra Sen desperately, who otherwise supposed to be his sister being the daughter of the same family.
3. PREM SHASTRA (1974) - Dealing with the theme of incest in a much bold and at the face manner, PREM SHASTRA once again had Dev Anand having physical relationship with Zeenat Aman who later turns out to be the daughter of his cunning wife, but from a different person who is none other than his own elder brother.
4. MAUSAM (1975) - Had only a subtle indication towards the subject when Sanjeev Kumar finds his young daughter working at a brother having a face exactly similar to her dead mother. And now he is in dilemma about how to deal with this disturbing fact and bring her back to his house saving her from that ugly hell.
5. ZAMEER (1975) - Based on an almost identical storyline of the above mentioned BAMBAI KA Babu (1960), ZAMEER had Amitabh Bachchan playing the imposter son in a rich businessman’s (Shammi Kapoor) house. But reaching there he is introduced to Saira Banu as his sister, with whom he was earlier having a romantic relationship in the film’s first hour.
6. MANDI (1983) – Based on a classic Urdu short story 'Anandi' by Ghulam Abbas, MANDI is about the life lived by several women in a brothel running in the center of a small city. Interestingly the young boy of a local politician falls in love with a beautiful girl of the brothel (Smita Patil), who in reality is her own sister as the father of that girl is the politician himself.
7. EK NAI PAHELI (1984) – Talking about love between different age groups, this is a complex tale of few unusual relationships formed when the hero (Kamal Hassan) leaves the house (after an argument with his father) to live with a beautiful middle aged lady (a singer). And the young rebellion daughter of that singer lady accidently starts having a live-in affair with the hero’s father only at the other end, heading towards a marriage. No doubt, complex enough to understand in just a few lines!
8. TRIYACHARITRA (1994) – In this offbeat venture based on Shiv Murti’s novel with the same title, a poor & innocent girl is not only raped by her cunning father-in-law but also blamed for the shameful act by the village Panchayat ignorantly, proving the sad state of women in the rural areas.
9. FIRE (1996) - Deepa Mehta's famous upsetting movie which was widely opposed in India at the time of its initial release, had lonely wives of two brothers living in the same house, moving into lesbian relationship without feeling any kind of regret whatsoever breaking the society’s norms. 
10. HUM DEEWANE PYAR KE (2001) – A confused mother cannot approve the girl selected by her young son as she doubts that the father of that girl might be her husband only whom she assumed to be dead many years ago in the havoc witnessed during a political upset.
11. EVERYBODY SAYS I’M FINE (2001)A young man running a unisexual parlour accidently gets the power of listening his client’s thoughts running in their minds. And during one of his sessions comes to know about a beautiful girl having an incestuous relationship with her sick father.
12. MATRUBHOOMI (2003) – One of best realistic films from Indian cinema, focusing on the alarmingly serious problem of ‘Girl Foeticide’, this award winning gem sarcastically portrayed the issue talking about a sick family. A family of all men (five brothers and their father) who mutually decide to share the wife of their elder brother, taking turns assigning each day of the week to an individual member……….shockingly also including their father. A film, which can easily make you feel the disgusting shame like never before.  
13. JANANI (2006) – A young boy is denied the approval of marrying a middle class girl because in reality she is his sister. Reason being, the girl’s mother had served as the surrogate mother for the young boy’s family and it was him only, getting birth from the girl’s mother in the past.
14. UNDERTRIAL (2007) – Reportedly based on a true incident, it revolves around a poor man who was accused of raping his three young daughters with the charges filed by his wife only. A debut attempt by the director, the film did manage to raise many eye brows but couldn’t reach majority of audience due to its quite dark & sadist theme.
15. THANKS MAA (2009) – A worth watching thoughtful film about an infant child left alone by his mother, who is later found and taken care of by a group of street kids. But when the leader of that street boys gang somehow finds the real mother then he comes to know that the girl had left the child to die, since he was the result of the sick & helpless relationship with her own father.
16. THE GIRL IN THE YELLOW BOOTS (2010) – A bold film revealing the shocking truth found by a girl, who was desperately searching for her father since long. A father, who was a sex maniac abusing his daughters in their early childhood and now looking for some kind of spiritual solace in various cities, ashrams and even a massage parlour, where incidentally his daughter only was working as the masseuse.
Now expectedly none of the above mentioned films could witness any kind of success at the box office due to their unpleasant and dark themes showing the society its real face, often put under the carpet out of shame, disgust and regret. May be that is the reason, a few films in the above mentioned list tried to justify the weird storyline making some sane adjustments in the end to make it more acceptable for the Indian audiences.
But still, it was indeed a daring act by their respective makers to go ahead with such experimental projects showing their guts, which were bound to meet a negative fate at the ticket window due to many obvious reasons.
(Bobby Sing)
Did You Know By Bobby SingThe article is discussed in more details with references of many more films as an individual chapter in my first book on cinema titled DID YOU KNOW (Vol.1) published by Notionpress.
Also available 
at Notionpress and Flipkart stores (in India)

At Amazon-com, Amazon-co-uk abroad.

And the E-BOOK is available at 
Amazon Kindle, Google Play, I-Books and Kobo.

Tags : Bold Hindi films on the theme of INCEST, Did You Know Facts about Hindi Cinema by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Conrversial & Bold Hindi Films talking about unsual and sick relationships, Amazing unknown facts about Hindi Films by Bobby Sing
31 Jul 2014 / Comments ( 16 )
A Desai

Excellent article Bobby Ji!
As a 11-12 years old kid I remember getting confused while watching Zameer during early 80s. Mausam has been my all time favorite.

Bobby Sing

Thanks a lot Abel Desai Ji,
But do visit the artice in a day again, as I will be updating it with some new information contributed by some knowledgeable friends.


All of those films you mentioned above would have gotten good attention if the quality of film/print was good. With the 3rd rate film banners and cameras used, no one will watch them. Why do you think Meera Nair\'s film like "Salaam Bombay" succeed? No it is not because she is an american director. The quality is good without any advertisement on videos and print can be digitized very good even today with good sound quality. She don\'t shy away with the vulgarity and sticks to the theme.

Problem with these directors is that they do not invest a lot of time and especially money to make these films. Just because it says "incest" they think it will provoke a feeling to the audience and it will get an award just for putting a theme like no directors have done is what kills these good movies. These type of movies should be handled with good film directors like Mahesh Bhatt "Tamanna & Zakhm", Gulzar "maachis" and one of my favorite director Govind Nihalani "Droh Kaal & ardh satya". Or hell, give it to Meera Nair. :)

My Collection - http://www.imdb.com/list/Z743nihWkDU

Bobby Sing

Dear JV,
Your observation can be considered right for only a few films but its not always about the camera or the setup as the fact has been proved repeatedly in the past as well as in the present by all independent and small budget films.

Now quoting from your comment only, if you name Meera Nair's film like "Salaam Bombay" the list has Deepa Mehta's "Fire" too.

Moreover, the list also has BAMBAI KA BABU, Mehboob Khan's BAHEN, Gulzar's MAUSAM, Shyam Benegal's MANDI and MATRUBHOOMI, THANKS MAA, THE GIRL IN THE YELLOW BOOTS and EVERBODY SAYS I'M FINE which are all well shot, well conceived, well directed off beat appreciable products of Indian Cinema including many true masterpieces too.

So if you haven't seen them, then please find time and witness some great films here for sure.


I think you forget .. Waaris (1988). for matrabhumi your comments are true.. realy i never thought to watch it again

Bobby Sing

Thanks for the mention Pradeep as I will soon watch it again and update the article as required.


Neel Trivedi
Hey Bobby,

Very unique and insightful article on a subject rarely discussed when it comes to Indian cinema.

However, I feel that Bambai Ka Babu and Zameer really don\'t qualify as the supposed \"sisters\" of the the hero (Dev Anand and Amitabh Bachchan, respectively) aren\'t really their sisters. Both stories have a man PRETENDING to be someone who he isn\'t. So technically, it\'s not incest.
Bobby Sing

Hi Neel,
Thanks for appreciating the unique article.
And yes both "Bambai Ka Babu" and "Zameer" are not exactly films talking about Incest but they are hinting towards the same as per their similar storylines.
Moreover the fact remains that the films actually didnt work and were majorly criticised for the same reason strongly.

However if you wish to read about it more than my first book DID YOU KNOW has a much more detailed chapter on this as it final 51st Chapter. So please do opt for it if possible as its available all over the world online.



I want to know is there any film in bollywood where incest subject is fully open.

Bobby Sing

Dear Deepak,
If you have gone through the article there are many films with clear references.
And for more detailed account you can opt for my first book titled DID YOU KNOW as it has a more elaborated list in it too.

However, would like to add that for depicting Incest on screen its not that a specific scene is required, the subject can and has been directly used in many films in Hindi Cinema as mentioned.


You may have missed Bharosa 1940 of Sohrab Modi.
Bobby Sing

Hi Tushar,
As a separate chapter this subject has many more entries in my book "DID YOU KNOW (VOL.1)" released in Sep-Oct last year.
But I will have to admit that this film still remains missing and now will surely be added in the book's second edition coming soon.

So a big loving thanks to you for giving the info and Keep Visiting and Writing in,


Also watch J P Dutta’s Yateem (1988) where a young Sunny Deol, son of a dacoit is adopted and raised by Amrish Puri who is a police officer. Sunny and Farah, who is Amrish Puri’s daughter, falls in love with each other.

In the same movie, Amrish Puri’s second wife Sujata Mehta also falls for Sunny. He tries to seduce Sunny.  On being unsuccessful, she levels rape charge on him.

Bobby Sing

Dear Anupam,
Thanks for writing in.
This particular chapter is in much detailed form in my book mentioned below the article including all other names.
Please do read if possible as it has a lot more in its 51 chapters.


In-depth information about so many films on the subject, Mehboob khan's Behen really surprised me.

Bobby Sing

Thanks Shakil Ji,
The chapter is in much more details with more references in my book Did You Know Vol.1 as its last chapter.
Please do check it in there too.

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