Satyajit Ray's debut feature reflected life in the interiors of India, where the light of modernisation has not penetrated, where daily life is still a struggle for many the way it is for Apu's family.
Guru Dutt's melancholic portrait of the life of a failed artist, the film also examined the pores of society which thrive when art thrives but do nothing to help sustain it themselves.
Directed by Ritwik Ghatak, the film explored the struggles of a young woman who has been forced to migrate to West Bengal from what is not East Pakistan as a result of Partition, and the lengths to which she goes to ensure her family's survival.
The Adoor Gopalakrishnan film focused on the literal crumbling of feudalism in Independent India, and how erstwhile lords find themselves unable to contend with a new, more equal society.
Mani Ratnam's crime drama drew from the reels of The Godfather (1972) and the real life of Varadarajan Mudaliar to concoct this story of a Tamil gangster in
Directed by and starring Kamal Haasan, the Tamil-Hindi bilingual drama probes the fault line of Partition and the spillover of it into contemporary sectarian politics, leading to communal violence and a sense of perpetual distrust.
The M. Manikandan film indicted the petty bureaucracy and police as it goes toe-to-toe with a beleaguered old farmer, the only man in his village to still be involved in the profession.