Answer by Raakhee V. Menon:
There are plenty of them. One just needs to know where to look 🙂
You can get to see a lot of movies with very deep meanings in Malayalam and Bengali cinema. Typically commercial movies are are rarity in both these movie industries. There are are few amazingly good movies that have come out in Hindi as well. They may not have become commercial successes but the quality of cinema is just out of this world! I talk of this with some level of conviction as I am not a fan of garish and unrealistic cinema myself.
The Raincoat is a definite recommendation. It is not everyone’s cup of tea. But people who enjoy cinema as an art would definitely enjoy it. Then you have movies like Mr. & Mrs. Iyer, English August,The Lunchbox…there are quite a few actually.
In Malayalam, I am at a loss trying to zero in on some of the better ones among the classics. Pranayam deserves a mention.
Then there’s Mathilukal, a classic from the 80s.
Vanaprastham still remains as one of Mohanlal’s best ever performances.
Most Malayalam movies are realistic and relatable to the common man. That’s why it’s so difficult to choose just one or two movies.
In Malayalam cinema, even the so-called ‘commercial’ movies have to have a rock-solid believable storyline that relates to the life of an average Malayali. Anything other than this is panned by critics and usually bomb at the box-office. One of Malayalam cinema’s most recent biggest blockbusters was the phenomenal movie ‘Premam‘.
It was a simple coming of age story of a regular boy-next-door. There was nothing loud or garish or unbelievable about the story line. It could have been the story of any boy you know. And Malayalis embraced it to their hearts. There have been movies which had superstars in them and yet fared poorly at the box office because the story was weak or unbelievable. The Malayali cinema going crowd can be very unforgiving when it comes to what is being displayed on celluloid. Like I mentioned on another answer, to the average Malayali, cinema is not just entertainment. It is an art, and it is taken very seriously. As far as I believe, Bengali cinema is also likewise.
If you are looking for serious cinema, then I would recommend that you watch some Malayalam or Bengali movies. You will not be disappointed.