From ‘Alam Ara’ to ‘Mother India’, from ‘Sholay’ to ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’, the Indian Film Industry has won itself laurels for being the perfect medium to spread messages, be it good or bad. So, while some may blame Bollywood for instigating crimes, some also hail cinema as the perfect mother to various virtues.
One of the those very rare virtues is the feeling of belonging to our nation India and wanting to do something for it. The feeling that we call ‘Patriotism’ is sacrosanct and Indian movies have, time and again, stepped up to propagate it.
But gone are the days of the movies in which the lead actor would be shown warring with the enemies on the border. Movies like ‘Border’ and ‘Haqeeqat’ did work in the past, but in today’s time and age, where the demons are found within the boundaries of the nations, the meaning of patriotism has completely changed. There’s more to it than just talking about how partition affected India.
On the 69th Independence Day of India, we list five such movies which showcase the ‘new age patriotism’ and give us a lesson or two in enhancing the glory of our nation.
1. Rang De Basanti (2006)
A Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra directorial, ‘Rang De Basanti’ was ahead of its times in many ways. The movie told the story of six youngsters; aimless, directionless and confused. One incident happens in their lives and completely changes the way they think and behave. At the end, they have to lay their lives to support the truth.
The movie begins when Sue, a British filmmaker recreates the lives of young freedom fighters – Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev, Chandrashekhar Azad and the likes, with the help of these friends in her documentary. When one of their friends gets killed in an air mishap due to usage of faulty parts in the MIG aircraft, they take up upon themselves to teach the “system” a lesson.
A very intelligent direction supported by superb casting and even better acting by the whole cast that included superstar Aamir Khan, ‘Rang De Basanti’ is truly a gem.
2. Swades (2004)
Picture this. You work in NASA and have everything going great for you. But then you come to India, to your own village and realise that working for NASA might be good, but working for India to alleviate the issues of no electricity and less water supply might be more fulfilling, you get settled there.
And ofcourse! During all this, you fall in love with an Indian belle, educated but still wanting not to shift to foreign locales. This is what Ashutosh Gowariker’s ‘Swades’ was all about.
Shah Rukh Khan played the protagonist’s part beautifully and showed off the “act” in actor quite well. The whole sequence in which SRK’s character Mohan builds the self sufficient hydro electric power plant is a treat for all science lovers. And the part where he comes back to India for his mother, his love Geeta and just for India is music for every Indian.
A simple movie, very simply made but has the power to stay on in your mind for long.
3. Lagaan (2001)
Before ‘Swades’, Ashutosh Gowariker came into limelight with ‘Lagaan’ starring Aamir Khan as the fiesty young villager Bhuvan. Though fictional, the story drew parallels from the lives of the people back in the pre-Independence era. ‘Lagaan’ showed how only and only team spirit and brotherhood could help the Indians win against the mighty British.
The movie had cricket in its heart. Bhuvan challenges the British anarchists in the game of cricket, condition being forgoing the ‘lagaan’ or tax they used to pay to the British for their own land. The journey of how Bhuvan builds his team and leads it to a grand victory is endearing and makes this movie a must watch.
Also, ‘Lagaan’ was the offical Indian entry to Oscars that year.
4. Chak De! India (2007)
Another sports film that delves deep into the patriotic emotion is YRF’s ‘Chak De! India’. Beautifully directed by Shimit Amin, the movie revolves around Kabir Khan, aptly played by Shah Rukh Khan, who unfortunately drives Indian Hockey Team to a crushing defeat at the hands of arch rival Pakistan.
Kabir is booed and slammed all around but he comes back seven years later only to guide a directionless National Women’s Hockey Team to become the World Champions.
SRK’s brilliant delivery of the ‘Sattar Minute’ dialogue is still fresh in the audiences’ minds. But what takes the cake away in the movie is SRK’s rendition of these lines: “Mujhe states ke naam na dikhayi detey, na sunaayi detey hain. Sirf ek mulk nazar aata hai – India.” Precisely, the gravest issue with the nation right now.
Also, not to be missed is the climax of the movie. The background score given by Salim-Sulaiman just adds to the tear-jerker scene.
5. Krantiveer (1994)
Nana Patekar and his hard hitting style finds a fan following even in this time and age. And his portrayal of the emotionally conflicted yet ethically strong Pratap in the 1994 movie ‘Krantiveer’ is heart wrenching. Patekar’s fight against the corrupt government and selfish officials is something not to be missed.
Danny Denzongpa plays perhaps the most villainous role of his lifetime and does it with elan. Hugely supported by able actors like Dimple Kapadia and Atul Agnihotri, ‘Krantiveer’ might be old and too formulaish, yet the treatment of the story in unique and that’s what makes it a must watch even today.