Independence Day is one of the most important days for every citizen of a country. India is no different. 15 August marked the beginning of a new era for our country. Ending an agonising 200+ years of British subjugation, this day brings with it immense pride and love for all the martyrs that sacrificed their lives for our homeland. Every independence day we pay homage to these heroes for their unwavering grit and bravery. Bollywood has also always been at the forefront by paying fitting odes to this cause through moving stories and poignant narration, all centred around the theme of love towards our home . These movies never fail to fill our hearts with pride about the resounding entity in our life, India.
We have enlisted some of the most patriotic Bollywood movies of all time that make us proud of our nation!
Lagaan : Once Upon a Time in India (2001)
Set in the year 1893 against the backdrop of village Champaner during British Raj in India, Lagaan follows the story of people in Victorian India, who staked their future in terms of a cricket game in order to protest against the oppressive British land taxes. Aamir Khan plays the role of Bhuvan, a rebel farmer who gets his villagers together in order to challenge the British in a game of cricket. It highlights the story of aspirational Indian villagers in their bid to beat the Britishers in a sport which was completely foreign to them. A stellar cast of Gracy Singh, Suhasini Mulay and Kulbushan Kharbanda put their best foot forward and live their characters in the film. It was a critical and commercial success, reinstilling in people the love and pride they have for their country.
Starring Hritik Roshan, Amitabh Bachchan and Preity Zinta. Lakshya traces a coming of age story of a young man who takes to the Indian Military after undergoing a period of confusion and anxiety about the career path he wishes to undertake. The film explores his life after military training and is seen against the confluence of his relationship with his former lover, Romila. The film explores the life of army men during times of peace and war, making us feel grateful to all the sacrifices they undertake to keep us safe. The film is set against the backdrop of Kashmir Valley, which adds to the overall scenic vibe of the movie. The narration, authenticity and raw emotions in the film make Lakshya figure on every patriot’s list of must watch movies!
Rang De Basanti (2006)
One of India’s most gut-wrenching cinematic renditions contextualizing the contemporary political climate of the country, Rang De Basanti follows the story of a group of Delhi University graduates who are casted in a film about freedom fighters by a British filmmaker. Tragedies force the friends to start paying heed to politics and corruption at play in their country, prompting them to conjure plans of revenge to get the administration to listen to their cause. The movie carries with a sense of youthful nonchalance while also emphasising on pertinent issues of importance. The film is made authentic and emotional with the performances of a stellar cast consisting of Aamir Khan, Siddharth, Soha Ali Khan, Sharman Joshi, Waheeda Rahman, Kunal Kapoor, R. Madhavn to name a few. It strikes a chord with every person who wishes to see better, corruption-free days for the country.
Purab Aur Paschim (1970)
Hailed as a yesteryear classic, Purab aur Paschim tactfully deals with the perception British Indians or NRIs had of India post independence. The film follows the story of Bharat, the son of a martyred freedom fighter who goes to Britain to study and is astounded by the lack of respect and appreciation that NRIs there have for Indian culture and tradition. He takes it upon himself to try and change their perception about his beloved homeland. There he also meets his lady love who is also from the same school of thought. The film does a wonderful task in infusing love in the audience, moving the youth to take pride in their country. The wonderful cast of Manoj Kumar, Ashok Kumar, Saira Banu and Pran leave the audience wanting more. It continues to be hailed as one of the most loved patriotic movies of all time.
The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002)
As the name suggests, The Legend of Bhagat Singh narrates the story of India’s young revolutionary freedom fighter, Bhagat Singh who undertook armed resistance against British rule in pre-independent India. It traces his journey as a freedom fighter, reflecting on all the measures he undertook in order to protest against the oppressive British Raj, before facing his untimely death through hanging. The movie serves as a fantastic biopic of the legend that was. Ajay Devgn shines in his portrayal of the titular character, bringing his own charm and poise to the people’s hero. The supporting cast consisting of Sushant Singh and Farida Jalal also add to the overall nuance of the film. This coupled with an impressive background score make it a patriotic must-watch.
This Bollywood masterpiece focuses on reinstilling passion and rediscovering one’s roots. It follows the story of a NASA engineer, Mohan Bhargava who returns to India and goes back to his native village. There he undergoes a process of reliving and reconnecting with his childhood home through memoirs. The film highlights Mohan’s encounters with the traditional and conservative rural society of India, which is hampering the overall growth of the villagers, setting him to task to help overcome these societal hurdles of backwardness. He questions the ideals of ‘parampara’ in a manner that allows villagers to go along with him in his endeavour of growth. The stellar caste of Shah Rukh Khan, Gayatri Joshi, Smitha Seth and Lekh Tandon help us come on board a journey full of realisations and learning!
Kranti is hailed as a cinematic masterpiece of yesteryears. It follows the story of two common men who end up taking arms in order to fight against the British for the Independence of India. It is a tactful portrayal of historical drama along with a good dose of power-packed action. It emphasises on the story of ‘kranti’ or ‘revolution’ which ultimately led the Indian people to rise against British oppression. The mammoth cast of Manoj Kumar, Shashi Kapor, Dilip Kumar, Shatrughan Sinha, Hema Malini to name a few lend the movie the nuanced portrayals and personalization that it needed. The film is facilitated with great storytelling and portrayals along with moving musical renditions which make it a holistic watch for a patriot’s heart!
Hailed as one of Bollywood’s finest depictions of war and patriotism, Border narrates the story of the Indian battalion in the region of Longewala as they rise up against a large force of Pakistani strike officers. It showcases the trials and tribulations these men face while defending their post all night before receiving assistance from the larger Air Force. It tactfully portrays the tension between India and Pakistan while also focusing on the grit of the Indian soldier. The film boasts of a stellar cast consisting of Sunny Deol, Jackie Shroff, Sunil Shetty and Akshaye Khanna, all of whom portray their characters with sheer brilliance.
Chak De! India (2007)
Chak De! India is a classic patriotic sports film. It follows the story of a wronged man trying to prove his dedication to the game of hockey and his love for his country. It follows his story of redemption as he goes on to coach the Indian Women’s Hockey team for the World Cup. The trials and tribulations of the young women long with the ones faced by their coach are beautifully depicted in the movie. The film’s ability to bring the issue of women in sports made it current and contemporary in outlook. Even though Shah Rukh shines in his portrayal of Kabir Khan, the real stars of the films are the young women who essay the role of hockey players in the team.
Bose : The Forgotten Hero (2004)
This film explores the last five years of the Indian independence leader and freedom fighter, Subhash Chandra Bose. It is narrated through a series of flashbacks and makes us ponder about times during his life. This film does a commendable job in translating Bose’s life into celluloid, offering us with adequate interpretations and exploring interesting histories. The film has been successful in capturing the ambience of India before and after independence and has brilliantly explored the changing times. Sachin Khedekar is at his authentic and unadulterated best in the movie while essaying the complexities of Bose’s character with care and tact. This movie glee beyond the typical loud rhetoric of nationalistic themes and celebrates the Indian leader in all his patriotic fervour.
All these films are successful in moving us and making us feel pride in the country we all live and breathe in. They are tributes to the fights that have been fought and the battles that have been won!