Independence Day special: Top 10 patriotic films to binge-watch and celebrate

New Delhi: There are many events in the history of India that are extremely important to every citizen, but in the history of modern day India, no event is greater than August 15, which we all proudly celebrate as our Independence Day, the day when India broke free of the chains of the British Raj.

August 15, marked a dramatic shift in the course of the entire world where India, which had been drained to the last drop, stripped of nearly all its wealth and historical and civilasational glory was born anew, at the stroke of midnight 77 years ago in 1947.

To celebrate India’s 77th Independence Day, here are some of the best movies that audiences can watch which celebrate the patriotic passion of the whole nation and dive into history of both pre-Independent and post-Independent India:

1. ‘1971’: This historical war drama directed by Amrit Sagar starring Manoj Bajpayee, Ravi Kishan, Piyush Mishra Manav Kaul, Deepak Dobriyal, Chittaranjan Giri, Kumud Mishra and Vivek Mishra released in 2007 is a forgotten Bollywood classic. The film tells the story of the Indian Prisoners Of War (POW) from the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.

It is a well-documented fact that the Pakistan surrender during the ’71 war was the biggest post World War 2 surrender with over 93,000 Pakistani POWs taken captive by the Indian Army, but over 58 Indian POWs were also taken by the Pakistani Army. While India returned the Pakistani POWs in 1973, Pakistan never returned the Indian soldiers who were last confirmed alive in 1988.

2.  ‘ RRR’: The 2022 S.S Rajamouli directed Telugu historical fiction epic drama starring Ram Charan, NTR Junior, Ajay Devgn, Shriya Saran, Alia Bhatt, Samuthirakini, Ray Stevenson, Alison Doody and Olivia Morris gained universal acclaim. The movie tells a fictional tale of two real life Indian freedom fighters, Alluri Sitarama Raju and Komaram Bheem.

While these two freedom fighters who fought in the Telugu speaking states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana respectively never met in real life, the movie in full ‘Inglorious Bastards’ style fashion presents a historical fiction where the two met up, became best friends and fought together to free India from British hands. The movie received universal acclaim and greatly gave a boost to the name of Indian cinema worldwide.

3.  Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero: A Hindi language biopic directed by acclaimed filmmaker Shyam Benegal, the film starring Sachin Khedkar, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Rajit Kapur, Divya Dutta and Arif Zakaria, the movie tells the story of the legendary Indian leader Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

An independent film, the movie dives deep into Bose’ history, covering the time when he left the Congress Party, detailing his personal life and how he eventually went on to form the Indian National Army or the Azad Hind Fauj.

It also showcases his meeting with Adolf Hitler and the assistance given to the INA by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War 2, and the battles they fought against the British Indian Army in the forests of Burma (Myanmar) to his eventual ‘death’ in 1945, which to date is a mystery.

4.   ‘The Legend of Bhagat Singh’: This 2002 Bollywood biopic directed by Rajkumar Santoshi starring Ajay Devgan, Sushant Singh, D. Santosh, Akhilendra Mishra and Amrita Rao tells the story of the legendary Indian revolutionary Bhagat Singh. The movie with great attention to historical detail focuses on the life of Bhagat Singh and how he became disillusioned with Gandhi’s ahimsa policy. Inspired by the Communist movement of Soviet Russia, Bhagat Singh joined the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association under the leadership of Chandra Shekhar Azad.

The movie also tells the stories of his comrades Sukhdev, Rajguru, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Batukeshwar Dutta and Jatindra Nath Das and how they exploded bombs in the British Legislative Assembly, assassinated John Saunders and their 65-day hunger strike which led to the death of Jatin Das.

The movie culminates with the death of Chandra Shekhar Azad who shot himself as he refused to be taken alive, and to the eventual hangings of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru.

5.  ‘Sardar Udham’: This 2021 historical biopic directed by Shoojit Sircar starring Vicky Kaushal, Amol Parashar, Shawn Scott, Stephen Hogan and Andrew Hill tells the story of the great Udham Singh and how he assassinated Michael O’ Dwyer who had ordered General Reginald Dyer to commit the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in Amritsar in 1919

The movie tells a grim and dark tale of how Udham Singh escaped from India via Afghanistan eventually reaching the USSR and asking them for help, which the Soviet Union had refused. After that Udham Singh goes to London, first asking help from the IRA which doesn’t go well as the IRA was also incapacitated, and proceeds to track O’Dwyer’s every movement for seven years alone after being expelled by the HSRA before killing him in 1940 as justice for the massacre.

The movie also captures in grim detail how Udham Singh remained traumatised by the massacre, and graphically depicted the killings of everyone to how Udham Singh and his partners aided the remaining survivors, as the horror changed him forever, making him a new man who idiolised his friend and guru Bhagat Singh above everyone else.

6.  ‘Lakshya’: This 2004 Bollywood war film directed by Farhan Akhtar needs little introduction. Telling the story of the 1999 Kargil War, the movie stars Hritikh Roshan, Priety Zinta, Amitabh Bachchan, Om Puri, Amrish Puri, Boman Irani, Lillete Dubey and Aditya Srivastava tells the story of how the 3rd battalion of the Punjab Regiment and the Jammu Kashmir Rifles captured Peak 5179 in the Battle of Tiger Hill, as well as guarding the National Highway in Ladakh and securing all key strategic points. The movie, while a moderate box office success, remains a cult classic and a favourite among audiences today.

7.  ‘Border’: The 1997 war-drama Bollywood classic written, produced and directed by J.P Dutt is a timeless classic. Starring Sunny Deol, Jackie Shroff, Sunil Shetty, Akshay Khanna, Rakhie Gulzar, Pooja Bhatt, Puneet Issar, Sudhesh Berry and Kulbhushan Kharbhanda tells the story of the legendary Battle of Longewala in the 1971 India-Pakistan War. The film fictionalises the events of the war, and tells how a contingent of 120 soldiers faced off against 3,000 Pakistani soldiers armed with 40 tanks and won the battle. The movie, remembered for its iconic songs, dialogues and acting was a blockbuster, and to date remains a classic.

8. ‘Sajjan Singh Rangroot’: This Punjabi historical war film released in 2018 by director Pankaj Batra tells the story of the Sikh Regiment of the British Indian Army and their untold fight in World War 1 where they took the fight to the Western Front, defeating hordes of German soldiers. The movie which stars Diljit Dosanjh, Jagjeet Sandhu, , Yograj Singh, Sunanda Sharma and Jagjeet Sandhu was a massive success at the box office and was renowned for its visuals as well as direction and storytelling, particularly for telling the forgotten story of the bravery of Sikh soldiers and their contributions in the First War.

9.   ‘Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy’: Telling the another relatively unknown story, this Telugu film directed by Surender Reddy is a historical fiction movie set in 1857 and much like ‘RRR’ takes a spin on history, taking inspiration from the life of the great Andhra freedom fighter Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy and his fight against the East India Company during the great revolt or the First War of Indian Independence.

The movie stars several big South Indian names such as Charanjeevi, Nayanthara, Sudeep, Tammana Bhatia, Vijay Sethupati and Jagapathi Babu and while not a big commercial success received great acclaim for its direction, acting and storytelling.

10.  ‘Gadar: Ek Prem Katha’: When talking about patriotic films, ‘Gadar’ is a movie that can never be ignored. This 2001 Bollywood classic directed by Anil Sharma starring Sunny Deol, Ameesha Patel, Amrish Puri and Lilette Dubey is an icon that burns with patriotic passion. Telling a romantic drama set during the bloody events of the Partition of India, the movie tells the story of Tara Singh who marries a Pakistani Muslim woman called Sakeena Ali, making her his wife while tensions are at an all time high between Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims.

The movie goes back into the days of pre-Partition India where Tara Singh and Sakeena Ali recall their old dreams and how the Partition destroyed so much. Later, Tara Singh later goes to Pakistan, and for the sake of his love is willing to convert to Islam to marry her, but refuses to demean his country chanting ‘Hindustan Zindabad’ and kills people for daring to disrespect his motherland.


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