Bollywood’s tryst with ‘desh bhakti’ films goes back a long time. From Purab Aur Paschim and Mother India to Rang De Basanti and Dangal, Hindi film industry has constantly been churning out patriotic content that instills us with pride about our very own motherland called India. From dedicating songs to the ‘Bharat Mata’ to showcasing stories of those brave hearts who served the country, Bollywood has been constantly making films that arouse the patriotic feeling within us. These films sometimes make us introspect about the days of struggle in the past and sometimes make us look forward to a better future.
While films like Rang De Basanti (2006), Swades (2004), A Wednesday (2008) leave us feeling inspired to do something for our nation, The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002), Mangal Pandey: The Rising (2005) and others shed light on the life of those warriors who served the country in tough times.
A brief look at the Bollywood calendar for this year also proves that patriotic fervour is definitely on the rise in Bollywood. While films like Raazi, Parmanu, Gold and Paltan are hitting screens this year, we also have Kesari, Bharat and the untitled Vikram Batra biopic in the pipeline for next year. With Alia Bhatt’s Raazi hitting the theatres this week, here’s looking at upcoming patriotic films.
Helmed by Meghna Gulzar, Raazi is based on the novel Calling Sehmat by Harinder Sikka. Set in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War, the thriller will see Alia Bhatt in the role of a Kashmiri spy who is married into a Pakistani household. The film captures her struggles to relay classified information to the Indian forces and the kind of sacrifices she makes while hoodwinking her own family and husband, played by Vicky Kaushal. While some creative liberties have been taken by the writer and the director, Raazi is inspired from a true story and in order to protect her identity, Sikka chose to call her Sehmat.
Though currently embroiled in a legal battle, Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran is based on the nuclear bomb test explosions conducted by the Indian Army at Pokhran in 1998. While John Abraham plays the lead member of the Pokhran Nuclear test team, the film focuses on telling the audience about the hidden stories behind these tests and brings out the unsung heroes of the experiment that put India on the global map as a nuclear superpower.
Starring Akshay Kumar in the lead, Gold is the story of India’s first gold medal after independence at the Olympics. Though previously assumed to be a biopic on the legendary hockey player Balbir Singh (who scored two goals against Britain in the final match), it was later clarified that Gold will showcase the turmoil that led to the historic victory of the Indian field hockey team at the 1948 Summer Olympics. Just like Chak De India!, Gold is expected to blend in the patriotic fervour with the zeal for sports in our country.
Filmmaker JP Dutta is back with yet another war story with Paltan this year. The 1967 Nathu La and Cho La India-China military clashes that took place along the Sikkim border will be the subject of his film this time. While not much is known about the film’s plot, it is said to be an ode to the soldiers who battle it out on the border every day to keep the citizens safe. Paltan’s ensemble cast boasts of names such as Arjun Rampal, Sonu Sood, Gurmeet Choudhary, Harshvardhan Rane and Siddhant Kapoor among others.
Actor Akshay Kumar, who has become a champion of sorts for socially relevant dramas, will star in this period piece that revolves around the famous 1897 battle of Saragarhi. The Battle of Saragarhi is the one in which 21 Sikhs of the 36th regiment of the British army (now the 4th battalion of the Sikh regiment of the Indian Army) fought with over 10,000 Afghan tribesmen and still held their ground. It is helmed by Anurag Singh.