Movies are a great medium to evoke any emotion in the viewers and where other mediums can do the same to some extent, an audio-visual medium beats others to it. Here in India, a debate about chest-thumping nationalism has been doing the rounds for months now and with extremists, it sometimes gets pushed too much to another level but what we will all agree with is, no matter how much we diss India in our daily lives, we actually love it. And it is best seen when our favorite stars stand up against the enemies of India on-screen and win like a boss. We, as an audience, fill with pride when we watch it. So, here is a list of 10 Bollywood patriotic movies which you must watch if you haven’t already.
Shah Rukh Khan is one of the biggest Bollywood stars in the country. He is known as the King of Romance in Bollywood and is popular among the ladies for his roles like Raj and Rahul but his movie, Swades will and always be one of his best performances on-screen in his career. That movie did everything right from its cast to its story to its direction; everything was just perfect. A story about an Indian man, Mohan who is a Product Manager in NASA in the US returns to India in order to take his Dai Ma back to the US with him but instead understands the plight of poor villagers in the country and how they can use his knowledge to grow. In a turn of events, he ends up staying back. The movie is all about his love for India, his own country. Kaveri Amma and Gita add to a significant amount in the film. The movie endorses positive nationalism and the dire need for social change in India.
Hrithik Roshan in the 2004 Indian war-drama was at his best. Though he is seen more in glamorous roles, in Lakshya, he did a splendid job as well. From being an undisciplined young man with no goals for future, Karan Shergill becomes a dedicated and a focused officer cadet in the Indian Army. The movie will provoke you to reconsider your focus in life and help you understand the psyche of soldiers stationed at the border protecting the country. The movie also stars Preity Zinta and Amitabh Bachchan in lead roles. Hrithik and Preity Zinta’s on-screen chemistry was much appreciated and so was Farhan’s direction. This was Farhan Akhtar’s second film as a director and the contrast of tone in this one and his first film, Dil Chahta Hai established the intensity and understanding of his craft. This is said to be Hrithik’s one of the best performances to date.
3. Poorab Aur Paschim
The name of the movie literally translates to East and West and the plot of the movie also revolves around a man standing up for his Indian roots and values to Indian people living in London. Manoj Kumar and Saira Banu starrer was a super hit and received a positive response from the audience. The movie is linked to the freedom struggle and that’s what makes it even more interesting. Whenever you see Manoj Kumar on-screen, he reeks of patriotism. He looks and sounds so convincing that you as an audience, believe him to be a true patriot. In the movie, he takes it upon himself to change the thinking of people who are ashamed of their country and even change their names. Remember the song, Bharat Ka Rehnewala Hoon? The song is all praise for the country and one of the best things in the movie. It is a must watch!
4. Rang De Basanti
Aamir Khan, Soha Ali Khan, Sharman Joshi, R. Madhavan, Kunal Kapoor, Sidharth Narayan and Atul Kulkarni along with Alice Platten together brought the freedom struggle live on-screen for the younger audiences to feel and sense the depth of it. Everybody in the country knows of this struggle but only such a spectacular film could have made it visually so real that you understand and become a part of the freedom fighter’s pain and their journey. The narration of the movie takes the cake as this one of a kind storytelling process evoked the feeling of patriotism in the urban audiences as well. This ensemble cast of this Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s movie was praised worldwide. The movie leaves an impact and makes you want to respect the freedom fighters even more. A bunch of relatable DU students becoming heroes is almost poetic.
The movie about an Indo-Pakistan war of 1971, it is based on the Battle of Longewala. With a stellar of amazing mainstream actors like Sunny Deol, Suniel Shetty, Akshaye Khanna and Jackie Shroff, this movie went on to become the second highest grossing Bollywood film of the year 1997. During the movie, we as civilians realize the sacrifices made by the Indian army officials and their family members who live in a constant fear of their loved ones dying when a war breaks out. The movie was hugely appreciated and critically acclaimed. Apart from the acting of the lead actors, the album of the movie was also attained huge appreciation. Most popular song of the movie’s album, Sandese Aate Hain, penned down by Javed Akhtar and composed by Anu Malik stands to be one of the most patriotic songs made till date.
6. A Wednesday
Naseeruddin Shah in the movie, A Wednesday played a common man and his portrayal of this character makes you want to be proud of being a common man who is often just manipulated by the politicians in the country. Neeraj Pandey, in his directorial debut, established that if a common man decides to take over the important matters for the country can shake the strongest of political foundations. The movie is directed in an action-thriller sort of a way and its simple direction adds to the impact of the film. Nothing feels forced or over dramatic and the twist in the climax will leave you thinking. It is one of the most subtly masked Bollywood films.
7. The Legend of Bhagat Singh
Every kid in the country knows the legend of Bhagat Singh. The young 23-year-old young revolutionary who dared to challenge the force of British rulers with his might and took a solemn vow to free the country from their rule. Ajay Devgn as Bhagat Singh, Sushant Singh as Sukhdev Thapar and D. Santosh as Shivaram Rajguru are so convincing in the portrayal of their roles that they will take you back to your history books from school. The three of them shared a great camaraderie and that translated in their performances. Songs like Pagdi Sambhal Jatta, Pagdi Sambhal oye, Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna, Mera Rang De Basanti Chola and Des Mere Des can still give goosebumps to every Indian. The movie came out to be too powerful and impactful whereas audience, you end up introspecting your own life.
8. Chak De! India
Chak De! India is one movie which is probably the best sports movie ever made in Bollywood. In fact, this movie began the era of sports movies in the country. Indian’s Women’s Hockey Team’s journey to the Worldcup is nothing but spellbinding. Shah Rukh Khan as the Tughlaq Coach and the 15 girls, his students do win the Worldcup and the audience’s hearts. The movie is made with so much passion that every time you watch this film, even though you know the climax and how it ends, it keeps on the edge of your seats. When in the movie, the Indian flag is hurled by a foreigner, you actually feel proud like Kabir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan’s character) in the movie does.
Now that we are talking about sports movies, we can’t miss Lagaan. Directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, Lagaan is about how a few poor villagers who are victims of a prolonged drought fight against the British officers in a cricket match to get rid of the taxes that they annually have to pay to the Britishers. The movie shows how a match of cricket decides the fate of these poverty-stricken villagers. From them learning the game to a Britisher helping them to the villagers finally winning the match, the movie is a genre packed with romance and drama. It is an entertaining film which is known to be inspired by a Dilip Kumar film Naya Daur which was released in 1957. The movie will make you vouch for the Indians automatically.
10. Gadar: Ek Prem Katha
Gadar: Ek Prem Katha has a lot of popular dialogues which made this film a cult classic. Though it is a love story of an Indian Jatt and a Pakistani Madame Ji, it will definitely make you feel proud to be an Indian. Based on the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, this love story explores the heated relationship between the two countries. Everybody here and there was at war and ready to slit each other’s throats and between all the chaos and bloodshed, these two fall in love. Sunny Deol and Ameesha Patel in the movie have done an amazing job. Tara Singh in the movie is a fair representation of India who loves his country and wife both equally. The climax of the movie will shoot up the patriotism in you.