When you’re feeling patriotic, there’s no shortage of titles in Bollywood’s archives to turn to (like today). Films like Haqeeqat (1995) and Border (1997) to Mehboob Khan’s magnum opus Mother India (1957), as well as sports films like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013) and Dangal (2016) have remain Republic Day favourite for channels and audience. While many of these films had well-meaning national allegiance at their core, others were designed to capitalise on the twin sentiments of chest-thumping patriotism and blind faith sweeping the country. To commemorate 74th Republic Day, we’ve compiled a list of five Bollywood patriotic movies go beyond a stereotypical depiction of India to show the ground realities.
Article 15 of the Indian Constitution prohibits discrimination based on religion, race, caste, gender, or place of birth. The reality, however, is quite different, as Ayushmann Khurrana discovers in this Anubhav Sinha-directed film. When a police officer sets out to investigate the murder of three lower-caste girls, he becomes entangled in a murky world where a person’s worth is determined by their social standing. The film was praised for bringing to light an issue that the country is still dealing with even after 75 years of independence.
When a team of scientists from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) takes on the task of launching a satellite into Mars orbit, they face more than just technical challenges. Based on true events, writer-director Jagan Shakti’s film takes viewers behind the scenes of the 2014 Mars Orbiter Mission. The film, directed by a team of five female scientists, makes you want to cheer on and celebrate India’s breakthrough in space technology.
Lakshya’s box office numbers were dismal when it was released in 2004, but the film has since gained cult status. Farhan Akhtar’s second directorial after the huge success of Dil Chahta Hai (2001) saw Hrithik Roshan deliver one of his best performances of his career. Lakshya, a coming-of-age story about a young, carefree man who finds his purpose in the army, is more than just a war drama and makes for an excellent Republic Day watch.
Rang De Basanti by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is as relevant today as it was 16 years ago. The story of the five friends not only resonated with the collective consciousness of the nation, but it also served as a wake-up call for the country’s youth. Aside from social messaging, the cult film is also high on entertainment, with Aamir Khan, R. Madhavan, and Sharman Joshi lending their talents to it.
Remember Gulzar’s song “Ae Watan Watan Mere Aabaad Rahe Tu”? Depending on which side of the border you were on, the “watan” he was referring to could have been India or Pakistan. Raazi, directed by Meghna Gulzar and starring Alia Bhatt and Vicky Kaushal, managed to walk the line between nationalism and jingoism by demonstrating that love for one’s country does not have to be one-sided.
While many people travel to New Delhi for the Republic Day parade, others prefer to watch it from the comfort of their own homes. One of the most endearing childhood memories is watching a patriotic movie with parents and siblings. So if it’s your plan to watch a Republic Day movie too with your parents this year, we just have the correct list for you stream with a bucket full of popcorn and patriotic emotions.