Patriotism is in the air. It is inevitable as India celebrates its 75th year of independence. Although feeling for the nation is the dominant feeling, we arrived at day one with a list of five films about real-life characters that we felt were important to the idea of India.
When we decided on the theme, we understood that it was not a new idea. But to make our choices more accurate, we have chosen movies in four languages - Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu. In addition, we also chose films about people who came from diverse backgrounds and still made a difference. They remain national heroes (and heroines) and the movies about them continue to be inspiring. Films of this type tend to be ‘messengers’, but we also avoided films that were in your face with their ‘preaching’.
Our list consists of: Shershaah (a hero on the battlefield), Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja (a local king who fought the British), Neerja (a flight attendant who gave her life to thwart a flight hijacking attempt), form up (a commando who martyred themselves to keep terrorists at bay) and Bharata (a valiant poet and thinker who united the country against the British through his prose and poetry).
Shershaah (2021) – Hindi
This is the story of Captain Vikram Batra, who is a national hero for his selfless sacrifice in the Kargil War — a battle in which Indian forces, with courage and poise, overcame Pakistani forces.
Batra’s battalion, the 13 JAK Rifles, played a significant role in the capture of Point 5140. It was during the briefing for the capture of Point 5140 that Batra used the phrase ‘Yeh Dil Mange More’ – taken from a popular Pepsi advertising campaign. – as your sign of success. Batra was seriously wounded during the attack, but killed three enemy fighters and a large number of weapons and ammunition were recovered. India did not suffer a single loss of life during the capture of Point 5140.
Sidharth Malhotra played the dual roles as Batra and his twin brother Vishal. Shershaah remains one of the most watched Indian films on the OTT.
Shershaah is on Amazon Prime Video
Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja (2009) – Malayalam
The Indian War of Independence has many chapters of brave local kings who faced the power of the British raj with conviction. As you all know, it was an unequal fight. But these kings and chiefs overcame their collective weights and kept rival forces at bay.
Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja was a king who fought against the East India Company in the 18th century. The movie of the same name had the fearsome Mammootty playing the lead role with tremendous zeal. The film won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam, Best Soundtrack, Best Audiography and Special Mention (for Padmapriya). It remains one of the most successful Malayalam films of all time.
Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja It’s on Disney Plus Hotstar
Neerja (2016) – Hindi
This is based on the true story of Neerja Bhanot, a flight attendant on Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi in 1986. The plane was the target of a hijacking attack by members of a Libyan terrorist group. But were it not for the selfless valor displayed by Chief Flight Attendant Neerja Bhanot, it would have been disastrous for all 379 passengers on board. Thanks to their skillful and disinterested handling of the situation, 359 of them survived. But unfortunately, Neerja was not one of them.
The film Neerja it was superbly crafted and won two awards at the 64th National Film Awards, including Best Feature Film in Hindi and Special Mention for Sonam Kapoor, who played the role of Neerja.
Neerja It’s on Disney Plus Hotstar
Major (2022) – Telugu
form up is based on the life of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, who was martyred in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, a heinous attempt by Pakistan-based terrorists in 2008. As many of the attacks were broadcast live on television, a shocked and stunned nation watched the Pakistani terrorists go crazy. The situation was recovered and eventually peace was restored thanks to the selfless value shown by a multitude of commands. Sandeep Unnikrishnan was part of the National Security Guard’s Special Action Group.
The film form up star Adivi Sesh, who also handled the story and script. It is one of the highest grossing in Telugu in 2022.
form up it’s on Netflix
Bharathi (2000) – Tamil
Subramania Bharathiyar, or Bharathi as he is known, could be the greatest Tamil of all time. The writer, poet, journalist, Indian independence activist, social reformer and polyglot was a troubadour of a thousand thoughts. His pity was potent enough to arouse thousands and thousands into action against imperialist forces. The man of many parts, despite his impoverished circumstances, was always rich in imagination and inspiration.
the biopic about him, Bharata, won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil for the year 2000. It also gave Sayaji Shinde the award for best actor. The music and songs by Ilaiyaraaja were sensationally beautiful.
Bharata it’s on youtube