There are as many Indias as there are Indians and at its best, our cinema reflects this diversity. Filmmakers across decades have grown from sentimental patriotism depicted in films like 'Purab Aur Paschim' and 'Kranti' to celebrate the power of Indian citizens when confronted by a wrong, challenge it, don't believe in being passive bystanders, and take the initiative to change the narrative. Here are five films you can watch on India's 75th Independence Day to celebrate protagonists whose extraordinary love for their country, for truth and justice, made all the difference. So, here are some recommendations for you to watch this Independence Day with your family.
200 Halla Ho
This 2021 Yoodlee production and Sarthak Dasgupta directorial is loosely based on a real-life incident that happened in 2004 in Nagpur where 200 oppressed Dalit women, took the law into their hands and in an open courtroom, lynched Akku Yadav, a serial killer, rapist, gangster, and robber. The film brought forth the many social inequities that push vulnerable citizens to the limits of their endurance and had a powerful star cast comprising Amol Palekar, Rinku Rajguru, and Saloni Batra. You can watch this eye-opening film on ZEE5.
This 2018 espionage thriller based on real-life events during the 1971 Indo-Pak war was helmed by Meghna Gulzar and was a rivetting adaptation of Harinder Sikka's novel 'Calling Sehmat.' At its heart was Sehmat (played by Alia Bhatt), a 20-year-old Kashmiri girl who decides to sacrifice her future by agreeing to marry a Pakistani officer (Vicky Kaushal). Along the way, she risks her life and even kills to find classified information that tilts the scales and helps India to win the war. This Dharma and Junglee Pictures production can be watched on Amazon Prime.
How did a young boy growing up in an idyllic hill town become a much feared Shershaah in the Kargil war? This 2021 biopic narrates that journey and pays a tribute to the indomitable spirit of Kargil's hero, Captain Vikram Batra, who laid down his life but not before winning back a crucial outpost from the enemy. Directed by Vishnuvardhan, the movie also delves into the personal life of Vikram (Sidharth Malhotra) and his relationship with Dimple (Kiara Advani). You can watch this Dharma and Kaash Entertainment production on Amazon Prime.
'Swades: We, the People was released in 2004 and is now a bonafide cult classic. Produced and directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, the film imagines the transformation that reverse brain drain can bring about in India. Shah Rukh Khan plays NRI Mohan Bhargav, who visits a small village briefly for a personal reason but then is so moved by the struggles of the people he comes across that he sets up a micro-hydroelectric project to generate electricity and never goes back. Gayatri Joshi, Kishori Ballal, Daya Shankar Pandey, Rajesh Vivek, and the late Lekh Tandon also starred in the film. Watch this film on Netflix.
Rang de Basanti
In 1965's 'Shadeed,' Manoj Kumar played Bhagat Singh and brought citizens of an independent India to tears. In 2006, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's 'Rang de Basanti' did the same when it revisited the story of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev, and Chandrashekhar Azad and reminded Indians to never take their freedom for granted. The film also traces the journey of a few friends who are confronted by corruption and state violence and take inspiration from India's freedom fighters to change their country. The film starred Aamir Khan, Siddharth, Sharman Joshi, Atul Kulkarni, and Kunal Kapoor and can be watched on Youtube.