New Delhi: The ‘josh’ for patriotic films is ‘high’ in Bollywood. After the success of “Uri: The Surgical Strike”, Hindi movie buffs can gear up to watch “Kesari”, “Major”, “RAW”, “Batla House”, “Panipat”, “Saare Jahaan Se Accha”, “Mission Mangal”, “’83” and a biopic on Kargil war hero Vikram Batra, among others.
Amid the escalating tension between India and Pakistan, netizens turned to past and recent patriotic films to dig out memorable dialogues, the most recent being from “Uri: The Surgical Strike”, based on the surgical strikes that India conducted on terror camps in Pakistan in 2016.
The Indian Air Force’s air strike on terror camps in Pakistan, which was in retaliation to the February 14 Pulwama terror attack, led to social media speculations that a “Surgical Strike 2” could be made.
From wars to fighting social evils and telling heroic tales of sportsperson — various shades of patriotism have been depicted on the big screen through a stream of films in recent times. The narrative shall continue through 2019 and beyond.
“D-Day”, “Baby” and “Phantom” are some films that have brought alive stories of counter-terrorism operations, mostly inspired by real life. And these have found a resonance with the audience.
As the treatment and subjects around patriotic films evolve, there is a greater influx of stories themed on combating terrorism, celebrating the country’s glorious achievements and talking about social issues.
Army-based films like “Border”, “LOC Kargil”, “Lakshya” and “1971” have been celebrated in the past.
This March 21, the audience can look forward to “Kesari”, on the 1897 Battle of Saragarhi in which 21 Sikhs of the 36th Sikh Regiment (now the 4th Battalion of the Sikh Regiment) of British India, defended an army post against more than 10,000 Afghan and Orakzai tribesmen.
Even “Lagaan” and “Swades” director Ashutosh Gowariker is looking forward to evoking the patriotic fervour again with “Panipat” on the battle of Panipat.
There will also be a yet untitled biopic on Kargil war hero Vikram Batra. It will front actor Sidharth Malhotra.
A newly announced project is “Major”, on the life of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, a National Security Guards (NSG) commando who lost his life while fighting terrorists at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai in 2008.
Actor-producer John Abraham, who has already trodden the path of patriotic films with titles like “Madras Cafe”, “Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran” and “Satyamev Jayate”, is set to pack a punch with “Romeo Akbar Walter” and “Batla House” — both films inspired by real life events.
John had earlier told that the intent of his films is when the audience walks out of the theatre they should get the feeling: “‘Wow, I am proud to be an Indian… This is cool that India did this. I didn’t know this’.”
Women-led films like “Neerja”, “Raazi” and “Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi” have held the flag of patriotism high as well in recent times, as has an actor like Akshay Kumar who has lent a new meaning to ‘patriotic cinema’ by dabbling in films like “Rustom”, “Baby”, “Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty”, “Toilet: Ek Prem Katha”, “PadMan”, “Gold” and will next be seen in “Kesari” and in space drama “Mission Mangal”.
There are heroic stories from the sports field too. “’83”, starred by Ranveer Singh, will narrate India’s historic victory in the 1983 Cricket World Cup. A film on badminton star Saina Nehwal is in the works.