Troops of the British Indian Army, under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer, fired upon a crowd of non-violent protesters and Baisakhi pilgrims in Jallianwala Bagh (Amritsar) on April 13, 1919. The British inquiry recorded 379 killed and 1,200 wounded; the Indian National Congress estimated that 1,000 were killed.
Filmmakers have been paying tributes to martyrs and freedom fighters, not just with plain statements, but also in the movies. Here’s a look at Bollywood’s tribute to the event:
The makers kept one of the most touching sequences as a startling twist to the otherwise light-hearted love story of Diljit Dosanjh and Anushka Sharma in the 2017 movie.
Legend of Bhagat singh
Ajay Devgn’s 2002 film on the legendary freedom fighter showcased the gruesome mass murder.
Jallian Wala Bagh
Balraj Tah’s 1977 film, starring Vinod Khanna, showcased the build up to and the aftermath of the cruel massacre. It also featured Deepti Naval and Shabana Azmi in lead roles.
The conversation at Rose’s wedding (season 5, episode 8) captures two of the major British reactions to the massacre. Here’s an excerpt:
Lady Grantham: Tell us more about British India.
Lord Flitshire: It’s a wonderful country. Bombay is a marvellous city. I’m not sure how long British India has to go.
Mrs. Crawley: We heard about that terrible Amritsar business.
Shrimpie: Amritsar was a very unfortunate incident, ordered by a foolish man.
Lord Sinderby: I can’t agree. General Dyer was just doing his duty.
Shrimpie: You haven’t got that quite right.
Lord Sinderby: I suppose we’re entitled to our own opinion.
Lord Grantham: Are we? I hesitate to remind you that Shrimpie knows India and you don’t.
The 1982 film chronicled the massacre in a sequence where Edward Fox played the notorious British General Dyer.
Rang De Basanti
This Aamir Khan--starrer showcased Jallianwala Bagh massacre in one of the black-and-white sequences. The 2006 film showed Aamir, Sidharth, Atul Kulkarni, Sharman Joshi and Kunal Kapoor as revolutionary freedom fighters Chandrashekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh, Ramprasad Bismil, Rajguru and Ashfaqullah Khan in a parallel narrative.
Rushdie’s protagonist Saleem describes Jallianwala Bagh Massacre at the end of the chapter titled “Mercurochrome” (pages 32-35). The scene is aptly portrayed in Deepa Mehta’s 2012 film. Satya Bhabha played Saleem in the movie.
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