Top 10 patriotic films of all time, with facts you (probably) didn’t know

  • Yashika Mathur, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 15, 2016 07:49 IST
Actor Manoj Kumar in a still from the film Kranti.

As our independent India turns 70 this year, we take a look at top 10 patriotic, goosebumps inducing films in Bollywood.

Shaheed – 1965

The 1965 Manoj Kumar starrer was one of the first films to portray the Indian freedom struggle in an exemplary manner. The actor played the role of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh. The film left a lot of people teary-eyed. Directed by S.Ram Sharma and written by B.K Dutt and Din Dayal Sharma, it is etched in Indian cinema’s history as one of the best films.

A still from the film Shaheed.

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Purab Aur Paschim - 1970

Another film with actor Manoj Kumar as the protagonist and Saira Banu in the female lead. An interesting fact is, that the song played on the cruise with Kumar, Bainu and actor Prem Chopra remained a mystery for years and no one knew form where it came. However the song later appeared in a dance album Bombay The Hardway Guns Cars and Sitars.

A still from the film Purab Aur Paschim.

Upkar - 1967

The film is set against the backdrop of the 1965 war between India and Pakistan. Manoj Kumar’s role of a warrior won the hearts of many. Directed by the actor himself, it is said that he got the idea from former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, who told him at a special screening for Shahid to make a film on the ideology of Jai Jawaan, Jai Kisan. He wrote the story on his way back to Mumbai from Delhi on a train.

Actor Manoj Kumar in a still from the film Upkar.

Kranti - 1981

This revolutionary film had an ensemble cast of Manoj Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Hema Malini, Shashi Kapoor, Shatrugan Sinha, Parveen Babi and Prem Chopra. An interesting trivia about the film is that , Manoj Kumar always had Mukesh to sing for him in his films. When Mukesh died, Manoj Kumar took Mukesh’s son, Nitin Mukesh to sing for him in Kranti.

Actor Manoj Kumar in a still from the film Kranti.

Border - 1997

Filmmaker JP Dutta’s film based on the Indo- Pakistan war was one of the highest grossing movies of the 90’s. The film was shot on actual locations in Bikaner, which were the real locations of the 1971 Battle of Longewala. Besides that, real army men participated in the shooting of the film and genuine equipment including tanks, army jeeps and other ammunition was used.

A still from Border.

Sarfarosh - 1999

The Aamir Khan starrer, was directed by John Matthew Matthan. The film had actor Naseeruddin Shah in a negative role. A small trivia tells us that the director started working on Sarfarosh in 1992. Seven years were spent on the research, post production and production till it finally released in 1999.

Actor Aamir Khan in a still from the film Sarfarosh.

Gadar: Ek Prem Katha - 2001

The cross-border love story, starring Sunny Deol and Amisha Patel, won numerous awards. The film was set during the time of India’s partition. The film sold most amount of tickets, after Sholay (1975). It is said that the film sold 10 crore tickets in its theatrical run.

Actors Sunny Deol and Amisha Patel in a still from the film Gadar: Ek Prem Katha.

Lagaan - 2001

The Aamir Khan starrer was a milestone in the history of patriotic films. The war between Indians and the British was shown in form of a cricket match. However, not many know that it was the first Bollywood production in 30 years to use synchronized sound. An Arri535 camera, brought over from Germany, was used to facilitate sync-sound recording. Most Indian films are dubbed entirely in the studio in the process known as ADR.

A still from the film Lagaan.

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Rang De Basanti - 2006

The struggle of freedom fighter Shaheed Bhagat Singh was presented in a modern set up. Touted as one of the finest works of filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, the film compared the current political situation with the 1947 freedom struggle. Actor Aamir Khan played the lead role in film. However, not many know that 7:30 p.m. was the time when Bhagat Singh was hanged to death and it has been captured in the movie. The broken watch of Sue’s grandfather shows the same time too.

Actor Aamir Khan in a still from the film Rang De Basanti.

A Wednesday - 2008

The gripping thriller has startling performances by actors Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah. The story talks about the attempts of a police commissioner trying to avoid a terrorist attack on the city, which is staged by a common man to create a stir in the system.

Actor Naseeruddin Shah in a still from the film A Wednesday.

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