From books to films, how to celebrate Independence Day

  • Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 15, 2015 12:22 IST
Try a tricolour recipe, watch a classic film, read a book that touches on the freedom struggle, go kite shopping or visit landmarks — there's lots you can do to celebrate our 69th Independence Day. (Photo: iStock/HT file/GettyImages)

This Independence Day, celebrate freedom with tricolour. We bring a few suggestions for recipes, watch classic films, books that touch on the freedom struggle and kite shopping.

Books for independent minds

Midnight's Children: Saleem Sinai is born precisely at midnight, August 15, 1947. He believes children born in India between 12 am and 1 am on that date are imbued with special powers. Today's the perfect day to read the novel that propelled Salman Rushdie to fame, and to reacquaint yourself with the story of the Sinais and the subcontinent.

Prison and Chocolate Cake: A memoir of a childhood spent in the shadow of India's foremost leaders caught up in the freedom struggle, Prison and Chocolate Cake is a perfect evocation of an era. Nayantara Sahgal, Jawaharlal Nehru's niece, writes feelingly of the experience of growing up in Anand Bhavan, Allahabad, the ancestral home of the Nehrus, at a time of great upheaval.

Taste of freedom

Trio of chicken tikka
: Celebrations are incomplete without food. "In India, Independence Day is all about sweets and laddoos; but abroad barbecues are big on Independence Day," says Chef Saby, who came up with this great August 15 barbecue-tandoori menu.

Marinades: Basil and yogurt, Basil puree 125gm; Yogurt 200gm; Cardamom 5gm; salt; Mustard oil- 6ml; Processed cheese 10gm; Bhuna besan 5 gm

Tomato and saffron, Sundried tomato puree 125 gm; Yogurt 200gm; Cardamom 5gm; Mustard oil 6ml; salt; Saffron 6-7 strands; Processed cheese 10gm; Bhuna besan 5gm

Cream and cheese: Yogurt- 150gm; Cream 50gm; Cardamom 2gm; Processed cheese 20gm; Bhuna besan 8gm; salt; white pepper

Preparation: First whisk in the yogurt and puree into a smooth paste. Then mix in the dry seasoning and bhuna besan along with mustard oil to form a thick liaison. When these marinades are ready, marinate around 220gm of deboned chicken leg in each marinade separately. Keep the marinated chicken for 3-4 hours in a refrigerator. Then cook either in a open charcoal grill or in a pit roast tandoor.

Courtesy: Amrelia Kitchen and Cocktail, Hotel Diplomat, Chanakyapuri

Tri Rangamocktail: Independence Day, may be a dry day, but this cool mocktail in the colours of the Indian flag is the perfect thirst quencher and can be easily prepared at home.

Fresh Orange chunks 6 numbers; Kafir Lime Leaves 6 numbers; Mint Syrup 10ml; Fresh Lime Juice 20ml; Gingerale 90ml.

Preparation: In a tall glass muddled the fresh kafir lime leaves and pour fresh lime juice and mint syrup. Stir well and fill with cube ice and gingerale. In another mixing glass muddle the fresh orange chunks and place on top of the drink. Fill with crushed ice. Place a stirrer and straw and serve.

Courtesy: Yangdup Lama, Cocktails and Dreams Speakeasy

Silver screen rewind

Richard Attenborough's 1982 film Gandhi is a visual biography of the life and work of the Mahatma. The film traces Gandhi's political activism and the mass appeal it garnered. Watch it for Ben Kingsley's powerful, restrained performance as Gandhi.

1947 Earth: Deepa Mehta's Partition film set in Lahore presents events as seen through the eyes of a eight-year-old Parsi girl. The girl's nanny, Nandita Das, plays a Hindu girl whose suitors are both Muslims, and thus the drama begins when the Partition ensues. Based on Bapsi Sidhwa's Ice Candyman, the film has great performances and music.

Chhalia: Watch Raj Kapoor and Nutan in this 1960 flick set in the post-Partition era. Shanti's (Nutan) husband leaves her behind in Lahore after their marriage on the eve of Partition. Chhalia (Raj Kapoor), who is in love with Shanti, reunites the couple. With a great soundtrack that appeals to "Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isaai", Chhalia is a Bollywood classic worth revisiting today.

High as a kite in old Delhi

If you are looking for a new kind of manjha (kite-string), shopkeepers at the Lal Kuan kite market recommend Mono Kite Manjha. The kite flyer won't get electrocuted if the string gets stuck in electric wires. This string also gets decomposed when its left in the mud.

"While kites from China do not have many takers, the demand for kites made in Bareilly and Rampur is at an all-time high," says Sachin Gupta of Sachin Kite Centre. "Unlike earlier when we used to have only paper kites, now there are kites made of plastic, polythene and cloth," he says. Happy flying.

Kites: Rs.2 to Rs.5 per kite

Independence Day Out

India Gate:
India Gate is a general favourite that becomes even more popular on important holidays. So drape yourself in the tricolour, get a tiranga painted on your face and join the crowd as everyone paddles boats and hangs out with family against the back drop of the decorated Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Gandhi Smriti:
Located at Tees January Marg, the museum has an audio-visual section where the thoughts and ideas of the Mahatma are played. An educational centre has records on the life and struggle of the movement he led. Also on display are sculptures, paintings and stone inscriptions bearing the works of Gandhi and a remembrance of his last days. The venue is shut on August 15 but open on Sunday, August 16.

Shanti Van: If you are looking for a less crowded place to celebrate, head to Shanti Van, the garden of peace, Jawaharlal Nehru's memorial. The sprawling verdant grounds here are perfect for some quiet reflection.

(Photos: Saumya Khandelwal, Sanjeev Verma/ HT, Istock, Getty Images)

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