Aamir Khan, Ajay Devgn and more: Bollywood salutes Bhagat Singh

On his 86th death anniversary, which is observed as Martyrs’ Day, we take a look at some of the Bollywood films made on shaheed Bhagat Singh.

bollywood Updated: Mar 23, 2017 15:03 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Aamir Khan,Ajay Devgn,Bhagat Singh
Ajay Devgn played Bhagat Singh in The Legend of Bhagat Singh.

Revolutionary freedom fighters, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were hanged by the British Raj on March 23, 1931 for their involvement in the killing of John Saunders.

The freedom fighters had mistaken Saunders for British police superintendent James Scott, who was their target as they believed he was instrumental in the nationalist leader Lala Lajpat Rai’s death. They escaped but Bhagat Singh and his associate Batukeshwar Dutt later got arrested after exploding bombs in the Central Legislative Assembly in Delhi.

On his 86th death anniversary, which is observed as Martyrs’ Day, we take a look at some of the Bollywood films made on the shaheed:

Shaheed-E-Azam Bhagat Singh(1954)

This was the first film that was made on Bhagat Singh, 23 years after his death. Directed by Jagdish Gautam, the film had actors Prem Abeed, Jairaj, Smriti Biswas and Ashita Mazumdar in the pivotal roles. The film was well received by the audience, who got to see for the first time on the big screen, the story of their favourite real life hero. The song Aakash Ke Aanchal Mein from this film became a popular number.


It took about a decade more for the next film based on the life of the revolutionary to release. This time around, it was the era’s superstar, Shammi Kapoor, who portrayed Bhagat Singh’s character. Directed by KN Bansal, the film also starred Shakeela, Prem Nath and Achla Sachdev.

SHAHEED (1965)

With a stark similarity in looks, Manoj Kumar himself played the pivotal role, and to this day the film is regarded as one of the classics of Indian cinema that also earned Manoj the patriotic star’s tag. Classic numbers from the film such as Ai Vatan Ai Vatan Hamko Teri Kasam, Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna and of course, O Mera Rang De Basanti Chola became evergreen hits.

The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002 )

The same year, actor Ajay Devgn was seen portraying the role of the revolutionary in a Rajkumar Santoshi film. Although none of the three films made on Bhagat Singh in 2002 could really make an everlasting mark in the minds of the audience, the Ajay Devgn starrer, however, is regarded as the best of the lot. The film went on to win two National Awards, including one for being the Best Feature Film in Hindi.

Shaheed-E-Azam (2002 )

After a gap of 38 years, the year 2002 saw three films made on Bhagat Singh. The first to be released was Shaheed-E-Azam, starring actor Sonu Sood in the titular role. While actor Raj Zutshi portrayed the role of Chandrashekar Azad, Dev Gill was seen as Rajguru. Although the Sukumar Nair film failed to make a mark at the box office, Sood was quoted in an interview saying that playing the legend was a matter of great pride for him.

23 March 1931: Shaheed (2002 )

This Guddu Dhanoa film depicted the events of Bhagat Singh’s life leading up to his and companions Rajguru and Sukhdev’s hanging on March 23, 1931. While actor Bobby Deol played Bhagat Singh’s role, his brother Sunny played revolutionary Chandrashekhar Azad. It was also a comeback venture for Amrita Singh, who essayed the role of Bhagat Singh’s mother. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, too, had a special appearance in it. But despite the ensemble cast, the film failed to impress.

Rang De Basanti (2006 )

This Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra blockbuster featured an ensemble cast comprising Aamir Khan, Siddharth Narayan, Soha Ali Khan, Kunal Kapoor, R Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Atul Kulkarni and British actor Alice Patten in lead roles. This wasn’t exactly a film based on the life of Bhagat Singh, but it revolved around a documentary filmmaker, who wants to make a film on Indian freedom fighters based on the diary entries of her grandfather, a former British official.

Popular Tamil actor Siddharth Narayan portrayed the role of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh in the film that took the audience back to the ‘20s era with sepia tinted scenes. The movie showed how a bunch of new age youngsters find purpose in their lives through the ideologies of the freedom fighters, and take up a real-life cause.

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First Published: Mar 23, 2017 14:59 IST