NEW DELHI: 26th July is a red-letter day in the annals of India and is celebrated as the ‘Kargil Vijay Diwas’. On this day in 1999, the gallant Indian soldiers annihilated Pakistani forces and ousted them from the areas around Kargil.
On this occasion, The New Indian talks about five Bollywood films which pay rich homage to Indian Army and our incredibly intrepid personnel –
1) Haqeeqat (1964): The Chetan Anand movie was loosely based on the battle of Rezang La. Though India had lost the 1962 war against China, many tales of spirited defiance put up by Indian soldiers emerged from the tragedy.
On November 18, 1962, the Charlie Company of the 13 Kumaon Battalion – Kumaon Regiment – steadfastly repelled a Chinese attack at Rezang La Pass in Ladakh. The company of 120 soldiers was led by Major Shaitan Singh. They fought with stupendous courage against a Chinese battalion composed of thousands of soldiers and killed hundreds of them.
Madan Mohan’s soul-stirring song ‘Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyo’, sung by the legendary Mohammed Rafi, seared the hearts of millions and continues to leave many teary-eyed. Anand’s deft direction, ably supported by the competent actors, makes ‘Haqeeqat’ arguably the greatest war film made in India.
2) Border (1997): This JP Dutta directorial was badly excoriated by the critics when released but struck a chord with the audience and became a smash hit. It was, in fact, the biggest blockbuster of that year. The film evocatively depicts the lives of the soldiers at the border amid the ongoing war. The movie is set in 1971 when the Indian Army locked horns against the arch-rival Pakistan and thumped them at the hustings.
Sunny Deol’s thunderous performance, power-packed performances and redolent soundtrack lend immense repeat-value to this epic war drama. The sweeping cinematography by Nirmal Jani and Ishwar Bidri deserve special mention.
3) Lakshya (2004): Helmed by Farhan Akhtar, Lakshya is a story of India’s spectacular triumph against Pakistan at Kargil in 1999. The director smartly wove the coming-of-age story of a wayward youngster in the narrative. Though it bombed at the box-office, Hrithik Roshan’s bravura performance and Farhan’s skillful direction fetched lashings of laurels.
This is also a rare war movie which steers clear of wandering into a jingoistic zone, yet rousingly evokes the spirit of patriotism.
4) Shaurya (2008): This is one of the nuanced movies about the dynamics of the Army. In ‘Shaurya’, there is no ‘outside’ enemy. It is a superlatively layered saga about the code of honour and ethics within the Army.
Anchored by a stellar show from Kay Kay Menon, the film revolves around the court-martial of an Indian Army officer Javed Khan for shooting dead his superior officer. It was a commercial failure when released but is now regarded as an under-rated gem.
5) Uri: The Surgical Strike (2019): No Bollywood movie in the recent past triggered such a hysteria in the cinema halls as ‘Uri’. The ‘Josh’ among the viewers was indeedly prodigiously high as they flocked to watch it and cheerily cheered for the Army in theatres.
The movie is about the covert operation launched by the Indian Army in Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir in 2016 to avenge the killing of their soldiers in Uri attack. The technical finesse, kinematic camerawork, brilliant performances and marvellous direction by Aditya Dhar makes this one of most exhilarating cinematic spectacles ever.