Sunday, 15 August 2010

Top 5 Patriotic Scenes in Bollywood

Patriotism is always a hidden emotion. We are good at expressing feelings like love, sadness, happiness, etc. Pre-independence, the feeling of nationality got expressed in many ways and many forms by our freedom fighters. But patriotism seldom gets a chance to be expressed these days. It is only during the national festivals like today that we see a sudden surge in the patriotic expression in our nation.

Our main film industry – Bollywood has not lagged behind in the display of this emotion. There have been numerous movies that have been made throughout in the course of Bollywood’s long history that have displayed patriotism and have compelled every Indian to think about what their nation means to them. Who can forget the ever-patriotic song “aye mere watan ke logon” by Lata Mangeshkar which brought tears into Nehru’s eyes… Or the “Vande Mataram” by A R Rahman which dominated the 50 years of India theme. There are so many songs and scenes like that. Below, I present five patriotic scenes from movies which have had a great impact on me in the recent days. It is to be noted that this list is in no way exhaustive and there could be many more scenes which could have made it here. This is just my individual opinion

Top 5:

At fifth place are the scenes from the movie
Rang De Basanti(2007). Though I cannot pick one scene from the movie and claim that to be “the” patriotic scene, there are quite a few scenes, especially the ones using the monochrome yellow background to show historical figures like Ramprasad Bismil, Ashfaqulla Khan, Chandrashekar Azad and Bhagat Singh. The way the screenplay shifts between present and past heroes is brilliantly done and it definitely raises this question of relevance of yesterday’s revolutionaries in shaping the youth of today.

Top 4:

At fourth place is the scene from the movie
Lakshya(2004). Like any other confused Indian youth, Karan (Hrithik) is directionless and lives a lazy life. On an impulse, he decides to join army and can barely survive the rigorous training for a day. He comes back to his girl friend who doesn’t want to stay with him because he cannot respect his own decisions. Dejected and humiliated, Karan returns to the training camp with a renewed vigour. The way he goes on pursuing his training and makes a contribution to the nation is really inspiring and induces patriotism. As like the previous, even this doesn’t describe a particular scene but the scene where he says to his girlfriend what his goal in life can be considered as the defining moment of the movie.

Top 3:

At third place we have the famous and controversial scene from the movie
Roja(1992) – the “dousing the flame on flag” scene. Arvind Swamy who works for cryptology department of the Indian government is sent to Kashmir for some classified work for the armed forces. He is captured by some terror groups who demand the release of a notorious terrorist and an independent Kashmir. When in captivity, Rishi (Arvind) finds out about the activities of the people and their operations. When the Govt refuses to release the terrorist, one of the members in the kidnappers gang tries to provoke Rishi by burning the national flag. The way Rishi tries to douse the flames on the flag in spite of being handcuffed and attacked by so many people is a real inspiration.

Top 2:

At second place is the scene from “
Chak De India(2007)” where the coach (SRK) introduces himself and starts the training for the Indian Women’s hockey team. Each person in the team introduces herself by saying her name and the name of the state from where she comes from. Kabir Khan dismisses them from the team one after the other until the goalie Vidya says “Vidya Sharma, INDIA”. He makes her repeat the line again and again and then tells that each one of the team member is an Indian first and then whatever they want to. It has a message for all us – that we have to put our nation first in all our thinking. It has a lot of relevance for today’s situation where regional divide between people is used by the politicians to fuel tensions among the people. Every one of us is Indian first and then we can choose our identity based on our preferences.

The Top Scene:

The moving train full of people comes to a slow halt at a small station called “Ajite”. A boy runs along with the train carrying a kettle of water and shouts “paani lo paani” to the passengers. No one seems to hear him but he keeps on shouting “paani lo paani pachees paise mein ek glass”, pleading people to buy water from him. The reason no one buys water from him is that even they are poor themselves and cannot afford to spend on something like water. Looking through the train’s window, the boy notices the lead protagonist Mohan who is already feeling depressed about the state of his nation. He asks him to buy water to which the protagonist immediately obliges. And then, something wonderful happens – the NRI, rich man, one of the few privileged in the nation who has never drank anything other than bottled water all his life takes water in the mud-pot from the boy and drinks it. Tears fill his eyes when he is done. The scene sums up the ultimate divide and almost the entire state of the nation. Brilliant!

This is the scene from the movie “
Swades (2004)”. Not many would agree with me when I say this is a brilliantly made movie. For example, the scene which I described about just now could have easily been done away with. It was not required in the lengthy movie. But it is the scenes such as these which make the movie inspiring and patriotic. Mohan goes to a village to ask for money from a farmer Haridas who had taken loan from his maa samaan Kaveriamma. But when he hears about the plight of the farmers who suffer from injustice in his nation, he is deeply hurt. Instead of recovering money from Haridas, Mohan gives some money to him and returns. He keeps thinking about the sorry state of a nation which has everything in it for everyone but still only a few lucky ones enjoy it while others toil hard and suffer. It is during this juncture that we are presented with his awesome scene and I rate it as the “best patriotic scene in Hindi cinema”

Well, now you have read through my favourite scenes, what do you think? Do you think if there could be anything more? Do let me know. Once again, I wish you all a very happy independence day!


Santosh Kumar said...

Nicely crafted shashia, I felt the movie "The Legend of Bhagat Singh" Directed by Rajkumar Santoshi was worth being in one of the top 5. The court scenes and some great acting skills exhibited by Ajay Devgan and Sushanth Singh are worth watching many times. And of course, Swades should be there at the top. Good blog Shashia.

Anonymous said...

Finally!!!... I was waiting for your next post from a long time :)... And I am very happy to read it today, on Independence day :)... Very well written and even I feel Swades should be on the top spot :)

Guru Kini said...

Good compilation.
These are probably the few scenes that worked because they were underplayed. I think pop patriotism ruined most "patriotic" Bollywood movies.

Shashia said...

Thanks man. I agree with you when you say about the movie "the legend of bhagat singh". Maybe the only reason i missed it is because I havent seen it yet.


You are right about pop patriotism. Especially the "phir mile sur" really makes disappointing viewing

Anantha said...


First of all, nice to see you blogging amidst your busy MBA routine.

I totally agree with you on the top 5 patriotic scenes (though not in the same order). Gr8 compilation...