The 26th of January marks the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect in 1950. The governing document of India is also a celebration of the ideals of democracy, equity, social justice, and the idea of India that our freedom fighters and nation builders dreamt about. Here is a list of a few films that can be binge-watched on January 26 to remind us that it is ‘ordinary’ Indians who make India great. And that only values of solidarity and sacrifice can truly define who we are as a nation and not hate or division.
Raazi: Based on Harinder Sikka’s 2008 novel ‘Calling Sehmat’, Raazi is a real story of a young Muslim girl who at the behest of her father becomes a Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) agent and marries into a high-profile, Pakistani family of military officials. What follows next is an unbelievable story of heartbreak and sacrifice that results in Sehmat saving her country from a major threat during the Indo- Pak War of 1971. The 2018 spy thriller was directed by Meghna Gulzar and produced by Vineet Jain, Karan Johar, Hiroo Yash Johar, and Apoorva Mehta. Alia Bhatt played the titular role with great sincerity and was ably supported by Vicky Kaushal, Rajit Kapur, Shishir Sharma, and Jaideep Ahlawat.
Sarbjit: What exemplifies the spirit of India? The resilience of its ordinary citizens, we would say. Sarbjit is one such real-life story where a sister battled huge odds for over 22 years for the sake of her brother who was incarcerated in Pakistan for alleged spying. The film paid a heartfelt tribute to the extraordinary courage of a woman who despite being disadvantaged and facing setbacks at every turn did not give up the hope that she would one day be able to win freedom for her brother. With great performances by Aishwarya Rai who played Dalbir Kaur and Randeep Hooda in the titular role, the 2016 biographical drama film was directed by Omung Kumar and produced by Pooja Entertainment. The film also starred Richa Chadda and Darshan Kumar in supporting roles.
Rang De Basanti: What was it that drove young freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh, Ashfaqulla Khan, Ram Prasad Bismil, and Chandrashekhar Azad to risk their lives for India? It was their belief in the idea of India that made them risk everything to win freedom for the country. Rang De Basanti made us introspect why that idealism had eroded in independent India and if we could rediscover it by mobilising the power of citizenry, asserting the right to dissent and standing up to corruption. The film made huge waves in 2006, was produced and directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, and featured Aamir Khan, Siddharth, Atul Kulkarni, Soha Ali Khan, Sharman Joshi, Cyrus Sahukar, Kunal Kapoor and Alice Patten.
83: What makes a nation truly great? Collaboration, synergy, and aspiration. That these values can make a country achieve the impossible was demonstrated when the Indian cricket team led by skipper Kapil Dev won the World Cup for the first time in 1983. This uplifting Kabir Khan directorial is a reminder that only when we play and dream together as one team and one nation, can we win. Produced by Deepika Padukone, Kabir Khan, Vishnu Vardhan Induri, Sajid Nadiadwala, Reliance Entertainment, and 83 Film Ltd, the film stars Ranveer Singh as Kapil Dev, a fantastic ensemble cast and is destined to go down in history as a film that is more than just about cricket.
Chak De! India: Like 83, there is a lot more in 2007’s Chak De! India than just the struggle to win a sporting contest. The film is about casual sexism, the challenges faced by female players, the petty politics that can divide teams, the position of hockey in the sporting culture of India, bigotry, and how we can achieve the unthinkable when we focus on what unites us rather than what divides us. Directed by Shimit Amin and produced by Aditya Chopra, this film in a way foreshadowed the grit and determination of our women hockey players at last year’s Olympics and continues to remind us that the only way forward, is as a team that despite its diversity, plays as one.