Being proud and in love with my country has been inherent in me ever since I was young. I take pride in its achievements and fret over its drawbacks. And 2021 offered me a lot to feel proud about as an Indian, be it the gold medal victory of Neeraj Chopra in the Olympics or Harnaaz Sandhu being crowned Miss Universe 2021. But not only in real life, reel life also presented stories about the country and its heroes that made me swell with pride for being an Indian. As the whole country celebrates Republic Day today, let’s take a look back at them.
Here are 5 films from last year that appealed to the patriotic in me:
Amole Gupte presented the story of a National hero, the ace shuttler Saina Nehwal, in Saina last year with Parineeti Chopra stepping in her shoes and I must admit, every time Saina was called out as India in the film, it just made me smile from eye to eye. While the story of the shuttler itself is inspirational enough, Parineeti just added to it and her character with her nuanced portrayal, immersing herself totally into Saina’s part.
2021 proved to be game changing for Sidharth Malhotra as the actor just reinvented himself with Shershaah. The actor portrayed the lively Param Vir Chakra awardee Captain Vikram Batra in the film who was martyred during the 1999 Kargil War. Batra’s story made me laugh, cry and feel all emotions as he was going through them himself. And as much as I loved Sidharth and Kiara Advani’s performance in the film, all I remember is sobbing incessantly during and after the last 30 minutes of the film because of the impact it had on me.
Last year was a tough one for cinema hall owners as the theatres were shut for the better part of the year, but even in that scenario, Akshay Kumar became the first big star to arrive in theatres with his film Bell Bottom. And he did that even though theatres in major markets like Maharashtra were still shut. That fact alone itself made me take pride in him first. But the true story of this brave RAW agent, who saves 210 people in a hijacked plane on foreign soil with his intelligence and presence of mind was thrilling to say the least. I was especially impressed with Lara Dutta Bhupathi who just metamorphosed completely into the part of former PM Indira Gandhi.
Vicky Kaushal gave yet another impactful performance last year with Shoojit Sircar’s Sardar Udham, and I remember being hooked to the story of this unsung hero of India’s history. While every member of the film’s team played their part to perfection to execute a sheer masterpiece, I still can’t take out the effective and impactful depiction on the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre of Amritsar in the film. Sardar Udham just showed me another facet and story about my country that I didn’t know about, but now feel fortunate to have seen it.
One of the highly anticipated movies of last two years, Kabir Khan’s ’83 didn’t disappoint on its release and lived up to all its promises and maybe more. The victorious tale of the underdog Indian cricket team at the 1983 World Cup, made me chant ‘India, India’ to the screen. Ranveer Singh’s transformation into captain of that winning team, Kapil Dev, was magical to say the least, and the actor just took it up a notch with his histrionics. The mixing of vintage footage in between the film and some memorable cameos just made the whole experience of watching the film goosebumps-inducing for me.
As the day has brought with itself a sense of pride and patriotism, I am heading to revisit some of these films on my digital screens, hoping that this year I get to see more of such inspirational stories about my country and its heroes. Meanwhile, wishing everyone a very Happy Republic Day!