Home» News» Movies» Rang De Basanti to Swades: Films That Define the Sense of Modern Day Nationalism

Rang De Basanti to Swades: Films That Define the Sense of Modern Day Nationalism

Image: Official posters of Rang de basanti, airlift, swades, neerja

Image: Official posters of Rang de basanti, airlift, swades, neerja

Bollywood has plenty of films to satisfy one's Independence day cravings. What better way to celebrate 70th Independence day than to binge watch these movies.

Yeh azaadi ki ladai hai ... ghuzre hue kal se azaadi ... aane waale kal ke liye” said Aamir Khan in Mangal Pandey, a story of one man who intiated the the entire fight for freedom in 1857.

From 1947 to 2017, we have come a long way, our country has transformed itself into a modern state. India is changing and so is our cinema. The Indian cinema has helped evoke the patriotic spirit with stories of wars and freedom struggle, but gone are the days when patriotic films were only about India v/s Pakistan.

Whether it's Aamir Khan playing Mangal in Mangal Pandey or Hrithik Roshan fighting his inner demons and later for the nation in Lakshya, bollywood actors have given us beautiful memories on patriotism by playing the heroes who fought for the nation or rather the hero who is ready to die for the country.

But now a new-age patriotism is dawning upon the industry. It’s not just about the struggles of soldiers but about the struggles of a common citizen with the demons like corruption, existing in our country.

It took decades to create a new patriotic expression that went beyond Border, Gaddar and Lakshay. It took Aamir Khan’s Rang De Basanti to change all that — in words, sound and look. Movies like Swades and A Wednesday compel you to get up and work for bringing a positive change in India. They spark the feeling of belongingness towards our own country.

Bollywood has plenty of films to satisfy one's Independence day cravings. What better way to celebrate 70th Independence day than to binge watch these movies.

1.Chak De India

Shimit Amin brought one of the most discussed subjects onscreen - sports. But also not-so discussed sports i.e Hockey, our national game. SRK was seen in the role of a coach to the women's Hockey team, how he brings the rowdy players together and make them win the World Championship. One of the most powerful scenes in the film when the women players introduce them from respective states they are playing. Here, Khan makes it clear that he is the coach of the Indian Hockey team and needs players to play for their country first and themselves next!

2. Rang de Basanti

Rang De Basanti changed the way we portray freedom struggles in our movies. It won't be wrong to term Rakyesh Om Prakash Mehra's film a modern day classic. The college going students day-to-day life clubbed with flashbacks of Chandra Shekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh's struggle for independence struck the right chord with the audience. In the climax scene, the key characters (Aamir, Siddharth, Kunal, Sharman, Atul) forcibly take over the All India Radio station premises and get killed by police commandos in the process. The entire sequence of the Gen X fighting against corruption, political adversaries and how they sacrifice their lives for their voices to be heard - was every bit patriotic!


Akshay Kumar’s Airlift scripted a new definition of patriotism. Although the film as such doesn’t have a patriotic theme but the moment when the Indian tricolor is being hoisted at a foreign embassy, you feel so proud of being an Indian. In Airlift, Akshay Kumar helps lakhs of Indian stranded in the foreign soil to shift back to India. The film covered the largest human evacuation in the history of mankind - in 1990 from Kuwait. The struggle of making it to the end, reaching one's nation safely, valuing its importance in their lives - Airlift was a job well executed.


Shah Rukh Khan and Ashutosh Gowariker weaved magic with this in 2004. Swades was an ode to all those who are settled abroad and feel belonging to India. The lead character Mohan, played by SRK, who works at NASA, realises the lack of basic facilities in a small Uttar Pradesh village named Charanpur and he decides to build a hydroelectric plant there.

5.A Wednesday

Naseeruddin Shah played the role of an angry common man to perfection in this sleeper hit from Neeraj Pandey that was remade even in Hollywood apart from various other Indian languages. The protagonist in the movie takes matters into his own hands, frustrated with the government’s handling of arrested terrorists, to make a powerful statement. Anupam Kher complements Shah beautifully.The film really asks those questions that trouble many honest tax-paying Indian citizens, vexed with the inaction of their government.

6. Neerja

Yet another film based on the experiences of a real-life patriot. Sonam Kapoor plays flight attendant Neerja Bhanot who fought off terrorists and sacrificed her life on Pam Am Flight 73 in Pakistan on September 5, 1986. The depiction of Neerja's selfless devotion towards her job squeezed out volumes of tears in movie theatres across the country.

7.Lage Raho Munnabhai

Sequel to Munnabhai MBBS, the film was a fresh take on corruption and the lost ideals of our great leaders. Munnabhai, a goon with a heart of gold, takes on his friend and builder Happy Singh when he finds out that he plans to take away a house belonging to senior citizens.


Akshay Kumar plays the role of an undercover officer in this 2015 Neeraj Pandey film. This action spy thriller shows the team named ‘Baby’ being directed to eliminate terrorists who are looking forward to attack India. Writer-director Neeraj creates a film that plays to our patriotic sentiments and allows us to indulge in some action-packed, superpower fantasies. The film also stars Rana Daggubatti, Danny Denzongpa and Anupam Kher in pivotal roles.

9. Gabbar Is Back

Gabbar Is Back is another inspiring film from Akshay Kumar in which he plays a power role. He is fighting against the ongoing corruption and Mal-practices in India in a unique hatke style. As the film reaches the climax, you feel to empowered to act right now to end corruption in and around you. Gabbar fills you with josh to pick up a fight against government.

10. Namaste London

India is a "land of snake charmers" - In the film, this statement by a firang irks Akshay Kumar at a party, who gives a lowdown to the foreigners what makes India the great nation it is. Katrina Kaif translates Akshay's Hindi speech in English, which talks about the achievements of the 5000-year-old Indian civilisation. How can we ever forget that speech. And that savage Namaste at the end. it goes like -"I foId my hands in humility before you because we don't believe we are above or beneath any individual. And...Namastey!"