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5 Most Popular Films Of Desh Bhakti



Independence Day


  1. Amar Akbar Anthony(1978): Flag-waving doesn’t have to be  literal . A film  such as this Manmohan Desai blockbuster  speaks  of  the one-ness  of  mankind, and national unity by casting three top stars as Hindu Amar(Vinod Khanna), Muslim Akbar(Rishi Kapoor) and  Christian Anthony(Amitabh Bachchan). This is   Desai’s  most popular film  of all times and  addresses  the  issue of national integration with  touching  simplicity and sincerity.Interestingly Desai didn’t  think highly  of AAA. He  once told me , “Among  all the films that I’ve so  far done with Amit( Bachchan) AAA  was my  least  favourite. I  much prefer Naseeb, Coolie and Mard.Amar Akbar Anthony involved my minimum effort, labour and money. It was a fluke hit. When it was released, I thought it had good songs. But I never thought it would be such a success. I was sure Aa Gale Lag Jaa would be a superhit while Amar Akbar Anthony would flop.”
  2. Purab Aur  Paschim(1970)Bharat ka rehne  wala  hoon Bharat ki baat sunata hoon.” Manoj Kumar  goes to London to teach the  Gora Log a lesson or two on Bhartiya Sabhyata. This  wonderfully jingoistic  film  holds together surprisingly well even after all these years.Saira Banu in the miniest of minis, played a confused desi girl whose  blond hair made no sense. But  the film did.Manoj Kumar’s patriotism  rings true  even today.  When I  had  complimented  him the  immensely gifted  writer-director said to me, “I never intended to be a director in the first place. I became one by default when during Shaheed I had to direct the film unofficially. Then Lal Bahadur Shastri raised the slogan of Jai Jawan Jai Kisan. That’s how I made Upkar.I give credit for my success to my parents. My father was a poet philosopher. I came to Mumbai with two targets .One was to be a hero, the other was to make 3 lakh rupees,1 lakh each for my two parents and 1 lakh for my siblings.When I had left home in Delhi in 1956 to come to Mumbai to become a hero my father gave me a letter . In that letter he said, ‘My blood can never commit blunders, only mistakes’. I made mistakes in my career. But not blunders.”
  3. Namaste London(2007):   Manoj Kumar was often sneered at, when he broke into lengthy monologues about the pride of being an Indian. Once the satirist-comedian I.S. Johar had joked that Manoj Kumar rubbed the Earth’s soil on his forehead with such vigour and frequency that he caused soil erosion whenever he shot at an outdoor location.In today’s times, seeking inspiration from Manoj, is a younger Kumar, Akshay.In Namaste London, Akshay Kumar ripped off Manoj Kumar’s Hai Preet Jahaan Ki Reet Sadaa sequence from Purab Aur Paschim. In that film Manoj had sermonised a smoky pub filled with firangs in London, on the virtues of being Indian. Akshay did the same in Namaste London.That’s probably where the new patriotic Kumar was born. Not only has he associated with films that have a nationalistic fervour of late, but has also started to take the sentiment off screen with his social media videos — be it about the Bengaluru molestation on New Years’ Eve or the Republic Day pledge to fund families of martyrs.  When told about Akshay Kumar taking over the role of ‘Bharat’ that Manoj Kumar played to exceptional success in Upkar, Purab Aur Paschim, Kranti and Roti Kapada Aur Makaan, Manoj says, “I am glad I am compared with  someone as handsome and talented as Akshay.”
  4. Swades (2004):  Often in this long and finally deeply fulfilling journey you wonder what could possibly have prompted the director to make a film that doesn’t pull any punches, resorts to no gimmicks in the narration and chooses to stay supine. Ashutosh Gowariker strives to achieve the opposite of stylization in his reposeful narration. As Mohan Bhargava  takes a homesick journey from his cushy job in NASA to a village near Delhi to meet up with his foster-mother(Kishori Ballal) we often find  him in situations that are eminently qualifiable as clichés on patriotism. Swades avoids being a  3-hour-15-minute long flag of unfurling nationalism . It avoids posh   postures and  chic gestures of  the aa-ab-laut-chalen  NRI-returned cinema.   It simply curls up in the most casual and relaxed positions affordable to narrative cinema and lets Mohan Bhargava come to terms with his conscience. There’re hardly any hysterical highs or looming lows in the storytelling.  The format adopted by Gowariker is akin to a  television soap. Life flows effortlessly but fluently  along with the multitude of characters    creating an  exoteric drama  conveying the opposite of  the two other notable NRI-returned-home  films Pardes and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge with  Shah Rukh Khan in the lead. If the other two films were giddy glamorous celebrations of patriotism Swades is far more austere and comprehensive in its view of  India’s acute need to recognize its weaknesses and strengths and act accordingly….and  urgently. Parts of the elaborate film are  patently polemical.   Gowariker stops the narration to let Mohan lecture the characters on why we as a country haven’t been able to provide food and education at the grassroot levels.  The passionate dialogues by K.P. Saxena ring true even when their righteousness threatens to pitch the words at a pulpit  level.  Ashutosh Gowariker isn’t scared of his idealism getting the better of his cinematic  impulses. Swades was exceptional because it was  very far removed from  Shah Rukh Khan’s  other films. Shah Rukh once  spoke  to me  about  it, “I always say it’s not the manzil but the journey that matters. I often don’t watch my completed film. I enjoy the process of acting in them. I push it promote it, participate in the projection… and then I move on. Then I don’t make any inquiries about the box office performance. It isn’t that I’m detached from the end-result, because I hope for the sake of the people behind my films that they do well. I enjoy doing all my film regardless of how it finally performs.As for “Swades”, I told the director Ashutosh Gowariker that it won’t work commercially. The film was nobly intended… Even “Main Hoon Na” had a noble thought (India-Pakistan amity) behind it. There’re ways and ways of putting a message across.Did the role of the conscientious Indian in “Swades” change you as a person.But I think like my character in “Swades”. Unfortunately I’m not in a position to change the way our society functions. My efforts to bring social awareness should not be restricted to short films on cancer, polio and AIDS. I think cinema is a very important medium of putting social messages across. My  film “Paheli” was again an entertainer with a social message. It talked about women’s emancipation. But it wasn’t a bra-burning propaganda film. I think films like “Black” and “My Brother…Nikhil” serve a great social purpose. But I want the message in my film to be more fun-oriented. That’s where I come from.I started with street theatre. And we used to put across ideas on family planning or dowry with a lot of enjoyment. I love nautanki, folk theatre, cartoons and puppetry. These are vibrant forms of artistic expression. I love to express myself through basic art forms. In this matter I believe in what Mr Amitabh Bachchan does. I don’t tell filmmakers what to make with me. I didn’t write “Swades”. I can’t tell writers to write a film keeping in mind whether 22 people or 22 million people liked it. I just do what they ask me to. I like to sell a dream. I like to tell stories. I’m a very good storyteller. I can convert the most boring topic into a riveting tale. I tell stories to my children every night. Some stories they don’t like, so I avoid them. Others they like and I repeat them with variations. I can’t keep repeating the same story the same way just because it works once. Filmmakers also need to understand that.
  5. Bharat(2019): It’s commendable that this one-man show actually takes a pause to honour men from Indian history like Jawaharlal Nehru, Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Manmohan  Singh.It’s easy to be dismissive of a film that has no formal structure, one which doesn’t compartmentalize life’s flow… but chooses to go with it. But then again,it takes almost three hours of playing time for us to realize that Bharat is no small achievement. Like Sultan before this, director Ali Abbas Zafar doesn’t hesitate in blowing open Salman Khan’s image of the Superstar who always plays variations of himself.In some of the sequences in this episodic endearing oddball off a film Salman invests genuine emotions.Director Ali Abbas Zafar and his co-writer Varun Sharma never hesitate in craning their necks out into the dark stretches of narration where the protagonist Bharat’s life goes willy-nilly. It would be erroneous to say Salman Khan holds the film together. He should have, as the narrative relies entirely on his ability to carry the narrative from one historic period to another. However  Bharat  proved that  among the  contemporary superstars Akshay Kumar has no monopoly over playing the nationalistic patriotic hero with a social conscience. Admittedly he has done so with impressive success in his  films like Airlift, Toilet Ek Prem Katha and PadMan. In  Bharat the superstar Khan’s character takes India and Indians through 71 years of independence as seen through the eyes of  a common man.Said director Ali Abbas Zafar, “We worked thoroughly on Indian history and on the adaptation of text. We attempted a comprehensive view of the factors that shaped Indian and the Indian ethos.” Salman Khan was  named Bharat, the name that yesteryears’ legend Manoj Kumar took for his character in his timeless paeans to patriotism like Upkar, Purab Aur Paschim and Roti Kapada Aur Makaan.Salman’s Bharat was closer in spirit to Manoj Kumar’s Bharat than Akshay Kumar’s patriotic heroes. Said Zafar, “Salman pitches his appeal very close to the Indian heart. He aims to be the most Indian hero since Raj Kapoor and Manoj Kumar.”
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