Throughout the post-Independence period in India'shistory, another definition of patriotism has engaged creative minds in Hollywood. The films that fall in this category can be called ?nation-building films?. Its most recent example is Ashutosh Gowarikar'sSwades. Even as urban India witnesses shining economic progress, technological leap and the software boom, rural India continues to struggle for the fulfillment of basic needs. The country has seen mass-scale migration from her villages to the cities and also thousands of educated Indians leaving the country to settle abroad. The excuse given by both groups of migrants is: ?There are fewer job opportunities here.? The bold message that Swades seeks to give is that suitable opportunities need to be created in India, especially in rural India. The film'sprotagonist, Shah Rukh Khan, truly shines as a NASA scientist who decides to return to India. His characterisation of an idealistic urban Indian and his views on social issues mirror the sense of dismay and wonderment that many of us feel.
Patriotism in Hindi Songs
Most of the patriotic songs that are on the lips of millions of Indians are essentially songs from patriotic films. These songs strike a chord, pull at our heartstrings and unite us in the love for our country.
Manoj Kumar has always been regarded as the patriotic face of Indian cinema. So much so, that he has established his identity as ?Mr Bharat? forever. In all the films that he has produced and directed, one can always see the trademark stamp of nationalism. The songs from his films have a patriotic rhythm of their own.
?Aye mere watan ke logon? which was penned by kavi Pradeep and sung by the legendary artiste, Lata Mangeshkar first time in 1964, brought tears to the eyes of the then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.
Some of the memorable songs by this great actor-patriot include ?Mera rang de basanti chola? from the famous film Shaheed (1965); ?Mere desh ki dharti? from Upkaar (1967) based on the slogan of Jai Jawan Jai Kisan; songs that talked about the glory of India like ?Jab zero diya mere Bharat ne? and ?Dulhan chali?, both from?Poorab aur Paschim (1970); or those that talked about our commitment towards the country like ?Ab ke baras? from Kranti (1981).
Of all the great patriotic songs produced by the Hindi cinema, ?Aye mere watan ke logon?, which was penned by kavi Pradeep and sung by the legendary artiste Lata Mangeshkar first time in 1964, remains in a class of its own. It brought tears to the eyes of the then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru when he heard Lataji sing. Even today, her rendition of the song never fails to moisten an Indian'seyes.
Songs of patriotic films made after the 1980s brought in soulful music by the likes of A.R. Rahman and Anu Malik, the simple words by lyricists such as Javed Akhtar and the empowering voices of the likes of Sonu Nigam, Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik and Kavita Krishnamurthy. Combined they made patriotism and songs blend together beautifully in countless melodies. While all the songs invigorate us, some also make us swell with pride, like ?I love my India? song of Pardes (1997).
Some songs reflect the aspirations of the people and fill them with vibrancy like ?Pagdi sambhal jatta? and ?Mera rang de basanti chola? from The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002) and ?Baar baar haan? from Lagaan (2001).
An Ode to the Soldier
Some of the patriotic songs written by lyricist Javed Akhtar capture an armyman'slife?his despair at being separated from his loved ones and family, his camaraderie with his fellow soldiers and above all, his willingness to lay down his life for the country. The songs that depict these sentiments beautifully include ?Sandese aate hain? from Border 1997), ?Khamosh hai jo? from LoC (2003) and ?Kandhon se milte hain kandhe? from Lakshya (2004).
Some songs like ?Janmabhoomi pe jaan lutate hain? from Agnipankh (2004) salute the soldiers who sacrifice all their social obligations for their motherland.
Dedication, love, sacrifice and responsibility towards the country are conveyed in some songs like ?Is khakee ke hain farz bade? from the movie Khakee (2004).
Patriotriotic songs celebrating the pride of being an Indian and the glory of India'srich heritage and tradition are also cherished equally, like ?Aisa des? from Veer Zara (2004).
Some of the songs help strengthen our determination and reaffirm our committment towards our country, like ?Suno gaur se duniya walon? from the album Dus and ?Kasam li hai humne? from music composer and singer Anu Malik'salbum.
The documentary ?Ananya Bharati? about which I referred in my earlier column ends by saluting the great Bharat with the tune of our national anthem ?Jana gana mana?. This video, produced by Bharatbala Productions, was shot with Indian soldiers in Siachen?the world'shighest army base (21,147 feet).