Though, during the freedom struggle the movies had no significant role, but in the post-Independence era they played a key role in igniting patriotic feelings among the country. The movies made on this theme lively portrayed the struggle of those days and the atrocities perpetuated by the British government. The new generation learnt much from these movies.
The man who played a key role in producing such movies is Bhalji Pendharkar. He spent his entire lifetime eulogising Shivaji Maharaj in his films. He is the recipient of Dadasaheb Phalke Award too.
One of the greatest Hindi movie on freedom struggle is Kranti made in 1981 by legendary Manoj Kumar. The movie revolves around the two men that lead the war against the British rule. The movie in those days had a gross profit of Rs 10 crore which is commendable. Prior to it the super hit movie in this category was Anandmath (1952) directed by Heman Gupta. The movie had quite famous songs which also included “Vande Mataram”. This song played an important role throughout the Indian Independence movement and was eventually declared the “national song” at the time of Independence in 1947.
There are many patriotic songs which can energise any person. The highly volatile song “Aaj Himalya ki choti se humne yeh lalkara hai, dur hato ae duniya walo yeh Hindustan hmara hai” and the most remembered song sung by Lata Mangeshkar “Ae mere vatan ke logo, zara aankh me bharlo pani” is even known words by words to a 5 year child too.
The newly won Independence had a great influence on the movies. The era of 1950s was rather a fecund period celebrating the Independence. Many films were released during that period from “Andolan” (1951) starring kishore kumar, in 1952 “Anandmath”, Sohrab Modi’s “Jhansi ki Rani” (1953) and many more.
Bhagat Singh has always been that hero who always captured the imagination of the Hindi film makers. He and his life have been recorded on the reel several times: Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh (1954), Shaheed Bhagat Singh (1963), Shaheed (1965), the legend of Bhagat Singh (2002), 23rd march 1931: Shaheed (2002) and the final one Shaheed-e-Azam: a story of Shaeed Bhagat Singh (2002).
Many movies were also banned by the British people sensing that the movie has some content which can arouse patriotism in the people. An early silent era movie “Udaykaal” was banned and no amount of revision could salvage it. Similarly “Bhakt Vidur” modeled on Mahatma Gandhi was also suffered with same censure.
Now new age movie makers are trying to capture just the essence of the lives of the freedom strugglers and not the biography. The motive of directors is not to spring up the feel of struggle for freedom in the people; the motive has shifted from that to include their names in the 100 or 200 crore collection of box office list. But still we people wait for such movies to get released because we always carried heart for such movies and we still had. —Heena Nanda
Some movies on freedom struggle
#10 Jhansi Ki Rani, Director: Sohrab Modi
#9 Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero (2005) Director: Shyam Benegal
#8 Shaheed (2002) Director: Guddu Dhanoa
#7 Mangal Pandey – The Rising (2005) Director: Ketan Mehta
#6 Maharana Pratap, Director: Dr Pradeep Kumawat
#5 Kranti (1981) Director: Manoj Kumar Producer: Manoj Kumar
#4 Shaheed (1965) Director: S Ram Sharma
#3 Lagaan (2001) Director: Ashutosh Gowariker
#2 Haqeeqat, Director: Chetan Anand
#1 The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002) Director: Rajkumar Santoshi