Having grown up in North India, the morning of Republic Day always reminds me of the chilly foggy mornings, when all you could see were shadows of people, weighed down by heavy blankets that fell about like capes, heads covered in wooly caps, chins tucked to their necks to escape the chill. At 7:00 AM when most of us would be making most of the public holiday, these people would be out on their morning duty of delivering newspapers or milk.
The public holiday in most households was meant for watching the live telecast of grand Republic Day parade on Doordarshan in familiar voices of veteran commentators Jasdev Singh, Komal GB Singh and Rini Simon. While the senior members of the family snuggled deeper into their quilts, kept their toes warm on heater and sipped cup after cup of ginger- cardamom tea, Republic Day was really a day for children. The younger lot eagerly waited for the day, as it meant dressing up in traditional attire and running out with crayons and Poster colors for the community Flag Hoisting ceremony which was almost always, followed by Painting, Drawing or Quiz competitions. Most residential communities had Public Address Systems for the occasion, that played patriotic songs all day long, with of course, occasional interruption of some enthusiastic ‘aunts’ & ‘uncles’ announcing various activities planned for the residents.
Back from these activities, it used to be time for Patriotic movies and Sir Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi was a favorite with DD.
Over the years, Republic Day became a day to watch movies and the obvious choice of movies would be the ones which made us proud to be Indians. Movies that showed India in its true colors, movies that made us cheer out loud for our wondrous, diverse, beautiful nation. Here is our pick for this year’s Republic Day movie repertoire. Do share with us what are you watching?
Gandhi: Train Journey across India
After his return from South Africa in 1915, Mahatma Gandhi undertook several train journeys across India. These journeys were documented in the film Gandhi by Sir Richard Attenborough. The background music piece, called Discovery of India by Pandit Ravi Shankar has, since the release of movie, become as famous as the scene itself. Take a train journey and discover India, the way Gandhi ji discovered 100 years back.
Bhaag Milkha bhaag: Training Scenes
Milkha Singh’s training scenes against the backdrop of mighty Himalayas will make any Indian want to run towards his/her goal. Inspiring , motivational, the movie is just the right watch for a cosy winter afternoon.
Mary Kom: Dil yeh Ziddi hai
This biopic of Mary Kom, Olympic Gold Medal winner, five time World Amateur Boxing Champion and the only woman boxer to win medal in each one of six world championships tells us a story of an indomitable spirit. It makes you want to say ‘Indiaaaaa!” over and over again. Get the DVD for viewing, if you haven’t watched it already.
Lakshya: Kandhon se Kandhe Milte Hain
Hrithik Roshan plays the role of Lieutenant Karan Shergill, who leads his team (initially 12, falling to 6 members) to victory over the Pakistani troops. It is a coming-of-age story with a fictionalized backdrop of the Kargil war. Add to this music of Shankar-Ehsan-Loy and you have a deadly combo. If not for Amitabh Bachhan, Hritik Roshan and Priety Zinta, do watch the movie for Ladakhi landscapes, Indian Military Academy and Lodhi Gardens, where some wonderful scenes are shot.
The year is 1893 and India is under British occupation. In a small village, the tyrannical Captain Russell (Paul Blackthorne) has imposed an unprecedented land tax on its citizens. Outraged, Bhuvan (Aamir Khan), a rebellious farmer, rallies the villagers to publicly oppose the tax. Russell offers a novel way to settle the dispute: he challenges Bhuvan and his men to a game of cricket, a sport completely foreign to simple villagers. If Bhuvan and his men can defeat Russell’s team, the tax will be repealed. Bhuvan gathers a remarkable team that poses significant challenge to the Raj.
In addition to a great story, excellent performances by the cast and Rahman’s music, you must watch the movie for KP Saxena’s Hindi dialogues which are a charming mix of Avadhi, Bhojpuri and Braj Bhasha.