Angrez chale gaye, kharaab patriotic movies chhod gaye! It’s been 60 years since India became a free country but the 150 years before that and the idea of ‘mera Bharat mahaan’ after that has given a very
convenient topic to film-makers with lots of money and no story idea.
That topic is patriotism.
There are two categories of patriotic films.
a) Revolving around the freedom struggle : Purane zamane ka costumes, a few goras picked up from Colaba Causeway as extras and use of the word ‘watan’ in every third sentence are common characteristics. As too many films have been made on Shaheed Bhagat Singh, more obscure characters will have to be dug out from directors from their friendly neighbourhood 4th standard textbook.
Best of the lot: Ajay Devgan wala Bhagat Singh
Worst of the lot: Mangal Pandey: The Rising
b) Revolving around Pakistan and Kashmir: Time was when modern patriotic film meant something to do with war. People running towards their death with bloodcurdling screams of ‘Bharat mata ki jai’. Now things are more ‘sophisticated’. A terrorist, a bomb and a plot to destroy India are the 3 main ingredients. High tech computers, passwords and low budget actors are the other staples of such films.
Best of the lot: Main hoon na (yeah if that’s good you can imagine how bad bad is!)
Worst of the lot: 16 December
Villain Dost Khan transports a nuclear bomb disguised as a musical instrument to a … hold your breath! college festival. Vir Vijay Singh finds the location of the bomb by taking the help of Remote Radiation Sensors in satellites AND innumerable beggars in the city.
The password to defuse the bomb is Dulhan ki vidaai ka waqt badalna hai. Our heroes make Dost Khan say each word as part of another sentence and then SYNTHESIS it. Ooh boy. Even a kindergarten kid wouldn’t digest such a plot.
Of course, occasionally patriotism does bring out the best in our movie makers. Remember Lakshya, current rage Chak de India and our all time favourite: Rang de Basanti!