After Uri and Kesari’s success, 10 films on armed forces announced | bollywood

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What’s common between Haqeeqat (1995), Border (1997), 1971 (2007) and Lakshya (2004)? Well, they are all much-loved Hindi movies based around Indian armed forces and military personnel. Right from the start, Hindi film-makers have taken inspiration — albeit intermittently — from real-life incidents vis-à-vis India’s military forces and soldiers.

Saluting bravery
Interestingly though, Bollywood’s 2019 calendar has kicked off with two such biggies — Uri: The Surgical Strike and Kesari. And now, we’ve learnt that over 10 films based around Indian armed forces or military personnel are in various stages of production. For starters, big names such as Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Bhushan Kumar and Abhishek Kapoor along with producer Mahaveer Jain are set to make a film on the February 26 air strikes on Jaish-e-Mohammad facilities in Pakistan’s Balakot.

That’s not all. Ajay Devgn-starrer Bhuj — The Pride of India revolves around the life of an IAF Wing Commander, Vijay Karnik, who was in charge of in charge of Bhuj airport during the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war. “They are our real heroes, and we are all extremely proud of our armed forces,” says Bhushan, who also produces Bhuj. “We may have heard about certain incidents vis-à-vis our armed forces and army-persons through newspapers or TV, but showing what happened behind the scenes makes such stories more interesting as well as engrossing,” he adds.

Tales of valour

Currently, Janhvi Kapoor is busy with Kargil Girl, a biopic of IAF pilot Gunjan Saxena, who is known as India’s first-ever woman combat pilot. Plus, Meghna Gulzar is set to make a film on the life of late Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw. “Our soldiers are the pride of the nation. So, it’s great that film-makers are taking up such great stories. Also, it’s easy to identify with those tales as we have heard about them at some point,” says trade analyst Taran Adarsh. Also in the pipeline is a film on Gabbar Singh Negi, a soldier in the British Indian Army during the First World War and a recipient of the Victoria Cross.

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So, the big question is: are there too many films on armed forces/soldiers? Bhushan doesn’t think so. “It’s not like everyone is attempting films on the same incident/subject. So, that shouldn’t actually be a cause of worry,” he says. Adarsh concurs, and says: “It all depends on how a script is worked out, and how a director brings the story alive on the big screen. Ultimately, it all boils down to the treatment [given to the story].”

Big responsibility

Actors and film-makers, though, want to rather focus on the “quality of the films”. “Says Sidharth: It [a film on late Vikram Batra] is possibly the most challenging and toughest role of my life. It’s also an emotional responsibility to play that character because the family of Vikram Batra felt that I can play his role.” Vijan too finds a film on Arun Khetarpal a “huge responsibility with an extremely inspirational message”. “What he did and the kind of life he lived was absolutely exemplary and unbelievable.”

Akshay sums the mood by saying that he finds himself “extremely grateful” and “fortunate” that he “could bring out such a brave and inspirational story [of Battle of Saragarhi] to people.”

Also in the pipeline the following films:

1) Late Vikram Batra: Sidharth Malhotra is set to play the Kargil martyr in his new film.
2) Late Arun Khetarpal: Producer Dinesh Vijan teams up with Sriram Raghavan for a film on the life of the youngest recipient of the Param Vir Chakra – posthumously – at 21.
3) Bishnu Shrestha: Himesh Reshammiya has reportedly bought the rights of a biopic on the army officer who fought against 40 armed hijackers in a running train.
4) Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat: Sushant Singh Rajput will star in Rifleman, reportedly based on the soldier’s life, who attained martyrdom during the Sino-Indian War in 1962.

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First Published:
Apr 08, 2019 10:58 IST





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