If you are an Indian, then you must be aware of the direct military confrontation between India and Pakistan during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. Although the war lasted for just 13 days, it was one of the most important events in the history of both India and Pakistan after Independence. Also, the war resulted in the formation of a new country called Bangladesh after the Pakistani army surrendered to the Indian army and signed the Instrument of Surrender on 16 December 1971 in Dhaka.
Well, the whole 1971 Indo-Pak War, especially the date of surrender, became one of the major historical events for all the three nations involved. Hence, it was only mandatory to believe that the event would inspire filmmakers in Bollywood to explore this particular topic and make Movies based on the Indo-Pak War of 1971. Today, we have some great movies made featuring the War itself as well as the post-war effects.
Best Bollywood Films on Indo-Pak War of 1971
So, here is the list of some breathtaking Bollywood movies from different eras based on a single event of Indo-Pak War of 1971.
The 1997 Bollywood war film, Border is considered as the Best war film ever made in the History of Indian Cinema. However, most of the audience are unaware of the fact that the film was based on real events concerning the Indo-Pak War of 1971. Well, the movie didn’t feature the whole event but focused at the famous Battle of Longewala fought in Rajasthan. The movie features the bravery displayed by 120 Indian soldiers of the Punjab regiment under the command of Major Kuldip Singh Chandpuri, portrayed by Sunny Deol, against a huge tank regiment of the Pakistan army throughout the night until the Indian Air Force came to aid the next morning.
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Well, most of the war films normally feature the events of the ongoing war. However, there’s much more to a war that most of us civilians are not even aware of. One of the darkest aspects of war is the treatment of the prisoners of war. These prisoners of war are in fact the soldiers of the opposition army, who get caught alive during the war. The 2007 war drama film 1971 talks about just the same. The film actually features the escape of six Indian soldiers captured as prisoners of war by Pakistan during the Indo-Pak war of 1971.
Hindustan Ki Kasam (1973)
Well, not a successful movie at the box office, yet this 1973 war film Hindustan Ki Kasam deserves a mention because of the fact that it was the first film based on the Indo-Pak war of 1971. The film was directed by Chetan Anand, who has already proven his expertise on war films with the 1964 film Haqeeqat based on Indo-China war. Besides being the director, Chetan Anand has also played a character in the film alongside his brother Vijay Anand. For those, who aren’t aware of this fact, both Chetan Anand and Vijay Anand are the brothers of veteran actor Dev Anand. The film also stars Raaj Kumar, Balraj Sahni, Priya Rajvansh, Amjad Khan, Amrish Puri, Padma Khanna and others.
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Aakraman is yet another not so popular film on our list. This 1975 war film deserves a mention this list for two main reasons. For one, it features a great cast that includes Sanjeev Kumar, Ashok Kumar, Rekha, and Rakesh Roshan in pivotal roles. Secondly, despite being based on the Indo-Pak War of 1971, the film also tries to explore the interpersonal relations between the soldiers, romance, and family ties throughout the film.
Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Sathiyon (2004)
Well, not entirely a film based on the 1971 Indo-Pak war, Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyo features a single fictional event based on the war as a flashback, while the film is actually set a couple of decades after the war. Featuring an ensemble cast of Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Bobby Deol, Divya Kumar Khosla, Nagma, Sandali Sinha, Ashutosh Rana, Danny Denzongpa, Govind Namdeo, and many others, the film is a one-time watch for those who favor war movies.
16 December (2002)
As mentioned earlier, 16 December 1971 was the victory date for the Indian army, when the Pakistani army surrendered after signing the Instrument of Surrender. Well, the 2002 Indian spy thriller film 16 December features a plot that covers a fictional operation by Indian spy agents of the IRS (Indian Revenue Service) to uncover the conspiracy behind an attack planned to destroy the capital city of India, New Delhi with a nuclear bomb on 16th December 2001, 30 years after the Victory Day of the Indo-Pak war of 1971. The film features an ensemble cast of Milind Soman, Danny Denzongpa, Dipannita Sharma, Sushant Singh, and Gulshan Grover in important roles.
Yet another film based on the escape of the prisoners of war from the Indo-Pak war of 1971, Deewar is a 2004 war film directed by Milan Luthria. The film features Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Khanna along with a supporting cast that includes Sanjay Dutt, Kay Kay Menon, Piyush Mishra, Raghubir Yadav, Amrita Rao, Tanuja, Aditya Shrivastava, Pradeep Rawat and many others. The film is set 33 years after the famous Indo-Pak War of 1971, when a son decides to cross the border to initiate a rescue mission to bring back his father, a prisoner of war in Pakistan from the 1971 Indo-Pak war, back to India to rejoin his family. Whether he is successful or not forms the rest of the story.
Vijeta is 1982 coming-of-age Hindi film directed by Govind Nihlani. Well, the central theme of the film is the journey of a teenage boy, who is trying to discover himself and his goal in life. Being caught up between the marital problems of his Marathi mother, played by Rekha, and Punjabi father, played by Shashi Kapoor, he decides to join the Indian Air Force to serve the country. Although the decision was made out of anger, he eventually realizes his potential as a fighter pilot with the help of his love interest Anna, played by Supriya Pathak. The film is not entirely based on the Indo-Pak War of 1971, but the main protagonist of the film Angad Singh, played by Kunal Kapoor, is featured as one of the Mig-21 pilots flying the aircraft in ground attack role during the 1971 war. As a matter of fact, Kunal Singh is the real-life son of the veteran actor Shashi Kapoor, who plays his on-screen father as well.
Over to You!
Unfortunately, the Indian audience doesn’t entertain the films featuring a war theme. Hence, there are hardly any major films made, which are based on the Indo-Pak War of 1971. Among the list itself, only Border got the accolades from both the audience and the critics, but none of the other films got even close to this great Indian war film of all time.
I think it is because of the lack of market or trend for such films as well as the controversies that come attached with such sensitive events. However, I believe if the writers are encouraged and given the much-needed freedom they deserve, then a series of such war-themed films can be expected without attracting any sort of controversies.