10 Films on the Armed Forces that no patriot will pass on

If you’re a fan of the men in uniform then these ten flicks are a must watch on your lockdown binge list

Compiled by Team Just Urbane

We Indians are a patriotic lot, and we particularly like our men (and women) in uniform. What better way than for Bollywood to eulogise and immortalise these brave souls in the only way that Bollywood knows how. Here’s a list of ten films that we have curated that you absolutely shouldn’t miss if you too salute the men in Olive, Grey or White.

1.    Haqeeqat – 1964


Directed by Chetan Anand, this 1964 movie immortalised the Indian Army’s heroic but doomed stand against the People’s Liberation Army in the 1962 Indo-China conflict. The film featured an extensive star cast and portrayed the Indian Army rather realistically.

2.    Vijeta – 1982


Directed by ace film maker Govind Nihalani, this movie was set against the backdrop of the 1971 Indo-Pak War. The central character is a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force and flies a MiG 21 in ground attack roles. The film received active support of senior pilots of the IAF with many of the aerial combat sequences being filmed at the Lohegaon Air Force Base in Pune. Vijeta remains to this date the only movie that depicts the IAF in sustained operation and that is the central plot, notwithstanding the Hunter ground attack scene in Border or the Shahid Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor starrer Mausam.

3.    Prahaar – 1991


Although not a war movie, this action-drama had a significant portion of the film dedicated to Commandos of the Indian Army, including showcasing of their training. The film’s portrayal of the men in uniform was quite close to reality, including some of the training that was shown. The film had Nana Patekar, Dimple Kapadia and Madhuri Dixit essaying the lead roles. The fact that Patekar himself had served in the Army once may have further helped its authenticity.

4.    Border – 1997


In spite of the overly dramatised nature of the film, the portrayal of both the Indian Army as well as the Indian Air Force, in terms of their look, the kind of weapons used and so on was rather real. This movie directed by J P Dutta also featured an extensive star cast and was a block buster of a movie. The story of the 120 men of the 23rd Battalion of the Punjab Regiment led by Major Kuldip Singh Chandpuri and four Hawker Hunters of the IAF holding out at the border outpost of the Longewala in the Thar Desert against a massive Pakistani onslaught in 1971 is now known to all.

5.    LOC: Kargil – 2003

Directed by J P Dutta again, this is another testosterone charged film about the Indian Army. As usual we see a star cast that included Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgn, Suniel Shetty, Saif Ali Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Sanjay Kapoor , Akshaye Khanna, Nagarjuna and Ashutosh Rana. The backdrop, as the title suggests, is the Indo-Pak conflict in 1999 that is known as the Kargil War. In almost a template set by Border we see a lot of highly over-dramatised action sequences and plenty of histrionics that would have appealed to a mass audience.

6.    Lakshya – 2004


Directed by Farhan Akhtar and starring HrithikRoshan, PreityZinta, Amitabh Bachchan, AmrishPuri and BomanIrani, this one is also a coming of age film. This time though it was set against the Kargil War of 1999. The portrayal of the Army and its operation in the conflict was pretty close to reality and for the first time in many decades soldiers were seen operating without much accompanying drama, be it in acting or through background scores. That said, there is still some amount of song and dance and emotional outbursts, and one mustn’t forget that the movie after all was still a Bollywood potboiler.

7.    1971: Beyond Borders – 2004

A rare film on Indian POWs in Pakistan, starring the talented Manoj Bajpayee, Ravi Kishan, Deepak Dobriyal and former Just Urbane cover star Manav Kaul, among others. Directed by Amrit Sagar, the movie is set in 1977, six years after the conclusion of the Indo-Pak War of 1971. In the aftermath of the war that saw more than 90,000 Pakistani POWs being repatriated to their country, a large number of Indian POWs remained in Pakistani captivity with their government denying even their existence. From this batch of POWs, six soldiers of varying ranks and representing two different forces – the Army and the Air Force, make their bid for freedom. They escape from prison and attempt to cross back into India, braving unforeseen obstacles in this gritty story based on true incidents.

8.    Shaurya – 2008


This one, starring Rahul Bose and Kay Kay Menon, is a near lift of the Hollywood flick A Few Good Men starring Tom Cruise, Demi Moore and Jack Nicholson. Of course the backdrop isn’t Guantanamo but Kashmir and we aren’t dealing with the US Marines but the crack Rastriya Rifles. Captain Javed Khan, portrayed by Deepak Dobriyal, has been charged with the murder of the highly decorated Major Virendra Singh Rathore and is court martialled. A flippant Army lawyer, Major Siddhant ‘Sid’ Chaudhry (Rahul Bose), is assigned to defend him, pitting him Major Siddhant against the formidable lawyer Major Akash Kapoor (Jaaved Jaeferi). The ensuing court room drama that follows is as good as any action sequence and Bose and Menon do a stellar job of bringing alive the characters they portray.

9.    The Ghazi Attack – 2017

The Ghazi Attack

A rare movie on the Indian Navy, this one is again against the backdrop of the 1971 Indo-Pak War that led to the creation of Bangladesh. This time the battleground moves to the depths of the Bay of Bengal. The Pakistani Navy sends the sophisticated submarine Ghazi to attack and sink the INS Vikrant in a bid to cripple the Indian Navy’s tactical advantage in the Bay of Bengal. But in its path stands the INS Karanj. The movie has the brilliant Kay Kay Menon portraying Captain Rann Vijay Singh, commander of the INS Karanj, Rana Daggubati as Lieutenant Commander Arjun Varma and Atul Kulkarni as Executive Officer (XO) Devaraj. The only Pakistani sailor we see is Commander Razak Mohammed Khan, played by Rahul Singh, who is in command of the PNS Ghazi. The graphics in the movie might seem a little amateurish, especially for those who have seen Crimson Tide starring Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman or The Hunt for Red October starring Sean Connery, Sam O’Neil and Alec Baldwin. That said, the plot is gripping and the story telling done with authority.  

10.    Uri: The Surgical Strike – 2019

Uri: The Surgical Strike

This film, directed by Aditya Dhar, rode the wave of public opinion in the wake of the actual covert ops strikes beyond the LOC, to become the second highest grossing Hindi film of the year. The lead role of Major Vihan Singh Shergill was essayed brilliantly by actor and former Just Urbane cover star Vicky Kaushal. Other actors included the gifted Paresh Rawal, Mohit Raina, Yami Gautam, Keerti Kulhari, Swaroop Sampat and Rajit Kapoor. The story is a fairly simple and straightforward narrative of events leading up to the now famed surgical strikes that the Indian Army carried out. The story is seen from the point of view of Major Shergill, who is the protagonist, while the others are characters who keep coming in and out even though each of them have a vital role to play. The acting was excellent, barring one or two scenes, and production quality was top drawer. As far as authenticity goes, the director went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that this film was not a caricature of the Army but a portrayal that would be as close to reality as possible.

Pic Credit - IMDb