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In honor of India’s Independence Day this month, here’s a look at some of the more popular Hindi films with patriotic themes.

Kismet (1943)

This film directed by Gyan Mukerjee stars Ashok Kumar and Mumtaz Shanti and tops this list for its famous patriotic song, “Door Hato O Duniyawalon Hindustan Hamara hay. The negative references to the Germans and Japanese somehow cleared British censorship and the song became an instant hit during the nationalistic atmosphere of the time. Later, the British authorities wanted to ban the film. An arrest warrant was issued for the film's lyricist Pradeep who went underground to avoid capture.

Shaheed (1948)

Starring Dilip Kumar, Kamini Kaushal, Chandra Mohan and Leela Chitnis, this film directed by Ramesh Saigal is set in the context of the Quit India movement. Dilip Kumar’s character leaves home against his father’s wishes to join a group of freedom fighters. The song “Watan ki Raah Mein Watan ke Naujawan Shaheed Ho,” by Mohammed Rafi is a classic.

Anand Math (1952)

Directed by Hemen Gupta, starring Prithviraj Kapoor, Geeta Bali, Pradeep Kumar, and Bharat Bhusan, “Anand Math” is based on the famous Bengali novel by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, who also composed India’s national song. The film is set around events of the Sannyasi Rebellion in the late 18th century. With music by Hemant Kumar, the rendition of “Vande Mataram” in this film is popular.

Shaheed (1965)

Directed by S. Ram Sharma, Manoj Kumar stars in this film based on the life of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh. The film also features Prem Chopra, Anant Marathe, Kamini Kaushal, and Pran. It won the National Film Award for best Hindi feature film and Best Screenplay. “Shaheed” was Manoj Kumar’s first in a series of patriotic films.

Upkar (1967)

This film was directed by and starred Manoj Kumar as “Bharat,” along with Prem Chopra, Asha Parekh, and Pran. Bharat returns from the 1965 India-Pakistan war to face family strife. With music by Kalyanji Anandji, the song “Mere Desh Ki Dharti,” is a classic. The movie won several Filmfare awards including, Best Movie, Best Director and Best Story.

Kranti (1981)

Directed by Manoj Kumar and featuring a multi-star cast including Dilip Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Hema Malini, Shatrughan Sinha, Parveen Babi, Sarika, Nirupa Roy, Pradeep Kumar, Veeru Devgan, and Prem Chopra. Set in 19th century British India, this film tells the tale of several men who led the fight for independence from the British. Salim-Javed wrote the story.

Lagaan (2001)

This Oscar nominated film was written/directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar. Set during the Victorian period of the British Raj, Aamir Khan stars as a villager. Facing oppression by high taxes, the villagers make a bet against the British cricket team. If the local team beats the British officers’ team, the taxes will be cancelled. Powerful music by A.R. Rahman enhanced the film’s popularity.

Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002)

Raj Kumar Santoshi directed this 2002 award-winning, biographical film about Bhagat Singh played by Ajay Devgan, Sushant Singh as Sukhdev, D. Santosh as Rajguru. The film features Raj Babbar, Amitabh Bhattacharjee and Amrita Rao, with music by A.R. Rahman. This version also won the National Award for best Hindi feature film and three Filmfare awards.

Swades (2004)

Director Ashutosh Gowarikar joins with Shah Rukh Khan, in one of his best performances, about an NRI scientist who eventually returns to his homeland to promote its progress and development. The film also stars Gayatri Joshi and Kishori Balal. Several scenes were shot inside the NASA research center at Kennedy Space Center. The music by maestro A.R. Rahman is among his best.

Mangal Pandey: The Rising (2005)

This historical film is based on the life of an Indian soldier in the army of the British East India Company who is famous for his actions in the Indian Rebellion of 1857 or “Sepoy Mutiny.” It was directed by Ketan Mehta and powerfully portrayed by Aamir Khan.

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