A Chronicle of Bollywood's Musical, Colorful Celebrations of India

By Tahiat Mahboob

India's commercial film industry, the globally popular phenomenon known as Bollywood, has always had a rich history of celebrating patriotism through movies and music that highlight the mother country. As India's Independence Day winds down, here's a look at a few haunting classics and some foot-tapping contemporary songs that pay homage.



Vande Mataram

From the movie Anand Math (1952), this song by India's nightingale, Lata Mangeshkar, describes India's natural beauty and professes gratitude to the motherland.


Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyo

From the movie Haqeeqat (1964), based on the 1962 Sino-Indian War, this song sung by Mohammed Rafi describes sacrificing your body and soul in defense of your country.


Mere Desh Ki Dharti

From the movie Upkar (1967), this iconic song won the Filmfare Best Lyricist Award. It describes how India's soil produces gold, diamonds and pearls as a metaphor for the country's agricultural riches.


Dil Diya Hai Jaan Bhi Denge

From the movie Karma (1986), this song promises that people have given their hearts, and will give their lives, for India.


Suno Gaur Se Duniyo Walo

From the unfinished movie Dus (1997), this song tells people to "listen carefully ... Indians will be ahead of everyone." The film may not have made it to theaters because of director Mukul S. Anand's untimely death, but the song lives on.


I Love My India

From the movie Pardes (1997) -- besides the obvious chorus of the song, it tells listeners that if the world is a bride, India is the bindi on its forehead.


Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani

From the movie Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani (2000), this title says that while many contradictions exist among the peoples of India, in the end, everyone's heart is Indian.



Rang De Basanti

From the BAFTA-nominated movie Rang De Basanti (2006), this title track by renowned singer Daler Mahendi literally means "color me saffron" but takes inspiration from the song Rang De Basanti Chola from the movie Shaheed (1965), which depicts Indian freedom fighter Bhagat Singh as he marches to his execution.


Chale Chalo

From the Oscar-nominated movie Lagaan (2001), this is a song about victory against enemies -- in this case, one small Indian village's triumph over its British occupiers in a cricket match.




Yeh Jo Desh Hai Mera

From Swades (2004), this song describes how the bond between a man and his country can never break.

Some other popular or iconic Bollywood movie songs that didn't make the list include Aao Baccho Tumhe Dikhayen, Aye Watan, Yeh Desh Hain Veer Jawano Ka, Aye Mere Pyaare Watan, Apni Azadi Ko Hum and Chodo Kal Ki Baatein.

This article originally appeared at Asia Society, an Atlantic partner site.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/08/a-chronicle-of-bollywoods-musical-colorful-celebrations-of-india/261213/