Patriotism can rise in us in many ways — cinema being one of them. Right from when Arvind Swami lectures radicals on religious harmony in Bombay to Vijay managing to thwart sleeper cells in Thuppakki, Tamil cinema has had great (albeit sparse) moments that invoked the patriot in us and made our eyes well with pride.
This Independence day, celebs from K’Town talk to us about their views on freedom, and also share with us moments of cinema that made them burst with pride for their great nation.
Before 1947, if one made any comment about the society that the British didn’t approve of, you’d be sent to jail. It’s not much different today, really. 70 years after our independence, I think we have lost our freedom, thanks to social media, that trolls and mocks us if we say an opinion someone disapproves of. Having said that, today is a day to thank those who got us freedom.
I think older films were more sincere about patriotism than now, as films today are trying to convert the emotion into TRP and money. I like the film Naan Pirandha Mann, in which Sivaji Ganesan played a freedom fighter, and his son, Kamal Haasan abuses his freedom and misuses it. In the end, Sivaji is forced to kill him. The whole movie was a tribute to patriotism.
The scene from Roja where Arvind Swami saves the Indian flag from burning always brings out the patriot in me. The intensity of the scene, coupled with AR Rahman’s music sends chills through me everytime. Also, ARR’s Thai Manne Vanakkam song manages to do the same to me.
I think we were all born with freedom. If you ask me what it’s all about, I feel I should have gone back to pre Independence era to know about it.
When I was shooting for my period film, Madrasapattinam, there was a scene where Amy and I had to run away on the night of 14th August. I became nostalgic while we were canning the scene, thinking about the several people who were alive at that time and how they struggled to get freedom. That’s why I said I wish I was born at that time. The entire movie was a surreal experience.
I love Chak De India, Lagaan and Roja — all these films make me feel proud to be an Indian because we have come a long way to achieve our freedom. Our forefathers have fought with their lives to get us our freedom and I feel it’s our duty to make them proud by making this country reach it’s maximum potential.
We, as a country, have unbelievable bonds and friendships within people of different cultures and races — that’s what makes us Indians. We have the ability to tolerate anybody from anywhere and make them feel comfortable in our country. Jai Hind!
For me, independence means to have the freedom to have your own thinking and live life your own way. As we enter into another year of Indian Independence, I would urge the government to think on how the atrocities against women like acid attacks and human trafficking can be stopped. Also, as we progress towards better economy, people should also take note of their surroundings and become more tolerant towards the visually and physically impaired.
Even today, when people see me somewhere, instead of saying hi or hello, they say Jai Hind. That is the impact the film left on people, and so it is the same for me too. Jai Hind made me synonymous with patriotic films and if someone still thinks of me when it comes to patriotism, I consider it to be my biggest achievement.
Even in Jai Hind 2, which I directed, I spoke on education in India, and I strongly believe that patriotism includes any kind of service to the country, not only fighting at the border.
(With inputs from Niveda Manohar and Reshmi Chakravorty)...