Today, on the National Anti-terrorism Day, we are once again reminded of the evil elements that still persist in society and that furtively work in the shadows to sow chaos and destruction in a bid to disrupt any form of harmony. Such callous cruelty, fuelled by deranged motivations, has claimed innumerable innocent lives. Some of the lives lost are those of intrepid martyrs who sacrificed themselves to save others, and while we mourn for them, we must also honour their memory by embodying, in any way that we can, the spirit of selfless service to our nation and her people. While most of the films on this list are a fictitious reimagining of grim real life events, they still possess the kernel of a reality that has the ability to break our hearts and boil our blood while also stirring our souls and reinforcing our duty towards promoting and maintaining a sense of collective unity, forged in the bonds of our humanity.
In Uri: The Surgical Strike, a film that is inspired by the retaliation to the 2016 Uri attack, we see the surgical strike through the eyes of brave, fearless soldiers who blaze with the brilliance of their devotion to and love for the nation and its martyrs. The winged dagger insignia that Major Vihaan Singh Shergill wears, with the words ‘Balidaan’ emblazoned across it, is both a mark of his revered position as a Para SF officer and his powerful dedication to serving the nation, even if it costs him his life. The movie, that is an ode to the spirit and ingenuity of the soldiers, accords the special forces badge, and all that it stands for, the honour that is its due.
- Dil Se..
At the heart of Dil Se.., an unconventional love story permeated by a sense of impending tragedy, is a man whose love leads him into the perilous world of terrorists. While his pursuit initially appears to be doomed, love eventually finds a way, and glimmers like a steady, unwavering flame in a world that is engulfed by darkness and hatred.
Blind hatred, when whetted to a fine point, can be weaponized for terror, and the antagonists of Mission Kashmir strive to do just that. Young Altaaf’s grief and agony at the loss of his parents is honed into a keen blade of loathing that is directed at his once foster father, who is an Inspector General tasked with the protection of Kashmir from terrorists like him, but who was also responsible for the death of Altaaf’s loved ones. Through the course of the movie, we discover the answer to one crucial question: Will either one of them get the chance to redeem themselves in the other’s eyes?
Based on a book by Hussain Zaidi, Black Friday is a cinematic account of the horrifying 1993 Bombay bombings perpetrated by mafia groups. The perspective of both the policemen and the terrorists is presented to the viewers, and one cannot help but be gripped by the action and shocked by the malevolence that dominates the film.
5. A Wednesday!
While it is all too easy for us to draw up a list of Bollywood movies that were inspired by foreign films, doing the converse might amount to a rather more difficult task. A Wednesday!, however, is one movie that belongs in the latter list, inspiring a Sri Lankan remake starring the acclaimed actor Ben Kingsley. The righteous justice of a common man constitutes the central theme of the thriller, and lends it a twist that only strengthens its appeal.
The disappearance of her younger brother prompts Fiza, a headstrong young woman, to penetrate a dark web of terrorists to bring him back home to his waiting mother. The complex relationship between sister and brother reinforces the film’s powerful foundation of familial love and culminates in an emotionally charged, impactful ending.
Watching these films is bound to evoke mixed feelings that encompass the significance of Anti-terrorism Day- grief for the incalculable loss that is a consequence of the unfathomable cruelty that defines terrorism, and pride, for those who stand tall and defend the basic right to peace and safety for everyone.
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