What is history?
An echo of the past in the future, a reflex from the future on the past.
As our curious minds stepped towards the future, the history of our past footprints followed us. History never dies, art braces it again and again. A book unchains the secrets of the past and cinema frees its soul. The heroic trailer of ‘Mohenjo Daro’ in a flash took us back to 2016 BC; the power of cinema is timeless.
Here are the 7 Bollywood period films that honor our history and their echoes still remind us of our golden and struggling times:
This epic historical drama film was directed by K Asif. It narrates the immortal love story between Prince Salim (who went on to rule as Emperor Jahangir) and Anarkali, a court dancer. It highlights the differences between father and son, duty to the public over family, and the trials of women, particularly of courtesans.
K Asif’s magnum opus almost took a decade in the making and became a phenomenal box-office success, earning more than Rs 4 crore, which when adjusted for inflation today is equivalent to more than Rs 1,000 crore.
This Ashutosh Gowarikar’s classic turned the pages of time and gave a sneak peek of Mughal Emperor Akbar’s love story with Jodhabai, making us mindful of Akbar as a lover. Hrithik (Akbar) and Ashwariya (Jodhabai) shone beautifully together. Many protesters argued over the story but the intensity of the characters and melody of AR Rehman made the film good.
‘Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamaare dil mein hai, Dekhna hai zor kitna baazu-e-qaatil mein hai’.
This is undoubtedly one of the best films made on the life of martyr Bhagat Singh. Ajay Devgan’s soul-stirring performance won him a National Award. This movie acutely portrayed India’s freedom struggle and ignited courage among the youth to stand for the change they want to see.
“Love that is not accepted on earth is accepted by Gods in heaven.”
‘1947 Earth’ is the second installment of Deepa Mehta’s Elements trilogy. It was preceded by ‘Fire’ (1996) and followed by ‘Water’ (2005). Set in 1947 in the midst of the Partition of India, ‘1947 Earth’ received high praise in India and abroad.
It was adapted from Bapsi Sidhwa’s semi-autobiographical novel ‘Cracking India’ and views partition through the eyes of 8-year-old Lenny Sethna (Maia Sethna), the pampered daughter of an affluent Parsi family in Lahore.
The film featured Aamir Khan, Nandita Das and debutant Rahul Khanna and made a little over Rs 3 crore at the box office. It was also chosen as India’s official entry for the Academy Awards in Best Foreign Language Film category.
It is based on a short story written by Munshi Premchand. Directed by Satyajit Ray, it depicts decadent royalty of central north India.
The two main characters are the aristocrats Mirza Sajjad Ali and Mir Raushan Ali who are deeply immersed in playing chess. Their desire for the game makes them irresponsible in their duties towards their families and society. They derive immense pleasure in developing chess strategies and hence, ignore the invasion of the Britishers. Eventually, their city Lucknow falls to British attackers as they are busy playing chess.
The technical brilliance of Kamal Hassan with gripping visuals, period-perfect sets, authentic costumes and an impressive cast. Well, this film is an art house great. It depicts the life and the transformation of Saket Ram and how in his eyes the people who were against Gandhi were wrong and their feelings were unjustified.
‘Hey Ram’, by all means, not only qualifies but even has the power to top the films made on Mahatma Gandhi.