fc lead list of best hindi war movies

While Hindi cinema often finds itself blurring the lines between patriotism and jingoism, some films stand out for their sensitive portrayals, stunning visuals and memorable dialogues. This Army Day (January 15), we take a look at eight Hindi war films, currently available on streaming, that depict relatable characters and their struggles as well as their vulnerabilities and courage amid adversities.

Haqeeqat (1964)

Streaming on: Zee5

Harboring most Hindi war-film tropes (sans jingoism), Haqeeqat focuses on the internal and external conflicts facing soldiers (Dharmendra, Balraj Sahni, Vijay Anand) who are embroiled in a lopsided war, advancing towards a legendary last stand. Based on the Battle of Rezang La (Ladakh) during the 1962 Sino-Indian war, many consider this Chetan Anand directorial one of the finest black-and-white war films. 

Vijeta (1982)

Streaming on: YouTube

Highlighted by its award-winning Top Gun-like cinematography, Govind Nihalani’s Vijeta finds its coming-of-age story in the life of Angad (Kunal Kapoor), who is trapped in the throes of a dysfunctional family, the indecisiveness of youth and the burning desire to prove himself. Having found a foothold in the air force, can Angad overcome the challenges that come his way, most notably, the 1971 Indo-Pak war?

Border (1997)

Streaming on: YouTube/Amazon Prime Video

8 Hindi War Films You Can Stream, Film Companion

Few directors can match the war-film auteurism of J. P. Dutta. Few films can match the popularity of his 1997-directorial, Border. The film, which follows India’s victory in the 1971 Battle of Longewala, is a war film that questions the very purpose of it. Premised on the same conflicting beats as Haqeeqat, Border too, explores the barren and futile aftermath of war, most notably through its soundtrack, â la ‘Mere dushman, mere bhai’ and ‘Sandese aate hain’.

Lakshya (2004)

Streaming on: Netflix

Like Vijeta, Lakshya is a coming-of-age war film focusing on the transformation of Karan Shergill (Hrithik Roshan), from leading a happy-go-lucky, carefree existence to serving as Acting Captain in the 1999 Kargil War. As the poster of this Farhan Akhtar directorial says: It took him 24 years and 18000 feet to find himself.

The Ghazi Attack (2017)

Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video

Sometimes, white papers are so potent that they render war antecedents incognito. One such classified military act occurred in 1971: the Indian Navy’s 18-day underwater operation to sink Pakistan’s PNS Ghazi that planned to destroy INS Vikrant, located at Visakhapatnam. This engaging Sankalp Reddy directorial is a homage to that operation. 

Uri: The Surgical Strike (2019)

Streaming on: Zee5

Uri is a fictional retelling of the retaliatory surgical strikes against the 2016 Uri attack. It follows Major Vihaan Singh Shergill (Vicky Kaushal) of the Para Special Forces, who promises a zero-casualty outcome against terrorists in a covert shootout operation. The film works for its compelling visuals and well-choreographed action sequences. Also, ‘How’s The Josh’ is now a catchphrase we’ve all adopted.

Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl (2020)

Streaming on: Netflix

A biographical-drama-war film based on one of the first Indian female air-force pilots, Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, has plenty of standout moments. An aspiring pilot joins the Air Force for her unwavering love for flying, under the aegis of her egalitarian father. She battles the gendered environment of the male bunkers, and ultimately proves herself in training and battle amidst the 1999 Kargil war.

Shershaah (2021)

Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video

The late Captain Vikram Batra was a man with vigor. He was determined to win the Kargil war and fought until the very end. Starring Sidharth Malhotra as Captain Batra, Shershaah makes for a real tear-jerker. The music of the film, along with the backdrop of a filmy, beautiful yet incomplete love story, leaves a lasting imprint.

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