Multimedia: Celebrating India, Bollywood Style

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.

Chak De India!
From the movie Chak De India! (2007), this title track — albeit depicting a hockey coach telling his team to literally "go for it" — covers broader themes of perseverance. (We know this list has started to seem like a compilation of Shahrukh Khan's greatest hits, but there you have it.)

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.

About the Author

Profile picture for user Tahiat Mahboob
Tahiat Mahboob is Asia Society's Senior Multimedia Producer. She grew up in Bangladesh, worked at New York Fashion Week and taught at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.