The Indian Air Force or the Bhartiya Vayu Sena, the air arm of the Indian Armed Forces was officially established on October 8, 1932. This year, the Central Air Command is celebrating the 87th anniversary of the Indian Air Force. A scintillating air display by various aircraft is planned to celebrate the Air Force Day Parade 2019. The day is also special as the first of 36 long-awaited Rafale fighter jets will be received by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in France.
Time and again, Bollywood has spun stories around the Indian Air Force and its pilots. On the occasion of the Air Force Day, let’s take a look at movies that captured the spirit and motto of IAF: Touch the Sky with Glory!
1. Vijeta (1982), directed by Govind Nihlani
Starring: Shashi Kapoor, Rekha, Amrish Puri, Kunal Kapoor, and Supriya Pathak
Synopsis: Vijeta is perhaps the most realistic and genuine feature that captures the essence of the Indian Air Force. Angad (Kunal Kapoor) is a teenager who is searching for a purpose to his life even as his parents, mother Neelima (Rekha), and father Nihal (Shashi Kapoor) are having marital problems.
Angad chooses to become a fighter pilot with the Indian Air Force and after initial setbacks achieves extraordinary success. Angad flies MiG-21 and emerges as a victor (Vijeta) during the India-Pakistani War of 1971. One character that stands out apart from the lead cast is Chief Instructor Verghese, played to perfection by Amrish Puri. Vijeta stands out for excellent aerial photography of combat aircraft. The IAF No.4 Squadron provided the pilots and planes for the film's aerial sequences.
2. Agnipankh (2004), directed by Sanjiv Puri
Starring: Jimmy Shergill, Sameer Dharmadhikari, Rahul Dev, and Shamita Shetty
Synopsis: Vishal, Sameer, and Siddharth Singh are Indian Air Force pilots who test the latest fighter jets and gain valuable experience while flying several sorties over enemy territory. During a mission they are captured and held in a camp where they are ill-treated and tortured. At the camp they meet Shamsher Singh Shekawat who was captured during the 1971 war. They plan to escape and it makes for a great, engrossing finale.
3. Border (1997), directed by JP Dutta
Starring: Sunny Deol, Suniel Shetty, Akshaye Khanna, and Jackie Shroff
Synopsis: Set in the backdrop of 1971 India-Pakistan war, Border is based on the real life events that happened at the Battle of Longewala. The Indian battalion comprising of 150 men is posted in Longewala region in Punjab while the Pakistani Army consists of 2000 armed soldiers with tanks. Yet, the Indian Army turns the tables on the Pakistanis, and the Indian Air force plays a crucial role by arriving in nick of time to completely annihilate the Pakistanis.
4. Veer-Zaara (2004), directed by Yash Chopra
Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, and Rani Mukerji
Synopsis: Set in the backdrop of 1971 India-Pakistan war, Veer-Zaara tells the story of Squadron Leader Veer Pratap Singh, a rescue pilot with the Indian Air Force who, by turn of events, comes across Zaara, a Pakistani girl. Veer saves her life but is captured by the Pakistanis and is imprisoned. Time moves on, and 22 two years later Saamia Siddiqui, a Pakistani human rights lawyer fights his case.
5. Hindustan Ki Kasam (1973), directed by Chetan Anand
Starring: Raaj Kumar, Priya Rajvansh, and Balraj Sahni
Synopsis: Hindustan Ki Kasam is based on Operation Cactus Lilly during the India-Pakistan War of 1971. The film vividly describes the Indian Air Force 's role in the 1971 Indo-Pakistani war in the western sector. The movie revolves around the IAF's mission of destroying a PAF radar which blocks IAF pilots radios in combat.
6. Mausam (2011), directed by Pankaj Kapoor:
Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Aditi Sharma, Supriya Pathak, Anupam Kher
Synopsis: Even though Mausam is a romantic film, the depiction of the Indian Air Force in this Shahid Kapoor-starrer is of impeccable accuracy. Also, the aerial warfare scenes are at par with the best of Hollywood.