Every year on October 8, India observes Indian Air Force Day. This is because on October 8, 1932, India was officially announced as the supporting force of the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom. After its participation in World War II, the air force in India was titled the Royal Indian Air Force. It was only in 1950, after the republic was formed, that it became known as the Indian Air Force. On this day each year, aircrafts put up a spectacular show in the sky, leaving audiences rapt. To mark the occasion, we’ve put together a list of Bollywood films that depict the bravery of the Indian Air Force.
‘Hindustan Ki Kasam’ (1973)
This war film is based on Operation Cactus Lilly set during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971. The plot revolves around the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) mission to destroy an enemy radar that’s blocking the IAF pilots’ radios in combat. Soon, the team realizes that their mission is being sabotaged.
Director: Chetan Anand
Cast: Raaj Kumar, Amjad Khan, Amrish Puri, Parikshat Sahni, Priya Rajvansh
A coming-of-age film, this one traces the life of Angad (Kunal Kapoor). Like any other teenager, he’s trying to find his true self, while being caught between his parents’ marital problems. Finally, Angad chooses to become a fighter pilot with the Indian Air Force. The film showcases his journey towards emerging victorious in both his professional and personal life.
Director: Govind Nihlani
Cast: Shashi Kapoor, Rekha, Kunal Kapoor, Amrish Puri, Supriya Pathak, Om Puri
‘Rang De Basanti’ (2006)
This iconic film focuses on a group of friends whose lives begin to change when a British filmmaker Sue (Alice Patten) casts them in her film on Indian freedom fighters during British rule. The tragic death of a member of their group, Flight Lieutenant Ajay Singh Rathod (R Madhavan), owing to corrupt government practices, forces the carefree group into action. Inspired by the freedom fighters they’ve played in Sue’s film, they decide to avenge the death of their friend.
Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Cast: Aamir Khan, R Madhavan, Siddharth, Sharman Joshi, Soha Ali Khan, Kunal Kapoor, Atul Kulkarni, Alice Patten, Waheeda Rehman
Streaming on: Netflix
Spanning a decade – from 1992 to 2002 – ‘Mausam’ tells the story of Harry (Shahid Kapoor), a Punjabi boy and Aayat (Sonam Kapoor), a Kashmiri girl who fall in love. Eventually, Aayat leaves her home in Kashmir and Harry joins the Indian Air Force. The film explores the ways in which fate brings Harry and Aayat together multiple times and also references the Bombay riots, the 1993 Bombay bombings and 9/11 attacks among other incidents.
Director: Pankaj Kapur
Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Supriya Pathak, Shayan Munshi
‘Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl’ (2020)
This biopic (pictured above) is based on the life of Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena, played by Janhvi Kapoor. From being an aspiring aviator to becoming the first female combat pilot to serve the country in the Kargil War, the film traces her journey and spotlights the many hardships she faced along the way.
Director: Sharan Sharma
Cast: Janhvi Kapoor, Pankaj Tripathi, Angad Bedi, Ayesha Raza Mishra
Streaming on: Netflix