A series of big films this year will focus on Indian military conflicts with Pakistan, reflecting an escalation of political belligerence
India’s military will take a starring role this summer. On 12 August, in time for Independence day on the 15th, Amazon Prime’s big Hindi release is Shershaah, the biopic of the revered figure of Captain Vikram Batra, posthumously awarded India’s top military honour, the Param Vir Chakra, after he died fighting Pakistani troops in the heights of Kargil in 1999. “Shershaah” (which means “King of Lions”) was Batra’s code-name during radio communications.
Shershaah is one in a long and popular tradition of Indian military films – the Kargil war alone has inspired eight box-office hits – and launches the day after another big-budget production, Bhuj: The Pride of India, about the behind-enemy-lines construction of an airstrip by the Indian air force, with the help of 300 village women, during the 1971 war with Pakistan that resulted in the creation of Bangladesh. September will see the release of Ekkees (Twenty One), a biopic of the youngest recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal, who died in the same conflict.