Contribution of Indian Cinema in infusing patriotism [Event]

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the war between India and Bangladesh. A delightful and informative two-day event on military history and strategy, focusing on the 1971 war, was conducted at United Service Institution of India (USI), a national security and defence services think tank based in New Delhi, India on October 9th and 10th, 2021. The festival was a part of several literature and arts festivals that Valley of Words (VoW), a literary organization based in Dehradun, conducts annually. This episode on military history and strategy was first among many theme-centric festivals that VoW is going to pull off in the coming weeks. It brought together army veterans of India and Bangladesh, diplomats and authors to the table, to provide a hindsight view of the 1971 war.

Here are the excerpts from the session titled “Contribution of Indian Cinema in infusing patriotism”

The session was chaired by Lt Gen PJS Pannu, in conversation with his long-term old comrade from the forces Lt Gen Maroof Raza and eminent producer, director and filmmaker Shri J P Dutta. Reflecting on the 1971 Bangladesh war, Lt Gen Pannu recalled his memories etched as a freshly commissioned officer in the Marathas in 1979, on his perceptions of war and patriotism. The sacrifice by the battalions cannot be reinstated through the number of gallantry awards won by the regiments. The medals cannot reimburse the loss of martyrs, the people who gave up their everything for a better future for others.

J.P. Dutta was a pioneer as an Indian filmmaker, who had been working on the sense and taste of military at its best, constituting a trilogy of the wars fought since 1962, bringing the concept of war to the hearts of people. His films have sparked an interest amongst the youngsters to dream of a military career, less explored in those days, and who later went on to become the military marvels and is still serving in the army in the frontline. JP Dutta expressed that his selection of characters to be showcased in the film, simply weighed on the basis of emotional connotation more than judging the relevance of a gallantry award. From visiting the units, asking the Commanding officers with after-action reports, researching his bit and finally scripting the ultimate storyline to recreate the war anecdotes.

Lt Gen Maroof Raza highlighted the importance of putting forward a story in a crisp manner that adheres to the facts as well as portraying the objective of the film. The idea of making documentaries is to revive untold stories amidst the common men, pay homage to both heroes of valour and unsung heroes as it is a common attitude to remember the gallantry awardees. There are a lot of times, unsung heroes are not paid their due credits for their actions, who went way beyond their call of duty, probably the only way for netizens to figure out, are the names etched in the war memorial.

To watch the full video on Youtube:

Contribution of Indian Cinema in Infusing Patriotism – Valley of Words 2021

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