88 years ago, on March 23, 1931, the iconic socialist revolutionary, Bhagat Singh and his two friends, freedom fighters Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajgur, were hanged. Since then, the day is celebrated as Shaihd Divas (Martyr's Day). It was a time when Indian’s were struggling hard to make their voice heard in front of the British government. Bhagat Singh was merely 23-years-old when he managed to scare them with his strong, unyielding spirit. It was the likes of Bhagat Singh and his freedom fighter friends who got the youth involved in the independence movement.
Decades have passed since and people still remember Bhagat Singh and their sacrifice for the country. Bhagat Singh inspired various filmmakers to bring his character to life on the silver screen. Here’s a look at actors who portrayed Bhagat Singh’s character:
Actor Prem Adib's Shaheed-e-Azad Bhagat Singh is the first film based on Bhagat Singh’s life. The 1954 release was directed by Jagdish Gautama and starred Prem Abeed, Jairaj, Smriti Biswas and Ashita Mazumdar in pivotal roles. The hit song Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna, sung by the legendary Mohammed Rafi, was a part of this movie. The film was made 23 years after Bhagat Singh’s death was a box office success.
Actor Shammi Kapoor underwent a complete image makeover for his Bhagat Singh role in the 1963 release - Shaheed Bhagat Singh. Made nine years after the first Bhagat Singh movie, audiences loved Shammi Kapoor as Bhagat Singh but the movie failed to make an important mark at the box office.
Nicknamed Bharat due to his love for patriotic films, Manoj Kumar played Bhagat Singh in a film titled Shaheed in the year 1965. The film boasted of patriotic songs by Mukesh, Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar and Manna De and was a hit with the audiences. The film won Best Feature Film in Hindi at the 13th National Awards. It also got the Nargis Dutt Award for the Best Feature Film on National Integration and Best Story.
2002 saw as many as three films based on Bhagat Singh’s life. The first to release that year was actor Sonu Sood's Shaheed-E-Azam. Despite tremendous efforts, the Sonu starrer failed at the box office and didn’t make much of an impact.
Following the release of Sonu’s film, Bobby Deol's Shaheed released in the same year. Bobby was accompanied by his brother Sunny Deol who played Chandrashekhar Azad in the film. The movie was produced by Dharmendra and it flopped at the box office though, it was critically acclaimed.
Ajay Devgn's The Legend of Bhagat Singh can certainly be called the best Bhagat Singh film ever made. The film was written by Piyush Mishra along with Anjum Rajabali and was directed by Rajkumar Santoshi. The film’s music was given by AR Rahman. It went on to win 2 National Awards and 3 Filmfare Awards that year.
South superstar Siddharth played Bhagat Singh on the silver screen in director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Rang De Basanti. The 2006 release film starred Aamir Khan, Soha Ali Khan, Kunal Kapoor, R. Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Atul Kulkarni and British actress Alice Patten in the lead roles and was a blockbuster in the year. The film was youth-centric and had some amazing songs.
We hope the legendary Bhagat Singh's legacy continues for many coming years.