I am not, in fact, Indian. So anything song that goes “Rah Rah Rah, Indian Over All” is not really going to work for me. But a song that goes “Rah Rah Rah, Let’s Love Our Home Because it Is Our Home And Try To Make It Better”, that works for me because it works for everyone in the world, you know? And these are my favorite of that time.
First, the classic. Which you should never ever watch or listen to while traveling, because it is like the distilled pure emotion of homesickness. “Ye Jo Des Hai Tera” from Swades.
A new one, which I love because it seems like a “India Over All” song, but actually it is very carefully written and performed to be a “My Country is My Country” song. Universal, not specific. “Ae Watan” from Raazi.
Brace yourself for tears. The title song is triumphal and a bit “India!”, but this song is just about sacrificing for the country you love to make it better, whatever country it is. “Khoon Chala” from Rang De Basanti.
This song manages to a achieve the specific within the general. Holi, tricolour, all the elements of Indian life. But what it is really saying is how those specifics are what make you feel part of a country, a community, and how much it hurts when you feel left out. “Maula Mere Le Le Meri Jaan” from Chak De India.
An India-Before-India patriotic song, one that gets right to the heart of it with no flags and no slogans. Just “This is our land”. “Mitwa” from Lagaan.