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Last Updated 15.07.2024 | 10:34 PM IST
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20 Years of Gadar EXCLUSIVE: “We were inspired by Ramayana; Amrish Puri takes Ameesha Patel to Pakistan in an aeroplane, just like how Ravana kidnapped Sita in Pushpak Viman” – Anil Sharma

en Bollywood News 20 Years of Gadar EXCLUSIVE: “We were inspired by Ramayana; Amrish Puri takes Ameesha Patel to Pakistan in an aeroplane, just like how Ravana kidnapped Sita in Pushpak Viman” – Anil Sharma

June 15 is no ordinary date in the world of cinema. It’s the day when Gadar – Ek Prem Katha released, in the year 2001 and created history. Starring Sunny Deol, Ameesha Patel and Amrish Puri, it told the love story of a Muslim lady and a Sikh man with the partition at the backdrop. The film had humour, music, tragedy, thrill, romance, patriotism and most importantly action in abundance. And most importantly, director Anil Sharma directed in a massy way. Yet, no one was prepared when Gadar – Ek Prem Katha broke records in almost all major territories. Ultimately, it ended up crossing the historic Rs. 72.47 crore lifetime collections of Hum Aapke Hain Koun (1994) as Gadar – Ek Prem Katha collected Rs. 76.88 crore. Not to forget, it achieved this feat despite releasing with Aamir Khan-starrer Lagaan, which was also a huge box office success.

20 Years of Gadar EXCLUSIVE: “We were inspired by Ramayana; Amrish Puri takes Ameesha Patel to Pakistan in an aeroplane, just like how Ravana kidnapped Sita in Pushpak Viman” – Anil Sharma

As Gadar – Ek Prem Katha completes 20 years, director Anil Sharma speaks exclusively to Bollywood Hungama. He not only goes down memory lane but also reveals some fascinating and not-so-known trivia.

Did you remember that the film is completing 20 years?
Yes, bilkul yaad tha. I am getting a lot of calls. Zee Studios is also planning a celebration. The 20th anniversary is a significant occasion. Even today, it seems as if the film just got released!

How was Gadar – Ek Prem Katha conceptualized? Did the writer Shaktimaan Talvar come up with the idea?
Initially, we were planning a different film. It was supposed to be a multi-starrer and talks were on. That film had a sub-plot – a love story between a Pakistani girl and a Kashmiri boy. We were trying to crack this sub-plot when one day, Shaktimaan Talvaar ji narrated to me the real-life story of Boota Singh. It was a tragic tale but we decided to drop the idea of the multi-starrer film on which we were working for 8 months. We then decided to make Gadar – Ek Prem Katha, inspired by Boota Singh’s story. We were also inspired by Ramayana. Bhagwan Ram jo hai, who Sita ko lene Lanka jaate hai aur Luv aur Kush kehte hai ki “meri maa ko wapis laaiye”! I knew that this story will be loved by kids across the country. They won’t even realize and the film will touch their hearts. So you see, Gadar – Ek Prem Katha Ramayana ka hi dusra roop hai. Did you notice in the interval point, the antagonist (Amrish Puri) takes Ameesha Patel to Pakistan in an aeroplane, just like how Ravana kidnapped Sita in Pushpak Viman!

Was Ameesha Patel’s first film already released when she signed for Gadar – Ek Prem Katha?
She was already working on Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai (2000) when she came on board. But it had not released. That was a time when an actor would do multiple projects simultaneously and not one film at a time.

An important USP of Gadar – Ek Prem Katha was the music and background score…
Oh yes, Uttam Singh ji ne kamaal kiya tha. Even the lyrics by Anand Bakshi saab were quite powerful. Today, I miss 3 people who had an invaluable contribution to the film’s success – Anand Bakshi, Amrish Puri ji and Vivek Shauq. I wish these three artists were present today to celebrate Gadar – Ek Prem Katha’s 20th anniversary.

I had seen Gadar – Ek Prem Katha at Gaiety-Galaxy and had witnessed the frenzy some of the scenes had created among the audiences. Did you visit cinema halls to gauge the audience reaction?
Mujhe abhi bhi yaad hai, maine theatre mein kya bawaal dekha tha! I had gone to Maratha Mandir cinema when the first show at 3:00 PM was playing. The executive director of the theatre, Manoj Desai, was standing next to me. And when the dialogue, "Iss mulk se zyada Musalman Hindustan mein hai. Unke honthon aur dilon ki dhadkenein hamesha yehi kehti hai - Hindustan ZindabaadToh kya woh pakke Musalman nahi hai?" came, believe it or not, I saw a thousand people stand up from their seats and applaud! Manoj Desai ji held my hand and asked me, “Yeh kya jadoo kar diya hai aapne?”

There was frenzy everywhere. Theatres used to run 8 shows a day. There used to be shows at 3:00 am and even 6:00 am. Theatres had the capacity of a thousand people and yet, they used to accommodate 2000 people in a show! Its footfalls are historic. Even after 20 years, no film has been able to break the record.

Some critics however didn’t like the film and wrote scathing reviews…
I’ll tell you an interesting story. It was the day the film released. At around 10 am, I got a call from an exhibitor in Orissa. He was shivering as he said, “Arre sir, aapne kya film bana di? Theatre mein kursiyaan toot jaayegi” I asked, “Arre hua kya?” Toh which he said, “Log screen pe paise fek rahe hai. Aur theatre ke bahar 3000 log khade hai.” I asked, how did that happen? He replied, “Jo log andar hai, unhone phone karke bula diya. Yeh jo bahar log khade hai, woh log ab andar ghusna chahte hai. Mera toh theatre toot jaayega!” He was so excited. I ended this call and then I picked up the newspaper. It carried the review of my film. The headline was ‘Gutter: Ek Prem Katha’! I didn’t even bother to read the review as I knew that the aam junta has accepted my film wholeheartedly.

So while the critics denounced the film, the audiences on the other hand went gaga…
Not really. Some critics did like the film. Bharat mein saare critics kharaab nahi hai! Kuch critics ki sensibility acchi thi, toh unhone film ke baare mein accha likha. Kuch critics ki sensibility wahiyat hoti hai, toh unhone wahiyat cheezein likhi film ke baare mein!

While Hollywood and South are still making such larger-than-life films, why do you think is Bollywood not attempting such cinema regularly in today’s times? 
Because there’s hardly any producer or director who is making such films. We don’t even have such actors. Problem yeh hai ki logon ki sensibility OTT pe aa ke ruk gayi hai. How many filmmakers in Bollywood want to make films that will work pan India?

I made my first film, Shradhanjali (1981), at the age of 21. It completed 25 weeks. I was told to celebrate its silver jubilee. I refused and said that I’ll throw a party when the film completes 50 or 75 weeks. It’s only when the film crossed 75 weeks that I decided to celebrate. And in today’s times, look what’s happening. Dedh ya do din picture chalti nahi aur log party kar dete hai taaki unko agli film mil sakein. They don’t have the conviction that a film can be a blockbuster. They are just happy that they invested Rs. 10 and they have got Rs. 9 or Rs. 11 in return. Koi yeh sochta hi nahi hai ki main Rs. 10 laga ke Rs. 100 kamau! They just don’t have that mindset.

Recently, there were reports that Gadar 2 would be made. Is that true?
Well, the whole world wants to see the sequel. Lekin Gadar 2 ek bomb hai – kahani ka, emotions ka, love story ka aur rishton ka. Jis din woh bomb mere haath mein aayega, main fod dunga!

What’s the status on Apne 2?
The preparation is going on. Now that things have opened up a bit, we’ll decide before the end of June as to when should we start shooting. We had planned to shoot the film in March or April but we couldn’t do so due to the second wave of Covid-19.

Lastly, coming back to Gadar – Ek Prem Katha, which are your most favourite scene and favourite song from the film?
The scene where Utkarsh sings, ‘Udja Kaale Kaava’ in the end is quite touching. Also, the scenes where Sunny sings the same song and Ameesha comes running, and Sunny telling Ameesha, “Tu ho gayi Sikhni”. And as for best song, it has to be ‘Udja Kaale Kaava’.

More Pages: Gadar - Ek Prem Katha Box Office Collection , Gadar - Ek Prem Katha Movie Review


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