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Sarfarosh: 20 facts you never knew about the Aamir Khan starrer masterpiece

en Bollywood News Sarfarosh: 20 facts you never knew about the Aamir Khan starrer masterpiece

In 1999, on the last day of April, a masterpiece was released—ad man John Matthew Matthan’s Sarfarosh. A 1985 Jeetendra-Sridevi flop with the same name is not even recalled today, but this film remains a timeless masterpiece with not a single extra frame in the Jeetu Mundul-edited movie.

Sarfarosh: 20 facts you never knew about the Aamir Khan starrer masterpiece

Sarfarosh: 20 facts you never knew about the Aamir Khan starrer masterpiece

Here are 20 facts you did not know about this thriller produced, directed and co-written by John Matthew Matthan.

-This National Award winner for Best Film providing Wholesome Popular Entertainment was the first to openly mention Pakistan as the enemy after Border, which was a factual depiction of the Longewal conflict with that country. Matthan recalled that censor norms then did not allow this and they had to convince them that it was necessary.

-A routine tale of vendetta (where a Deputy Superintendent of Police is killed by terrorists and his medical student son leaves studies to turn avenger) metamorphosed into this story when the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts happened. This made the filmmaker and his co-writer Hriday Lani research how Pakistanis infiltrated India and how terrorists operated here with help from Indian traitors in places as far-flung as Mumbai, Rajasthan and South India! And the Kargil War happened weeks afterwards, showing how prophetic was the content.

-When Aamir Khan was called by Matthan for a narration, he was skeptical about an ad filmmaker making a near three-hour feature film. But the narration completely hooked him and this became the romantic hero’s first film of a higher dimension. After this film, Aamir decided to work on one film at a time.

-Naseeruddin Shah, as singer Gulfam Hasan (a name probably coined from a mix of Ghulam Ali and Nazia and Zoheb Hasan!), was a reflection of times when Pakistani musicians would be welcomed in India. Gulfam was assigned to conduct subversive activities in India. Trained camels were employed to carry weapons across the border, and this reality too was depicted in the movie.

-The fact that an IPS officer need not be tall and muscular but just fit and ‘normal’-looking led to Aamir Khan’s selection. And Matthan told this writer that the film would have been scrapped had Aamir turned down the script, though he had to wait 30 months for his dates!

-It is a fact that a Mumbai IPS officer can go to any part of the country and seek the help of the local police force, as shown in the climax of the film.

-“I wanted my film to be very accurate in police matters, and I myself do not like unanswered questions!” declared Matthan about his research on the film, which also included weeks spent observing IPS cadets and officers.

-Lesser-known stage and TV actors were cast in key character roles, like Akhilendra Mishra, Vallabh Vyas, Pradeep Rawat, Ahmed Khan and Anil Upadhyaya. Some of them later made their way into Aamir’s debut production, Lagaan.

-Rajesh Joshi, who essayed the crooked Thakur, was the brother of Manoj Joshi, the famous character artiste who played a cop here. The two brothers even shared a frame in the film, and their resemblance was noticed!

-Mukesh Rishi earned his tryst with big time when he was signed for the key role of Salim, the cop suspected of colluding with the terrorists because he was a Muslim. Until then, he had mostly played negative roles.

Sarfarosh: 20 facts you never knew about the Aamir Khan starrer masterpiece

-Naseeruddin Shah recalls with amusement that whenever he enters a musical function, the song he enacted in the film, ‘Hoshwalon ko khabar kya’ is played by the musicians.

-This now-cult song, sung by Jagjit Singh and written by Nida Fazli, took more than 11 months to be finalized, as per Matthan. “I wanted lyrics perfect for my film’s situation!” he explained as it was the rekindling of the Aamir-Sonali romance a few years after they had been college students in a different city.

-This film was probably the first after Sholay in which character artistes’ roles were so well-etched. Ajay Singh Rathore, Gulfam Hasan, Mirchi Seth, Sultan, Fatka, Thakur, Haji, Veeran, Shiva—the names themselves instantly elicit memories of these unforgettable characters, as also Seema (Sonali Bendre-Behl)’s catchphrase, “Don’t mind” or Fatka’s spoofy rendition of ‘Lakhon taare’, the Mukesh evergreen from the 1962 hit, Hariyali Aur Rasta.

-Nawazuddin Siddiqui, a big-name now, made his actual debut in Sarfarosh, with the miniscule cameo of a man interrogated by Rathore. No one knew him then!

-In common with Border again, the film had a thematic masterpiece sung by Roopkumar Rathod and Sonu Nigam, composed by Jatin-Lalit and written by Israr Ansari. The song, ‘Zindagi maut na ban jaaye’ was a warning to Indians to beware of the enemy’s nefarious activities.

-After Ghulam, there was one more collaboration here with common composers Jatin-Lalit’s Alka Yagnik-Aamir Khan song: ‘Iss deewane ladke ko’. But this time, Aamir only interpolated some lines. And as a police officer could not be shown ‘singing’, his duet with girlfriend Sonali Bendre-Behl, ‘Jo haal dil ka’ was shown as a dream sequence.

-Sarfarosh also was the first-ever film to have separate credits in the titles for each of its six songs’ lyricists, composers and singers. This convention has become a norm today, with additional information even on programmers and musicians.

-The vital (and brilliant) background score was composed by Sanjoy Chowdhury, son of the legendary Salil Chowdhury, with veteran Dheeraj Dhanak, a musician who had even worked with Shankar-Jaikishan.

-In this incisively real film in the era of larger-than-life entertainers, the filmmakers’ immense respect for the audience was shown by how not only good music was incorporated but also in the way the romantic track between Aamir Khan and Sonali Bendre Behl was conceived and blended with the watertight plot. She was the link between Gulfam Hasan and ACP Ajay Singh Rathore, paved the way for his discovering a key piece of evidence later, and the way she comes to know what her boyfriend is doing professionally were among the highlights of the film.

-In times when sequels and cliffhangers are a norm, there was an actually tangy last sequence where the cops land back in Mumbai and get the hint of how they can nab a key villain who has not yet been apprehended. This rounded off the story, but could be called a cliffhanger. And yet, a sequel to this film has yet to be ideated 25 years down the line—for masterpieces cannot be easily equaled.

Also Read:

More Pages: Sarfarosh Box Office Collection


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