A revolution that is 25 years old, Sarfarosh continues in top fettle

Mukesh Rishi, John Matthew Matthan, Sonali Bendre Behl, Naseeruddin Shah and Aamir Khan at the Sarfarosh Special Screening, Photo: Rajiv Vijayakar

Radio Nasha, a FM channel, arranged a special screening for the cast and crew members and the media of Sarfarosh, which completed 25 years on April 30, at Mumbai’s PVR Juhu on May 10.

The timeless patriotic thriller featuring Aamir Khan, Sonali Bendre Behl and Naseeruddin Shah remains a benchmark, world-class drama that was the first to openly mention Pakistan when it was tradition that the term “dushmun desh” (enemy nation) is used rather than mentioning China or Pakistan!! Yes, Border did mention the country, but then it was a dramatized narration of a real section of the war in 1971—the battle of Longowal. The censors had to be convinced about why Pakistan had to be mentioned here!

Almost the entire team was present, along with producer-director-story-screenplay writer John Matthew Matthan, co-writer Pathik Vats (Hriday Lani is no more), cinematographer Vikas Sivaraman, action director Abbas Hanif, composer Lalit (Jatin is in US), background score composer Sanjoy Chowdhury (son of the legendary Salil Chowdhury), and almost all the actors besides Ramesh Taurani of Tips.

The supporting actors including Mukesh Rishi, Smita Jaykar, Akhilendra Mishra, Govind Namdeo, Upasana Singh, Pradeep Rawat, Makrand Deshpande, Manoj Joshi, Ahmed Khan, Sukanya Kulkarni and Ali Khan were all present in full force. After the movie’s screening began, the entire crew left for a special party hosted by Matthan.

While a slide show commemorated the team members who have since passed on, like actors Rajesh Joshi, Vallabh Vyas and Anil Upadhyaya (who played Fatka), singer Jagjit Singh and lyricists Indeevar and Nida Fazli, a few were inadvertently left out, like lyricists Nida Fazli and Israr Ansari and actor Rajendra Mehra. The only person mentioned and remembered was Jagjit Singh, who had rendered Hoshwalon ko khabar kya.

When Matthan was joined by Aamir Khan, Sonali Bendre-Behl, Naseeruddin Shah and Mukesh Rishi on the dais, the filmmaker remembered how the song’s lyricist, the late Nida Fazli, had taken over 11 months to write the ghazal to perfection in the situational sense for the film. Shah quipped that whenever he attended a function in which there are live musicians, they still play the song (enacted by him) to celebrate his presence.

Also about the absentees at the function, mention was made of lyricist Sameer Anjaan, but though it was an event hosted by Radio Nasha, nothing was said about singers Alka Yagnik, Kavita Krishnamurthi Subramaniam, Kumar Sanu, Roopkumar Rathod and Sonu Nigam!

And it is possible that the hosts are completely unaware that the film is actually Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s debut film, as he had a cameo of a worker interrogated by Aamir Khan as ACP (Assistant Commissioner of Police) Ajay Singh Rathore. This actor too was not mentioned or recalled in any fashion!

Bendre thanked Matthan for considering her for this key role, while Khan stated that he was doubtful of the filmmaker-writer’s capabilities as he had been an ad filmmaker. But he was hooked within minutes of his narration, though Matthan had to wait a full 30 months for his dates!

Mukesh Rishi smilingly said that he had got a positive image only after playing Inspector Salim.

Most of the media and other viewers had watched the film at least twice. And a viewer showed the audience his movie ticket of the first day’s first show, which he has preserved carefully!

Sarfarosh is easily the finest movies ever produced in Hindi cinema. This revolution is still on in full fettle, and again, most people are unaware that the film was Aamir’s first in-depth movie that made him shift, all of 25 years ago, to the one-film-at-a-time credo!




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