Anil Sharma: ‘Frankly, Tara and his family have already made a place in everyone’s heart!’

Director Anil Sharma at work. Photo: Pooja Sharma

The unprecedented success of Gadar 2 (which is poised to make it to a genuine—not artificially hyped—Indian net collection of Rs. 500 crore) has made its producer-director Anil Sharma repeatedly thank the Almighty and the all-mighty (excuse the pun!) audience for its unstoppable love for this unstoppable movie. Every other day, as the film remains unstoppable, Sharma puts up a post on his social media!

“It is also the script and the power of a film that is made from the heart and with complete conviction!” smiles the director. “Shaktimaan Talwar, my Gadar writer, and I were thinking of a sequel to Gadar—Ek Prem Katha since 2001 itself.”

This would have been a truly pioneering movie had it happened then, for sequels in Hindi cinema only began to be successful from 2006. But Sharma did not want to make a film just to cash in on the multiple records that Gadar had set—or broken. For the record, Gadar remains the film that has seen the highest number of footfalls (the true index of success!) for any film released in the 2000-2009 decade, which even 3 Idiots, that decade’s highest grosser, failed to match. It also remains one of the five biggest hits ever in Indian cinema in terms of footfalls.

Says Sharma: “I was offered ideas by a hundred other writers apart from Shaktimaan-ji, but nothing clicked. Meanwhile, a few years ago, I came to know that businessman in trucks also helped our Army by carrying arms and supplies to war zones. I had mentioned this to Shaktimaan. And then, one day, he met me with the idea that Tara’s son, though just a college-going youth, goes to Pakistan to search for his truck driver father, and is arrested. And this was the perfect justification for Tara Singh, Sunny’s character, to go back there and bring him back!”

About the controversy over the use of Uttam Singh’s iconic songs, Udd jaa kaale kaawa and Main nikla gaddi lekar (recorded afresh by original singer Udit Narayan under new composer Mithoon), he insists that he had informed the original composer, who has recently vented something else to the media. Sharma stated that there were “reasons” why the senior composer was not repeated, and refused to elaborate further (Of course, we can guess!) but Udit was unavoidable as the voice of the two iconic voices. “We decided to use the magic of these songs, and there was no one other than Udit who could have sung them again!” he says.

Sharma preens justifiably as he states, “Gadar 2 faced skepticism, which was understandable as neither Sunny Deol’s nor my last few films had gone anywhere. But we Indians thrive on family emotions. We must remember that our youth, steeped more in English and Western culture today since childhood, still have Indian genes! That is why I was convinced of the great business Gadar 2 too would do, though I must say that my producers, Zee Studios, and even my hero, thought that we will score just a hit and that I was talking big!”

About the cultural issue, he goes on, “My son, Utkarsh, who plays Tara’s grown-up son, has studied in America. But at home, we speak in Hindi and celebrate all our festivals with poojas. I have also sent him by train to smaller towns like Meerut and others and made him interact with people from there so that he can relate to them. An actor with Western upbringing would have had to act as Jeete, but, because of this exposure, it all came naturally to Utkarsh!”

Sharma feels that the entire country identifies with Tara’s family—wife Sakina (Ameesha Patel) and son Jeete. “Frankly, the story of Tara and his family did not really need any promotions, because they have already made a place in everyone’s heart! If Gadar was Ramayan, wherein Ram went to fetch Sita from Raavan’s clutches, Gadar 2 revisits the Arjun-Abhimanyu episode from Mahabharat! And had Abhimanyu escaped the chakravyuha alive, the story of Mahabharat would have ended there itself!”

Another family also stands out for their contributions to Gadar 2: Sharma’s own! His wife Suman is co-producer, while musician-daughter Kairvina has sung an English song, Closer to my heart, filmed in a club in it that is her own. “We did not really have that kind of budgets, so I requested Kairvina to give me her song to use!” says the filmmaker.

But he wryly points out that many colleagues as well as media-persons still spread the canard that he made the film to re-launch his son, Utkarsh, and that Sunny was only there in an extended cameo!

With no publicity material designed to promote the two new faces. Simratt Kaur and Manish Wadhwa, he reveals that this was an intentional part of the marketing team’s strategy that was geared to capitalize on a 22-year-old film. But they all underestimated the people’s love and adulation for the characters. He reiterates that he missed Amrish Puri (who cried during the narration of Gadar), Vivek Shauq (Sunny’s friend in the earlier film) and lyricist Anand Bakshi.

When I point out my own opinion that everything was right about his film, but the length could have been edited a bit, he replies, “Over here, such people judge a movie!” he says. But the audience enjoys a film like everyone is doing!” And at 170 minutes (runtime exactly like the 2001 film!), Sharma’s belief in Gadar2 has been vindicated.

The man who has had a checkered career, and a solid beginning at the age of 21 with the 1981 hit, Shraddhanjali, has delivered another whopper in Hukumat (1987’s biggest hit) and Apne (2007), the first film (also a hit) that brought together the Deols. The Deols are a family he is very close to after first being introduced to Dharmendra during the making of The Burning Train). Sharma’s only films without a single Deol, since Hukumat, have been Maharaja, Veer and Genius, the latter his son’s launch-pad. “But did you know that no distributor wanted to touch Hukumat and the first Gadar?” he smiles conclusively.















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