Gadar 2 roars at b-o., and the celebrations rock

At the Gadar 2 success press conference. From Left, Komal Nahta, Shaktimaan Talwar, Shariq Patel, Sunny Deol, Anil Sharma and Utkarsh Sharma. Photo: Rajiv Vijayakar

It was a near full-day celebration: As Gadar2 roared into a century by first weekend itself (as both Sunny Deol’s and director Anil Sharma’s first film in the 100 crore club), the makers—Sharma with Zee Studios—decided to celebrate in marathon fashion. A success press conference was held at J.W. Marriott at 2 p.m. in the afternoon of August 14, and a party, which was a mammoth let-your-hair-down celebration of this latest monstrous hit, began at 8 p.m at the same venue, and was still in full swing when I left the venue at near-midnight.

At the press conference, Sunny Deol (in his getup as Tara Singh), Utkarsh Sharma, Shariq Patel of Zee Studios, writer Shaktimaan Talwar and Sharma talked about various aspects of the movie’s making and current roaring triumph at the box-office. Opening at a whopping Rs. 4 billion net in India, it improved upon its performance on the weekend and has collected Rs. 13.8 billion in just three days with no signs of slowing down. The film is set to cross the Rs. 20 billion (200 crore) figure by August 15 (a  national holiday for Independence Day) and is comfortably looking at a lifetime collection of a bare minimum Rs. 500 crore, as per the fever going on and multiple stories of repeat views even among the media fraternity.

Sunny Deol, unusually voluble, admitted smilingly that he had promoted the film as never before in his 40-year career (Betaab was released on August 5. 1983!). The craze was palpable even before the film hit the screen and anchor Komal Nahta, a renowned trade analyst, narrated stories of the countrywide madness that was happening after the film hit screens on August 11.  Videos of the crowds thronging theatres around the country were also shown. Nahta confessed that he cried at various junctures in the film and writer Shaktimaan Talwar also stated that when he narrated the story to the director, Sunny Deol and Shariq Patel, they too had misty eyes—a sure sign that the film would connect widely.

Talking about the film’s making, the director and writer revealed how, when after years of wanting to make a sequel, the concept of Tara Singh returning to Pakistan to bring back another family member (after Gadar—Ek Prem Katha showed him going back with their kid to get back Sakina, his wife and his love) was immediately approved.

Anil Sharma added that the nation identified so much with Tara Singh and Sakina and their kid Jeete (now grown up) that it was not too difficult to write the script. After Sunny Deol was (easily) convinced, so was Zee Studios producer Shariq Patel (Zee had also co-produced Gadar earlier).

So much was expounded upon how humongous hype was avoided and the new film capitalized on the magic of the protagonists and the re-use of the iconic songs, Udd jaa kaale kaawa and Main nikla gaddi lekar of the earlier version.

Shariq Patel said that the marketing of the film (whose making took four years from conception thanks to the pandemic) was always designed keeping in the mind the formidable triangles of Tara Singh, his family, and the patriotic and action angles. It was done on a strategic and curiosity-stimulating “slow burn” over months, with the first announcement of release happening on Republic Day 2023. On Bigg Boss finale, it was also announced and then several campaigns were planned at intervals.

The final move was the ‘trailer’ of sorts—the first film, Gadar—Ek Prem Katha was re-released on June 9. It netted around Rs. 3 crore at the 20 screens around the country. It showed how much the people wanted to watch the second film by the sheer enthusiastic response to sequences and songs from the first film.

Patel added that the film’s success marked the confirmation of the fact that films that were made from the heart with Indian sensibilities always struck a chord with all levels. “I do not think that films can be labeled as mass, city-centric and so on!” said Patel. “Our problem has been that we always think of filmgoers as between Bandra and Juhu (the elite Mumbai suburbs)! There is cerebral cinema and there is cinema that can be celebrated! This one is in the latter category! And at Zee Studios, we will make more such films now!”

At the evening party, the rest of the team was also present: leading ladies Ameesha Patel and Simratt Kaur (Randhawa), who is introduced as Utkarsh’s love interest in this film. Manish Wadhwa (the main villain) who flew in from Meerut (and told me that he changed into a suit in the car!), Gaurav Chopra and Mushtaq Khan, Luv Sinha (who makes a special appearance), Udit Narayan, lyricist Sayeed Quadri, composer Mithoon (with wife, singer Palak Muchhal), Monty Sharma (Mithoon’s cousin, who has done the background score) and re-recordist Anup Dev were also present.

The entire Sharma clan (Anil, wife Suman, who is also co-producer, son Utkarsh, daughter Kairvina, who has sung an English song in the film) was also around. And a good section of the film fraternity descended on the filmmaker and team to extend their felicitations—producer-director Rakesh Roshan, Boney Kapoor, Mehul Kumar, Indra Kumar, Shashi Ranjan, Anees Bazmee, Rajkumar Santoshi and others.

Simply put, it was a rocking affair after eons in the Hindi film world. Much like the film is.



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