Re-Release of Gadar—Ek Prem Katha revisits 2001 craze

Shariq Patel of Zee Studios, Sunny Deol, Ameesha Patel, Udit Narayan and Anil Sharma at the re-release of Gadar—Ek Prem Katha. Photo: Rajiv Vijayakar 

It was a masterstroke of promotion!

Zee Telefilms (and now Zee Studios) have re-released Gadar—Ek Prem Katha, the 2001 blockbuster, in theatres all over India on June 9. A grand premiere was held on that day (chosen as it was a Friday as well as leading lady Ameesha Patel’s birthday), just six days short of its 22nd release anniversary on June 15. The theatres are offering an unprecedented “One ticket free per ticket” to boost the business, as the audience is segregated into two clear zones: one, that has not watched the original classic, at least on big screen, and two, those who had watched the film in 2001, and twice to even 100-plus times in theatres and on television!

The reason why this was a smart move (the film has also been restored and reprocessed in 4K Digital with Dolby Digital Sound) was also as the best-possible promo for its sequel, Gadar 2: The Katha Continues, which releases on August 11.

This repeat watch of Gadar (which means ‘Revolution’ or ‘Mutiny’)—was significant because when I first visited the theatre 22 years back, no one had a clue that it would be the film that not only topped the year but also the entire decade (2000 to 2009) in footfalls. Films then were only watched in movie-halls, and on TV after they were a year or more old. It completed 50 weeks in the theatres and had, in the initial weeks, shows on demand as early as at 6 a.m. and as late as midnight!

A milestone as an ad for the film at PVR Juhu, Mumbai. Photo: Rajiv Vijayakar

This was especially the case in Punjab then, and so Sunny Deol and the film’s team that came to the premiere, had done a rapid visit to both Delhi and Jaipur the same morning. Sunny, attired in a turban as in the film, Ameesha Patel, singer Udit Narayan and director Anil Sharma came to visit the media, other celebrities and those who had paid for the tickets. Sunny spoke of the craze he had witnessed in Delhi and Jaipur and Udit Narayan even sang the chartbuster, Main nikla gaddi lekar. And to date, Ameesha is often called Sakina and Sunny as Tara Singh, the names of their characters.

Ameesha Patel cuts his birthday cake at the re-release of Gadar—Ek Prem Katha. Photo: Universal Communications

Shariq Patel of Zee Studios stated that work on the restoration of the 2001 film took three months and was done shortly after shooting began for Gadar 2. Anil Sharma and Sunny remembered the major team members who were no longer around—lyricist Anand Bakshi and actors Amrish Puri and Vivek Shauq. Utkarsh Sharma, Anil’s son, who played Sunny’s and Ameesha’s son in the film, now plays a lead role in Gadar 2.

Ameesha Patel revealed that Gadar first got her recognition as a ‘performer’ after the bright and carefree experience of Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai, though shooting for that film began when Kaho Naa… had not released. She also stated that this was the first time that she was cast with a big star as Hrithik, a newcomer like her in Kaho Naa…,  had also been known to her before she was signed on for her debut film. Ameesha also confessed that she often “stole” Sunny’s food during the shoots, as his chef always travels with him. She stated that the brawny Sunny never went in for fancy diets or gyms but was a total foodie who loved gorging on rosogollas, gulab jamuns and jalebis.

Uttam Singh, the film’s composer, was not able to make it. But present at the screening were Pratima Kazmi and Mushtaque Khan, who played key roles in the film, Luv Sinha, who stars in Gadar 2 and lyricist Sayeed Quadri who does the song in the new film, besides music director Monty Sharma and cinematographer Sukumar Jatania.

Gadar fan Vijay Shah shows tickets of the film at Rs. 40 then and Rs. 130 now. Photo: Rajiv Vijayakar

Among the multiple fans who shared their experiences about the film, there was Vijay Shah. He presented an immaculately-maintained ticket of the film when he watched it again—at Mumbai’s Galaxy theatre on June 23, and costing Rs. 40. He had also watched it that morning at Gossip, a part of the same theatre chain, and this time, he had paid Rs. 130!



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