She wanted to make a movie on Sarabjit Singh while he was in prison, but it was only after nearly two years of his death that Dalbir Kaur met actor Randeep Hooda prepping to play her brother on screen and felt he was perfect for Sarbjit.
Directed by Omung Kumar, Sarbjit is based on the Indian national, who died following an assault by fellow prisoners at a Pakistani jail. “Randeep is excellent. He has played my brother perfectly. When I first came and saw Randeep, I saw my brother in him. He was in a cell when I saw him and I could not help but cry. I broke down,” said Dalbir.
“My blood pressure went high and I almost fell ill. It was extremely emotional for me. I had told them that I doubt whether I’ll be able to watch the film. Now I am much better,” she said.
Sarabjit was convicted of terrorism and spying by a Pakistani court. He died aged 49.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan will essay the role of Dalbir, who fought for her brother’s freedom, relentlessly, for over two decades. “I met Aishwarya and told her that I am extremely happy that she is playing a role based on me. She had researched about it too from her end. She has done full justice to the part and she is an exceptional actress.”
Interestingly, she wanted to make a film on her brother while he was in prison in order to ignite a movement and perhaps push the government to help free Sarabjit. “When he was in jail, some people wanted to make a film on him. We were keen too as it would have helped us. After his death, many people contacted me wanting to make a film on him but I was not in a state of mind to think something like this could be done,” Dalbir said.
“When I heard that Omung wants to make a film, I asked who he is. Then I got to know he had made Mary Kom. I met him and now I am happy someone like him has made the movie.”
Dalbir says, once she was on board, there were no requests from her end except to keep the film as real as possible sans “too much of drama.”
With Sarbjit scheduled to release on May 20, Dalbir’s only wish is that the film leads to a development where prisoners in both countries, who have been wrongly accused, are set free. “I want the film to be loved by all. Both the countries should get some sense and the prisoners who are across the borders should be released. We are so drenched in hatred that sometimes it blinds us and we capture an innocent man,” she said.
Watch: Aishwarya, Randeep in Sarbjit trailer
Ankita Shrivastav, who plays Sarabjit’s daughter Poonam in the film, also talks about the basic theme of Sarbjit. “We have all heard of Sarbjit Singh’s story in the newspapers. But, what gets largely reported is the political side of things. It’s just a news story for most of us. And then like any other news, it fades away from our memory. What gets ignored is the human side of things. There are so many more people who are part of that story, who have to live with fear, with a sense of loss. We never get to see or hear this in detail.”
“I did not know of Poonam, his younger daughter, the character I play. What she went through... hearing about her father all the time, but never seeing him. I realised that eventually it’s the family that suffers the most. People around you can only feel the pain, they don’t live through it. It wasn’t just Sarbjit who suffered, his family went through hell for 23 years. That’s almost a quarter of a century. And nobody deserves to suffer that long,” added Ankita. (With inputs from agencies)
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