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Kept India-Pakistan angle in Sarfarosh a secret: Director John Matthew Matthan

The Aamir Khan starrer released at the time of the Kargil conflict when tensions between India and Pakistan were high.

By: PTI | Mumbai | Published: April 30, 2019 7:40:39 pm
sarfarosh Aamir Khan and Naseeruddin Shah in a still from Sarfarosh.

Sarfarosh director John Matthew Matthan says he had kept the India-Pakistan terrorism angle of the film a secret from everyone except Aamir Khan and Naseeruddin Shah.

Considered one of the best films of Aamir’s career, Sarfarosh completes 20 years Tuesday.

The story revolved around an honest police officer Ajay Singh Rathod, who meets and befriends a famous Pakistani ghazal singer, Gulfam Hassan (Shah). Rathod’s life takes a turn when he uncovers a huge conspiracy while investigating arms smuggling in Rajasthan.

The film released at the time of the Kargil conflict when tensions between India and Pakistan were high.

“I did not share the story of ‘Sarfarosh’ with everyone, only Aamir and Naseeruddin Shah knew about it. I was very scared to take the neighbour’s name because no one had shown Pakistan in that light before that. And it was part of censor board’s thing that you should not take name of the neighbouring country. So, most of the people acted in the film without knowing the story,” Matthan told PTI.

The director said the leading lady of the film, Sonali Bendre, also did not know the plot details.

“When I narrated the story to Sonali, she asked me what is Naseeruddin Shah doing in the film? And I just told her he is playing the role of a ghazal singer and it is a supportive role.”

Matthan said he never expected that the film will resonate with so many people.

“The film is still popular and it feels great. When I meet youngsters I feel they wouldn’t have seen it but to my surprise they have watched it on TV and they have loved it,” said the director, who spent seven years researching the story.

“I was very lucky to have Aamir, he suited the role. If you have the right cast for the film and if your story is sensible and gripping then half the job is done. I am grateful to the technicians and everyone associated with the film.”

Asked what makes the film relevant even today, he said, “The issue that one spoke about is still alive. That’s why people relate to it.”

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