Twenty years ago, two truly path-breaking films of Indian Cinema, ‘Lagaan’ and ‘Gadar: Ek Prem Katha’, released at the box office on the same day. 20 years later, the viewers will witness that historic moment again as Zee Bollywood celebrates the glorious two decades of Ashutosh Gowariker’s spirited ‘Lagaan’ and Anil Sharma’s fearless ‘Gadar: Ek Prem Katha’, films that created a legacy with their record-breaking footfalls.
‘Gadar: Ek Prem Katha’ was the first movie produced by Zee Studios. These movies shaped the face of Indian cinema with their unabashed stories, iconic characters, remarkable music and unmatched dialogues. These movies have been proudly passed down generations as two of the most exceptional entertainers of all times.
‘Lagaan’ was a movie that made its mark in not just Hindi Cinema, but World Cinema too. The National Award-winning documentary ‘Chale Chalo’ highlights the making of this masterpiece, showing us the struggle and belief that went behind Ashutosh Gowariker’s dream project. The Oscar-nominated, ’Lagaan’, is an imposing success story laced with the director’s unwavering vision and Aamir Khan’s faith.
Made on a then-unprecedented budget of approximately Rs 25 crores, ‘Lagaan’ is a story of perseverance and inspiration which also reflects through its team’s conviction. The movie production went through multiple challenges like gathering a crowd of 10 thousand local people for the cricket match sequence, shooting under severe weather conditions, limited supply of water-electricity, transforming a building into a hotel in a small village in Gujarat for accommodation of the cast, A.K. Hangal braving his injury to finish shooting his part, and even Ashutosh Gowariker directing from a cot after suffering a slipped disc. All this brought out the warriors in each one who were part of the movie and pushed them forward with clear focus. A lot of such interesting fables will be unravelled in the documentary.
Elaborating about the film, Ashutosh Gowariker said, “The box office response to my first two films jolted me. It also enlightened me to come back with a story that I believed in; a story that will all encompass a cinema loving audience. And the outcome was the script of Lagaan. And I was fortunate to have Aamir back me on this one, despite our previous film not setting the box office on fire. It is extremely difficult to convince Aamir to do a film; but once he commits, that is the greatest moment for the Director. And I can’t thank him enough. Lagaan has been a most cherished and fulfilling experience for me. I thank the audiences for showering so much love and admiration to Lagaan over the years – 20 to be precise!!”
Talking about the film, Sunny Deol said, “Gadar is a beautiful love story which has high drama and action. I remember I was in Ooty shooting for a film when Anil Sharma narrated the story to me, I instantly loved the subject. Like always, I went with my instincts and that’s how it all started. I have had the opportunity to play some great characters throughout my career but there was something special about the character of Tara Singh. He is soft and sweet but can bring the world upside down when it comes to his family and country. Playing this character helped me break out of a certain comfort zone. That time we didn’t predict that the dialogues and songs of the movie would become a rage. It’s great to be celebrating a 20-year milestone with the country.”
Anil Sharma said, “This movie to me is like a gift from God. We made Gadar: Ek Prem Katha with a hope to give the audience an epic love story, one for the ages. When I started making this film with Zee Studios, we knew we were working on something big and life changing but to see the film get massive response and cult-like following was something we never anticipated. Flawless performances by Sunny Deol and Ameesha Patel and innocence of Jeete played by my son Utkarsh Sharma worked wonders for us. The movie would not have reached the level where it is today without the vision of Shaktiman Talwar and unforgettable music by Uttam Singh. Celebrating 20 years of Gadar: Ek Prem Katha is a very nostalgic affair and it brings back fond memories of working with Anand Bakshi ji, Amrish Puri ji and Vivek Shauq who were integral parts of the movie. I am thankful to the audience for making Gadar a blockbuster movie and it would be great to see the special celebration on Zee Bollywood.”
Reminiscing about the film, Ameesha Patel said, “Gadar is not only a film with historic content but a film that made and continues to make history. A delicate, emotional and super challenging subject which could only see colossal success thanks to it being in the agile, adept, passionate and super capable hands of our director, Mr Anil Sharma. He left no stone unturned to see that the film becomes the biggest magnum opus. We were fortunate that we had the unending support of wonderful and the finest producers at Zee Studios. They gave the film all it needed and more. Sunny Deol is my favourite co-star!”
“I was so nervous to work with him as I was raw, new and unknown. Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai had not been released when I had started Gadar. Sunny is as much of a ‘super’ and awesome human being as much as he is a superstar. He treated me as an equal and put me at ease through the entire journey shooting. No one could have played ‘Tara Singh’ but him. Thanks to the support of Zee Studios, Anil Sharmaji, Sunny Deol, late Amrish puri ji and the entire Gadar team I was able to play Sakeena convincingly. I feel so proud to be associated with this movie and it’s a milestone for all of us. Gadar will forever be in the archives as one of the iconic cult blockbusters in the history of Indian Cinema,” she added.
Despite getting released at the same time, these blockbuster films individually created history on their own merit and left a lasting impression for generations. Viewers are set to relive the nostalgic moments as Zee Bollywood presents 101 percent Shuddh entertainment with a special showcase of Lagaan and Gadar: Ek Prem Katha.
Join in the celebration of spectacular 20 years of ‘Lagaan’ and ‘Gadar: Ek Prem Katha’ on June 15th at 1100 hrs and 1930 hrs respectively.
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