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With ‘Sarfarosh’ to be screened 25 after its release, a look at where its cast is today

The Aamir Khan-starrer ‘Sarfarosh’ has completed 25 years since its release. The film emerged as the first ray of meaningful cinema after the singularity of the redundant narratives prevalent in the Hindi cinema of the 1990s.

It broke the clutter and cultivated a wide and ardent fan following owing to its excellence in all departments of filmmaking, with the taut screenplay and its casting sharing the top spot.

The film starred some of the finest talents from Hindi cinema. Interestingly, all the actors who starred in the film went on to carve a niche for themselves.

As the film prepares for a special screening on Friday, IANS takes a look at the actors from the film and how their journeys have unfolded in these 25 years.

Aamir Khan played the role of a cop hot on the heels of a cross-border terrorism case, catching the trail of an arms trade. The film marked an important chapter in the actor’s filmography as it cemented the audience’s faith in Aamir’s choice of scripts, a decision that not just established him as a bankable superstar but also course-corrected the commercial Hindi cinema in terms of better scripts.

Currently, Aamir has the cleanest track record at the box office compared to other superstars of his league, barring a few misses like ‘Thugs of Hindostan’, ‘Mela’, and his passion project, ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’.

If the film had a commercial star with Aamir, it put the perfect antagonist to him across the spectrum with one of the biggest cinematic forces of the Indian parallel film movement, Naseeruddin Shah. The actor essayed the role of a Pakistani Ghazal singer who turns into a terrorist to avenge what happened to him after the partition of India. The actor, who is an NSD graduate, boasts a stellar body of work today and across the genres in Hindi cinema.

Gen Z might know Mukesh Rishi from his ‘Gunda’ meme, but the 1990s kids used to shudder whenever he walked into the frame given his negative roles. ‘Sarfarosh’ gave a chance to the actor to explore the other side, and he set off like a sprinter on the track with lightning speed. He served as the perfect partner to Aamir’s cop in chasing down the criminals in the film. If Aamir was the brain behind cracking the case, Salim, played by Mukesh, provided the muscle to the police machinery. Mukesh went on to do many films across the film industries of the country and also explored the mediums of television and streaming. He was most recently seen in superstar director Rohit Shetty’s OTT debut, ‘Indian Police Force’.

Sonali Bendre, another favourite of the 1990s generation, brought much relief to the tense narrative with her character as she played the love interest to Aamir in the film. It’s a delight to watch her in the song ‘Is Deewane Ladke Ko’. Who could forget the sensuous track ‘Jo Haal Dil Ka’? The track not just boasted one of the earliest electric guitar riffs in Hindi film music but also featured a heady romance between Sonali and Aamir. The actress rose up as a true fighter as she battled cancer and came out victorious on the other end. She recently returned with the second season of her hit streaming show ‘The Broken News’, where she reprised her role as Amina Qureshi, the head of a news channel.

Actor Pradeep Rawat, who essayed the negative role in the film, went on to work with Aamir in ‘Lagaan’ and ‘Ghajini’, in the latter, he essayed the titular role of a villain who kills Asin’s character of Kalpana. The actor has worked across many film industries in India, including Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, and Bengali.

Actress Surekha Sikri, who was a theatre veteran, essayed the role of Pradeep’s mother in the film, who is questioned by the cops from Aamir’s team. Though she had a limited role, she made a huge impact with her performance. The actress went on to work in one of the biggest television shows in the country, ‘Balika Vadhu’ and the Ayushmann Khurrana-starrer ‘Badhaai Ho’. She was also seen in the streaming anthology ‘Ghost Stories’. The actress died at the age of 76 in Mumbai after suffering a cardiac arrest.

While the film saw terrific performances from its stellar cast, it also gave Hindi cinema one of its finest actors in the form of Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The actor played an uncredited role in the film of a goon, who is tortured by the cops from Aamir’s team in order to extract the information. Nawaz, upon seeing his friend get almost killed by the cops after they fire the gun from close range, gives away the information to Aamir and his team. Nawaz played many small roles in his career to stay afloat in the testing city of Mumbai before he broke out on the scene with the Anurag Kashyap directorial ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’.

He went on to work with all the leading Khans of Bollywood, having reunited with Aamir in ‘Talaash: The Answer Lies Within’. He worked with megastar Shah Rukh Khan in ‘Raees’ and with superstar Salman Khan in ‘Kick’. Nawaz, who came from nothing, having worked as a watchman as well at one point to make ends meet, owns a swanky bungalow in the Yari.

John Matthew Matthan, the director of the film, got the inspiration for ‘Sarfarosh’ in the aftermath of the 1993 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai. John, who worked as an assistant to Govind Nihalani, was intrigued by the idea of Pakistani ghazal singers coming to India on the pretext of performance but carrying out shady jobs in the back end.

His narration to Aamir was so intense that the 30 minutes of borrowed time from the superstar stretched beyond 3 hours in the narration table because the latter was completely hooked by the film’s story. Before working on the film, he worked on several advertisements as the new economic policy of globalisation and liberalisation bolstered the boom in the advertising sectors, with television still being in its nascent stage in India at the time. The filmmaker has been away from the limelight for quite some time.

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