More than two decades back, Gadar: Ek Prem Katha released and emerged as a raging blockbuster at the box office. Its patriotic theme, music, Amrish Puri’s portrayal of Mayor Ashraf Ali and chemistry between the lead pair, Sunny Deol and Ameesha Patel, struck a chord with the audience and over the years, the film has achieved a cult status. And today, the makers of the period romantic actioner have re-released it in 4K Resolution and Dolby Atmos audio format in theatres across Mumbai, Delhi and Jaipur.
Interestingly, it coincides with Ameesha’s birthday and in an exclusive chat with News18, she reveals that the producers decided to re-release it today as a gift to her. “22 years ago, the film had released on 15th June. They were planning to re-release it on 15th again but they matched the date with my birthday. It was a lovely surprise by Zee, the producers,” she tells us.
Sharing her excitement about Gadar being screened on the big screen, she says, “I can’t believe this is happening. What is the chance of one of India’s biggest blockbusters to be remastered and released on my birthday again? It’s a beautiful feeling. The fact that it’s a prequel to the sequel coming out in just two months post that is amazing.”
And how has her fans been reacting considering they showered immense love on her for her portrayal of Sakeena, a Pakistani girl, after Gadar had released? “The reactions from my fans and the people I’ve met wherever I’ve been stepping out has been tremendous. They’re very excited to see this remastered and revamped version. I don’t know anybody who’s not a Gadar fan,” Ameesha remarks.
Recalling the time when the film had hit the theatres in 2001, she says, “The audience reaction was tremendous. We had a premiere the night before the release, which was on 14th June in numerous single screens as multiplexes didn’t exist then. Sunny and I went from theatre to theatre and the audiences were completely going crazy. The next day onwards, the reactions we started receiving was that there weren’t enough shows. The six o’clock morning show, especially in Punjab, had to be added. Theatre owners said that every person who was coming in didn’t buy less than 15-20 tickets at a time. It was a great time for cinemas. To feel these reactions was amazing.”
The film went on to resonate with many across demographics and social strata. Sharing an anecdote, she states, “A couple of weeks after its release, it so happened that if rickshaw waalas and taxi drivers would happen to cross my car and notice that I was in it, they would suddenly knock on the window. One particular taxi driver told me that he went to a movie theatre after 22 years to watch Gadar. It had prompted so many people to return to cinemas.”
Ameesha reveals that not only Indians but Gadar left an impact on the Pakistani audience too. Days after its release, she received calls and messages from them who spoke to her about the impact it left on them. “I got calls from Pakistan through my secretary’s phone. Elderly ladies told me that they cried a lot after watching the film and that they named their granddaughters Sakeena. Sakeena is Prophet Mohammad’s daughter’s name. It means paak or pure. It was a very beautiful moment for those two-four months when the film created havoc at the box office. It was amazing,” the Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai actor elaborates.
So, is she nervous about watching herself on the big screen after all these years? “Not at all,” Ameesha points out, adding, “This film isn’t being released to get the audience’s reaction or to decide the profit or loss for the producer. Everybody knows it’s a blockbuster. It’s being released for fun, for the fans to go back and see it and for people who haven’t gotten the chance to see it before so that they can visit the cinemas and watch the revamped version. I’m happy about the release.”
Gadar 2 is all set to release August 11, 2023. Anil Sharma has directed the sequel too.