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23 Years Of Aamir Khan's Sarfarosh - How The Film Would Have Fared Today

Sarfarosh, starring Aamir Khan, Sonali Bendre and Naseeruddin Shah, is one of the most loved films on issues such as terrorism and insurgency in India. The word 'Sarfarosh' literally means 'fervour' (in this case patriotic fervour) has now become synonymous with one of India's most iconic films on patriotism and nationalism. Interestingly, Sarfarosh released on April 30, 1999, two weeks before the Kargil war that took place between India and Pakistan.

As Sarfarosh completes 23 years, we take a look at what it was all about.

The Story

The story of Sarfarosh follows the life of IPS Officer Ajay Singh Rathore (Aamir Khan), a man who has lost his brother in a terrorist attack and that has left his father a paraplegic and in a wheelchair. Ajay crosses paths with ghazal maestro Gulfam Hassan (Naseeruddin Shah), a Pakistani singer who is a cross cultural icon. Little do we know that Gulfam is also involved in terrorist activities and Ajay soon has to foil a terror attack plan.

Sarfarosh, directed by John Matthew Matthan, throws light on the disturbed relations between India and Pakistan and how an honest police officer wants to solve the problem of not just terrorism but also corruption. But what makes the movie different is that it in no way demonises any country or religion. In fact, it offers a perspective on how things can be solved. There are several moments in the film, which are relevant to the issues we face even today.

Going by the recent trend, a lot of major movies based on patriotism and nationalism have been made in the recent past namely - Uri, Shershah and the most recent being The Kashmir Files. Each movie has focused on the political tensions in the country that keep arising.

Sarfarosh however, has a whole lot to offer in terms of entertainment apart from political commentary or a preachy over-the-top message. The movie has all the elements of a masala film without the frivolity.


It has three songs which became popular. Jo haal dil ka, Iss deewane ladke ko and the ghazal by late Jagjit Singh - Hoshwalon ko khabar kya - which is still regarded as one of the most widely followed songs on love and longing.


Safarosh won a National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment, the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Film, and was screened at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI). Aamir Khan was widely loved for his portrayal of an honest cop.

Naseeruddin Shah, who plays double agent Gulfam Hassan, won awards and critical acclaim for his role as a manipulative and vicious singer.

The movie also has an exceptional performance by Mukesh Rishi, who shed his villain tag and played a positive character. Sonali Bendre has a refreshing screen presence as Ajay's love interest whom he has had to let go.

Going by the trend and the flavour of the season being films made on nationalism, Sarfarosh ticks all the boxes. It does instil a strong feeling of patriotism and love for your country and at the same time talks about the corruption in the system and the rampant terror attacks that had hit the country back in the '90s till the mid-2000s.

Sarfarosh was a blockbuster hit and special mention has to be given to the director and writer John Matthew Matthan, who reportedly spent seven years researching and developing the script.

The movie connects with the audiences even 23 years after releasing. It is thought-provoking and entertaining and is a wholesome package. Seeing the kind of films that have struck a deep chord with the audiences, Sarfarosh becomes all the more relevant and resonates with you. If you haven't seen it yet, we recommend a dekko!

Story first published: Thursday, May 19, 2022, 0:23 [IST]
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