‘Gadar 2’ released in theaters worldwide today, and the lead actors, Ameesha Patel and Sunny Deol, spoke about their experience working together on the film after a 22 year gap.
When you’re new to the industry, you often don’t know what to do. How did you handle it?
Ameesha- Especially for roles like in Gadar, working alongside Sunny ji, a superstar, and Amrish Puri ji, I used to shiver, you know, but Sunny ji is a gem – maybe people don’t even realize it. He’s like a diamond. His on-screen persona is well known: rugged, he-man, good-looking; his voice is enough to conquer all. However, in real life, he’s elegant, gracious, very, very shy; our tastes are quite similar. He is the most down-to-earth, humble person. He never brings his star status to the set. He is sincere in his work.
Which was the very first scene for both of you?
Both – The introduction scene, which was shot in Palampur. Tara and Sakeena meet after so many years.
Any memories from Gadar 1, Ameeshaji?
Ameesha: I used to steal his food.
Sunny: She was always very sweet, always in good spirits, and she was the right person for the character.
Ameesha: We used to come to the set in complete contrast from the characters persona. As soon as we stepped out of the makeup van, we were Tara and Sakeena.
How are the characters evolved in this film?
Sunny: In this film, there are moments that might evoke emotions, but as I mentioned earlier, I won’t reveal anything more. All I can say is that the family’s story continues, the son has grown up, and we are pretty much the same.
Ameesha: We went to the Bigg Boss finale, and Salman saw both of us. He said in his own style, ‘What the hell, you and Sunny are just frozen in time. You stepped out of the Gadar 1 set and came to the Gadar 2 set.’ So I think that’s a great compliment, and I think it could be because of our positivity.
What qualities of Sakeena, should today’s young girls follow?
Sunny: In our industry, I’ve encountered many talented actors and actresses who decline roles by saying, I won’t do this film or I won’t play this character. They don’t believe that it is not what is going to reflect in reality but about delving into a subject. Whether I’m portraying a younger character or an older one, I’m fulfilling my duty as an actor. There are many actors in our industry who run away from such things. I often ask them why, and they give various excuses like my manager says not to do this lead, is wrong for me that is not right, this is not right, you know my career will go like that.
It’s crucial for an actor to understand that their profession is to portray characters. I’m working on a film where I’m depicting a character ranging from 30 to 91 years old. It’s a beautiful experience. An actor should have the versatility to take on anything, because that’s what acting entails. When confronted with challenging roles that encompass diverse facets, embrace them wholeheartedly.
In these 20 years, have there been any changes in the characters, or are they exactly the same?
Ameesha: They are just as loveable.
Sunny: The characters remain unchanged, but the times have evolved, and we have progressed over these years. We live in the contemporary world, engaging with the present circumstances. The story unfolds against the backdrop of the 1971 era, a period when India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh were undergoing significant events. The narrative is crafted within that context. Pathankot is present, Tara Singh is present; it’s a border town, and the love story originating from there
Ameesha: Tara Singh is no longer just a truck driver; he has ascended to the position of a company owner with a fleet of trucks to his name. Behind every successful man, there stands a woman. In Tara’s case, it’s Sakeena.
Which is your favorite song?
Ameesha: Besides ‘Main Nikla,’ I believe ‘Udd Jaa Kaale Kaava’ holds a special place. The film introduces a couple of new songs that take the story forward. They are very emotional, there are tear jerking moments, with Khairiyat. I don’t think Sunny ji and I needed any glycerine in any shot to perform because song itself evokes mountain of emotions.
Which other song is close to your heart, Ameesha ji?
Ameesha: Other than Udd Jaa Kaale Kaava, of course Main Nikla Gaddi Leke is everyone’s favorite song, but like I said, both Khairiyat and Sura Suri take the story forward. They aren’t just mere fillers. Whether it’s present or a flashback moment, they are actually there for a purpose. And that’s the beautiful aspect.
How have things changed in these 20 years, in terms of narration, shooting, and style?
Sunny: One thing has changed, back when we were shooting, people used to climb up and record videos. That’s the difference.
Also , nowadays, you can’t hide anything. Cell phones are always behind you. We were shooting, I remember, right from the start in Palampur. We were investing so much effort, and yet, we had to showcase it to everyone out there. Although we managed to control most of it, Zee took it down, removing it from the internet. But I couldn’t comprehend it. When we were young, we attended school and our parents reprimanded us. There was discipline, a set of dos and don’ts. Now that we’re adults, who will reprimand us? When will we apply our intelligence? What’s right, what’s wrong.
Ameesha: And what’s the result of putting all these out?
Sunny: In a way, it’s just publicity, people have seen it. But what we are doing, they are watching.
Ameesha: Certainly, the filming style has evolved over the years with advancements in cameras, but the heart of Gadar, the essence, remains unchanged. Gadar is a soulful film of its era. That’s why it’s probably one of Bollywood’s highest-grossing films. Because it touched everyone’s hearts. The characters of Tara and Sakeena, their names are on everyone’s lips. Today, you watch a film on Friday, and by Saturday, you forget the character’s name. But I think that the timeless quality of Gadar 1, that essence, I believe we’ve retained it in Gadar 2.
Sunny: You see, Gadar 1 was shaped by the audience. And it’s because of Gadar 1 that we ventured into Gadar 2. Now, we hope that Gadar 2 becomes that iconic film for everyone.