When you hear Gadar: Ek Prem Katha, the first thing that comes to your mind is the scene where Sunny Deol's Tara Singh uproots a hand pump during a face-off with Amrish Puri's character. Over the years, that scene has developed a cult status of its own and become a fodder of memes on social media.
Sunny Deol-Ameesha Patel starrer Gadar: Ek Prem Katha clocks 20 years today (June 15, 2021). In an interview with Hindustan Times, the film's director Anil Sharma opened up on the iconic handpump scene and called it an 'outburst of emotions'.
The filmmaker revealed that he felt like throwing the entire building on Amrish Puri's character while penning that scene. However, that wasn't practically possible so, he went for the handpump.
"When I was writing the scene, I felt like throwing the entire building on Amrish Puri (his character, Ashraf Ali). But that was not practical. So, I decided to put the handpump in the scene. It was not just about uprooting the handpump, it was an outburst of emotions. It was symbolic," Sharma told the leading daily.
He said that while scene clicked with every person who watched the film in theatres, many intellectuals didn't understand it as they believe in working on logic alone.
Anil Sharma told Hindustan Times, "When people asked me how can it be possible, I told them, 'When Lakshman needed sanjeevani (herb) in Ramayan, Hanuman picked up the entire mountain.' Tara Singh may not be Hanuman but he can uproot a hand pump. We believe (in Hanuman's deeds) as we are emotionally involved. It (the scene) was a creative liberty we took, and every person sitting in the theatre watching Gadar Ek Prem Katha related with the emotions and clapped for the sequence. Many intellectuals do not understand this as they believe in working on logic alone."
He continued, "Not many people agreed with the scene when it was written. Most intellectuals felt it was too far-fetched. I do not say intellectual people are not emotional, they are. But they believe in logic, they believe two and two make four. But for emotions, two and two can make five, or, even ten. There are no definitions for emotions and that scene was about the emotional outburst."
Elaborating further, he added, "People lay down their lives for their country, a mother may do so for her child, or lovers sacrifice their lives for their loved ones. These do not fall under any definition of logic (but they do happen). Love can be defined beyond logic. Logic is a very materialistic thing, that involves mathematics and science. But few things are beyond science."
In the same interaction, he also recalled that the first review of Gadar Ek Prem Katha that he read, was under the headline 'Gutter Ek Prem Katha'. However, he wasn't affected by it since he had already received a call informing him about the love people showered on the film. He said that while the critics from the Hindi belt appreciated the film, the people in Mumbai didn't give the film good reviews.
Sunny Deol's Gadar: Ek Prem Katha was a massive success at the box office upon its release. Despite locking horns with Aamir Khan's sports drama Lagaan, the film emerged as the highest-grossing Indian film of all time at that time surpassing the record of Salman Khan-Madhuri Dixit's Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! (1994).
Anil Sharma told the tabloid that the reason behind the success of Gadar: Ek Prem Katha wasn't the India-Pakistan angle but the emotions involved in the film.
"The story of Gadar is a couple's story. It is the story of Ramayan. A child wants his dad to bring his mom back. Gadar was not a hit because of the India-Pakistan angle, it was a hit because of the emotions involved. It was a love story. A love story between a husband and wife, a son and his mom, his dad. A love story between Ashraf Ali (Amrish) and Sakeena (Amisha). The way Shaktiman (film's writer) wrote the film, all added up for the film to be a huge hit," the director was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.