Exclusive: When Dilip Kumar Was Signed For A Film On Kashmiri Pandits

Gadar director Anil Sharma reveals that he once signed Dilip Kumar to play the lead in his film based on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits.

Recently, Vivek Aghnihotri’s film The Kashmir Files created a huge buzz amongst the audience for its controversial nature. The film is based on the horrifying exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley in 1990. Some called it an Islamophobic film while others apprecaited the filmmaker for his brave attempt as it took 30 years to bring this heartwrenching incident in national limelight. But did you know that director Anil Sharma had planned a film on the exodus in the late 90s and signed Dilip Kumar to play the lead?

In the late 90s, Anil Sharma was looking for interesting scripts for a period film and he was touched with the subject of Kashmir. In an exclusive interview, Anil told, “In those days, I really wanted to make a period film. As a director, I wanted to create something new. We were working on a lot of stories. We were also working on a project called ‘Kashmir’. It was an amazing script and revolved around the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits. For the film, we were in talks with Dilip Kumar and Dharmendra. Dilip Sahab had said ‘yes’ to the film.”

However, the film was never made. It’s because, while working on the script of ‘Kashmir’, Anil got a new story and went ahead with it. Anil revealed how a sub-plot of ‘Kashmir’, intruiged him so much that he made an entire film on the sub-plot and discarded the original plot. This film was Gadar: Ek Prem Katha. He said, “One day, I asked my writer, Shaktimaan, that I need a sub-plot in the second half of the film. I wanted a love story between a Kashmiri boy and a Pakistani girl. So, Shakitmaan ji told me a real-life story and when I heard it, I wanted to make a film on it. So, I put the Kashmir project on the backseat.”

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Anil Sharma never got a chance to work with Dilip Kumar and he regrets it. He stated, “The story of Kashmir is still relevant today. Recently, a film on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits was made. At that time, I had the story of Kashmir, and I had the starcast, but as a director, I wanted to make a film on that subplot. I apologized to all the actors. It’s unfortunate that I didn’t get to work with him. I regret it.”

Gadar went on to become an all-time blockbuster film at the Indian box office. The cross-border love story has a huge fan base in India as well as Pakistan. After 22 years, Anil Sharma is returning with Gadar 2, a sequel to the 2001 hit. It has the same lead star cast, that is, Sunny Deol, Ameesha Patel and Utkarsh Sharma.

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