Many stories have been told about the sensitive subject of Indo-Pak relations, about intertwining boundaries of politics and religion, and that of religion and terrorism, but this flick is an outstanding cinema because of its intense characterization, powerful story-telling, and thoughtful writing.

Sarfarosh (1999) is an Indian action thriller-drama film, produced, written and directed by John Matthew Matthan and starred Naseeruddin Shah, Sonali Bendre and Aamir Khan.

After his brother being killed by terrorists, the medical student Ajay Rathod (Aamir Khan) decides to quit his studies and join Indian Police Services, in order to bring justice to his family and the nation. Ajay is a great admirer of Pakistan-based ghazal singer Gulfam Hassan (Naseeruddin Shah). On one of Hassan’s concerts, they meet for the first time and become great friends. His investigation takes him to Rajasthan, which uncovers certain disturbing truth to him. What unfolds next is a brilliantly written thriller.  Along with the powerful story-telling, what works for this thriller is the amazing characterization of the protagonist and antagonist. Also, it won’t make any sense if I talk about their performances in the films. Surely Naseeruddin Shah and Aamir Kahn are the best actors of Indian cinema.

Also during the concert he meets Seema (Sonali Bendre) – and their silent love story starts shaping. Surely, this is one beautiful part of this film – they way the love story is dealt. Not to mention, the most dramatic moments of the film were treated in the least drama way, to quote the scene where Ajay’s father put tilak on Ajay’s forehead.  It was done without any dialogue and a subtle background score.

Nida Fazli’s ghazal “Hoshwalon Ko Khabar Kya”, sung by Jagjit Singh is another gem in the film. Also, along with it there are other beautiful songs in the film, including “Zindagi Maut Na Ban Jaye” (written by Israr Ansari), “Jo Haal Dil Ka” (written by Sameer).

Sarfarosh won National Film Awards (Sept 2000), Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment, Filmfare Awards for Best Movie (critics), Best Editing (Jethu Mandal), Best Screenplay (John Mathew Matthan), Best Dialogues (Pathik Vats & Hriday Lani.)


Ajay says, “Kis kaum (caste) ki baat kar rahe ho tum? Tumhari kaunsi kaum? Agar tum Musalmano ki baat kar rahe ho toh Pakistan se zyada Musalman yahaan Hindustan mein hai. Tumhari bandook se bheji hui goliyaan kisi  ka dharam puch kar usse nahi maarti. Tumhari goliyon se Musalman bhi maare jaate hai. Aur tumhari harkaton se woh badnaam hote hai…tum jaise log kisi ke sage nai hote! Tum jaise log dushman hote hai saari insaniyat ke!” This surely is the crux of the film in one line.

Baljeet Randhawa

Baljeet Randhawa

Writer from Bhopal. Theatre Director and Co- Founder of Dream Stage Theatre along with Scriptors. Shy Actor performs rarely.
Baljeet Randhawa