Aamir Khan: 'My Only Regret About Sarfarosh Was That I Was Doing Two More Films At The Same Time'

Aamir Khan: 'My Only Regret About Sarfarosh Was That I Was Doing Two More Films At The Same Time'

Aamir Khan gets nostalgic about his iconic film Sarfarosh completing 25 years

Dr Ramachandran SrinivasanUpdated: Monday, May 27, 2024, 12:11 PM IST
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Pic: PTI

“I still haven’t come to terms with the fact that it’s been 25 years,” says Aamir Khan candidly when asked about his memories of the now-iconic film Sarfarosh.

Aamir played the role of cop ACP Ajay Singh Rathod in the film alongside Sonali Bendre and Naseeruddin Shah, among others. The film was directed by ad-maker turned movie director John Mathew Mathan.

“It’s a long time ago, but it feels like yesterday,” says Aamir, who recently caught up with all his co-stars and crew members. “It was very nostalgic,” he adds.

Aamir acknowledges that Sarfarosh was one of those realistic cop films in mainstream cinema, a far cry from the commercial potboilers where the hero yells, “Yeh police station hai, Tumhare baap ka ghar nahin!” (This is a police station, not your father’s house!)

“It’s an important film for our country, and it touched a lot of people,” says Aamir. “It has been an important film for the cops as well. I recall many cops who met me after the film and even now, when cops come up to me, whether a constable or a senior officer, they compliment me on the realism in the film. When we made the film, we did a lot of research on how policing takes place and the challenges cops face. John had done his own research when he wrote the film, but I did some myself as well. I was surprised to learn many things, like how cops sleep or eat whenever they get a chance. And when it came out on screen, it was appreciated. I still get compliments on the way policing was depicted in Sarfarosh,” Aamir gushes.

Sarfarosh also featured some memorable music by Jatin-Lalit, including an all-time classic by Jagjit Singh. The song Hoshwalon Ko Khabar Kya... is considered a classic today.

“Jagjit Singh sang such a lovely song, and Naseer saab, Sonali, and I were all in it,” Aamir says. “The way her scarf falls down and I pick it up — it was so brilliantly captured by John and the cinematographer Vikas Sivaraman. Even the romantic songs were shot beautifully.”

Aamir, known for his perfectionism, might be surprised to learn that the film’s leading lady, Sonali Bendre, hadn’t seen the film entirely. “Oh, she hasn’t? I wasn’t aware,” Aamir chuckles. “I’ve seen it so many times. If we put it back in theaters, people would come and see it all over again, and new audiences could discover it too.”

This brings us to the idea of a sequel. “Yes, so many people have asked about a sequel,” Aamir says. “I’ve even spoken to John a few times about doing one, and we can do one when he has a good script. I think he has one in mind, actually. In fact, from now on, we’ll seriously pursue the idea for a sequel. Remember how we left the ending open-ended, saying ‘Veeran ka pata chal gaya hai!' (We found Veeran).”

For Aamir, a film like Sarfarosh came at a time when his career was booming. The Rs 8 crore film went on to gross over Rs 33 crore at the box office. It’s important to note that marketing budgets for movies were much lower back then, so the profits were significantly higher.

“The story really touched my heart,” Aamir says. “It was an unusual story when it was narrated to me, and I was very surprised. We don’t get many scripts like that in the mainstream, but here it was, talking about sensitive issues with a lot of sensitivity. I was more than excited, and when I learned that John had also assisted filmmaker Govind Nihalani, I listened to the script. Normally, I relax and listen to a story, but after 15 minutes, I was leaning in, waiting for the next line and the next after that. That’s how captivating the film was. I fell in love with it.”

However, there were initial doubts. Aamir acknowledges the inherent risk, “There was this guy with an English name like John who wanted to make a Hindi film... He had not made a film

before...” Despite the uncertainty, Aamir highlights the importance of taking risks, “See, we all take risks in every film.” He references other films where he embraced unconventional roles, “Most films I have done have been ones which are not the kind of films many take up...” He concludes, “Plus we had a great team of actors in Sarfarosh...”

Aamir does express one regret, though. “My only regret about Sarfarosh was that I was doing two more films at the same time...”

He chuckles about his perfectionist tendencies, “I really wish he [John] had spared me the nightmares for the past 25 years...”

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