Meghna Gulzar explains how iconic photo with was recreated for ‘Sam Bahadur’

Director Meghna Gulzar is leaving no stone unturned to ensure maximum historical authenticity for her upcoming biopic ‘Sam Bahadur’. Recreating an iconic picture of him standing with Gorkha soldiers, she went to great lengths just to create that specific shot and got teary-eyed when it happened successfully.

The photo is an iconic one and it is from the third India-Pakistan war (Bangladesh Liberation War,1971) which saw the Indian Armed Forces emerging fully victorious against their war with Pakistan.

This led to the separation of the erstwhile East Pakistan and resulted in the creation of what is now called People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

Belonging to Gorkha regiment, Sam Manekshaw was very well acquainted with them and the iconic photo was taken during the war. It is believed that he was instructing the troops to prevent harassment of any Bangladeshi refugee as an order, request, and motivation.

Talking about recreating the photo, Meghna Gulzar, going behind-the-scenes, said: “This is one of the most iconic photos of Sam Manekshaw, where he could be seen meeting a Gorkha soldier standing amidst tall grass. I have had this picture as my wallpaper on my laptop for over 4-5 years, so suddenly when I had to recreate this exact scene it was something very personal for me.”

She added: “On the second last day, I had picked the location to shoot and it was very overwhelming to recreate that very image which you’ve had in front of you for so many years. We found the location, we found the grass, but there was always this doubt that how will it go, will it go well, will we be able to do it all, or whether it could be done, maybe bit by bit?”

“Then to suddenly see that shot on the monitor in front of me was very emotional for me. I think we came pretty close,” she said.

The film is a biopic on the legendary Field Marshal who led the Indian Army to victory during the ’71 war. It covers his life, upbringing, and his military career from his days in the Indian Military Academy during the British Raj and his fighting in World War-II to the 1948 India-Pak war, 1962 India-China war, 1965 India-Pakistan war, 1967 India-China skirmish, and the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation.

Starring Vicky Kaushal, Sanya Malhotra, Fatima Sana Sheikh, among others, ‘Sam Bahadur’ will hit theatres on December 1, 2023.

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