The recently released promo of Sarabjit starring Aishwarya Rai, Randeep Hooda and Richa Chadda is creating waves, as much for Ash’s histrionics as for Hooda’s loss of 18 kilos for the film. For those not clued in, the film is based on the true story of Dalbir Kaur’s 23 year long struggle for her brother Sarabjit’s freedom. A farmer from Punjab, Sarabjit Singh had strayed across the border into Pakistan, and was subsequently arrested and charged with terrorism and spying by Pakistani authorities. Insisting on her brother’s innocence, Kaur struggled over the years, fighting for his freedom. While Randeep Hooda essays the character of Sarabjit, Aishwarya Rai will portray Kaur.
Here are a few home truths about Dalbir Kaur’s inspiring story.
- Sarabjit Singh mistakenly crossed over to Pakistan on 28th August 1990, and he was put behind bars, charged for a series of bomb blasts in Lahore that happened the same year. He was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in Pakistan in 1991 but was not hanged and instead kept captive in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail.
- Dalbir protested against the arrest from day one, campaigning to save her brother’s life. She even went across the border to speak to the Pakistani authorities.
- A former school teacher, Dalbir took the task of being Sarabjit’s older sister very seriously and spent 23 years of her life trying to secure his release.
- Former Prime Minister Narasimha Rao had almost one hundred calls from her, after which he finally relented and agreed to meet her.
- She directly approached almost 170 politicians in both India and Pakistan to gather support for her cause.
- Dalbir almost succeeded in March 2008 when Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf stayed the execution which was scheduled for April 1. This was a result of the then Prime Minister’s Manmohan Singh’s direct involvement after the heavy pressure Kaur created on him by leading a massive public campaign alone for Sarabjit.
- In 2011, Dalbir managed to get permission to visit her brother in jail, securing a rare visit.
- More than 10 lakh kilometers, two decades and a wide array of candlelight vigils and public rallies – Kaur kept up her campaign relentlessly inspite of all the odds stacked against her.
The story of her struggle came to a sad end when Sarabjit was killed by fellow inmates on April 26th, 2013. His body was returned to his family in Bhikhiwind. However, the story of a sister’s relentless struggle to get justice for her brother, battling all the odds is a truly inspiring one, and it remains to be seen how effectively it is translated on to celluloid.
Feature Image Credit: Indiawest.com