Sunny Deol's Gadar is based on a real tragic love story; this man went to Pakistan to free his wife, but there he met...

Tara Singh, Sunny Deol's character in Gadar, was inspired by the tragic love story of former Indian soldier Boota Singh, who travelled to Pakistan to meet his estranged wife.

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Gadar 2 is rewriting record books at the box office currently. The Sunny Deol-starrer has minted Rs 176 crore worldwide in its opening weekend, becoming the highest-grossing film of the actor’s career. The film surpassed the collections of the first Gadar, which was an all-time blockbuster when it was released 22 years ago. While it is a fictitious tale of cross-border romance, Gadar is partially inspired by a true story, one that had captivated a newly independent India and turned a regular soldier into a cult figure

The real-life inspiration behind Gadar and Tara Singh

Gadar is the story of Tara Singh (Sunny), who rescues a Muslim girl named Sakina (Ameesha Patel) during the communal riots around Partition. They get married only to be separated years later by her family when she travels to Pakistan. The second act of Gadar is largely fictional but this setting was borrowed from the tale of Indian soldier Boota Singh. Also known as Buta Singh, this ex-soldier in the British Indian Army, rescued a Muslim girl named Zainab during the Partition. They fell in love and got married. However, Zainab was deported to Pakistan by the Indian authorities soon after.

How Tara Singh’s Pakistan journey mirrored Boota Singh’s tragedy

Just like it is shown in Gadar, Boota Singh illegally entered Pakistan with his daughter Tanveer (Tara had a son). However, unlike Tara, Boota Singh was unable to win his wife back. Under pressure from her family, Zainab reportedly ended the marriage. In 1957, due to the shock of Zainab not being with him, Boota Singh jumped before an oncoming train in Pakistan’s Shahdara. He died but his daughter survived. His love story became famous across India and Pakistan and Singh was posthumously called Shaheed-e-Mohabbat (martyr in love). Boota Singh had said he wanted to be buried in Zainab’s village but the villagers did not allow that. In the end, the former soldier buried at Miani Sahib, the largest graveyard of Lahore.

Other films based on the story of Boota Singh

But Gadar wasn’t the first film inspire by Boota Singh’s life. That honour goes to the 1999 Punabi film Shaheed-e-Mohabbat Boota Singh, a more accurate portrayal of the former soldier’s tragic love story. The film had Gurdaas Maan play Boota Singh and Divya Dutta in the role of Zainab. Apart from Gadar, other films that borrowed elements from the story of Boota Singh include Yash Chopra’s Veer Zaara and Canadian film Partition.

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