Boota rescued a Pakistani woman named Zainab
Sunny Deol’s Gadar 2 is rewriting record books at the box office as it is currently the seventh highest-grossing Hindi film of 2023.
Sunny reprises his role as Tara Singh, 22 years after the first film, which was an all-time blockbuster.
The story is about Tara rescuing a Pakistani woman named Sakeena (Ameesha Patel) during the violence of Partition.
They get married but end up getting separated years later by her family when she travels to Pakistan.
Gadar has a happy ending as Sakeena is reunited with Tara and their son Charanjeet (Utkarsh Sharma).
While the film was a hit, did you know that Tara Singh’s story was based on a real-life one?
Gadar‘s plot was partially inspired by the real-life tale of Indian soldier Boota Singh, who became a cult figure.
Born in Jalandhar, Punjab, Boota Singh had been a soldier in the British Army. He served on the Burma front under the command of Lord Mountbatten during World War II.
He is popular in India and in Pakistan due to his love story.
Like Gadar, Boota rescued a Pakistani woman named Zainab during the violence at the time of Partition. They ended up falling in love, getting married and having two daughters named Tanveer and Dilveer.
But 10 years after Partition, the Indian authorities decided to send Zainab back to Pakistan.
She and her elder daughter were deported to the small village of Nurpur, where her family lived.
Boota was left disheartened and was desperate to reunite with his wife. He went to Delhi to request the authorities to bring her back but was unsuccessful.
Tara Singh’s Pakistan journey mirrored Boota Singh’s own journey as the latter ended up converting to Islam and entered Pakistan illegally with his daughter Tanveer.
But while Tara had a happy ending, Boota’s story is one of tragedy.
When he arrived at her home, Zainab’s family did not accept him.
It is believed they beat him and handed him over to the authorities.
Under pressure from her family, Zainab refused to go back with Boota and reportedly ended the marriage.
In 1957, a distraught Boota took his own life. He also tried to take his daughter’s life but she survived.
In his suicide letter, Boota Singh requested to be buried in Barki village, where Zainab was from but the villagers did not allow that.
The ex-soldier ended up being buried at Miani Sahib, Lahore’s largest graveyard.
Boota Singh’s tragic story became famous across India and Pakistan. He became known as Shaheed-e-Mohabbat (martyr in love).
While Boota Singh’s life partially inspired Gadar, it is not the first film to tell his story.
The first film was the 1999 Punjabi film Shaheed-e-Mohabbat Boota Singh. It was a more accurate portrayal of Boota’s story and had Gurdas Maan play Boota and Divya Dutta as Zainab.
Other films include Veer Zaara and the Canadian film Partition.
Meanwhile, Gadar 2 is set during the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War and when Tara is believed to be imprisoned in Pakistan, his son Charanjeet sets out to rescue him.
However, Tara is not in Pakistan and Charanjeet ends up being imprisoned and tortured by Pakistani soldiers under the orders of Major General Hamid Iqbal, who wants to exact revenge on Tara for eliminating his 40 men in 1947.
Upon learning this, Tara goes on a journey to save his son.