There were loud Punjabi dhol (drum) beats in London's iconic Leicester Square, as Indian people gathered in front of Vue Westend to welcome actor and Indian MP Sunny Deol to the theatre for a special screening of Gadar 2 organised by the High Commission of India and Zee Studios. Mr Deol joined the festivities by adding some Bhangra steps as fans ran to take selfies with him.
Screen 5 at the film theatre was packed with Indian audience, munching onto complimentary sweet popcorn, waiting in anticipation for the hero to arrive. Anuj Radia played the role of the compere for the evening, followed by a speech by the High Commissioner HE Vikram Doraiswami who was joined by his wife Sangeeta. Film maker Shekhar Kapoor and author and Director of Nehru Centre Amish Tripathi were also present among the audience.
Calling this screening as a part of High Commission’s ongoing celebration of Indian Independence Day, the High Commissioner described how he received a mail from the hero of the film himself, requesting to host a special screening for the community in the UK.
Mr Doraiswami went on to explain how quickly and efficiently everything was organised at a short notice by his colleagues Deputy High Commissioner of India to the UK, Sujit Ghosh and Amish Tripathi, and how thrilled he was to have been able to host this event at the heart of Leicester Square.
Sunny Deol wearing a yellow 'pagdi' (turban) in a greyish green kurta, looking exactly like the character 'Tara Singh' he plays in the film, addressed the audience with a big smile. He said, “It’s an honour to be here. Gadar which was made in 2001, connected with everybody. I was afraid to do the part 2, because Gadar was such an iconic film. It had everything in it and how to make a film to match up with that. But during Covid time everybody was struggling, people had so much time. That was the time the director Anil Sharma and writer Shaktimaan came up with this idea, it clicked immediately. And here we are with the film that the world is celebrating, and I can’t begin to tell you how beautiful it is…”
He concluded by enacting his popular dialogue from Gadar with his famous hand gesture (fist pump in the air): “Hindustan zindabad tha, zindabad hain aur zindabad rahega” - on demand from the audience who joined him with cheers and applauds.