Re-Watching Gadar: Ek Prem Katha in 2023 Is An Awkward Reckoning

Anushka Halve

Gadar: Ek Prem Katha is Streaming on Zee5

When it was released 22 years ago, it surprised everyone with its humanistic take on the India-Pakistan Partition.

Gadar: Ek Prem Katha (2001) is The Aftermath of Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947

Communal riots are ubiquitous at this point, and everyone has a past, and a score to settle. He only looks forward to revenge – until a Taj Mahal souvenir at a train station stops him in his tracks.

Characters Like Gul Khan (Mushtaq Khan)

Who are written with nuance, challenge our notion of not granting humanity to those on the other side of the border. The film's portrayal of Pakistan as a multi-dimensional entity, rather than just as an antagonist, was refreshing to witness. 

A Humanistic Perspective on Partition

Gadar's… endeavour to present an inclusive story is admirable. Tara Singh has no reservations against converting to Islam for the love of his life. In a Partition story, this display of humanistic values is rare. 

The Movie Was a Commercial and Critical Success

The film's attempt to humanise both sides of the border is commendable, but certain narrative choices and characterisations reinforced stereotypes, and acting performances, retrospectively, feel almost jarring