Actor Randeep Hooda hopes Bollywood film Sarbjit, which tells the hard-hitting story of an Indian farmer who was held captive and eventually died in a Pakistan jail, becomes the basis of protest against cases wherein people are punished merely for their origin.
Directed by Omung Kumar, Sarbjit is based on the real life story of Sarabjit Singh, who was convicted by Pakistani courts for spying and terrorism. He languished in a Pakistani jail for 23 years starting 1990, while his sister Dalbir Kaur, tried vigorously to get him released.
Randeep, who essays the title role in the movie, told reporters here: "Sarabjit was tortured because he was an Indian rather than for what he was accused of. The film brings that point out.
"If in India we are doing this to Pakistanis, then it’s wrong."
The actor cited the example of Mumbai-based engineer Hamid N. Ansari, who was sentenced to jail for three years by a Pakistani military court for espionage after he had crossed over to Pakistan from Afghanistan in 2012 and then went missing. He was later arrested and tried by a Pakistani military court, which pronounced him guilty of espionage.
Randeep pointed out: "Both sides (India and Pakistan) should extend their hand now. Pakistan has an opportunity to extend a hand towards our government via his (Ansari’s) case and India too has this opportunity to start making things right, perhaps. The honest people caught up on both sides should be released in this.
"’Sarbjit’ could definitely work as a basis of protest against the unfair, it might just shake things up and bring one’s separated people together."
Referring to the India-Pakistan partition, Randeep said "the division between brotherhood was a stupidity".
The actor was here to promote Sarbjit — featuring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in a pivotal role as Dalbir Kaur.
Randeep believes "a family culture is very much" embedded in India.
"After watching the movie, you will appreciate your family more," said the actor, who has Richa Chadha in the role of his onscreen wife in the movie.