“Maybe one day I will make a film that will showcase the beautiful woman Ash is, but Sarbjit was a film that went beyond looks and glamour to focus on grit. My biggest triumph was when fans came to the Wagah Border or the India Gate for Ash’s autograph and failing to recognise her, would start looking around for her,” he laughs.
The film traces Sarabjit Singh’s 23-year stay in a Pakistani jail. The farmer from Punjab had strayed across the border and been convicted of terrorism and spying by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. His sudden disappearance changes the lives of his wife, daughters and in particular, his sister, Dalbir Kaur, who from 1991 till his death in 2013, campaigned relentlessly for his release.
“In the film you also see Ash as a young, carefree girl, happily married and pregnant, before some personal tragedies slowly bleach out the colours from her face, clothes and the backdrop. The eight months when she has no idea what happened to her brother, add lines of worry which get deeply entrenched when she learns his whereabouts.Struggling to keep the family together, Dalbir starts to grey, and when brother and sister finally meet in prison, they comment on how their baal has turned safed,” points out the director.