Bor­der made me re­late to the armed forces: Sunny Deol

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Sa­marth Goyal sa­

Ma­jor Kuldeep Singh Chand­puri’s loud and clear voice, dig­ni­fied gait and undy­ing love for the coun­try stays in the mind for long, ev­ery time one watches the 1997 block­buster, Bor­der. The char­ac­ter, played by Sunny Deol, is also close to the 59-year-old ac­tor’s heart. In a chat with us, Deol re­calls be­ing part of the multi-star­rer, based on true events from the Indo-Pak­istan war of 1971.

You’ve been seen as a mem­ber of the armed forces in sev­eral films. But, Bor­der de­picted a real in­ci­dent, and you por­trayed a real-life hero on screen. Was the feel­ing/prepa­ra­tion any dif­fer­ent?

Play­ing an army of­fi­cer, po­lice, or a spy, liv­ing a life ded­i­cated to our coun­try is al­ways spe­cial. How­ever, Bor­der will al­ways be dif­fer­ent as it is a film de­pict­ing the re­al­i­ties of the war in its truest essence. While I did not have to do any spe­cial prepa­ra­tion to play Ma­jor Kuldeep (now re­tired as Bri­gadier Kuldeep Singh Chand­puri), what I did was to live in the mo­ment and be a proud In­dian.

How aware were you about the 1971 war, and what more did the film teach you about it? What made you say a ‘yes’ to the role?

Bor­der never needed a rea­son for me to say yes. I was 14 years old at the time of the war. I re­mem­ber the sound of the sirens and then, the fighter planes tak­ing off. I grew with the civil­ian per­spec­tive of the 1971 war; but be­ing a part of Bor­der in­tro­duced me to the re­al­i­ties of the war from the Army per­spec­tive. I’ve al­ways re­spected our armed forces, but Bor­der made me re­late to them and re­spect them more with pride.

The film also starred ac­tors Su­niel Shetty and Jackie Shroff. How was it shoot­ing with them?

For the film, we spent about a month in Bikaner and be­come more like one big fam­ily work­ing to­gether. I have many fun and emo­tional mem­o­ries from those days.

Did you ex­pect the film to do as well as it did? How did you re­act to its suc­cess?

Film­mak­ing is like paint­ing a can­vas. You can just do your best, and then, only the au­di­ence can tell if they like or love what you present to them. Bor­der was and is ac­cepted and loved by the au­di­ences, as it was a whole hearted at­tempt to recre­ate re­al­ity for peo­ple to live those mo­ments for­ever.

Vis-à-vis the other films where you’ve played an army of­fi­cer/ po­lice of­fi­cer, how would you rate your role in Bor­der?

It’s dif­fi­cult to rate any one char­ac­ter bet­ter than the other. We, as ac­tors, try to do our best all the time, and some­times outdo our­selves to cre­ate an ex­pe­ri­ence for the au­di­ences to watch and re­late to. Hence, all the char­ac­ters that I have played are an ex­ten­sion of me in some way or the other. I can’t say if I like one bet­ter than the other.

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