When A Film Inspired By Famed Indian Spy Ravindra Kaushik Changed His Character To Rehamatullah Khan

Although not officially credited, it isn’t possible to discuss movies like Chak De India (2007) and Romeo Akbar Walter (2019) without remembering the people who inspired these stories – Mir Ranjan Negi and Ravindra Kaushik, respectively.

However, Bollywood changed their Hindu identities on-screen and showed them as Muslim characters. 

It is also interesting that both these characters felt compelled to prove their patriotism as Indian Muslims and fight discrimination by other Indians. That’s a clever way of projecting the majority community as a bigoted lot without explicitly naming them.  

‘Chak De India’ was loosely based on the career of Mir Ranjan Negi, who steered India’s women’s hockey team’s gold medal win at the 2002 Commonwealth Games as their coach. In the 1982 Asian Games, Negi was the goalkeeper for the India men’s national field hockey team in the final match against Pakistan. India lost 1-7, and Negi went into hiding. Some people also accused him of having conceded those goals.

In the movie, when the team wins the match, Kabir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) breaks down and finally gets accepted by the Hindu-dominated Delhi neighbourhood that had forced him to flee years ago.

Romeo Akbar Walter

It is the same with the spy thriller film ‘Romeo Akbar Walter’ starring John Abraham, Jackie Shroff and Mouni Roy. As mentioned earlier, the story is inspired by the life of Ravindra Kaushik, but he hasn’t been credited for it.

About Ravindra Kaushik, known as the Black Tiger:

According to Shashikant Damagalla, author of ‘The Raw Black Tiger’, Kaushik was sent to Pakistan on a mission when he was 23 in 1975. He was duly circumcised and he changed his name to Nabi Ahmad Shakir. After completing his LLB from Karachi university, Kaushik joined the Pakistan army and became an auditor in the military accounts department. 

Excerpts from the book:

“Due to his excellent work, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi conferred him with the title ‘The Black Tiger’.” (pp. 20-21, Kindle Edition).

“Ravindra Kaushik was doing his job perfectly, saving his nation from many attacks. He even got promoted to become a major in the Pakistan army.”

In 1983, an Indian agent named Inayat Masiha was apprehended at the border, trying to cross into Pakistan. When interrogated, Masiha blew Kaushik’s cover. Kaushik was arrested on charges of espionage. He was tortured in jail and remained there for 18 years until his death. He managed to sneak letters to his family describing his ordeals during his imprisonment. 

About John Abraham’s film:

Kaushik’s family reportedly demanded his name in the credit line or the titles of the movie, claiming that the film’s story was based on Kaushik’s real life. Director Robbie Grewal denied it. In an interview, he said his film had taken bits and pieces from the lives of 4-5 other spies who had done “bigger things than what he (Kaushik) had probably did.”

In one of the scenes, Romeo (Abraham) tells the ISI chief that he wants to avenge India for how they treat Indian Muslims.

We are curious why Bollywood finds any excuse to peddle this agenda of Indian Muslim being harassed by the state. 

While Bollywood can be a helpful medium to tell stories of real heroes to the masses, there is no reason their on-screen portrayals cannot retain their Hindu identities. 

+ posts

I watch how Bollywood engages with and represents Hindu society. A non-Marxist film critic writing in English.

We Need Your Support

Your Aahuti is what sustains this Yajna. With your Aahuti, the Yajna grows. Without your Aahuti, the Yajna extinguishes.
We are a small team that is totally dependent on you.
To support, consider making a voluntary subscription.

UPI ID - gemsofbollywood@upi / gemsofbollywood@icici

Related Posts



Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!