Sam Bahadur, a hero for the ages : The Tribune India

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Sam Bahadur, a hero for the ages

Sam Bahadur, a hero for the ages

Director Meghna Gulzar picked Vicky Kaushal of Uri: The Surgical Strike fame to portray Sam Manekshaw. - File photo



Brig IJ Singh (retd)

I GOT a chance to meet Milkha Singh when his biopic Bhaag Milkha Bhaag was released a decade ago. I promptly asked him how much time Farhan Akhtar would take to come out of the Milkha mode. His reply was that Farhan would need counselling over the next two years to be ready to work in another movie. This was a compliment for Farhan, who took a lot of time to go through the script and ‘transform’ himself into the great athlete; he also probably took a while to ‘de-role’ himself.

Director Meghna Gulzar picked Vicky Kaushal of Uri: The Surgical Strike fame to portray Sam Manekshaw. The movie, which has been released 50 years after the Field Marshal retired and 15 years after his demise, has attempted to showcase this great son of India as a husband, father, grandfather and a complete soldier.

It must have been a Herculean task to capture on screen the great Sam, who proved himself on many counts — professional knowledge and competence; the ability to take quick decisions as well as ensure justice; an abundance of moral and physical courage; unblemished loyalty to the nation; the will to withstand ill-timed political pressure; and finally, the management of men and resources.

Sam was witty; he could connect with people and touch their hearts too. He treated the soldiers, both his own and those of the enemy, with dignity and respect. He always cared about doing the right thing.

Back in 1994, many years after his retirement, I had the privilege of being his liaison officer for his visit to the Army War College for addressing officers of the elite Higher Command Course. During an informal interaction, he was asked about the ideal role of the Army Chief and the message he had for the young generation. He replied that the role of the Army Chief was to keep the morale of his troops high. The Chief didn’t have to get into the nitty-gritty as he would always have proficient officers beside him. The Chief, according to Sam, needed to act as a truthful interface between the Army and the polity. He said the young generation should keep pace with technological developments and adopt a compassionate approach.

One hopes that Sam Bahadur will be able to inspire the young brigade and make every Indian proud of the legendary Field Marshal. The movie can prove to be motivational for the entire nation if it is screened in schools, colleges, government and corporate offices, professional institutions, the Indian Military Academy, the National Defence Academy and the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration.

#Farhan Akhtar #Milkha Singh


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