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This article is about the 1999 film. For the 1985 film of the same name, see Sarfarosh (1985 film).
Sarfarosh (Poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Matthew Matthan
Produced by John Matthew Matthan
Written by John Matthew Matthan
Starring Aamir Khan
Naseeruddin Shah
Sonali Bendre
Shri Vallabh Vyas
Mukesh Rishi
Music by Songs:
Background Score:
Sanjoy Chowdhury
Cinematography Vikas Sivaraman
Edited by Jethu Mundul
Cinematt Pictures
Distributed by Eros Entertainment
Release dates
  • 30 April 1999 (1999-04-30)
Running time
129 minutes
Country India
Language Hindi
Budget INR 80 million (US$1.2 million)
Box office INR 303.7 million (US$4.6 million)

Sarfarosh (translation: Fervour) is a 1999 Indian action drama film. It was produced, written and directed by John Matthew Matthan and starred Naseeruddin Shah, Sonali Bendre and Aamir Khan. John started working on Sarfarosh in 1992. Seven years were spent on the research, pre-production and production till it finally released in 1999. The film dealt with an Indian police officer's fight to stop cross-border terrorism. The film was released at the time of the Kargil conflict when tensions between India and Pakistan were high. The film was critically praised and was commercially successful at the box office.[1][2][3][4]The film was remade in Kannada as Sathyameva Jayathe with Devaraj and in Telugu as Astram (2006) with Vishnu Manchu and Anushka Shetty.


Arms trade is taking place in India. An arsenal enters Indian territory via the state of Rajasthan, which makes its way to interior of India with help of many middlemen. Bala Thakur, a gun handler in Chandrapur, provides the arms to Veeran, a forest dwelling brigand. Later, Veeran and his gang attack a wedding bus, mercilessly gunning down every person in it which includes women and children. The government appoints a Special Action Team in Mumbai to trace the roots behind the attack. The team learns about Bala Thakur, but thanks to his informants, Thakur flees before he can be apprehended.

Meanwhile, ACP Ajay Singh Rathod, a resident of Mumbai, is attending a concert by the famed ghazal singer Gulfam Hassan (a Muhajir), where he spots a familiar face, Seema. Ajay had a crush over Seema when they were studying in Delhi, but never got the courage to propose her. The duo are happy to meet each other again and gradually fall in love. Gulfam, on the other hand, is Indian by birth, but had to move to Pakistan as a child during partition. Deeply scarred due to the experience, he is still happy that the Government allows him to live in his palatial residence whenever he comes to India. Gulfam finds a huge fan in Ajay, who used to attend his programs as a child. Despite the age difference, the two bond.

Inspector Salim a Muslim inspector is taken off from the Special Action Team when a notorious gangster Sultan escapes his clutches and he is severely reprimanded his superior for this failure and for cuing the death of two other officers in the attempt. Despite being an honest and upright police officer with the best intelligence gathering network in the force, Salim is rueful that he is being given second class treatment because he is a Muslim and is being perceived as having let Sultan escape because he was a Muslim as well. His anger at the system doesn't lessen when Ajay, who was his junior, is told to head the team. Ajay wants Salim on the team, but Salim refuses. It is revealed that Ajay's father was going to testify against some terrorist who had threatened him not to testify, but in an attempt to stop them from doing so, Ajay's elder brother was killed. Ajay's father was kidnapped and by the time the terrorists spared him, the man had lost his voice. This motivated Ajay to join the police force.

Unknown to Ajay, Gulfam is also working for the Pakistani intelligence which is attempting to create havoc in India and create a proxy war between both sides. Since Gulfam likes Ajay, he sees to it that nothing untoward happens to him. Here, Salim finds the location of Bala Thakur along with the information that Sultan, the man who escaped from his clutches, will also be there. Salim gives the information to Ajay who makes peace with Salim and convinces him to join the team again. An encounter at the criminals' rendezvous results in the death of Bala Thakur and Ajay is seriously injured. Though Sultan and his right-hand man Shiva manage to escape, the operation is deemed a success as the team is able to intercept a large consignment of lethal arms and ammunition meant for terrorist Veeran and his terrorist acts around the country. Sultan is later assassinated on Gulfams orders because of his failure and false information is leaked that he has escaped to Pakistan.

While recuperating, Ajay has an epiphany which leads the team to Bahid in Rajasthan and to "Mirchi Seth" Rambandhu Gupt. The investigative team save for Ajay and Salim camp in Bahid and gather all possible information on Mirchi Seth. Ajay comes over to Bahid to investigate and meets Gulfam who is temporarily staying in his ancestral manor near Bahid. Gulfam attempts to derail the investigation through political means and ordering an assault on Ajay to subvert the investigation, but of no avail. The repeated failures on Gulfam's part displease the senior officers in Pakistani Intelligence, who dispatch Major Aslam Baig to take care of the business.

Here, Ajay goes through the information collected so far and realises that he has seen many key suspects near Gulfam, but fails to make the connection. The investigative teams prepares for a final assault on the gun-running operation and in the pursuit of Mirchi Seth land up at Gulfam's mansion. Ajay feels betrayed when he learns of Gulfam's treachery, but is aware of lack of substantial evidence to indict Gulfam for his crimes. He goads and tricks Gulfam into killing Baig and arrests him for the offence. After realising what happened, Gulfam reveals how the incidents that happened during the partition embittered him and why he did those deeds.

In retaliation, Ajay makes him realise that his actions are not benefiting people of any religion. After Ajay makes him see the error in his ways, Gulfam, unable to stand the humiliation and guilt, commits suicide. Gulfam's suicide is hushed up and the team returns triumphant to Mumbai to much accolades for busting the terrorist racket. At Mumbai Airport, Salim is tipped on the whereabouts of Veeran and Ajay embarks on another investigation with his team.


Critical reception[edit]

Sarfarosh was praised by the critics. Naseeruddin Shah was specially praised for his role of a Muhajir(Muslim Indians who migrated to Pakistan after the Partition of India). [5] Aamir was also praised for the role of ACP.





Studio album by Jatin Lalit
Released 1999
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Length 30:47
Label Tips
Producer Jatin Lalit
Jatin Lalit chronology
Silsila Hai Pyar Ka

The film's music was composed by Jatin Lalit. Lyrics are penned by Israr Ansari, Nida Fazli, Sameer, and Indeevar.

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Indeevar, Israr Ansari, Nida Fazli & Sameer, all music composed by Jatin Lalit.

No. Title Lyrics Singer(s) Length
1. "Hoshwalon Ko Khabar Kya"   Nida Fazli Jagjit Singh 05:02
2. "Is Deewane Ladke Ko"   Sameer Alka Yagnik, Aamir Khan 04:40
3. "Jo Haal Dil Ka"   Sameer Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik 05:26
4. "Meri Raaton Ki Neendein Uda De"   Indeevar Alka Yagnik 04:37
5. "Yeh Jawani Hadh Kar De"   Sameer Kavita Krishnamurthy 04:44
6. "Zindagi Maut Na Ban Jaye"   Israr Ansari Roop Kumar Rathod, Sonu Nigam 06:18


  1. ^ "". rediff. 14 March 1999. 
  2. ^ "". rediff. 3 Jan 2000. 
  3. ^ "'s-decade-change-hindi-cinema-1999-part/index-1578.html/2". 21 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "". koimoi. 1 July 2014. 
  5. ^ "The enemy within". Rediff. 

External links[edit]