Bajrangi Bhaijaan has found an unexpected coincidence with a real-life story of an Indian woman named Geeta stranded in Pakistan. Reel life is actually real life for Geeta, 23, a differently-abled woman who is believed to have crossed into Pakistani territory 13 years ago, but could not find her way back.
The Pakistan Rangers had taken Geeta, who could neither speak nor hear, to a shelter in Karachi, run by charity network Edhi Foundation. Though Edhi Foundation and Pakistani activist Ansar Burney have been trying to locate her family since then, all their efforts went in vain. The search gained momentum with the release of Salman Khan-starrer Bajrangi Bhaijaan, which has a plot line strikingly similar to Geeta’s story.
Director Kabir Khan said that they’re trying to spread the story across various media platforms so that her family can get in touch. “We came to know of Geeta just two days before and it was extremely surprising. There are far too many resemblances, little girl, who can’t speak and lost across the border. So when I received calls from newspapers and channels, I thought we should talk about it. If we can help in any way to bring attention to it, to spread more information across newspapers and channels, then it’d be really good,” he said at a press conference.
He also said that Salman Khan too was surprised to hear about the story. “He too said the same thing that we should talk about it through tweets and other media. Because our film is still running in the theatres and has been successful, if we use this platform to talk about the case, then the news will spread further,” he added.
In the film, Nawazuddin Siddiqui who plays the role of a Pakistani reporter helps Salman and Harshaali Malhotra to find their destination.
“We can do only one thing, which is to talk to the media. We can actually do what the character of Nawazuddin said in the film, ‘There is only one medium, TV’. If we spread it through TV and newspapers then perhaps someone will recognise Geeta or perhaps a relative could inform them about such a story. Our ultimate goal is to see that the family knows about it,” said the Phantom director.
The Indian government too has got into the act, sending the Indian envoy to Karachi to meet the hearing and speech-impaired woman, who was handed over to the Edhi Foundation after she accidentally strayed into Pakistani territory in 2003 when 11. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj subsequently said that Geeta will be brought back home.
On Sunday, Burney tweeted a link of his Facebook campaign to Sushma, which said “in search of a family of missing Indian girl”. In her response on Monday, the minister said,“I have asked Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan T C A Raghavan to go to Karachi with Mrs Raghavan and meet this girl”. Raghavan and his wife are now likely to fly to Karachi on Wednesday.
Unable to hear or speak, Geeta copies words in Hindi from books and sometimes points frantically at map of India on a mobile phone.
Bajrangi Bhaijaan has a similar story, with Salman Khan taking the risk to sneak into Pakistan to get back ‘Munni’, a diffabled Pakistani girl, to her rightful family in PoK. In his quest, he is helped by sympathetic government officials and a journalist.