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The 1998 Indian action movie Ghulam, which translates to "Slave," was produced by Vikram Bhatt and starred Aamir Khan and Rani Mukherji. It is a remake of Vishesh Films' debut film, Kabzaa (1988), starring Sanjay Dutt and based on On the Waterfront by Elia Kazan (1954). Ghulam was a hit and fared well at the box office. In 2000, Sudhandhiram, a Tamil version of the film, was released. It stars Aamir Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Deepak Tijori, Akshay Anand, Sharat Saxena.
Boxing champion Siddharth "Siddhu" Marathe is a Mumbai tapori. Raunak "Ronnie" Singh, a former boxing champion who purports to own a travel agency but in reality controls the neighbourhood by terrorising residents and robbing trusting business owners of their money, is managed by his brother Jai Marathe, who also serves as Singh's right-hand man. With the exception of his boxing workouts, Siddhu maintains a fairly meaningless and nomadic existence. He spends his free time with pals and occasionally steals money from wealthy individuals. Siddhu relies on his older brother Jai, who resides in Raunak Singh's home but occasionally visits Siddhu and supplements his finances, for financial support.
In the first scene, Siddhu is being defended in court by a female attorney named Fatima Madam against charges of minor larceny. Due to Siddhu's unfortunate upbringing as an orphan, the attorney tries to persuade the judge to be forgiving of him. Everyone, including Siddhu, laughs as the judge notes that Siddhu has already received leniency four times. Siddhu steals Rs. 400 from his own attorney's wallet during the commotion. He sets Siddhu free. Later, when he inquires about the lawyer's costs, she demands a fee of Rs. 400, forcing him to hand over the cash he had just taken. The attorney makes no mention of knowing that Siddhu had taken an equivalent sum of money.
Later, while having fun with his buddies, Siddhu becomes upset when one of them jokes that the attorney might be taking sexual favours from Siddhu in exchange for representing him in court.
A few days later, Raunak Singh employs Siddhu to deliver a letter to a nearby cricket player and, if the player exhibits any signs of resistance, to beat him up. Siddhu was unaware that the letter instructed the player to leave the game after scoring a specific number of runs so that Ronnie could win a wager. While delivering the letter and intimidating the cricket player into complying with the directives, Siddhu breaks the player's bat.
Later, on the way back, he engages in a motorbike speed competition with a motorcycle gang commanded by Charlie, which develops into a dare to run at night in the direction of a moving train. Siddhu outperforms Charlie in the game. Charlie decides to run one more but trips and falls over the tracks just as the train is about to hit him. Charlie is saved by Siddhu at great personal risk. In the process, Siddhu befriends fellow gang member Alisha, and their friendship develops into love. Siddhu is trying to cheer Alisha up after a disagreement with her father around this time, which is where the popular song Aati Kya Khandala is set.
It is revealed that Siddhu witnessed the death of his own father when he was a little child, which psychologically damaged him all of his life.
Siddhu returns to his hometown and sees an occurrence in which several of Ronnie's men beat up a local restaurateur for refusing to pay extortion money to Ronnie's group. The restaurateur flees for his life as Ronnie's men pursue him, but no one else in the neighbourhood helps. The dispute between a police officer and a policeman is broken up by social worker Harihar Mafatlal. The restaurateur and his two attackers climb onto the roof where Siddhu is practising his boxing, followed by Hari and the police officer.
Hari is enraged at the constable for blaming the victim after the officer breaks up the fight and reprimands the restaurant owner. The attackers parted ways with Siddhu as they did so. Siddhu offers the restaurateur some water and introduces himself to Hari, advising both of them to stay out of Ronnie's bad books. When Hari talks about morality and respect for oneself, Siddhu is reminded of lessons his father had taught him.
When Ronnie learned of this, he was incensed and wished to instantly kill both Hari and the restaurant owner. Ronnie explains to his minions the logic of terror: if even a small number of individuals refuse to comply with his demands, then it will incite more people to rebel against Ronnie's demands.
Because fear is necessary for the kind of respect Ronnie enjoys, being forgiving of a few individuals who defy him based on a short-term cost-benefit analysis will be detrimental to Ronnie in the long run. Jai, on the other hand, counsels Ronnie against acting hastily. It is discovered that Jai and Ronnie are bribing politicians and government officials in order to give Ronnie ownership of a significant construction project.
Later, Hari canvasses a group of peasants in an effort to persuade one of them to sign a police complaint against Ronnie, which will allow for legal action to be done against him.
Jai asks Siddhu to come to the meeting, but he doesn't immediately let Ronnie or Jai know. Instead, Siddhu issues a polite warning to Hari to stop these actions. In the course of the subsequent dialogue, Siddhu claims that his personal motto is "live and let live." Hari discloses the philosophy that directs his own behaviour: he should never be ashamed of what he sees when he looks in the mirror.
However, Ronnie finds out about the happenings at the meeting and is upset. He instructs Siddhu to set up a meeting between Ronnie and Hari so that Ronnie can discourage Hari from engaging in these activities.
Siddhu accepts and asks Hari to follow him to a bridge under the guise that he (Siddhu) has to speak with Hari. Expecting to run into Siddhu, Hari makes his way to the bridge. Hari is beaten up by Ronnie and his men when they arrive, thrown off the bridge, and then crushed under a train. Siddhu gets enraged at Jai and Ronnie and physically assaults Ronnie, but Ronnie's men subdue him, and he is allowed to leave because he is Jai's brother and was the one who accidentally assisted Ronnie in killing Hari. When Siddhu gets home, he breaks the mirror because he can't stand seeing himself in it.
Additionally, Hari's relationship to Alisha, Siddhu's romantic interest, is made known. Because the two of them were living apart, Siddhu was ignorant of this. In order to avoid incriminating his older brother Jai, Siddhu confides everything to Fatima Madam, the female attorney who initially defended him at the beginning of the film but declined to testify against Ronnie in court. He resists the lawyer's attempts to persuade him to testify. They break up after he accepts her challenge to tell Alisha the truth.
A boxing battle that follows, for which Siddhu has been training for several months, is interrupted in the middle of the action by his brother, who informs him that Ronnie has wagered money that Siddhu would lose.
When Siddhu throws the match, the opposing fighter has the opportunity to knock him out. He confronts his brother verbally because he is upset with him. In the process, Siddhu is forced to face the fact that his father had, out of fear of being tortured, betrayed five of his colleagues in the Indian freedom fight to the British, resulting in their all being slaughtered. Siddhu understands that although his father was a wonderful man, he was a coward and lacked the courage to stand up against injustice like the rest of us. Nevertheless, he is aware that his father wished to instil these principles in him, and he makes a commitment to bring Hari's killers to justice and finish the job that Hari started.
He admits to her his theft of Rs. 400 and informs her that he is willing to testify in front of the public against Ronnie as well as his own brother Jai (shown at the beginning of the movie). She declares her admiration for Siddhu and reveals that she was aware of the theft from the beginning and anticipated that Siddhu would eventually come clean about it on his own. She attempts unsuccessfully to get Alisha to pardon Siddhu. Siddhu has changed for the better.
Ronnie is prepared to kill Siddhu when he learns that Siddhu is the one who has complained about him. Jai discourages Ronnie by assuring him that he will prevent Siddhu from publicly testifying against Ronnie.
Siddhu accuses Jai of ignoring his responsibilities as an older brother by urging Siddhu to follow himself in a life of crime in an emotional scene when Jai approaches Siddhu. Jai acknowledges his mistake and apologises. Siddhu finds Alisha waiting for him when he gets home, and they embrace and make up. Later that evening, Ronnie kills Jai, and his followers attempt to kill Siddhu as well. However, the motorcycle gang led by Charlie (whose life Siddhu had before rescued) steps in to save Charlie's life and Siddhu is spared. Siddhu intends to kill Ronnie in person to get revenge for the passing of his brother, but the female attorney comes just in time to stop him.
The following day, Siddhu testifies in court on Ronnie's killing of Hari. The case has been postponed until Monday. Ronnie declares a local bandh and orders all businesses to close as he leaves court. He also arranges for Siddhu's house to be broken into and his possessions to be dumped on the sidewalk. When Siddhu notices this, he approaches Ronnie's residence and challenges him to come out and combat without the protection of henchmen. Everyone in the neighbourhood gathers outside to watch once Ronnie confirms. No one steps in to stop the two boxers' lengthy and violent fight. Siddhu is terribly hurt, but he still prevails.
The locals become more aware of their ability to defy Raunak Singh's extortionate demands when they witness one individual having the fortitude to stand up to him. Despite losing the battle, Ronnie commands his goons to murder Siddhu. The plot is foiled by the locals, who outnumber Ronnie's goons significantly. They attacked Ronnie and his goons collectively, causing them to escape the scene.
|Music By||Jatin-Lalit, Aman Haldipur|
|Production Company||Vishesh Films|
|Country of Origin||India|
|Ghulam Character names||Ghulam Actors real names|
|Alisha Mafatlal||Rani Mukherjee|
|Ronnie Singh||Sharat Saxena|
|Hari Mafatlal||Akshay Anand|