HAIDER Co-Star Turns Real-Life Kashmiri Militant; Gets Killed in a Military Encounter

By SM.14 Dec, 2018





It is said that sometimes Cinema reflects Life, and sometimes vice-versa. A few years back, director Vishal Bharadwaj delivered one of his finest film in Haider. Starring Shahid Kapoor, Tabu and Shraddha Kapoor, Haider was an adaptation of the Shakespearean play, Hamlet, and was set against the backdrop of Kashmiri militancy. While the movie got a lot of acclaim for the direction and the performances, Haider was also accused by some quarters for having pro-militant sentiment.

Saqib Bilal Sheikh, who featured in the Bollywood movie Haider, was killed during a gunfight with security forces on Sunday in Srinagar.

Following an encounter between security forces and terrorists in Mujgund area in the outskirts of Srinagar city, three terrorists, including 17-year-old Saqib, were killed on Sunday.

Saqib, who featured in the 2013 film Haider for a brief role, went missing from home in August along with his 14-year-old friend Mudasir Rashid Parray, who was also among those killed on Sunday.

On August 31, Saqib"s mother asked him to go to a nearby market to get some meat for lunch, and that was the last time the family saw him.

Saqib"s family confirmed that they had no clue he had picked up the gun and turned to terrorism.

"Yes, he worked in the film "Haider". But it wasn"t the main role it was just a "chocolate boy" role," said Saqib"s maternal uncle Asim Aijaz.

In the film, there was a scene at Amar Singh College in which there were many children and suddenly a bomb blast took place and Saqib"s character was of the lone survivor in that blast, his uncle said. "It was just a 15-second scene."

The 17-year-old completed his Class 10 in 2017 and was a theatre artiste.

Saqib was part of many local plays. "He was in school when he was first cast in a children"s drama. His play was showcased in Srinagar and Odisha," his uncle said.

After joining terrorism, Saqib reportedly returned to his village many times. He even met some of his friends during his visit, said Mr Aijaz adding that he, however, never tried to reunite with his family.

"None of his friends told us about his visits, maybe because they were scared of him. He had a gun with him," Aijaz said.

"The police officer of the area had promised us that they would let us speak to Saqib if ever they caught hold of him. We wanted to ask him what was it that made him choose this path. We always fulfilled all his needs and demands. We wanted to understand what forced him into taking up a gun. But that never happened," he said.