'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' star Salman Khan along with director Kabir Khan lends a helping hand to locate the family of an Indian girl who strayed into Pakistan 15 years ago
Salman Khan is all set to repeat his 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' act — this time round, in real life. The superstar has extended full cooperation to Pakistani human rights activist, Ansar Burney, who has spent three years trying to locate the family of a 23-year-old Indian girl, who strayed across the border when she was barely six. For those who didn't see the film, Salman helped reunite a lost child with her parents in Pakistan.
(Left) Kabir Khan with Salman Khan; (above) human rights activist Ansar Burney with Geeta
Says a source, "Just like the character Munni in the film, this girl, Geeta, is also speech and hearing impaired. The actor has now asked his team to do all that it takes to help her reunite with her family."
After Bajrangi Bhaijaan released three weeks ago, Burney, who is Pakistan's former federal minister for human rights, recently sought help from Salman and director Kabir Khan. He says Geeta accidentally crossed into Pakistan 15 years ago and the Rangers handed her over to a shelter home in Lahore. After that she was transferred to the Edhi Home in Karachi where she is currently staying.
"We call her Geeta, although her real name is Guddi. She wrote down her name on paper in Hindi. I visited her three years ago, got her pictures and videos and came to India in October 2012 to trace her family. I met a few NGOs in different parts of the country, but in vain. Last month, I enquired about her and got to know that she's still in Karachi, so I resumed my search for her family. In the process, I got in touch with External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj besides Salman Khan and Kabir Khan as Bajrangi Bhaijaan's story is Geeta's story. All three of them have replied to me, saying that they are ready to help her," adds Burney.
The High Commissioner of India in Pakistan also met Geeta yesterday, the activist says. "I am grateful to Sushma Swaraj, Salman Khan and Kabir Khan for their gesture. Both Salman and Kabir Khan have assured me that they will help us find Geeta's parents in India. No matter what problems exist between India and Pakistan, we must help each other on humanitarian grounds," he states.
Salman was unavailable for comment while Kabir says, "When I heard Geeta's story, I felt it was truly tragic. But, at the same time, it was heartwarming to know that a family in Pakistan is taking care of her and treating her like their own. Humanity exists, after all. If the popularity of our film can, in any way, help the girl find her real family in India, I will be thrilled. We cannot ask for a bigger reward. All we can do and are doing is create awareness about Geeta, like we did for Munni in my film. We hope someone comes forward with information about her family and that there's a happy ending to this story too."
The filmmaker says Salman, who is busy shooting for Sooraj Barjatya's Prem Ratan Dhan Payo in Karjat, is also doing everything possible to circulate information about Geeta in various parts of the country. "When I spoke to him over phone, he was also amazed to hear her story and the fact that it bears a similarity to our film. Salman feels that we should create awareness and help the girl," adds Kabir.