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John Abraham to star in Nikkhil Advani’s film on the 2008 Batla House encounter

Abraham will play decorated police officer Sanjeev Kumar Yadav in ‘Batla House’.

John Abraham will play police officer Sanjeev Kumar Yadav in Nikkhil Advani’s film on the 2008 Batla House Encounter, Mumbai Mirror reported. Batla House recreates the encounter between the police and terrorists in Delhi on September 19, 2008, six days after five serial blasts in the city killed 30.

A seven-member Special Cell Team led by Mohan Chand Sharma burst into a flat in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar in search of alleged Indian Mujahideen operatives suspected to be involved in the blasts. Another team led by Yadav reached the spot while the encounter was on. Sharma and two suspected terrorists were killed during the incident, two others were arrested, while a fifth escaped. Several politicians, media and civil society outfits accused the Delhi Police of carrying out a fake encounter. The Supreme Court in 2009 turned down a plea seeking a judicial inquiry into the operation. Yadav and Sharma were both given President’s Gallantry Awards for their roles in the operation. Sharma was also posthumously given an Ashok Chakra.

Advani told the Mumbai Mirror that the film would incorporate different perspectives on the incident. “The encounter will be seen from three perspectives – that of the police, those present near the location, many of whom believed that the bullets flying were for the TV serial Swabhimaan, which was being shot in the vicinity just two days ago, and the real picture,” he said. The film will reportedly go into production in September.

Advani made his directorial debut in 2003 with the Karan Johar-produced Kal Ho Naa Ho. After directing several romantic dramas, Advani made the spy thriller D-Day in 2013. Advani is also producing Milap Jhaveri’s upcoming film Satyamev Jayate, featuring Abraham and Manoj Bajpai, as well as Gauravv K Chawla’s crime thriller Baazaar, starring Saif Ali Khan.

Abraham told Mumbai Mirror that he is looking forward to working with Advani. “His eyes light up when he speaks about Batla House, I see a hunger and passion in him and having him around as producer on Satyamev Jayate makes me believe we will work well together on this story.”

The actor said he had not yet met Yadav. “But I’ve been devouring all the material on him, and from what I’ve read, he seems like a humble man with an interesting back story,” Abraham said.

Abraham will next be seen in Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran, about the build up to the nuclear tests conducted at the Pokhran Army base in 1998, after which India announced itself to the world as a nuclear-powered country. The film, also produced by Abraham, will be released on May 25.

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