After Kabir Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan, in which he played the lead and Athiya Shetty, Sooraj Pancholi’s launch vehicle Hero, Salman Khan is ready to roll with his next production, Lions of the Sea. Based on the Komagata Maru incident, the English period-drama features Irrfan Khan in the lead and will roll in mid-2017 with schedules in India, UK, Hong Kong and Canada. The Komagata Maru incident involved the Japanese steamship of the same name on which a group of Indian citizens, comprising of 340 Sikhs, 24 Muslims, and 12 Hindus, all subjects of the British Raj, attempted to immigrate to Canada in 1914. The steamship sailed from Hong Kong, another British colony, via Shanghai, China, and Yokohama, Japan, to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, carrying the passengers from Punjab.Of them, only 24 were admitted to Canada and the ship was forced to return to India.
The incident was the first in a series in which Canada and the US used their exclusion laws to bar immigrants of Asian origin in the early 20th century. “It’s a powerful human story of struggle and triumph in which Irrfan will play a Sikh named Gurdit Singh. The story of those Sardars, Muslims and Hindus is relevant even today as we hear and read about the refugee crisis and racial profiling constantly.We have begun work on the preproduction and will announce the director and the rest of the cast in the next few days,” confirms Amar Butala, Chief Operating Officer of Salman Khan Films. Meanwhile, Irrfan will soon start shooting for Homi Adajania’s Takadum with Sushant Singh Rajput and Parineeti Chopra in which he plays a rockstar-mentor, mostly followed by Tanuja Chandra’s untitled next and will then begin work on Lions of the Sea. He begins prep for the film early next year.
“Lions of the Sea is a film that depicts heroism of all those who were on board and challenged the racial policies of the British Empire,” Salman who has partnered with Ajay Virmani on the film said while addressing the media, adding, “It is imperative to tell this story as it mirrors the current global refugee crisis.Lions of the Sea will allow us to embrace multiculturalism, diversity and bring humanity closer together,” he concluded.