Follow Up

Living up to the reel story, Real ‘Munni’ returns home

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2015,20:25 IST By metrovaartha A A A

This is the story of an Indian girl named Geeta, a deaf -mute who accidentally crossed over to Pakistan more than a decade ago, while travelling with her parents. When Geeta has been just 7 or 8 years old, she was found sitting alone in the Samjhauta Express by Pakistani Rangers 15 years ago at the Lahore railway station. She was adopted by Bilquees Edhi and lived with her in Karachi. This is the real story.
But in reel story, the name Geeta changes to Munna. The film is Bajrangi Bhaijaan. It is the story of a man with a magnanimous spirit who helps a mute girl from Pakistan return home. Salman Khan stars as Bajrangi, an ardent devotee of a Hindu deity, Hanuman, who embarks on taking a six-year old Pakistani girl separated in India from her parents, back to her hometown.
The story received viewer’s attention as that very much resembled the real life a speech and hearing impaired Geeta. With all the improbability of the Bollywood hit Bajrangi Bhaijaan – a film about a mute Pakistani girl lost in India – Geeta’s story has attracted intense public interest and some high-level cooperation between two rival governments.
Salman Khan is inspiring many people across the world after his cross border release of Bajrangi Bhaijan. Not only has he succeeded in changing the thought process about border countries to some extent, but has also inspired people to help children in distress. Geeta had drawn attention as a real life example of “Bajrangi Bhaijaan,” The success of the film ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’, has revived focus on efforts to return Geeta to her home in India.
The Salman Khan movie revolves around a speech-impaired, 5 years old girl – Munni (Harshaali Malhotra) from Pakistan gets separated from her mother at an Indian railway station and finds herself no way to return home. An Indian man, Pavan Kumar (Salman Khan) then decides to take her to her family in Pakistan.
Media celebrated the return of the Indian woman, Geeta, happened to cross the boundary, when she was a little girl. In Pakistan, she had received warm treatment in these long years.
Geeta was wearing a red Salwar Kameez and a stole when reached Delhi airport on yesterday. She was received at the airport by her father and brother, who came all the way from Bihar. She got a heroin’s welcome at the airport. Geeta has identified her father, step-mother and siblings from a photograph sent to her by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. They reportedly live in Bihar. The government is planning to carry out a DNA test to verify the veracity of the claim by those appeared as Geeta’s parents, before she is sent to live with them.
Geeta may meet actor Salman Khan later this month. She had said in sign language about this wish through her interpreter, Faisal Edhi, via Skype from Karachi. She has seen the film more than once and interacted with the actor on a television show through Faisal. Geeta claimed she remembered Indian soldiers shooing her away at the border and Pakistani troops taking her into custody and interrogating.
She said she had a high regard for Pakistanis, who helped her in times of crisis and she added that she has been treated well and was given good food and clothes. She said she had made many friends in Pakistan. She now in her early 20s, was found alone, confused and without identification papers in Lahore in 2002 after boarding a train going to Pakistan from India.
Before boarding a Pakistan International Airlines flight to the Indian capital, a beaming Geeta thanked the Pakistani people for hosting and taking care of her throughout the years.