India

Sam Manekshaw: Why is this Indian war hero trending?

Sam Manekshaw Image copyright Getty Images

An announcement that a Bollywood film will be made on Indian war hero Sam Manekshaw has seen him trend on social media 11 years after his death.

Manekshaw is arguably India's best known army general.

He was the chief of the Indian army during the 1971 war with Pakistan, which led to the creation of Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan.

He was also the first Indian army officer to be promoted to the rank of field marshal.

The film's "first look" - a poster featuring lead actor Vicky Kaushal - was released on Thursday to coincide with Mankeshaw's death anniversary.

It has generated chatter because of Kaushal's "uncanny resemblance" to Manekshaw.

Filmmaker Meghna Gulzar told PTI news agency that while the film will be based on his life, it won't necessarily be a biopic. "I'm looking at the man, his life and his times," she said.

Kaushal also took to Twitter, saying he was "honoured and proud" to play the role of Manekshaw.

Who was Gen Manekshaw?

He was born in 1914 to Parsi parents in British India and began his military career in what was then known as the British Indian Army during World War Two.

He died in 2008, after a career that stretched over four decades and five wars, earning him the nickname of Sam Bahadur (which means Sam the Brave in Hindi).

Known as one of India's greatest war heroes, Manekshaw was praised for his swift leadership during the 1971 India-Pakistan war.

He is a recipient of the Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan - two of India's highest civilian awards.

"Sam Manekshaw's name will be etched in history as one of the greatest soldiers and minds India has ever seen," Ronnie Screwvala, whose company RSVP is producing the film, told Indian media.

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