Salman Khan-starrer Ek Tha Tiger (2012) was said to be loosely based on the life of the late Indian spy Ravinder Kaushik. Now, director Raj Kumar Gupta has acquired the rights to make a film on the famous Indian spy, and titled it The Black Tiger. Kaushik was called ‘The Black Tiger’ in defense circles, but there’s ambiguity over who gave him the name — former Maharashtra chief minister SB Chavan or former prime minister Indira Gandhi.
The former R&AW agent’s family has given the rights to Gupta, who is yet to pick his cast.
“Ravinder Kaushik was India’s greatest spy. Interestingly, he was an actor before becoming a spy. It’s an emotional and remarkable story. We are at the scripting stage for the film. I am humbled and thankful to his family, who trusted me and gave me the rights to turn this unbelievable story into a film,” Gupta said in a statement.
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Speaking on behalf of the family, Kaushik’s sister Shashi Vashisth, who has given the rights to Gupta said, “From an early age, he was a patriot, he wrote and acted in patriotic plays. He was very handsome, everyone called him Vinod Khanna. I know my brother’s story is very unique and many people have approached us to make a film on him, but it never felt right. When Raj Kumar Gupta approached us since we knew of his films like No One Killed Jessica (2011) we felt confident. He is a sensible filmmaker and he is the right person to tell my brother’s story for the first time.”
Born in Rajasthan in 1952, Ravinder Kaushik was sent to Pakistan in 1975. Kaushik operated in Pakistan under the name of Nabi Ahmed Shakir. Kaushik got admission to Karachi University and went on to complete a degree in Law. He worked as an auditor in the military accounts department of the Pakistan Army. He operated from 1979 to 1983, providing valuable intelligence to R&AW before he was caught by Pakistan’s intelligence agency in 1983.
R&AW had sent another spy Inyat Masiha to Pakistan. Masiha got captured and he spilled the beans on Kaushik too. Kaushik had married a Pakistani woman named Amanat and fathered a child who passed away in 2012-2013.
After being caught, Kaushik was given a death sentence in 1985. It was later commuted to life by the Supreme Court in Pakistan. He died in 2001 after succumbing to pulmonary tuberculosis and heart disease.
Gupta has made a film on a real-life characters before. Gupta’s No One Killed Jessica (2011) was based on the killing of former model Jessica Lal. Gupta’s last film Raid (2018) was inspired by a few high-profile raids in the 1980s. Gupta’s next, India’s Most Wanted, too is said to be a based on a true story.