Vikram Batra birthday special. Martyred Captain Vikram Batra would have turned 47 today. The army man died during the 1999 Kargil War and was awarded with India’s highest award for valour- Param Vir Chakra- posthumously. With the release of his biopic Shershaah this year, there is a renewed interest in Batra’s courageous conduct while on duty and his personal life too. His love story with Dimple Cheema has also left viewers heartbroken, inspired and amazed in equal parts. In the film, the roles of Vikram Batra and Dimple Cheema have been essayed by Sidharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani respectively.
Born in 1974, Batra quit post-graduate course that he was pursuing from Punjab University midway when he cleared Defence Services Examination. What we know now, is that this phase holds a special place in his life, as it was while pursuing his MA, English from the university that he met Dimple Cheema, who had also enrolled for the same course. Like Batra, Cheema didn’t finish her post-graduation, but her romance with him continued, and the two were together till the captain’s untimely death.
However, out of the four years of their relationship, the couple spent only 40 days together, staying apart due to Batra’s training and postings. This was revealed by the writer of Shershaah, Sandeep Srivastava, who had spoken to Cheema while preparing for the film. There were speculations that the couple was married, or at least engaged at the time of Batra’s death, however, his twin brother Vishal clarified this year in an interview that neither is true. The couple was indeed set to marry, but no official ceremony of any kind had taken place.
However, the sequences depicted in Shershaah, of Batra using his blood as sindoor to apply on Cheema’s forehead seems to be true and this incident was narrated by Cheema herself four years ago, during one of her rare interviews. Cheema recalled that the couple had a ritual of visiting Nada Saheb Gurudwara and Mansa Devi Temple together. While doing parikrama on one such visits at the gurudwara Batra walked behind Cheema and once it was finished, he said to her, “Congratulations Mrs Batra.” When Dimple Cheema turned around, she saw that Batra had been holding on to her dupatta. He then said to her, “Didn’t you realise that this is the fourth time we are doing this parikrama?’”
The long distance relationship was certainly not easy for Cheema and during one of Batra’s visits she had raised the issue of marriage with him, as she was feeling a bit insecure. How did Batra react? Cheema recalled, “Without saying anything, he took a blade out of his wallet, cut his thumb and filled my ‘maang’ with his blood.” The incident is the most cherished moment of her life till date. Infact, she used to tease Batra later that he is “pura filmy.”
After Batra’s death, Dimple Cheema refused to get married to any other person. Batra’s twin brother and his family had encouraged Cheema to move on, but in vain. To this day, she continues to live as his bereaved.