Shaheed-e-Mohabbat Boota Singh (1999): This film is perhaps the truest rendering of the story. Popular Punjabi singer and actor Gurdaas Maan plays the role of Boota Singh.
Though a film by a first time film maker Punj, it is handled with simplicity and grace that stays true to both the actual story and the various factors that lead to the separation of the two lovers and finally Buta Singh's suicide.
Gadar: Ek Prem Katha (2001): This film by Anil Sharma, the most popular version of the Buta Singh saga, not only refuses to stay true to the story but ends up trivialising Partition by invoking anti-Muslim sentiments and giving air to Hindutva jingoism.
Instead of the sensitive Buta Singh, the hero of Gadar is a murderer himself who barks expletives against Pakistan and single-handedly rescues the girl from Pakistan.
Partition (2007): A foreign version of Buta Singh's story was released in 2007. Called Partition, this Canadian film starred Jimi Mistry and new comer Kristin Kreuk.
In a desperate attempt to reconcile with the commercial cinema's fetish for happy endings, the film simplifies the story. Every element that gives Buta Singh's pain so much poignancy has been either subdued entirely or simplified.
Even his final tragic act of suicide in the real story, is shown as a mere accident in this film. It is not even a convincing love story and loses out on many accounts, least of all a North-American actress who neither looks, nor behaves, like a person from the subcontinent.
Image: Gadar had an overdose of jingoism and trivialised Partition by invoking anti-Muslim sentiments and giving air to Hindutva rhetoric