November 27, 2014 | By Neha Saini (The Tribune)
Mohali, Punjab: As a refugee from Pakistan, a destitute himself, he had the heart to help the neglected and rejected on the streets of Amritsar. Such was the determination and dedication Bhagat Puran Singh possessed and it changed the lives of many. The man, who epitomised selfless service and founded the All-India Pingalwara Charitable Society to carry on his mission to help the sick, disabled and deserted, did more than just acts of philanthropy.
And presenting his life on the silver screen for the first time is director Harjit Singh and national award winning actor Pavan Malhotra, with the upcoming Punjabi film “Eh JanamTumhare Lekhe”. The film, scheduled to be released worldwide in January 2015, is produced by the All-India Pingalwara Charitable Society and will be an ode to him by Bibi Inderjit Kaur, his successor, carrying forward his legacy and mission.
“The idea for the film was conceived years ago, but we could make it possible only with enough finances. The intention behind the film is to let the world know about the selfless life of Babaji and show the world that despite the challenges, everything is possible. The youth today needs a role model, someone to take inspiration from. Babaji’s story will help them understand about determination, dedication and essence of helping others,” says Bibi Inderjit Kaur. The film will depict significant moments in Bhagat Puran Singh’s life, his childhood, his time at a refugee camp after Partition, his religious belief and impact of his mother’s teachings that ultimately changed the course of his life and his lifelong vow to serve social outcasts. He died in 1992.
Acclaimed actor Pavan Malhotra will be seen portraying the role of Bhagat Puran Singh and a significant part of shooting for film happened at the Pingalwar in Amritsar. The actor, who stated that he knew little about the Bhagat Puran Singh’s work, was overwhelmed by his life story. “He shared once that Babaji’s life has a lot to learn from and he could only present a fraction of it, playing the reel character. There are endless tales about his life, but it’s too difficult to show everything in a two and half hours film,” says Inderjit. A man of conviction and deep religious values, Bhagat Puran Singh used to roam the streets of Amritsar, carrying the destitute off the streets on a hand-pulled rickshaw and bring them to Pingalwara for care and shelter. The society has become a home to over 2,000 inmates and runs several rehabilitation and educational programmes for special children and homeless.
The trailer of the film is already out and received appreciation. Bibi Inderjit Kaur is hopeful that the film will encourage youngsters to adopt the principles of his life, “He began his journey without a single penny in his pocket but a heart full of determination and servitude. He wanted to change the mindset of people, the ones who believe charity only begins with money. The film shows his life just as it happened without any fictionalised bits added for the sake of entertainment.”
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