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Movie Review: Punjab 1984

June 28, 2014 | By

The title “Punjab 1984” was giving an impression that the movie may be related to the traumatic events of 1984 that had affected the global Sikh society. Though there were not much expectations that the movie would tell the tales of 1984 cultural trauma.

The writer-cum- director of the movie claimed that his film was “not political” and it was based a story of a tragedy witnessed by a mother and a son.

If we are to briefly talk about the tragedy of the mother and her son, as screened in “Punjab 1984”, it is the story of a mother whose son was picked by the police at the behest of a relative with whom the family had a land dispute. Mother had almost an unending wait for her son. At the same time it’s a story of a son who do not want to go home secretly in the night just because of threat of police persecution, rather he wished to visit his home openly, in broad day light and with honour.

Punjab 1984 movie by anurag singh starring diljeet dosanjhFirstly, it must be noted here that the claims of presenting a political phenomena in a “non-political” manner is a big politics in itself, and such claims never hold the truth. Were the enforced disappearances in Punjab apolitical? Morevoer, what ever sketch of the Sikh struggle or the armed militant movement is drawn in “Punjab 1984” movie that represents a particular (state or anti-Sikh) view-point and could not be termed as “not-political” in any manner.
Secondly, “Punjab” and “1984” joints marks towards events of a specific period; rather it creates a specific symbol.

In this light our view is that “Punjab 1984” was a big title and was a symbol of Sikh cultural trauma. It was related to the existential concerns of the Sikh nation and it was also connected to the Sikh struggle.

But the movie has been made on an entirely different ground and some loose rings are inserted in it to make it appear that it was connected to “Punjab” and “1984”.

Many movies based on themes related to police excesses, political games of politicians, family tragedies, self-respect have been made in the past and these would remain the themes of many future movies as well; but all this alone was not sufficient to express “Punjab 1984” in true light.

Moreover, what ever loose rings are inserted in movie to connect it’s story to Punjab 1984 are, in essence, a cruel joke with the Sikh struggle and the trauma of the Sikhs as well.

The movie presents Sikh struggle in bad-light. It’s not just influenced by the state propaganda rather it seems it be part of that propaganda, so far as this part of the movie is concerned.

All the scenes related to the Sikh militant movement in the movie presents the only image of the struggle as mindless, violent and cruel terrorism that was being fueled by some self-interested politicians.

Readers should decide it themselves if it was right to acknowledge such a view point about the Sikh struggle presented under the grab of presenting a story of tragedy witnessed by a mother and a son?

Those who hold different views are always welcome to express themselves.

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