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Punjabi Cinema, Singers/Artists and ban on Sadda Haq

April 7, 2013 | By

Chandigarh, Punjab (April 07, 2013): Punjabi Cinema is on the rise now a days. According to information more than 70 movies are currently on the floor – under shooting in Punjab. Some are terming the contemporary period as “Golden era” of Punjabi Cinema. Punjabi music industry is also quite on the boom in terms of money making. Music industry is being considered as an entry point to the Punjabi cinema and most of the famous singers are now engaged in movies.

Most of the recent Punjabi movies are made on the themes of comedy, drama and romance, with no real message for the society. ‘Mitti’ was an exception to this general trend. The movie’s (Mitti’s) theme was related to some genuine concerns of Punjab.

Sadda Haq Punjabi Movie

Sadda Haq Punjabi movie stands in total contrast with the current trends of the Punjabi cinema. The movie talks about painful past of the Punjab and is, perhaps, the first ever attempt in Punjabi Cinema to present adapted version of real life events on cinema screen.

The movie is a bold and brave attempt to address some basic questions related to the recent past of Punjab, such as – What were basis of struggle by people of Punjab? Why, and under what circumstances, the Sikh youth resorted to arms after 1984? What was the role of respective governments, at the Center or in Punjab? How the armed movement was tackled by the state and it’s security forces? How the people of Punjab suffered between two opposing barrels of guns? What is the current status of rightful issues of Punjab that were not addressed with sincerity by the Indian state? The movie talks about creating a mass awareness move through peaceful and democratic means.

The movie delivers a clear message that the events of 1980s-90s are the part of history now, but one can not turn blind eye towards these events. According to the makers of Sadda Haq, this film was made with a view that the younger generation must know their recent past, so that the mistakes of past are not repeated again.

Sadda Haq was scheduled to be released worldwide on April 05 but the Punjab government banned it under pressure from Punjab police and the bureaucracy. Following it a ban on Sadda Haq was imposed across North India by respective governments/administrators at Delhi, Chandgiarh, Haryana and Jammu & Kashmir. It was claimed by the Punjab government that the ban was imposed in wake of apprehension of threat to communal harmony and the situation of Law and order. But the real reason behind the ban imposed by the Punjab government seems to be the pressure from the high-ups in Punjab police and bureaucracy, who had watched a special screening of the movie at Punjab Bhawan on April 04. It is considered that the Punjab police bureaucracy was concerned that the movie could expose many episodes of their black past on silver screen. On their recommendation the Punjab government imposed the ban on movie.

The movie was released in United Kingdom, United States of America and Canada; where it has received tremendous response from the viewers. The ban imposed on the movie in home state of the producers has triggered a debate on the issue of curbing free speech and expression by the government, while pleading the so-called threat to communal harmony or law and order.

Dinesh Sood, actor-cum-producer of Sadda Haq, is himself a Hindu. He is of the view that the movie would clear many misconceptions related to the events of 1980s-90s. Many Hindu organizations have also supported the movie. According to Samuel Jones, the maker of Indian award winner – Anne Ghore da Daan, there is nothing “anti-Hindu” in the movie. Semuel was attached to the making of Sadda Haq as a trainer and has extended full support to the movie. He has condemned the ban on the screening of the movie. Some singers dared to support the movie by singing promotional songs or otherwise extending their support – these include lyricist and singer Raj Kaakra, singer Jazzy B, Jassi Jasraj, Lammber Hussainpuri.

The movie was cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), a statutory body in India whose main job is to scrutinize and certify the films/movies. It awarded “U” certificate to Sadda Haq, which was a big achievement as compared to any other Punjabi movie that gets “U/A” certification.

The way the ban is imposed on the screening of the movie is an undemocratic and autocratic step. This is a major attack on basic freedom of speech and expression.

Surprisingly, current major players of Punjabi cinema have not uttered even a single word regarding the ban on the Sadda Haq. No film maker or actor has come forward to express his opposition regarding the ban.

Why the Punjabi films makers, singers/artists – who claim to serve the Punjab, and Punjabi culture – are silent on the ban on Sadda Haq is a big question that is still awaiting answer.

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