After months of stalling due to objections by the censor board, Kaum de Heere (Diamonds of the Community), a Punjabi movie on the assassination of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi and the assassins, is set for release on August 22.
Some audio notes have been deleted on the board’s directions, informs writer-director Ravinder Ravi, "but there is nothing controversial in the movie".
Also read: Censor board delays screening of Kaum De Heere
The movie was first scheduled for release on February 28 and then March 14, but, when it was put on hold in India, an overseas release gave it some success.
Speaking with HT, Ravi said the script is "based on true events, as per the findings of Justice Thakkar Commission (that probed the assassination)".
"The motive is to tell the audience the actual chain of events and give biographical accounts of Beant Singh, Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh (the first two were bodyguards who killed Indira, the third was convicted too for being an accomplice)."
Indira was assassinated at 9.20am on October 31, 1984, at her New Delhi residence, in the aftermath of Operation Bluestar, the Indian army’s June 1984 flush-out of militants from the Golden Temple in Amritsar which had left the shrine heavily damaged.
For Ravi, cinematographer-filmmaker Santosh Sivan’s The Terrorist, a movie about the woman human bomb who killed Indira’s son Rajiv Gandhi, was an inspiration. "In that film, the story unfolds with the huge canvas of war in the background, but the focus was on the human bomb and the trauma she went through. Similarly, Kaum de Heere has few scenes of Operation Bluestar in the backdrop but the focus is on the lives of Satwant (played by Sukhdeep Sukh), Beant (Raj Kakra) and Kehar (Sardar Sohi). The story unfolds post-Bluestar and goes on till the hanging of the heroes. It is a very emotional film where the audience will get to know why there was a transformation from being loyal bodyguards to assassins. What they felt when they visited the Golden Temple after Bluestar, and what they and their families went through," asserts the director.
On the title "that was objected to specifically by Leela Samson (censor board chairperson)", Ravi said, "Basically, the censor board had a problem why the film title portrayed the killers of Indira Gandhi as heere (diamonds). We clarified that even the SGPC (Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee) has honoured them as ‘martyrs of Sikhism’. Jathedar of the temporal seat, Akal Takht, bestows siropas (robes of honour) on the relatives of the assassins."
"Another point was why we had not shown the government side. To this, we asked that, when films or documentaries are made and funded by the government do they show our side of the opinion? I think they understood, thus there was a compromise that I had to cut some audio notes; but I was firm on not cutting important scenes," he added.
Kakra, who is better known as a lyricist and plays Beant, says, "It is a very balanced film, and will not hurt any community. It has been made in an intelligent and careful manner."
Sukhdeep, who plays Satwant, says, "The most interesting and touching story is of Satwant Singh and his fiancée Surinder Kaur (played by Isha Sharma) which would run parallel and is also based on facts."