Tusshar Kapoor who plays a sardar for the first time in the rom-com Char Din Ki Chandni, recalls how he was late for the first day because it took him an hour to get the turban tied. “When I finally stumbled out, sweating in my jacket, turban and false beard in 45 degreees temperature, I discovered that while all the other actors had just a line each, I had a long dialogue sheet. I almost got a sunstroke,” he reminisces.
Now, reportedly, a line mouthed by his character, Pappi Sardar, in a promo has been met with frowning disapproval by the Sikh community and Tusshar had to re-dub it while promoting the film in UP, replacing ‘tatti' (shit) with toilet. Chandrachur Singh also got rapped over an abusive word. Fortunately, once the changes were made, the community passed the film, along with the Censors.
Says a relieved Tusshar, “I really respect the Sikhs, my father (Jeetendra) was born in Amritsar and I paid my respects at the Golden Temple last Sunday. I’ll be present at a special screening for 200 Sardars at a Mumbai theatre on Wednesday, March 7.”
He admits that the uncouth loudmouth Pappi is the absolute opposite of him and he was nervous about carrying off the character. “Samir’s (director Samir Karnik) brief to me was to think of a ‘gaali’ (abusive word) every time I spoke a line without actually saying it aloud,” he laughs, adding that a tutor was hired so he’d get his lines right.
Pappi’s body language is modelled on co-actor Om Puri, whom he describes as “bindaas (free-spirited) and khullam khulla (open and uninhibited)” in his social interactions. “Pappi is like a male Silk, bold without exposing his body,” explains Tusshar, recalling how he invited Kulraj Randhwa to sit on his knee and told an elderly Anita Raaj that she was “tip top and well-maintained”.
Movies that ran into trouble with sardars
Singh Is Kinng (2008): On August 1, 2008, the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) wrote to Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit asking for a ban on the film for ridiculing the community after promos showed Akshay Kumar’s character sporting a trimmed beard. After a 50-minute discussion with Akshay and producer-director Vipul Shah, and 12 changes, they passed the film with a “clean chit”.
Love Aaj Kal (2009): Saif Ali Khan’s trimmed beard in his first home production had also offended the Punjabi Cultural And Heritage Board (PCHB) that sent a memorandum to Saif and co-producer Dinesh Vijan, along with director Imtiaz Ali. Following discussions, they cleared the film.
Dil Bole Hadippa (2009): PCHB was annoyed with Rani Mukerji’s character in this Yashraj production for donning a ‘patka’ instead of a ‘pagdi’ and using the 'patka' sign in place of a dot over the ‘I’ in Hadippa in the title. The matter was resolved amicably.