From a crowd of Punjabi films revolving around the theme of romantic-comedy, artistically stimulating projects are steadily finding ground. This time, one such venture comes from Punjabi lyricist Amardeep Gill, as he dons the hat of a director for the first time. Sutta Naag is a Punjabi short film based on Sahitya Akademi Award winner Ram Saroop Ankhi’s 1963 short story of the same name.
Bathinda-based Gill, 46, who had read the story almost 30 years ago as a child says, “I started writing the script for the film in 2012 and shot it in February this year in two villages: Bhabaan in Hanumangarh district, Rajasthan, and Sikh Wala in Muktsar district, Punjab.”
Sutta Naag is based on a woman’s battle with emotions, her deep-seated love for a man she couldn’t get married to and the events that follow when she realises her husband is the murderer of her lover. “Apart from the story itself that was an inspiration, I was also eager to recreate Punjab of the 1960s. The film’s cast includes Kul Sidhu, Raj Joshi, Gurnam Sidhu, Sohaj Brar, Dharminder Kaur and Jagtar Aulakh,” adds Gill. Kul Sidhu and Dharminder Kaur have earlier played significant roles in Anhe Ghore Da Daan, a highly acclaimed 2011 Punjabi film by Gurvinder Singh.
Gill, who claims to be inclined to make films on socially relevant issues, insists that he wants his audience to be able to comprehend his work. On his journey from being a lyricist to a filmmaker, he says, “Filmmaking was always on my mind. But, the subject of the film didn’t find producers and so instead of a feature film, I decided to make a 43-minutes short film.” Made at a budget of R3.5 lakh, the finances for Sutta Naag have poured in from Gill’s fans abroad, he says. “Half of the money was given by some friends who I have been in touch with on Facebook for over two years. I have never met these people but they respect my work and offered support. I work only for artistic appreciation.”
The man who penned popular Punjabi songs including Hans Raj Hans’s Ae Jo Sili Sili Aundi Hai Hawa, Dukh Bol Ke Je Daseya, Amrinder Gill’s Je Mile Oh Kudi and Lehmber Hussainpuri’s Kehre Pind Di Tu Ni, now wants to take his first film to international film festivals. “The film premiered at Punjabi International Film Festival held in Toronto this year. It will soon be screened in Australia by Raabta Radio and I will also be sending the film to upcoming film festivals including Jaipur International Film Festival, Chennai International Film Festival and Goa International Film Festival. The DVD of the film will be out in July,” informs Gill.
Next, Gill is writing the script of a film that he plans to direct, Kalri Dharti, based on writer Baldev Singh Sadaknama’s novel; has also been roped in to write the story, screenplay and dialogues for a film by Mandeep Benipal, director of Sadda Haq. Apart from writing Punjabi film, Sarhad, Gill is busy penning lyrics too.