After a heart-touching four-minute trailer of Harry Baweja’s first animated feature film on Sikh history, the filmmaker justifies his choice of subject by saying, “Every other religious text was written with pen and paper. The Sikh history, however, was written by the edge of the sword, in the colour of blood.”
At CII, Sector 31, on Saturday to announce his 3D animated film, Chaar Sahibzade, Baweja seems nothing but sure of himself. “Unlike other historical films, this one won’t be released on DVD; it would hit theaters in India and abroad,” says he.
The two-hour feature film, being produced by Baweja’s wife and producer Pammi Baweja, is on the lives of the four sons of tenth Sikh master, Guru Gobind Singh, and is being made on a budget of R20 crore. It is expected to hit theatres (in Hindi, Punjabi and English) by the year-end.
The biggest challenge, says the filmmaker, was the three-year-long research. “I used to fly from Mumbai to Amritsar very often to get different approvals from SGPC. Have had various discussion sessions with many Sikh historians as well. After all the hard work, the last thing I’d want to do is hurt someone’s sentiments.”
Why animation? “Because we are not allowed to portray human beings as Sikh gurus. So, to put forth the story, I had to rely on animation. And it’s not your average cartoon animation, it’s the latest stereoscopic 3Dtechnology that we have used for the film,” explains Baweja.
About what drew him to the story, he says, “All of them — Sahibzade Ajit Singh, Jujhar Singh, Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh — sacrificed their lives for their religion. On learning the news of his sons’ demise, Guru Gobind Singh said, ‘Chaar muye to kya hua jeevat kai hazar’ (so what if I have lost four of my sons, I still have thousands of sons alive).”
Ask him why did he not plan a film on the Guru himself and he says, “Guru Gobind Singh cannot and should not be animated.”