In spite of all the strong reactions and threats over human representation of the first Sikh Guru in “Nanak Shah Fakir”, the movie’s producer is unfazed.
A day after reiterating that he had carried out all the changes suggested by Sikh religious heads, Harinder Sikka went ahead with an aggressive advertisement campaign in the social and print media announcing the release on April 17.
Music director AR Rehman and sound designer Resul Pookutty, both Oscar winners, along with veteran classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj and music director Uttam Singh had released the music of the Guru Nanak biopic in New Delhi recently.
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Reacting to the criticism from religious and radical quarters, Sikka said: “I am not wrong on any front, as I brought the film into public domain after showing it to almost every senior member of the SGPC (Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee), many of whom appreciated it. The changes I was advised I have made duly, and that too for a considerable expense.”
For weeks, radicals have been threatening Sikka but he says that “a handful of naysayers cannot decide what millions of followers should watch or not”. His team is busy promoting the film. Sikka said the film and its trailer had received a huge and positive response at international film festivals, “and these supporters are not affected by any criticism”.
The film, he says, is about the philosophy of Guru Nanak, message of Ek Onkar, and three primary pillars of Sikhism—Kirat Karna (to work hard and earn an honest living), Vand Chhakna (to share the fruits of one’s labor) and Naam Japna (to remember God). “It also talks about the importance of women in society, message that a massive, intelligent audience across the globe has liked. Fringe groups cannot dictate the world. My focus is on promoting the great life and teachings of Guru Nanak, and I can’t afford distractions. I am keeping away from politics, because I wouldn’t want the Guru’s name to be associated with it.”
On Tuesday, the SGPC had sought a complete ban on the film, saying it violated Sikh tenets and the rules for cinematic works based on Sikh religious subjects. Its executive body had called upon the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and the central government to not clear the movie for release. Sikka denies that using computer graphics violated Sikh tenets. “I have deepest regard for my community, and wouldn’t hurt its sentiments. The film will release in more than 50 other countries and none of them see any objection,” said the film producer.
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