Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Avtar Singh Makkar on Friday reiterated the long-standing demand of having a Sikh on the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
In a chat with HT in the wake of the latest controversy over the alleged human representation of Guru Nanak in the forthcoming film “Nanak Shah Fakir”, Makkar said the SGPC had every right to ensure that there was no negative portrayal of Sikh Gurus and religion in movies. “We have been demanding a say in the CBFC but no one has bothered to appoint a Sikh on this board. This is why we demand that the movies with Sikh characters be shown to us before release,” he said.
“It is not only about Sikhism, there shouldn’t be negative portrayal of any religion in cinema, as it has a big impact. If others can object to the content that hurts religious sentiments, why is a hue and cry raised when we do it?” Makkar added.
The demand for having a Sikh scholar on the CBFC is not new. It is there since the 1990s. Resolutions in this context have been passed in numerous meetings of the SGPC’s general house. It has its genesis in the comical manner in which Sikh characters were portrayed in the Hindi films of the 1980s and 1990s. However, a lot has changed since, and from comical characters, Sikhs are now shown as patriotic and courageous people. However, the SGPC hasn’t moved on from its demand.
The religious body has rather gone a step further to demand that all Hindi films with Sikh subject or characters be first be shown to it before release. Makkar said the community had praised Harry Baweja’s animated movie “Chaar Sahibzaade” based on the life of four sons of Guru Gobind Singh. About “Nanak Shah Fakir”, he said it had human representation of Guru Nanak, which is forbidden in the religion. “If the makers remove these parts, we will have no objection,” he said.