Unfazed by the criticism and the Punjab government’s decision to suspend the film, filmmaker Harinder Sikka spoke to Usmeet Kaur about how the “superfluous protests” and “concocted stories” by Sikh radical groups have led to intellectuals being deprived of an “informative” film like ‘Nanak Shah Fakir’.
Excerpts from the interview:
The Punjab government has suspended the film on the basis of inputs that it may create a law-and-order problem.
It is an irony that in this digital world where everything is digitalised, a handful of people — be it Sikh religious leaders or the radical groups — can force the state government into taking such a position. How can the handful of people decide what the rest of the people would see or not? Ironically, the film was seen by hardliners in the UK, but instead of criticising it, they came out moist-eyed and appreciated it.
Is the suspension a hasty decision? Or is it the outcome of the pressure created by the radical groups?
It is a sad state of affairs. How can someone come to a conclusion like this without watching the film? Those who have not seen the film (radical groups) have concocted stories and held protests to mislead others. I am unhappy with its suspension but feel this must be the god’s wish. It is unfortunate that because of a handful of people even the intellectuals in Punjab will be deprived of the film.
Was the film cleared by the censor board? After the Sikh leaders asked the board to ban the film, did you face any problems?
My film was cleared by the censor board. At no point did they object to the film and its content. They have been positive about it throughout and are unfazed like me. The board members know that there is nothing controversial in it. I would again say that I have not violated any Sikh tenets.
The film will be releasing in the rest of the country and even globally.
It is unfortunate that the people of Punjab who follow Guru Nanak religiously won’t be able to take their families to watch it in theatres, whereas the rest of the country and the world will be watching it.
Do you feel the youth of Punjab should see the film as it depicts the life and teachings of the guru?
I am sure the ones who want to see the film will not waste time criticising it. The youth, like always, will find its way.