G S Paul, Tribune News Service
Amritsar, April 7. Led by its producer-actor Kuljinder Singh Sidhu, the crew of banned Punjabi movie ‘Sadda Haq’ today approached the Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Gurbachan Singh, urging him to intervene in the matter.
The Jathedar said the issue would be deliberated upon at the next maating of the five high priests. “The opinion of the high priests will be conveyed to the SGPC for further action,” the Jathedar said. The film crew, along with members of several Sikh organisations, performed ardas at Akal Takht.
The Punjab Government has banned the film which focuses on the dark days of militancy in the state. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), that had played a key role in getting clearance from the Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC) last year, has now distanced itself from the matter. Dejected, filmmaker Sidhu said the ban on his film, that had been cleared by the censor board with a U/A certificate, was arbitrary.
The film’s promotional song, ‘Baghi’ , reportedly equates Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Jagtar Singh Hawara and Balwant Singh Rajoana with freedom fighters. “Since there is no problem in letting the public watch films based on the Naxalite movement, the government appears biased in banning my film which is about a minority community,” he said.
He announced that he would move the Supreme Court against the government’s decision, if nothing else worked.
“We have requested the high priests to form a committee comprising Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Muslims to view the film for an unbiased opinion,” he said.
“It is nothing but murder of freedom of expression. The film is a true portrayal of whatever happened during the period of militancy. It is ironical that a handful of bureaucrats have given their verdict against the screening of the film on the plea that it may disturb peace and harmony. Their apprehension is totally baseless,” Sidhu added.
Anandpur Sahib: Washing his hands of the controversy, SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar, during his visit here on Sunday, said it was the prerogative of the state government to take a decision on whether or not to ban a film.
Makkar, who was the chief guest at an inter-state turban tying competition, said the state government had to look after law and order too.
Of the 2,000 students who participated in the ‘dastarbandi’ contest, 245 were selected for special prizes. Prabhpreet Singh of Guru Nanak Senior Secondary School, Dhannupura, Amritsar, won the first prize. Gurnoor Singh of Dasmesh Model Senior Secondary School, Doraha, and Kaka Harpreet Singh of Sahibzada Fateh Singh Public School, Malerkotla, were declared first and second-runners up.
The three were awarded a cash prize of Rs 31,000, 21,000 and 11,000, respectively.