Choicest films for Sikh film festival

YUBA CITY: A Sikh Film Festival will be held at 17th Punjabi American Festival on May 29 at Yuba Sutter Fairgrounds. The following are among the films to be shown at the non-profit event:
It begins with a 3-minute musical video Aao Ji in high resolution by King Gurcharan Mall.
The Reunion by Angad Bhai (20 minutes): Two friends who share a common background reunite after several years of being apart. One is a Sikh who has cut his hair after being brutalized during a hate crime, and the other has kept his hair since birth. Their dialogue deals with issues Sikhs face when trying to assimilate into modern American society, while maintaining their cultural and religious heritage.
Riding The Tiger by Michael Singh (12 minutes). Michael is great documentary producer. He is son in law of Burt Lancaster the great Hollywood legend who had won several Oscars.
Riding the Tiger recounts Michael Singh’s personal and intimate journey into self-identity as a half-Sikh young man who survived the atrocities of 1984, denying his Sikh heritage and passing for a white man. His story is set against the backdrop of the bloodiest year in modern Sikh history.
In 1984, the Indian Government sponsored massacres of Sikh men women and children in both June and November of 1984. After Prime Minister Indira Gandhi lay siege on the Sikh’s holiest site–The Golden Temple–Michael and his brother Surinder managed to infiltrate it and view the destruction following the gunning down of hundreds of pilgrims.
Five months later, Mrs. Gandhi’s bloody siege resulted in her own death when her two Sikh bodyguards assassinated her. In return, Government-guided mobs all over New Delhi raped, scalped, and butchered thousands more Sikh men, women and children. For three terrifying days, some thirty Sikh women and children hid in the bedroom of Michael and Surinder’s host, the Bishop of Delhi, Maqbool Caleb. The Indian Government has yet to account for what it did to the Sikhs.
This 12-minute movie -a preview of a planned one-hour film – offers a riveting glimpse into Michael’s experience.
The Prisoner’s Song (21 minutes): Winner of “Best Film” award at the Spinning Wheel Film Festival, Toronto, 2009. Retired Colonel Perminder Randhawa serves as a guide to an 80-second audio recording made during WWI by Punjabi farmer Mal Singh, while he was a German prisoner of war. The British Empire recruited soldiers from all across the empire in their fight against Germany and Mr. Singh found himself captured at the Battle of Flanders in 1915, where one of the young soldiers was Adolf Hitler.
In this rare recording made by German scientists studying their multi-ethnic POWs, Singh tells his captors that once upon a time he came from a land “of butter and milk,” but now in European hands he is dying of hunger, and yearning for peace and a return to his native land.
An insightful commentary by Indian Army veteran Colonel Randhawa points out the irony that the Sikhs, while fighting for their own independence from British oppression, were still willing to aid the British Empire in their European “War for Civilization.”
Britain’s dubious promise to Mal Singh and his family ends this unique and poignant glimpse into the past.
Wagah by Supriyo Sen (20 minutes): Each night the only border crossing between India and Pakistan on a 1000km stretch becomes the sight of an extraordinary event. Thousands of people gather to witness the ritual closing of the border, after which the masses get as close as possible to the gate to greet their former neighbors. This “festival” is therefore on the one hand a celebration of the partition, but on the other hand also the only connecting element. What do the terms separation, home and proximity mean to the people on both sides? Winner of 32 International Awards.

India Post News Service

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