AFTER BAGGING the best film award at Festival of Globe, San Francisco, Independent Film Festival of San Francisco, and being nominated for the upcoming Vancouver International South Asian Festival, Sundance International Film Festival along with New York Sikh International Film Festival, film producer Ray Walia and writer and associate director Davinder Daman brought their Punjabi film Dheeyan Marjania (The Forgotten Daughters) to Chandigarh on Sunday.
Based on gender discrimination and obsession with male heir among the Punjabi community, Dheeyan Marjania is originally the best selling play penned by Ajmer Singh Aulakh. “This play has been a running hit in the USA and in Punjab. Earlier, the idea was to make it into a television serial. But it didn’t happen, and that’s when US-based hotel tycoon Ray Walia stepped in and backed it as a feature,” said Daman.
As they screened the film for a private audience at Hotel Park Plaza on Sunday morning, Walia pointed out the dangerously skewed sex ratio in Punjab. “Some 825 girls for 1,000 boys? It is unfortunate, this deep-seated bias against daughters, this feudal system and thirst for son that has been going for generations. We hope to knock in some sense with a film like this,” said Walia, adding that “it’s a cause for concern that prevails in across the world and does not restrict itself to only Punjab or Haryana”.
“While Haryana has started Beti Padhao Beti Bachao campaign, what is Punjab doing?” asked Walia.
For Daman, cinema is one of the strongest mediums to get one’s point across to a multitude of people and sections of society. “You may not remember a book or a piece of statistical information you read 10 years ago, but you will always remember a film, a visual memory,” said Daman.
The story of a girl who works against odds to rise in a male-dominated family and society and become a police inspector, Dheeyan Marjania addresses the need for daughters, their importance in family and in maintaining the social balance, and how they are any parents’ ‘true wealth’ too.
While the film is being dubbed in Hindi and is doing film festival rounds, the makers plan to release it commercially as well. In the meantime, they are ready with the script and screenplay of another big-budget Bollywood-style Hindi film.