Finally getting a clean chit from the Censor Board, a Punjabi film on Indira Gandhi’s assassins — Beant Singh, Satwant Singh and their alleged accomplice Kehar Singh — is set for all-India release on August 22. The Intelligence Bureau, however, has warned that it may cause law and order issues.
The IB has issued an alert across north India ahead of the release of Kaum de Heere (Gems of the community). Sources in the agency said that though there was no specific tip-off about any planned disturbance, a general alert had been issued. Punjab state intelligence also issued a similar alert two days ago. State intelligence officers said the police is keeping a tight watch on certain organisations who are likely to protest. “Right now the situation does not call for any action. However, in case we receive additional inputs, we will decide if a motion has to be moved to ban the film,” said a senior officer.
Director-writer Ravinder Ravi denies that the film glorifies the three men. “It’s the emotional journey of three families.”
“The story starts post-Bluestar and goes on till the hanging of Satwant and Kehar Singh (Beant Singh was shot by a guard on the spot) and how these men transformed from being bodyguards to assassins. All the events are true as per the findings of the Justice Thakkar Commission that probed the assassination,” Ravi said. The film was supposed to be released in February, but Censor Board Chairman Leela Samson objected to the title. Starring Raj Kakra, Sukhdeep Sukhi, Isha Sharma and Sardar Sohi, the film has made a couple of 10 second cuts as advised by the Censor Board.
“We explained how our history is full of martyrs and how the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandhak Committee too has honoured them. So there is nothing wrong. Also, the title was derived from an article I read. I was fascinated by this phrase and it stayed with me,” Ravi said.
He says they have dealt with the story sensitively and “nowhere does it hurt any religious sentiment or aggravate people.” Ravi has made several Punjabi dramas such as Aappan Pher Milange, Badla Jatti Da, Anakh Jattan Di, Jatt Jeona Mour and Majaajan.
According to Ravi and producer Satish Katyal of Sai Cine Productions, such films are “the need of the hour and the younger generation needs to know their history”. With several films being released on the ‘84 riots recently, Katyal says this film is different as it deals with real events and was shot at real locations.
Katyal said the film got huge response overseas where it was released on March 14. While Katyal agrees that controversy works to their advantage, he denies any political agenda.
Birla said her campaign this time is “very similar” to the last time.