On the night of 31st October 1984, a knock at your door meant death calling if you were a Sikh. What did you do to deserve this fate? Nothing, except you belonged to the religion of two men who had killed Prime Minister Indira Gandhi a few hours ago. Friends didn’t come to your help as this political intrigue left a community stranded.
There are parts in Delhi where people still ask where were you when men were butchered, children orphaned and women raped. It is hard to imagine what was more heinous, the way people were killed or how justice has been denied to them in the last 32 years. The trailer of 31st October landed on Thursday and brought all memories rushing back. The film starring Soha Ali Khan and Vir Das as a Sikh couple anxious for their family as anti-Sikh riots unravel their small world. The two-minute trailer will give you goosebumps and make you think.
For a generation which was born after the riots, it will give perspective. Vir plays the man of the house desperately trying to get some help for his family till he hears the frightening knock at the door. Soha is his wife who is watching from shadows, her children looking at her with fear and expectation. “Yahan koi Sardar hai?” is the question that came. Hope, no that was a commodity in short supply that night.
Politics of communalism is shown in all its ugly reality with actors resembling more than one political leader shown in the trailer. As the trailer switches between black-and-white montage and colour, the horror of what happened that day comes rushing back. The clipped tones of DD newspersons, the headlines of the newspapers just emphasise the horror.
The trailer ends with a pertinent question: Are all Sikhs murderers of India Gandhi? Are all Sikhs traitors?
Three decades later, there are people still struggling to answer these questions. And as actor Soha Ali Khan said at an event on Wednesday, “The anti-Sikh riot victims will never get justice because justice delayed is justice denied.”
The film has been produced by Harry Sachdeva and Magical Dreams Productions Pvt Ltd and co-produced by Anand Prakash. Directed by National Award-winning maker Shivaji Lotan Patil, 31st October will release on October 7.
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