Last year in August, the cast and crew of controversial Punjabi film ‘The Mastermind: Jinda Sukha’ were in Pune. Given that the film is based on the real life story of the assassins of Late General A S Vaidya, who was murdered in the city on Old Anderson Road, the makers wanted to shoot a few scenes at the exact location. The road was later renamed – Gen Vaidya Marg – as a tribute to him. “However, we did not get the necessary permission from Army officials and the location falls under the cantonment area. It was important for the film but we couldn’t shoot without permission. As a last resort, we decided to shoot other areas that were near the location where he was murdered – railway station, Bund Garden Road and so on,” said film director Sukhjinder Singh, adding that it took the crew a day to shoot the scenes in Pune. The remaining portion of the film, informed Shera, had been shot in Chandigarh, Punjab and Amritsar.
The release of the film, which was scheduled for September 10, was stopped by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) on September 9 because of “complaints from various sections of society”. The title of the film is inspired by Harjinder Singh Jinda and Sukhdev Singh Sukha, the Khalistan militants who assassinated Gen Vaidya to avenge his role as an Army chief in the 1984 Operation Blue Star carried out in Amritsar. The two were also involved in a bank robbery case at Punjab National Bank in 1987. The assassins, who were also involved in the murder of Congress leaders Arjan Dass and Lalit Maken, were hanged at the city’s Yerwada jail on October 9, 1992.
Ranjit Singh Gill, alias Kuki, who was one of the accused, along with Jinda and Sukha, in the murder of Maken was later released. Gill claimed that the filmmakers had met him early last year to get inputs from him on Jinda and Sukha. “They had visited my house. Being a co-accused in the case, who else could have given them better information on the duo. However, I simply refused to say anything,” said Gill.
However, Gill is against the ban on the film by the CBFC. “Individual concerns should not be made out to look like public concerns. What is the use of democracy? I think CBFC is creating unwanted curiosity around the film. Let the film release and let the viewers decide if it is good or bad, right or wrong. I feel if the film had released on the decided date, it wouldn’t have run for more than a week,” stressed Ludhiana-based Kuki.
The ban has come despite a go-ahead given to the film by the CBFC on July 24. The film is produced by Singh Brothers Production and stars Punjabi actors Nav Bajwa, Sonpreet Jawandha, Guggu Gill, Sukhjinder Shera, Harinder Bubb, Isha Sharma, Sunita Dhir, Davvy Singh, Amritpal Singh, Satwant Kaur and Jaggi Dhuri.