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Saturday, July 21, 2018

Nanak Shah Fakir: Everything you want to know about the Guru Nanak Dev film

Harinder Sikka production Nanak Shah Fakir is based on the life of Guru Nanak Dev. It was first released in 2015 until SGPC and Akal Takht demanded a ban. Akshay Kumar has supported the film which is now re-releasing on April 13, despite facing controversy.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Published: April 12, 2018 6:32:31 pm
Nanak Shah Fakir poster photos Nanak Shah Fakir has irked Sikh groups including SGPC and Akal Takht.

Is Nanak Shah Fakir set for a ban? Will it be yet another film which might not see the light of day? The film, based on the life and teachings of the first Sikh guru Guru Nanak Dev, has irked many. But why? Here are things that you might want to know about Nanak Shah Fakir:

What is the film Nanak Shah Fakir all about?

Nanak Shah Fakir has been produced by columnist and writer Harinder Sikka. It is touted as the first film on the life of Guru Nanak Dev. It was first released in 2015 after much difficulty in getting a censor board clearance. It even received a green signal from the Akal Takht then.

When did trouble erupt for Nanak Shah Fakir?

Soon after its release in 2015, several Sikh bodies began to object to the film, the SGPC stepped in and demanded a ban. Despite it releasing in rest of India and other countries with a significant Sikh population, its makers withdrew the film from everywhere to seek the SGPC approval.

Nanak Shah Fakir poster photos Poster of Nanak Shah Fakir.

What did SGPC and Akal Takht demand?

The SGPC and the Akal Takht in its demands have asserted a resolution adopted by SGPC in 2003 that prohibits human actors from playing the roles of Sikh Gurus or their family members.

The SGPC has also maintained that even pictorial depictions of Guru Nanak Dev shouldn’t be allowed. However, they cannot check the widespread circulation. But, it has vowed to do that in terms of celluloid portrayals. To ensure this happens, the group has for long also demanded a representation in the CBFC, and even raised objections to the depiction of Sikhs or Sikhism in Bollywood films including Jo Bole So Nihal which had to be screened for SGPC before release.

When did SGPC give its nod to Nanak Shah Fakir?

The film was modified as per the demands of SGPC. Guru Nanak’s character, originally played by actor Harish Khanna, was converted to animation. The SGPC gave its nod in 2016 leaving aside the characters of Guru Nanak’s parents and sister which continued to be played by real-life actors. Nanak Shah Fakir got ready for a re-release on April 13.

Akshay Kumar at trailer launch of Nanak Shah Fakir photos Akshay Kumar at the trailer launch of Nanak Shah Fakir.

When did Akshay Kumar come to support Nanak Shah Fakir?

Akshay Kumar, who is also doing Kesari where he plays a Sardar, lend his support to the film at its trailer launch. Viacom18 Motion Pictures came onboard to distribute it too. The makers of Nanak Shah Fakir claimed that it spreads the message of ‘Ik Onkar’ (one god). Akshay said, “This film is close to my heart as it shows the teachings of Guru Saheb. Seeing the basic premise of the film why wouldn’t I back it? I always say there is only one god you should follow, whom you believe in.”

Why did Nanak Shah Fakir face opposition again?

Trouble returned to its makers when some Sikh bodies last month started objecting to the movie again. This also included opposition from Padma Shri Nirmal Singh Raggi, known for his Gurmat Sangeet. Despite him singing six Shabads in Nanak Shah Fakir, he was against the release.

What was Supreme Court’s decision on Nanak Shah Fakir?

Amid all this, the film’s case was taken to the Supreme Court. The apex body on Tuesday ruled in favour of its release. It claimed that since the CBFC has cleared the film, it cannot be banned now. It also asked the state governments to ensure law and order stating that the freedom of expression cannot be curbed.

Shiromani Akali Dal activists protest against the screening of Nanak Shah Fakir in Amritsar. (Express Photo: Rana Simranjit Singh)

How did SGPC react to the Supreme Court’s ruling?

The SGPC, opposing the Supreme Court decision, filed a review petition in the court. As per latest updates, the Supreme Court on Thursday refused to accord an urgent hearing on the SGPC plea, seeking modification of the order allowing Nanak Shah Fakir to be released in theatres across India.

Will Nanak Shah Fakir release now?

Nanak Shah Fakir will be re-releasing across the country this Friday. However, the makers will not release it in Punjab, given the “sensitivities”. Pleading the Sikh groups to avoid any kind of violence, state Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said, “Any decision to ban the movie had become unnecessary in view of the filmmakers’ decision against releasing it in Punjab.”

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