Film Showcase - Films based on Punjab Insurgency

Cine Punjab Exclusive
April 4, 2013

Sadda Haq, yet again, reminds us of Punjab's dark past, rather India's dark past. While remembering those times, we came across some big screen adaptions that were set during those turbulent times. All of these films have struck a cord with the audiences in India and abroad. For new comers who don't know about the history or who would just like to watch some hard hitting films, here's a look at four acclaimed movies that have Punjab insurgency as the backdrop.

1.) Machis (1996)

Hindi language film directed by Ace Bollywood lyricist/writer/director Gulzar. The film is set in mid-to-late 1980s of Punjab, which was being wracked by a violent insurgency in the aftermath of Operation Blue Star, the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the subsequent 1984 Anti-Sikh riots. The story is relayed by a series of flashbacks.
Machis was very well received by audience and critics for its true portrayal of that era of Punjab. The film launched careers of Jimmy Sheirgill, Vishal Bhardwaj (Music Director and now Director/Producer/Writer) and Chandrachur Singh (Actor). Machis had a very earthy yet popular music which is still remembered by people all around the country.

Notable Awards -
National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment
National Film Award for Best Actress - Tabu

2.) Hawayein (2003)

Hawayein was the first mainstream Punjabi film (dubbed in Hindi), which didn't do well theatrically at the time of release. The film didn't have a proper release in Punjab though it was very well received in select theatres of Delhi.
Hawayein depicts real life events, most of the situations shown in the film are authentic and seen through the eyes of the central protagonist ‘Sarabjit’. It is the story of his journey from innocence to disillusionment, from being a simple, romantic, music loving student, to becoming one of the "most wanted terrorists" in the country.

The film launched careers of Babbu Maan (as an actor), Amitoj Mann (Actor/Director), Mahie Gill and others.

3.) Des Hoyaa Pardes (2004)

Des Hoyaa Pardes is a national award winning Punjabi film which was set during the mid 80's of Punjab. The male lead was played by legendary actor/singer Gurdas Mann, who joined by actors like Juhi Chawla, Divya Dutta, Parmeet Sethi and others. The film was directed by three-time national award winning director Late Manoj Punj.
The film was a huge hit at the box office with unanimous praise from Punjabi audience around the world. Des Hoyaa Pardes's songs were extremely popular and people still listen to the title track, sung by Jagjit Singh.

Notable Awards -
National Award for Best Punjabi Film
National Award (Special Jury) - Gurdas Maan

4.) Amu (2005)

Amu is an English language film directed by Shonali Bose. Amu is set in present day Delhi (2004) but takes a turn when the lead protagonist Kajori Roy (Konkana Sen) discovers her connection with the Delhi Sikh Genocide that took place 20 years ago.
The film faced a lot of problems during the making including backing off by a major production house, threats from local goons, political associations and much more. Amu was widely applauded at film festivals around the world and won several awards.

Notable Awards -
National Film Award: Best Feature Film in English
Jury Award, Torino, Italy (Cine donne Film Festival)

Another Addition
The latest to the join the list is Sadda Haq, which releases this Friday, April 5th. Sadda Haq has had a troubled time since it was completed last year. First the censor board did not pass it and now several other controversies have caught the film. While the makers may be happy that controversies have created a huge buzz for the film but what do you think as a viewer, should we have more films made on the Punjab Insurgency and peel our wounds again? or should we leave those wounds to recover with time? Let us know your views in the comment box below.

An Info-graphic showing the films based on Punjab Insurgency

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