Controversial film Punjab 1984 celebrates its global launch in Surrey (w/ photos, video)

Published: June 11, 2014

Picture 1 of 12

Diljit Dosanjh arrives at a press conference promoting the movie Punjab 1984, in Surrey on June 11, 2014. Wayne Leidenfrost/PNG


The highly anticipated Punjabi film, Punjab 1984 — based on events surrounding the Indian government’s brutal military attack on the state’s Golden Temple 30 years ago — celebrated its global launch in Surrey on Wednesday.

Star of the film and one of Punjab’s favourite actors, Diljit Dosanjh (of Jatt & Juliet fame), alongside fellow actor Rana Ranbir travelled from India to join film producer Manmord Singh Sidhu, also of Surrey-based White Hill Production, and local radio host Bali Deol for a question and answer with Surrey’s Sikh and Punjabi communities at Royal King Palace.

The film, which will be released worldwide at the end of the month, is timed with the 30th anniversary of the June 3, 1984 attack. But according to Sidhu, while the historical event is commonly known for the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the movie aims to tell “the other side” of the story.

“Like what happened to normal families — we are trying to tell that story through cinema,” he said.

After the Golden Temple attack, the “human rights atrocities” continued across the Indian state of Punjab for ten years, with the Indian army and police torturing men, women and children and unlawfully imprisoning others.

“Amnesty International has documented thousands and thousands of cases of young men disappeared,” Deol told the crowd. “Often people who have been disappeared and never released and their fate remains unknown, their family and friends may never find out what has really happened to them.”

Punjab 1984 tells this “human story,” following the disappearance of one young man (played by Dosanjh), and a mother’s search for her son.

“People should remember those people who have been killed by military, by government by other people,” said Sidhu, adding that these personal and heart-wrenching stories aren’t often told through the historic outlook of the ‘‘80s era Punjab. “(People) need to know what exactly happened.”

Sidhu believes the storyline will resonate with Indian immigrants in Surrey and across Canada, as many of them suffered through the unrest and fled to North America as a result.

“They want to tell their kids what exactly happened to them,” said Sidhu. “Through cinema, I think they can tell their kids and the younger generation.”

For Pary Singh Dulai, director of Surrey’s Dashmesh Darbar gurdwara who was at the Wednesday launch, the film is a way for the diaspora to stay connected with their Punjabi roots.

“It’s important to maintain, to learn about history, about your community just to maintain an identity of what you went through,” said Dulai. “Especially for our next generation to kind of maintain their identity of knowing what the community went through and what are some of the ramifications we’re still feeling.”

While Sidhu admit the storyline is “a little bit risky,” considering other Punjabi films covering similar subjects, like Sadda Haq (which revolved around the Khalistan movement in the ‘90s), faced censorship bans in India, he believes Punjab 1984 won’t face any backlash because of its human element, as opposed to an “antigovernment” statement.

Punjab 1984 releases worldwide June 27 and will be screened at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Cinemas and other Cineplex theatres across the Lower Mainland.


Related stories:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,



Ontario teen fighting superbugs with an assist from Indian home cooking

TOM SPEARS OTTAWA CITIZEN Like a lot of great discoveries, Varsha Jayasankar’s foray into how to kill superbugs with an extract from Indian food started…
Continue Reading »

File photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Low caste teen in India burnt alive after goats stray into neighbours’ field

CEN AGENCY A poor goat herder was burnt to death after greedy land owners doused him in petrol and set him ablaze because his goats…
Continue Reading »

Police are investigated a suspected murder in Surrey, B.C.

Police investigating suspected homicide in Surrey

SURREY NOW Police say an autopsy will be required to determine how Surrey’s 14th homicide of 2014 died. The body of the victim, a man…
Continue Reading »


B.C.’s LNG emissions’ law greenest, cleanest in the world: environment minister

By Dirk Meissner THE CANADIAN PRESS VICTORIA – New legislation introduced in British Columbia requires liquefied-natural-gas plants to meet emission standards or face penalties and…
Continue Reading »

N.B.’s new premier to oilpatch: support for Energy East has not wavered

By Lauren Krugel THE CANADIAN PRESS CALGARY – New Brunswick’s new premier said Monday he’s looking to assure Alberta’s oilpatch that even though the government…
Continue Reading »


Ontario teen fighting superbugs with an assist from Indian home cooking

TOM SPEARS OTTAWA CITIZEN Like a lot of great discoveries, Varsha Jayasankar’s foray into how to kill superbugs with an extract from Indian food started…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...


Most South Asians and Chinese in B.C. have faced discrimination based on ethnicity

A quarter reported experiencing moderate or significant amounts of discrimination DOUGLAS TODD VANCOUVER DESI  Stereotyping. Verbal harassment. Poor customer service. Workplace unfairness. Exclusion from dating….
Continue Reading »


False confession leads police to arrest new suspect in sexual assault of 9-year-old Surrey girl

FRANK LUBA VANCOUVER DESI A man who confessed to the sexual assault of a nine-year-old girl in Surrey has been released and a 28-year-old man…
Continue Reading »

Dilwali Fest

Diwali Fest kicks off with IndiGlam fashion-fusion show (w/ video)

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI It was a classic mother-daughter argument that propelled Surrey’s Raji Khaira into a career of fashion design. Khaira, 25, grew up…
Continue Reading »

Vancouver Desi

Canada Place caught the eye of man who builds models in chalk (w/gallery)

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI When Jagdeep Singh Bihal moved to Vancouver from India two years ago and did some sightseeing around the city,  it was…
Continue Reading »


Diwali organizer inspired by memories of Mumbai revelry

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver’s Rohit Chokhani can still recall his childhood in Mumbai when Indian streets would light up with fireworks and life would…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood Latest

Desi boobs Sonakshi SInha

Sonakshi Sinha enjoyed Tamil film debut with Lingaa

IANS Chennai  – Actress Sonakshi Sinha, who is making her Tamil debut opposite superstar Rajinikanth in upcoming Tamil actioner Lingaa, says she thoroughly enjoyed working…
Continue Reading »


Irrfan Khan to head Abu Dhabi film fest jury

IANS New Delhi  – Acclaimed actor Irrfan Khan will preside over the Narrative Feature Competition Jury at the forthcoming Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF). The…
Continue Reading »


Rekha’s TV presence has left tremendous impact: Indra Kumar

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS Mumbai  – Veteran actress Rekha, who has kept her distance from the small screen, has duly followed the current tradition of…
Continue Reading »