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‘Kambdi Kalaai’: A tribute to Bhai Vir Singh


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    The first ever film on Sikh Diaspora

    'Kambdi Kalaai', is a Noor Nissan Films production. Streaked with overtones of human relationship, the film is due to be released on 24th march, 2006 in Naz8, Fremont, CA. Debutant director Ish Amitoj Kaur directs the film.

    Every successful artist has his way of expressing his or her artistic creativity. Ish recalls that as a child she met Manohar Singh the versatile actor of Indian film Industry who had come to take a theater workshop in Shimla, he came all the way to his homeland to take a workshop leaving all his assignments behind! ’I was surprised’, Ish says, and then when I grew up I worked with the ace cinematographer Manmohan Singh who would come down to Punjab away from the commercial Mumbai industry to make quality Punjabi films”. Their efforts paid off well. And then there is Satyajit Ray or the most contemporary being Aparna Sen. They owes it to their homeland to their language to their culture and that is what matters. For me Ish says the couplet in the film sums it up—“Haan dharti toon tute te ambar toon deege te arthi nu apni rakhan ge kithe? Na dharti hai apni na ambar hai apna te arthi nu apne rakhan ge kithe”—for her if you ask her where she belongs apart from her house in Shimla she would say nowhere! So where does an artist like her belong? ---I belong to the community--- I owe it to the community first and the result is her debut film ‘Kambdi Kalaai’ which is a tribute to Bhai Vir Singh Ji.

    ‘Kambdi Kalaai’, the film is focused on the state of oscillation of human mind, which makes it difficult to grasp the truth. The title song, ‘Supne vich Tusin Mile Assanu’ is the superb creation of the master metaphysical Punjabi Poet Dr. Bhai Vir Singh. The song is wonderful depiction of his spiritual experience. Metaphorically, the same has been used for the ethical righteousness, which we find difficult to attain due to lack of steadfastness.

    An effort has been made to create the perfect milieu required for this kind of film where thought and thought provoking ideas are coupled together with entertainment.

    Set up in the background of New York, the film explores how faith and human relationship mingle together to create an everlasting impact on the human psyche.

    Shooting this film too has been a wonderful experience in human relationship. All the crewmembers of the film unit were non-Sikhs. One of them said,“I did not know all that, it has broadened my vision about Sikhism”. Another said, “ I will not ever crack jokes on Sikhs, now that I know the history.” And the third one commented,” it is certainly not a film about the Sikhs and for the Sikhs only---basically it is about commitment to any faith.”

    Ish says—‘I love films, I love watching films I like making films, I like drama, I like literature and all combined gave me a direction to make a Punjabi film on Sikh Diaspora’. There are 25 million Sikhs in the world and if we see their 500 yrs long tradition and culture we don’t see one film made on them. Documentaries or purely religious films are one thing but what about films in Punjabi about Sikhs? How long will we be slave to cheap portrayal of Sikhs in media? We need to rise to the occasion and make the media aware of our presence. People say we need a film like ‘Braveheart’ Well if big award-winning films like ‘Schindlers List’ could be such a big hit then why can’t there be a film based on the Sikh holocaust? And this is just a beginning that might lead us towards it.

    Ish started scripting Kambdi Kalaai 5 months back, she was clear on one of the characters—‘Bhani’ for whom she had Preet Cheema from Calgary in her mind. She had worked with Preet in ‘Asa Nu Maan Vatna Da’ and knew that she is a star in the making. Preet readily agreed to work in the film. Parmjit Singh from New York took 2 weeks off from his work to portray the Gursikh Character of Gurmukh in the film. Caroline Treadwell from L.A. was an added asset to the film.

    The Cameraman Shailesh Gupta is a product of Film Institute Pune and though being a non-Sikh he realized the intensity of the script—he said the best thing about the film was the script. His camera-work speaks for itself.

    Ish’s personal success will be to reach out the film to every Sikh on this land. ‘I made it for them they got to see it’

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