The return of the saint soldier

A scene from the film

A scene from the film  

Harry Baweja on the making of an animated film on Banda Singh Bahadur

In the digital world, when everyone is eager to get the latest information relating to a movie star, filmmaker Harry Baweja wants us to go back to our history books, with his ambitious film Chaar Sahibzaade: Rise of Banda Singh Bahadur.

Having grown up listening to the heroic tales of Banda Singh Bahadur, Baweja had an emotional attachment with the man, whose dedication to Guru Gobind Singh and protecting the Sikh faith was more important than his own life. While some admiration for the soldier saint must have inadvertently translated on to the screen, the filmmaker insists he has remained as authentic to the real-life hero as he could.

“I believe in getting my facts right. Even though Banda Singh Bahadur is a familiar figure, I went through a lot of books on him. Since this film is on the Sikh Guru, I submitted the film to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee for clearance. It got it screened for its Dharam Pracharak Committee, which maintains its library. This was necessary, since the film is based on historical facts and religious beliefs.”

“I have made the film to spread awareness on this historical figure and help the public understand what happened during that period. This is the continuation of the story in Chaar Sahibzaade . We have shown Banda Bahadur going to Nanded in Maharashtra and then leaving for Punjab to free it from the atrocities of the rulers,” says Baweja.

He maintains that releasing the animation film on the historical figure had nothing to do with the 300th martyrdom of the Sikh guru, which was recently celebrated with great fanfare. “The timing was not planned keeping in mind the martyrdom.”

Baweja had to be sensitive while portraying the Sikh guru, who was brought from Lahore to Delhi in a cage and paraded across the city. “I have shown what happens to Banda Bahadur after he was captured by the Mughals and brought to Delhi,” he adds. “We have ensured that Banda Singh Bahadur’s story is told well, without the social fabric getting disturbed. The visuals do not arouse passion, yet tell the story of Banda’s life.”

Baweja has used technology to communicate with the audience. “Animation was chosen as a medium as the Sikh guru could not be portrayed by a film actor. Even voices have been kept anonymous and legal contracts have been signed by those who have given their voice overs, so that they would not reveal their identities. I wanted no representation of anyone,” explains the filmmaker.

Baweja had to be sensitive while portraying the Sikh guru, who was brought from Lahore to Delhi in a cage

Recommended for you