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This Life Is Yours:
Eh Janam Tumhaare Lekhe

A Film Review by GURMEET KAUR

 

 

 

A couple of nights ago, I had a chance to surround myself with divine magic off a cinema screen. I finally got to watch the film, “Eh Janam Tumhaare Lekhe” (This Life Is Yours).

I went into this screening with a lot of apprehensions. My list was long.

Will the actor have done justice to the giant that Bhagat Puran Singh was?

Would the story be accurately told?

Would the greatness of Mehtab Kaur, the mother, be truly portrayed?

Would the environment-caring aspect of Bhagat Puran Singh’s life be highlighted?

Would they have covered his stand on the 1984 Indian army assault of the Darbar Sahib?

Would the plight of the handicapped girl child and her neglect in Punjabi society be told?

Would it be preachy and didactic like most Punjabi films with a message or something that touches you with subtle dialogues, imagery and sounds?

*   *   *   *   *

I walk out of the theatre with wet eyes, light heart, uplifted spirit and a huge sense of gratitude.

If there was one thing I did not have any worry about, it was the sound track of the film. It had already left me spellbound.

A few weeks ago, when I started to hear the buzz about the movie from my friends residing in heavily-populated Sikh areas, it intrigued me, but not enough. It’s because I’ve come to be skeptical of Punjabi Cinema; it is just not up to my standards most of the times.

Three weeks ago, I read an article by the director of the film -- Harjit Singh -- in a Punjabi newspaper. I was delighted by what he had to say, and my anticipation began.

I learnt that it was his dream of twenty years to make this film, ever since he had made a documentary on Bhagat Puran Singh’s life, “His Sacred Burden”, but never had the means to embark on a feature film project.

I learnt that when his wife retired, she brought her entire retirement package to him so he could go ahead and make that film.

It was not enough. She persisted. She wrote the whole sound track and bits and pieces of the narration for the film and brought it to him.

He was touched, but it was still not enough.

One day, he got a call from Dr. Inderjeet Kaur (the current head of the Pingalwara Charitable Society, originally established by Bhagat Puran Singh himself) expressing her intentions to produce a biopic on his life. 

That did it.

After I read the article, I jumped with joy, desperately looking for the sound track of the film.

Tejinder Kaur Harjit is the same person whose pen imparted the sweet, catchy, sing-song story to my third children’s folktale book, “The Lamb and the Dhol”.  I have heard from hundreds of  parents saying this is the best children’s book in Punjabi they have come across, period. Her pen must use honey instead of ink.

After she had helped me with my book, she disappeared on me. I was dying for her to share more of her work with me. But when I didn’t hear from her, I was disappointed.

Now I know why. She had been busy. I tracked her down. Her sweet, friendly voice melted my complaints in an instant. She told me there are two children’s songs in the movie that my daughter would love.

I found the whole sound track on iTunes. I downloaded it.

In two weeks, before the movie came to my town, my four-year-old had the whole track memorized. Not just the two children’s songs. I was relieved to get a break from “Let it go – (Frozen)” to hear her hum “kannaa manaa kurr – chirree uddee furrr”. 

That is the magic of Tejinder ‘s pen.

Top singers such as Harshdeep Kaur,  Javed Ali and others have lent their voices to beautiful compositions set by Gurmoh and Vicky Bhoi.

There is much more to talk about this movie but I will leave it for you to explore, except this.

When the opening score in Sukhwinder Singh’s voice, the shabad, “Gagan mai thaal” pictured the most beautiful worship of the divine in nature, I knew that Harjit Singh will be giving a glowing tribute to the environmental passions of Bhagat Puran Singh’s being. That meant a lot to me.

My heart smiled and gratefulness poured in right at the beginning. The rest of the movie continued to bask in the greatness of his life and drench me. I am full of thanks to everyone who made this possible. 

And now, I have a plea – please do yourself and your children a favor. Watch this in the theatres; don’t wait for the DVD.

P.S.:  The film does have good subtitles in English. My Polish-Canadian, sometimes picky husband joined us and came out praising the movie and appreciative of  Bhagat Puran Singh’s life.

So, feel confident in taking your non-Sikh friends along.

And sorry, this is not a very analytical review. The movie had me from hello.

If your city has not screened it yet, do arrange it today. Contact Navdeep Singh Sandhu at navsandhu661@gmail.com or 1 559-512-0415 to make it happen in your vicinity.

Here’s the trailer: please CLICK here.

And you can download the sound track by CLICKING here.
Enjoy!


February 20, 2015

Conversation about this article

1: Gurinder Singh (Stockton, California, U.S.A.), February 20, 2015, 11:22 AM.

There have been some classic Punjabi films standing out from the rut recently. "Anhey Ghorrey da Daan" (Alms for a Blind Horse) was another Punjabi movie worth watching.

2: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), February 20, 2015, 2:11 PM.

Just seeing the trailer of this film is enough to get us to go to see the film. There are no sufficient words to thank the talented group that produced this great film which should help stop the obscene expenditures on lavish weddings, etc. and donate that money to the Pingalwara. Please click the following site: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37PYh8lTm4U&list=PLtzd6aavJNLgPRbCagT5sDb7MuQEwKQaS&index=4 This is Sikhi in its intrinsic form and the whole world should know about it.

3: Gurjender Singh (Maryland, USA ), February 20, 2015, 3:10 PM.

Gurmeet ji, or some one else who has seen this movie, please advise if this movie has Hindi or English translation on screen, so that others can see it too. Oherwise, this will be the same issue, that the noble work of Bhagat Puran Singh ji will stay within the four walls of Sikhdom and Punjabiyyat.

4: Satvir Kaur (Boston, Massachusetts, USA), February 23, 2015, 8:37 AM.

I am still waiting to watch this movie in a theatre. We have not had a local screening in Boston yet but I have just contacted the person mentioned in your post and hopefully we can have it here too.

5: Chitratan Singh (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA), February 23, 2015, 12:25 PM.

Gurjender Veer ji: The movie has English subtitles which are very accurate. It should help individuals not familiar with Punjabi to follow along. It's a great movie! Helps put a lot of things into perspective.

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Eh Janam Tumhaare Lekhe"









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