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A Dedicated Life:
A New Biopic On Bhagat Puran Singh

HARVEY SINGH BHOGAL

 

 

 

Eh Janam Tumhaare Lekhey (‘This life is dedicated to you’) hit cinemas on Friday, 30 January 2015, after being eagerly anticipated by both viewers and critics.

It is a Punjabi-language biopic about the philanthropist and humanitarian, the late Bhagat Puran Singh ji. He was a rare human being who embodied the virtues of dedication, loyalty, love, and compassion.

A real-life underdog story of a man who fights against all odds to achieve his life’s mission, the message of the film is sure to connect with a diverse range of viewers.

The story begins with Puran Singh’s childhood in a part of Punjab which is now in Pakistan. Raised as a Hindu named Ram, his mother tells him that there is God in all living things.

He begins to do sewa at the gurdwara, and converts to Sikhi.

He witnesses parents abandoning their disabled children in the larger community. When his mother passes away, he makes a vow to carry on his sewa.

But the Partition of Punjab and the subcontinent creates havoc and completely uproots society. Puran Singh is, like millions of others, forced to flee to the Indian side of Punjab. Here he finds many destitute and disabled people who do not have facilities to cater to their needs.

He dedicates his whole life to the service of these people who he accepts as his family. This involves setting up the All India Pingalwara Charitable Society, which is still going strong to this day.

In the film, the role of Bhagat Puran Singh is played by Pavan Raj Malhotra. Punjabi cinema fans will be familiar with Pavan for his role as the villainous cop in ‘Punjab 1984‘, in which he starred opposite Diljit Singh Dosanjh.

He is also known for his roles in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, as Milkha Singh’s mentor, and in Jubb We Met, as Geet’s uncle.

About playing Bhagat Puran Singh, Pavan said: “It was definitely a challenging role. It was a great responsibility to act this character.”

He added: “When this story was first narrated to me I was like no, sorry I cannot do this. I was then convinced by the director Harjit Singh to play the part and I accepted.”

He was high in his praise of Bhagat Puran Singh. He said: “He changed so many peoples’ lives and has set up something which has helped so many people.

“We all see poverty, we all see people crying for help, but do we stop for them? No. We all carry on with our lives and journey. But he actually stopped and did something for people.”

Harjit Singh is director, and he was also involved in the story writing, screenplay, and dialogues, along with Tejinder Harjit.

The soundtrack for the film reflects the rich and diverse musical heritage of Punjab, consisting of shabads as well as the earthy soulfulness of folk.

Award-winning Punjabi music artist Diljit Singh Dosanjh sings the catchy folk tune ‘Sunn Ve Poorna’. Harshdeep Kaur performs a slow emotional number, ‘Lori’.

The title track is performed by Javed Ali, who also sings ‘Main Prem Na Chaakhya’. Other tracks to look out for are ‘Baata’ by Vicky Bhoi and ‘Mil Merey Pritam’ by Manna Mand.

A worthy tribute to the life of the late Bhagat Puran Singh, Eh Janam Tumhaare Lekhey is a truly inspiring tale which will guarantee to evoke a full spectrum of emotions from viewers.

Furthermore, the film will almost certainly provoke many talking points about the way that disabled and destitute people are treated.



[Courtesy: Desi Blitz. Edited for sikhchic.com]
February 4, 2015
 

Conversation about this article

1: Gurpal Singh (Bilston, United Kingdom), February 04, 2015, 3:20 PM.

Puran Singh had a Hindu father and Sikh mother; they named him Ramji Dass. When young, he would travel to various places. One day he arrived at his destination and proceeded to the mandir (Hindu place of worship) to try and get a room for the night. Here he cleaned the mandir and found that the haughty pandit (priest) ate food in front of him without offering him any. He then went to the gurdwara; here the granthi welcomed him with joy and gave him food (langar) followed by a glass of hot creamy milk. It was this simple experience of Sikhi that changed his life.

2: Harinder Singh 1469 (New Delhi, India), February 05, 2015, 1:52 AM.

We manage to catch this movie with both my sister and brother and all the kids in our respective families. Every minute and every penny was worth it. It seems simplicity is working again. It's a must-see film. And much deserving of accolades and awards.

3: Baldev Singh  (Bradford, United Kingdom), February 05, 2015, 5:21 PM.

As a special needs teaching assistant in the United Kingdom, I am aware of the state of the art level of care and infrastructure standards that are now available for those with special needs. Our goal should be to introduce such measures and resources to Bhagat Puran Singh ji's Pingalwaras if we truly want to honour his life and work.

4: Gurjender Singh (Maryland, USA ), February 05, 2015, 6:31 PM.

I believe that to convey the extraordinary life-work and message of Bhagat Puran Singh ji to those outside our community, the film should be made available in other languages, and marketed under an English title.

5: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lunpur, Malaysia), February 06, 2015, 6:14 AM.

It was a callous pot-bellied brahmin that turned a simple Hindu lad Ramji Dass who had turned up in the temple hoping to spend a night there. The priest not only turned him away, he also ate his food in front of the hungry man without offering a morsel. Hungry and tired, Ramji Dass then went and knocked on the Guru's door. There the gurmukh granthi not only offered him food but also a place to stay, in accordance with Guru Har Rai's injunction that every Sikh home was to be a Guru ka Langar. As a result, we had Bhagat Puran Singh. There are many other such stories to share. Here is one of General Ayub Khan, the President of Pakistan, who had a framed Mool Mantar in Punjabi and Urdu that adorned the Presidential House during his tenure. When asked the reason here is how it is described what he said: For a moment he became emotional and then poignantly replied, "It is indeed Guru Nanak Sahib's Kalaam (verse) because of which I am able to reach this highest post of the President of Pakistan." General Sahib went on to narrate his childhood experience connected with the Mool Mantar, with the following words: "I was studying in a school in Abbottabad and was very weak in my studies. As a punishment, I invariably used to get bashed in the class. One day, I thought of bunking the school simply to save myself from the daily ordeal and instead went to the Gurdwara Sahib in the vicinity, to take shelter. The Baba ji (head granthi) who was known to me noticed my actions and enquired, "Ayuba, where are you loitering, is it not the time for you to go to school?" I said, "Baba ji, I will not go to school today. The teachers beat me up daily, I am unable to take it anymore." He took me fondly into his arms and said, "Henceforth you will not get any bashing. Recite this kalaam continually on your way to school." I did the same and went to school. It was the first day, I did not get any bashing and it so happened that I never got any punishment after that. I started feeling a lot of change in my life and became more serious towards my studies, work and duties. The final exams approached and I went to the same old man again to request him to pray for me so that I get through the exams. Baba ji said, "Ayuba, Guru Nanak's kalaam, The Mool Mantar, is with you. Understand it, meditate on a daily basis and never leave it wherever you go. Whatever you wish for, you will get." Today, I have reached this highest post of the country by the grace of Baba Nanak's Mool Mantar and shall ever remain thankful to him for his blessings.

6: Jaswinder Kaur (Stuttgart, Germany), February 07, 2015, 3:34 PM.

It is nice to hear old stories but the reality is we are loosing all the good granthis, and our gurdwaras. We feel good by recitng our past, but are not trying to rectify our present. Then one day when everything will be lost we will put the blame on Hindus. We all must stand up to the wrong-doing being done in our religion by our own so-called Sikhs.

7: Jasbir Kaur (USA), February 14, 2015, 1:50 PM.

If we could have even a fraction of what spiritual seva feeling he had, our lives will be worth living. The seva concept should be ingrained right from birth, just like his mother had instilled in him. He deserves the Nobel Prize like few others do. I hope as a mother I can give my child the same thinking and understanding as Bhagat ji to practice in life.

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A New Biopic On Bhagat Puran Singh"









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