Kids Corner

Resource Library

Best Sikh Flicks



We are pleased to offer a new feature:

A selection of films that we at have made, in conjunction with The Spinning Wheel Film Festival International - films that we believe are recommendable for screening in our respective communities across the diaspora.

They have been selected neither for their artistic quality  -  even though some of them meet the highest standards of filmmaking  - nor for meeting any pre-set agenda (either religious, political or otherwise).

The sole criteria we have tried to apply are: that the films thus selected are informative, articulate, accurate, entertaining, interesting, and consistent with Sikh values and the Sikh world-view, while indeed striving for a high quality in filmmaking.

We have assigned a starred designation to each film in order to assist you further in choosing a film for your children or local screenings ... 5 stars ( * * * * *) for the Highest Recommendation, 4 stars for the next, and so on. It is not a science and we are not perfect; but we'll give it our best to be objective and fair.

Where necessary, we will also add an appropriate designation if we feel the film has strong language or otherwise has adult content. 

This list is a work-in-progress; we intend to add films as we go along.

We will also welcome any suggestions you, our readers, may have ... submissions should be short and, where possible, accompanied by as much of the following information as is available to you:

Correct name of the Film

Name of Director and/or Producer (and contact details, if you have any)

Brief Summary (50 words or so)  

Category (documentary, drama, short, feature, etc)

Colour or B & W

Running Time


The films need not be made by Sikhs ... some of the best films we have about ourselves have been made by non-Sikhs! Also, we would also like to know about films that do not necessarily deal with Sikh subjects but which you feel would be of interest to Sikh audiences and/or espousing Sikh values.

The mantra is: Films ... by ... about ... or for Sikhs!

Finally, we hope to add, before long, a resource centre which will assist you in obtaining these films for local community screening.

Feedback on our recommendations is also most welcome.






MY MOTHER INDIA * * * * * Director: Safina Kaur Uberoi. Australia, 2001. English. Colour. 52 min

It is no wonder that Safina Kaur made a film about her family: she has a Sikh father from India who collects kitsch calendars, an Australian mother who hangs her knickers out to dry in front of the horrified Indian neighbours, a grandfather who was a self-styled guru and a fiercely man-hating grandmother.

What begins as a quirky and humorous documentary about an eccentric, multicultural upbringing unfolds into a complex commentary on the social, political and religious events, starting with the tragedy of  Partition in 1947, and leading up to the anti-Sikh pogroms in 1984 India, which tore this family apart. This is a powerful tale of love and hate, exile and belonging, loss of identity and return of faith.





AMERICAN MADE * * * * * Director: Sharat Raju. USA, 2003. English. Colour. 25 min

Stranded in the middle of the desert on their way to the Grand Canyon, a Sikh-American family has only one hope - the occasional car that drives by. The father, Anant - who wears the traditional Sikh article-of-faith, the turban - sticks out his thumb as a car approaches, hoping someone will stop and help. When car after car fails to stop, Ranjit, the teen-age son, declares that he believes no one will help them because his father looks like a terrorist, forcing the family to deal with issues of tradition, faith, conformity and sacrifice.





CONTINUOUS JOURNEY * * * * * Director: Ali Kazimi. Canada, 2006. English. B & W. 87 min

A beautiful and powerful essay by award-winning Canadian filmmaker Ali Kazimi that unravels the complex and neglected story of the Komagata Maru, a ship which, with 376 mostly Sikh immigrants from India, was turned away by Canada in 1914. This is a story of the dark days of Canadian immigration, but it is also one of community and hope.





CULTURAL SAFARI  * * * * * Director: Sandeep Singh. U.S.A., 2008. English. Colour. 17 min

Come along and join Alex, Mathew and Josh as they explore Sikh culture. This ground breaking film, produced by the Kaur Foundation, is made specially for educators, administrators and the peers of Sikh students at school. The film helps children and adults of all ages learn about the Sikhs. From turban-tying to bhangra, the path to knowledge is paved with fun and excitement while remaining respectful and informative. The road to cultural understanding was never so much fun! Remember, the more you know the more you grow!

GURDEEP SINGH BAINS * * * * *  Director: Beverley Shaffer. Canada (National Film Board), 1977. English. Colour. 12 min

Gurdeep is a thirteen-year old Sikh-Canadian whose family runs a dairy farm near Chilliwack, British Columbia. They have retained their language and religion. Attendance at the gurdwara, playing soccer with his school-mates, and working on the farm are all part of Gurdeep's well-integrated life, but sometimes he feels a little different from the other children because he wears a turban.  


MAHARAJA, THE STORY OF RANJIT SINGH  * * * *  Director: Amarjit Singh Virdi. Punjab, 2008. Punjabi, with English subtitles. Animation. Colour. 55 min

This animation film deftly recreates the life of young Ranjit, from his ancestry and birth, through his eventful childhood, the tragic loss of his father at an early age and Ranjit's being named Chief of the Sukerchakia clan, his rise as a soldier and statesman, and his ascendancy to the throne as Maharaja of all Punjab  -  at the age of twenty-one!  

 SUNDRI  * * * *   Director: Sukhwinder Singh. Punjab, 2008. Punjabi, with English subtitles. Animation. Colour. 80 min

This is an animation version of the famous Punjabi novel by Bhai Vir Singh set in the 17th century, when the nascent Sikh community was forced to live in the wilderness because of the oppression and forced conversions of the populace by the invading Afghans and Mughals. "Sundri" relates the adventures of a brave Sikh woman who remains steadfast in her commitment to a life of compassion and courage in the face of a string of personal ordeals.

SAKA SIRHIND * * *  Director: Narindra Singh. Punjab, 2007. English. Animation. Colour. 41 min 

This animation film for young children tells the story of the two youngest sons  -  sahibzadeh  -  of Guru Gobind Singh, and their ultimate sacrifice at a tender age when they were bricked alive by the tyrant of Sirhind for having refused to abjure their faith.





THE MAKING OF 'FANA'A: RANJHA REVISITED'  * * * *  Director: Sunil Mehra. India, 2008. English. Colour. 36 min.

The film surveys an internationally acclaimed dance-music production, collaboratively made by dancer/choreographer Navtej Singh Johar, Sufi singer/composer/lyricist Madan Gopal Singh and Carnatic vocalist and composer G. Elangovan. A very finely corroborated performance, it aims to highlight the highly nuanced, distilled quality of Punjabi poetry and music into bold relief. Using the popular love legend of Heer Ranjha, it aims to first and foremost celebrate the Punjabi language and the poetry and music of the Punjabi Sufis; and then to introduce a refreshing way of seeing or re-imagining ourselves. Fana'a radically breaks away from convention and expresses Heer Ranjha in a manner that crosses cultural boundaries breaks free from fixed norms of interpretation. Lyrical, fluid and deeply evocative, it has won wide critical acclaim in festivals around the world.


BORN TO SING  * * * *  Director: Shikha Jhingan.  India, 2001.  English, Punjabi, Urdu. Colour. 44 min

This film profiles the lives of a community of women singers in Punjab -  the Mirasans. With songs that mark celebrations of birth, marriage and even death, they take part in their patrons' life cycles of joys and sorrow. They have been known to carry the darkest secrets of royalty, from one generation to another. The film takes us through the journey of four such mirasans who reminesce about the fondness of the patrons of this rich oral tradition, taking us back and forth in time.


HAWAYEIN  * * * *  Director: Ammtoje Singh Mann. India, 2003. Hindi. Colour. 2 hr 55 min

The year is 1984. In New Delhi, India. A love story is interrupted by a sudden turn of events: the radio blares out news of Mrs. Gandhi's assasination stemming from her storming of The Golden Temple of Amritsar a mere five months earlier.

The city and the country turns ugly. Mobs, led by political leaders belonging to the government in power, scour the streets identifying Sikhs and their households and murdering their innocent residents in cold blood. In the tens of thousands, in cities and towns across the country. While the police, the military and civic authorities look on and do nothing.

The film explores the further spiral of violence unleashed through a strengthening freedom movement for an independent Khalistan, and through attrocities committed by the police and the military in an attempt to terrorize the population into submission, and the resulting free-for-all at the hands of a variety of unsavoury elements.

Note: Director Ammtoje Singh has also produced an accompanying documentary wherein he explains how the 1984 pogrom scenes were researched for the production of the film. 

Conversation about this article

1: Manjit Kaur (Pudsey, England), November 07, 2008, 5:22 PM.

Very good reviews, but where can you see these films?

2: Jasdeep (Moga, India), November 08, 2008, 8:27 AM.

I wonder why "Khamosh Pani: is not on the list. It's the best Punjabi movie I have seen to date.

3: Satnam Singh (Vancouver, Canada), November 13, 2008, 1:30 PM.

Great article. Where can we get copies to show these films. As an educator, I feel these would be very powerful for all my students, especially the one's with Sikh and Punjabi ancestry. [Editor: Please let us know what you need and we'll do our best to assist you.]

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