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Toronto Intl Film Festival to Premiere Punjabi Film on 1947 Partition of Punjab:
Qissa - The Tale of The Lonely Ghost





QISSA: THE TALE OF A LONELY GHOST, Directed by Anup Singh. World Premiere. 109 minutes, Punjabi, 2013

Anup Singh’s QISSA, a co-production between India/ Germany/ The Netherlands/ France, will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival ("TIFF").

The festival announced today its Contemporary World Cinema line-up featuring the best in world cinema.

Qissa is also one of the films chosen to be a part of Contemporary World Speakers.  This invitation is extended to five exceptional films already selected as part of the Contemporary World Cinema programme.

The purpose of this initiative is to facilitate a deeper understanding of film aesthetics in relation to the broader issues facing the world today.

Following the film’s second public screening, an extended discussion between the filmmaker and a scholar from the Munk School of Global Affairs, will spotlight the social and political issues explored in the film. For the second year, TIFF partners with the University of Toronto’s Munk School Of Global Affairs on the Contemporary World Speakers series. The initiative pairs five films with expert scholars.

tells the tale of Umber Singh, a Sikh, who vows to oppose his destiny when he loses all in 1947 Partition of Punjab. He brings up his fourth daughter, Kanwar, as a son, but when he marries Kanwar to Neeli, Umber is forced to face his crime against his child. But still unable to give up his struggle against nature and the past, he condemns himself to becoming a refugee again. This time, though, his exile is an unforgiving eternity.

History and folklore come together in this tale set in the aftermath of the cataclysmic Partition of Punjab and the creation of India and Pakistan.

Born 1961 in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania, the Director Anup Singh -- himself a Sikh whose ancestors came from Swabi-Mera, near Haripur Hazara / Rawalpindi, pre-Partition Punjab -- found his main inspiration in the forced displacement of the Partition. He now lives and works in Geneva, Switzerland.

Anup’s first feature, THE NAME OF A RIVER (2002) was in 30 festivals worldwide, won several awards and is available in BFI’s DVD collection.

He has also directed film projects for Indian TV and consulted for BBC2, as well as writing film reviews for industry press, including “Sight & Sound”.

Anup’s third feature film project, LASYA – THE GENTLE DANCE. picked up the CNC (France) prize at the Locarno 2011 Open Doors Industry Day.

The exceptional cast of QISSA includes Irrfan Khan, Tisca Chopra and Tillotama Shome. 

Screenplay by Anup Singh and Madhuja Mukherjee

Cinematography is by Sebastian Edschmid

Original Music by Béatrice Thiriet

Dialogues & Lyrics Madan Gopal Singh

Songs set to Music by Manish J. Tipu

Editing by Bernd Euscher. 

The Punjabi-language film is co-produced by Germany’s Heimatfilm with Dutch production house Augustus Film, France’s Cine-Sud and India’s National Film Development Corp (NFDC), supported by ZDF Kleines Fernsehspiel, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, FFA, MBB, DFFF, Eurimage, NFF Netherland Film Fond, Fonds Sud Cinéma. 

With Johannes Rexin as producer, the film is co-produced by Bero Beyer, Nina Lath Gupta and Thierry Lenouvel.


August 14, 2013

Conversation about this article

1: Harinder (Punjab), August 14, 2013, 12:07 PM.

The Partition of Punjab had three main actors: 1) Congress party led by Nehru, Gandhi and Patel. 2) Jinnah of the Muslim League. 3) The British Empire. We Sikhs were the gullible ones.

2: Bikramjit Singh (London, United Kingdom), August 14, 2013, 2:51 PM.

Why is it that non-Sikhs seem to always take turbanned Sikh roles in movies? Is it not the same as when white actors would 'blacken-up' to portray blacks in the early years of cinema? Surely in a community of 30 million, could they not find Sikh actors to take the main role(s)? Same goes with the female roles.

3: Neel Kamal (Bathinda, Punjab), August 23, 2013, 10:43 PM.

How can I get in contact with Anup Singh?

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Qissa - The Tale of The Lonely Ghost"

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