Beginning on a personal note, I am not into praising any kind of religious act/creation which tries to prove its supremacy over the others sects with a forceful one sided mindset. And therefore do not support any such projects made with a hidden agenda of proving a particular religion superior than the others or with a motive of spreading a specific cult by over-praising it deliberately with a confronting attitude.
So that is the reason I didn’t write about many recent Punjabi (religiously inclined) films conceived with the same outlook. But as a pleasant, surprising exception would certainly like to praise this well conceived, well written and finely balanced depiction of one of the most tragic events of Indian history titled CHAAR SAHIBZAADEY, which neither goes over the top while representing a particular cult nor disrespects the other religions despite the huge clashes between them witnessed by the history in those specific centuries.
Getting over its minor & ignorable shortcomings first, yes its an animation film (which a larger section of viewers doesn’t opt for), but it never makes you feel so after few initial moments once its lead characters get established on the screen conveying the basic storyline. An otherwise fine attempt in getting the animated figures right, it does give you a feeling of something missing in the graphical execution (particularly looking at the clothes), but overall successfully delivers the message in a much better way than any of the earlier attempts made undoubtedly. The music is used well in its specific sequences along with some superbly written meaningful lyrics, but honestly I really wished there was a great heart touching composition too expressing the sensitive verses in its soundtrack making it more memorable. Plus released in both 2D & 3D format, the latter has nothing much in it as per 3D effects and hence its recommended to watch it in 2D only to get a more brighter vision without any forced discomfort of wearing the dark glasses.
Talking about the emotional quotient, it doesn’t move into any sad mode ever and therefore remains a straight forward and fast paced historical account of a rare sacrifice by four young souls bravely contributing in their father’s fight for justice. And due to this specific factor where at one end it will certainly reach the hearts of Sikhs in a much bigger way, there on the other will more importantly enlighten everyone else about what exactly happened with the four brave kids of Guru Gobind Singh and his entire family in those few intense months fighting with the Mughals.
In short, as an animation film made on a ‘must know’ chapter of our history, CHAAR SAHBIZAADEY is a fine attempt, executed well on the screen with a clear vision by its makers (as also conveyed in its insightful end). But here I would like to praise and highly rate the effort for some different reasons which you might not find in any other write-up on the film and which actually also happens to be an excerpt from my ongoing book on SRI GURU GRANTH SAHIB, the sacred divine scripture that actually belongs to whole humanity altogether and not only the Sikhs.
A. Beginning with the film’s most important merit, CHAAR SAHIBZAADEY is a perfectly balanced venture, which in fact is a quite unusual or rare feature in today’s time, when every (religious) medium of expression is being mostly used to spread hatred and division among various sects…..unfortunately.
B. It tells the world very clearly that SIKHISHM or any of the 10 Gurus of Sikhs were never against any other religion prevailing in the country particularly ISLAM. There was no revolt made by the Gurus against ISLAM ever, since their fight was all against Injustice of the Mughal rulers of those times treating the people cruelly forcing them to get converted. And the term ‘People’ here means everyone living in that region irrespective of their followed ‘ism’. In addition, it brilliantly portrays the disagreement amongst the Muslim section too opposing this inhuman way of killing two innocent souls by the then barbaric rulers.
C. The film also strongly points out with its well written script, that there was never any conflict of Sikh Gurus even with the larger population of Hindus, giving the right picture. So if there was a Gangu who betrayed the family unexpectedly passing the information to the officials, then there was a Moti & his wife too who sacrificed their everything (including their lives later) for secretly serving milk to the two kids and their grandmother living in the Mughal custody.
D. Another great achievement of its superbly written script and dialogues is that the writing never tends to make it anything related to HATRED or REVENGE ever. The film begins with the four sons and remains focused at them only without going into any other unwanted direction of becoming preachy or attacking (the other sects) at all. Such is the focus mentioned above that they even present Guru Gobind Singh more as a courageous father than the last living Guru of Sikhs sacrificing his complete family for the cause. And that’s indeed a great feat deserving a big appreciation since mostly the makers are not able to find such a balance in their films, when talking about any religion or a religious historical chapter in specific.
E. In Sikhism code of conduct, its not allowed to portray the Gurus by enacting their roles ‘Live’ by any artists or showing them in moving animations. The film takes an extra care of that and very intelligently shows the tenth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh in just still images incorporated excellently. In fact the pictures do not look like simple stills to the viewer due to the innovative camera angles used and even the dialogues of the Guru Sahib are rendered in third person by a voiceover. Particularly watch out for the sequence when The Guru is looking at all his men and four kids sleeping around him in the night before the big battle. Brilliant indeed!
F. Enlightening the viewer about the difference between a TALWAAR (Sword) used in the battle and a KIRPAAN kept by a baptized Sikh, the film thankfully teaches the crucial lesson clearing all misconceptions that,
A TALWAAR is used to defeat the other, to throw him down, to prove your supremacy over the opponent. That is the reason it is called TAL (Bottom) + WAAR (Blow/Strike), meaning a strong blow made to bring down the other.
A KIRPAAN means a weapon particularly kept for two purposes, one as The ALMIGHTY’s blessing for humanely saving the other who needs help or for raising a voice against injustice and two for safeguarding one’s own self-respect or dignity, which actually defines the word as KIRPAA (Blessed Kindness) + AAN (Self Respect/Dignity).
G. Addressing the kids below 15, CHAAR SAHIBZAADEY tells them that superheroes are not just the ones having some kind of powers to fly, jump or do few magical acts. Superpower can also be in your skills and attitude towards life too as displayed by the four young warriors standing tall against their strong opponents so fearlessly.
H. Lastly, never in its more than two hours of duration, one feels that the film has been made to spread Sikhism or to rope in more followers all over the world with some deliberate insertions. It neither talks about any sacred baptism nor about any biased provocation to join in. No, the director and his writers are simply not interested in that, breaking the set norms. Instead they are just willing to educate and remind the world about this lesser known chapter of Indian history and the unheard of sacrifices made in the fight against the merciless rulers of that era.
And please note that I have not written Sikh history but Indian history here because its utterly wrong to consider and write about this as something only related to Sikhs and their history alone.
In clear words, all the sacrifices made and battles fought by Guru Gobind Singh along with his Khalsa army and four young sons,
were not against any religion,
were not against any person in specific,
were not planned as an attack to acquire more power or for any expansion of their ruling territories,
were not fought to spread Sikhism and increase its followers,
were not to save Sikhs alone from the unkind Mughals,
were for the pride and self-respect of the entire population of that region in INDIA including every single Indian irrespective of his followed cult or religion.
Hence as per my opinion CHAAR SAHIBZAADEY is not a film talking about Sikh history specifically but Indian history to say the truth, that needs to be seen by every Indian who really wishes to understand his or her country’s untold history with a better vision. It’s an extremely well written and perfectly balanced project which inspires the viewers to know more about the characters on the screen searching further………and thats exactly what a good historical film should do spreading the right kind of awareness in the general public.
Rating : 3.5 + 0.5 / 5 (with the additional 0.5 for the perfect unbiased balance in its writing without any hatred, hidden agenda or revenge angle incorporated ………... following a clear, blessed vision)
(Note : Unfortunately I found a group selling few products related to the film like children swords, USB drives, display products, magnet stickers and more in association with SNAP DEAL at a stall inside the WAVE CINEMAS of West Delhi………which in my opinion was really an ‘awful’ move and should have been avoided.)