Sat Sri Akal (Bollywood Movie)

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Sat Sri Akal, a Punjabi movie, is the name of a unique socio-religious family entertainment movie which was released on November 7th 2008 to commemorate 300th anniversary of Gurgaddi Divas of Guru Granth Sahib ji.

The movie, a production of Mata Tripta Ji Charitable Trust and Frankfinn Entertainment Company Pvt Ltd is a story revolving around the love, sentiments and faith towards Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The narrative of the movie affirms and reiterates that Almighty God always stands by the ones who are drenched in His love and have full trust in Him. Based on true happenings, the movie is a live account of a family having immense belief in Waheguru, a story splendidly told amongst heart rending gurbani/shabads sung by legends like Jagjit Singh, Alka Yagnik, Kavita Krishnamurty, Abhijit, Sadhna sargam and another 'foot-tapping', sweet-romantic song by Sunidhi Chauhan .

Starcast: Kimi Verma, Manpreet Singh, Vivek Shauq, Aron Bali, Dolly Minhaas, Neelu Kohli, Manmeet Singh.

The movie has been shot at picturesque locations in Punjab; (Mandi Gobindgarh, Rajpura, Sirhind) and Chandigarh. Considerable portions of the film have been shot at Sri Harmandir Sahib (Amritsar); Sri Hazur Sahib, Nanded; Sri Bangla Sahib, Manali (HP) and also at Mumbai.

The script of the film was written by Arvinderjit Singh (Kittu) and directed by Kamal Sahni, the movie revolves around traditional values, love, sentiments, and colossal faith towards Almighty God. Particularly, the film depicts the deep reverance held towards Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and the Gurbani enshrined within. It also serves to introduce newcomers to the Sikh religion or those who have lost touch with their Sikh heritage, enlightening all as to how the Guru Granth Sahib is a practical Guide (Guru) to all in this modern world of conflict and rapid change. For the first time, the "true to life" ambience of pilgrimage places such as Sri Harmandar Sahib, (Amritsar); Sri Hazur Sahib, (Nanded) and Sri Bangla Sahib, (Delhi) have been depicted on the now world standard 35 mm film format.

This big production is a sequel after the success of the tele-film, Sada Chir Jeevo produced by the Trust in 2003 on the subject of the unparalleled martyrdom of the four Sahebzadas (revered sons) of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The Trust, named after the mother of Guru Nanak Dev ji is a non-political social organization, which provides free medical/diagnostic facilities to the poor with free medical and dental care and diagnostic facilities to the poor at nominal or no cost since 1999.

The Plot

The film is centered around a decent love story, going through ups and downs of life, splendidly told amongst heart rendering Gurbani shabads sung by legendary stars, filled with 'foot-tapping' songs. The film's sound track, a spell-binding and unique fusion of traditional and modern music, featuring 8 Gurbani shabads and 3 songs, all sung by celebrity singers, is one of the major highlights of the film.

Three shabads in the soundtrack are rendered by the celebrated icon, Jagjit Singh in his soothing style. One shabad has been rendered by the late Ishmeet Singh, the much beloved and missed star of Punjab and all of India, as his first, last and unfortunately only, playback produced for a film. Though Ishmeet is not in this carnal world, his voice in Sat Sri Akal will continue to reverberate forever across the universe. No doubt his songs will continue to see use in films to come.

Other renowned singers embellishing the soundtrack with their melodious voices include Alka Yagnik, Sunidhi Chauhan, Abhijeet, Sadhana Sargam, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Krishna, Ravinder, Feroz Khan and Richa Sharma. The soulful music has been composed by Ravinder Singh.

The impressive star cast includes Kimi Verma, the most established actress of the contemporary Punjabi Cinema. Manpreet Singh, a turbaned Sikh from Bollywood who plays the male lead in his first feature film. Key roles have been played by the established bollywood actors Arun Bali and Dolly Minhas, besides Avtar Gill, Manmeet Singh, Vivek Shauq, Neelu Kohli and Nirmal Rishi. Pooja Tandon and Sonpreet are the promising newcomers making their maiden appearance in a mega film.


The Mata Tripta ji Charitable Trust, Chandigarh

Main article: Mata Tripta Ji Charitable Trust

Named after the holy mother of Guru Nanak Dev ji, the Charitable Trust was established in 1999 with the sole purpose of serving humanity, particularly the poor, sick and the underprivileged. Based on the principles embodied in Gurbani, the Trust has been providing free medical care, dental care and diagnostic facilities to the poor. The Trust is a non-political social organization of selfless, religious and literate individuals settled in India and abroad, who contribute their daswandh (i.e., one-tenth of their monthly earnings) to fund various Trust activities.

The current big movie project of "Sat Sri Akal" is sequel to the splendid success of the Punjabi tele-film, "Sada Chir Jeevo" produced by the Trust in 2003. The Trust has plans to produce more such films offering wholesome family entertainment, highlighting social ills and propagating Sikh tenets. Every single penny earned out of this movie project will be utilized only for the welfare of the downtrodden and such righteous tasks.

Interview with Kimi Verma

Kimi Verma

"...my blood also becomes a part of Sat Sri Akal..." - Kimi Verma PlanetBollywood.com Special Correspondent

Over half a dozen popular Punjabi films in the last decade are a testimony to the prowess and popularity of Kimi Verma. Currently, Kimi is unquestionably the most established female lead in the Punjabi Cinema. Versatility, good looks and fluency in spoken Punjabi language are some of her major assets. Below, PlanetBollywood.com presents an interview with Kimi Verma.

Can you elaborate upon your acting assignments so far?

I did my first film when I was 14 years old. The film was Nasibo and was directed by none other than the acclaimed director of Punjabi films, Manmohan Singh. I was studying in school when I got a chance to work with him. I never even dreamt of being an actress, but I guess destiny had some nice plans for me. After Nasibo, I did a few more Punjabi films like Qahar, Khoon Da Daaj, Shaheed Udham Singh, Jee Aayan Nu, Asanu Maan Watna Da, Mera Pind My Home, and the latest, Sat Sri Akal.

It is learnt that you chose acting as a career after you were crowned as beauty queen?

Not exactly! My family moved to Bombay just after my 10th grade. Straight from Punjab, I ended up winning the title of Miss Bombay in 1993 and Femina Miss India Beautiful hair 1994. Acting has never been my full time career. I always concentrated on my studies. I did my graduation in Bombay and then moved to Boston to pursue my higher education. Movies have been my hobby and fervor. I have been enjoying to do good projects whenever I get time.

Did you ever get any special training for the same?

I have never received any special training for acting. I did a lot of modeling in India, U.K, Egypt and Sri Lanka for brands like Sunsilk, HSBC, Clinic Plus, Liberty, Nescafe, etc. I was also a spokeswoman for Ponds Institute and Skin Care for India and Egypt. That gave me lot of exposure and credence. Further, thanks to my family that my command over Punjabi language is extremely good. Despite living away from Punjab for most of my life, my parents insisted me and brother talk in Punjabi at home as much as possible. They were verily aware that as kids we will pick up English and Hindi easily but we will tend to forget Punjabi. I am glad that they asked us to do that when during our formative years. I am proud to say I can read and write Punjabi very well. I even won an award for Punjabi handwriting competition when I was a student!

Did you any time move to Bollywood to act in Hindi movies?

Somehow this is quite a widespread misgiving. I never made any move to act in Hindi films. In fact, I never believed in any kind of rat or cat race to join Bollywood. Despite being offered some key roles, I showed little interest then as I was busy concentrating on my studies.

Today, you are indisputably the most popular female lead in Punjabi cinema. If not an actress, what else would you have been?

I told you earlier, acting is not my bread and butter. Hence, it is my passion but not a profession. Had acting been not there in my life, I would've been involved in some kind of creative activity like painting, direction, writing or even journalism. Regarding most established actress in Punjabi cinema, I neither endorse nor refute. Simply I have tried to put in my best in every venture that came forward.

Despite running an established business in LA, USA, what prompts you still to do films, that too only in Punjab?

I am a Punjabi girl and I feel proud to be a Punjabi. I was born in Punjab. Punjabi is my mother tongue. That's why I had been doing only Punjabi projects. I feel it is my duty as an individual to do something concrete for my native place and language. I feel honored to be a part of films that made Punjabi film industry revive. And I am even more proud to be a part of Punjabi films that always conveyed a beautiful message to audience besides entertaining them. But of course besides Punjabi, I've acted in a popular TV serial (English), "Switch reloaded", and anchored a TV serial Meri Saheli for Star Plus a few years ago.

How did you choose Sat Sri Akal as the movie project?

The movie Sat Sri Akal was offered to me last year. I had a few telephonic conversations with Dr. Bhupinder Singh Bhoop Ji about this project about a year back. I was very enthused on hearing the impressive narrative from him encompassing everything which people "want to see" and "ought to see". I liked the way story progresses and ends leaving a "carry home" message to people around the world about love and faith.

What fascinated you most in the Sat Sri Akal movie project?

The project had everything goodie goodie about it. Storyline was a big allurement and my proposed vital role in it. The crew members chosen for this film were amongst the best in the industry like Mr. Arun Bali ji, Dolly Minhas Ji, Nirmal Rishi ji, Avtar Gill ji, Vivek Shauq, cameraman Inderjit Bansel, besides our director, Kamal Sahni. Music was certainly very touching with compositions rendered by top voices of the world like Jagjit Singh, Alka Yagnik, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Sadhna Sargam, Abhijeet, Sunidhi Chauhan and the like. Late Ishmeet gave his only playback in Sat Sri Akal.

But what fascinated me the most was the objectives of its producers. When I heard about the intent of this venture is to raise funds for the hospital projects that Mata Tripta Ji (C) Trust runs, I was moved. I am a part of few charities around the world, so it was really touching to know that the whole team of SSA is involved in making this project a success to support all the gracious work that MTJC Trust does. All the members of the trust worked relentlessly and tirelessly to accomplish this project endeavor.

Their association with Franfinn Entertainment has added another beautiful, feather in the cap of Sat Sri Akal.

How did you find working against Manpreet Singh?

Most Punjabi films have witnessed singers in their male lead. Accordingly, I had somewhat skepticism earlier about his credibility and credential both. But all my apprehensions were found to be unfounded. Manpreet is indeed very talented with a lot of potential, zeal and appeal. His looks are a big plus point and Punjabi film industry definitely needs a real Punjabi hero. I feel he will receive a heartwarming welcome from audience of all ages. He was very cooperative, always yearning to learn every moment. We had good understanding and chemistry between us on the sets of Sat Sri Akal. Although Sat Sri Akal is his maiden Punjabi film, he seems to have a bright future awaiting him...

Please narrate some memorable experiences while shooting SSA....

All the members of the Trust had such a great sense of optimism whenever anything untoward happened like our generators failed or lights did not work. Especially Arvinderjit Singh (Kittu Veerji), who happens to be Chief of Trust and writer of Sat Sri Akal movie as well, was always so tranquil and stoical in the times of extreme stress also. During making of this film, I definitely learnt to be calm and composed even when life does not go exactly how we plan it.

Another interesting incident is when we were shooting for the song "Ik Mik Ho Gaye" around the Shimla hills, I ended up hurting my hand while moving around the stones and started bleeding. Although it happened by chance, yet I consider it auspicious as I have always had an injury where my hand or my foot bleeds while shooting for most of my films. And by God's grace, all of those my movies have been pretty successful. Therefore, it is not just my sweat but my blood also becomes a part of Sat Sri Akal film. I feel God always planned it that way, and I am very happy about it.

Finally, what message would you like to pass on the viewers/readers...

I feel I am not that old to sermonize. But I would certainly like to put across a few lines to my folks and fans. Give utmost respect your parents, say no to drugs, teach Punjabi to your kids and currently, go and watch Sat Sri Akal! Take your family along with. I guarantee you all will not only enjoy this family entertainer, but also you would be richer in values, love and faith.

Dr. B S Bhoop interview

Manpreet Singh and Kimi Verma in movie Sat Sri Akal

"…mega budget projects have yet to be taken up in Punjabi films" —Dr. Bhupinder Singh Bhoop (an interview) - Planetbollywood.com article by Amanda Sodhi

Punjabi music and Punjabi protagonists are increasingly popular in Bollywood these days. However, slowly but steadily, Punjabi cinema is also growing. Below follows an interview with Dr. Bhupinder Singh Bhoop, the Executive Producer of an upcoming Punjabi film titled, Sat Sri Akal, in which he discusses Sat Sri Akal, his memorable experiences when shooting the film, his take on Punjabi cinema, feelings towards the portrayal of Punjabis and Sikhs on-screen, and more. So, what are you waiting for? Read away! Oh, and until my next interview, Sat Sri Akal and Happy Reading!

  • You are the Dean of Alumni Affairs at Punjab University in Chandigarh and you are also a professor there—how did you decide to get into film production for Sat Sri Akal?

In fact, the said film, Sat Sri Akal, is a joint production venture of Mata Tripta Ji Charitable Trust and Frankfinn Entertainment Pvt Ltd., with the former being the major partner. I'm not the sole producer as such. Being the Secretary General of the former Trust, I've been designated as the Executive Producer of the project in an "honorary" capacity.

Named after Mata Tripta Ji, the holy mother of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the Trust was established in 1999 with the sole purpose to serve the humanity particularly the poor, sick, aged and the underprivileged. The Trust is a socio-religious and nonpolitical organization, which has been providing free medico-diagnostic facilities to the poor and at nominal cost on no-profit-no-loss basis in India for a decade.

Hence holding the academic positions of being a Professor and Dean (Alumni Affairs) of a prestigious university, does not conflict, in any way, with my social obligations and association with the Trust. Like other Trustees, members and volunteers of Trust, I also do not have any stake or claim in the proceeds or profits of this movie venture, Sat Sri Akal. All the proceeds out of this Sat Sri Akal venture would be utilized for accelerating myriad socio-religious and philanthropic endeavors of the Trust. Association with the commercial organization of Frankfinn Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., India would synergize and boost the marketing, distribution and propagation of the movie across the world.

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  • How did you decide to produce Sat Sri Akal?

Besides the financial contribution from and patronage of its members, the Trust keeps embarking upon various assignments to raise funds. As one of such projects, the Trust produced a tele film in 2003, Sada Chir Jeevo on the unparalleled martyrdom of four sons—Sahebzadas—of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Lakhs of CD's and DVD's—T-series brand—were sold and hundreds of shows organized around the country and globe.

Having been encouraged by splendid receptivity, success and feedback of this film in India and overseas, the Trust is venturing into this big production, in sequel to the modest venture of Sada Chir Jeevo. The current Cinemascope movie project with digital Dolby sound, Sat Sri Akal is a step taken towards propagating a way of life impregnated with rich heritage of Punjabi culture, moral values, traditions and Sikh tenets. Also, it is a Trust endeavor towards raising funds for its various altruistic and philanthropic activities.

  • Tell us a little bit about Sat Sri Akal…

Sat Sri Akal will commemorate the occasion of 300th anniversary of Gurta GurGaddi Diwas of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The movie revolves around love, traditional values, sentiments, and colossal faith towards the Almighty God. Particularly, it tends to inculcate immense belief towards Sri Guru Granth Saheb Ji and the Gurbani enshrined within. For the first time, the "true to life" ambience of pilgrimage places like Sri Harmandar Saheb (Amritsar), Sri Hazur Saheb (Nanded) and Sri Bangla Sahib (Delhi) would be shown on 35 mm in a movie.

Besides being a good and captivating story, the Punjabi folk, good humor, romance—sans obscenity—picturesque locales, have been imparted tremendous importance in the film. Music, a spell-binding and unique fusion of tradition and modernity, with 7 Gurbani shabads and 3 songs, all by celebrity singers, is one of the major highlights of the film.

  • When will Sat Sri Akal release?

Sat Sri Akal is likely to be released in June-July 2008.

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  • The title, Sat Sri Akal is quite interesting and catchy…I can't resist but ask, how did you come up with it?

Undoubtedly, the title Sat Sri Akal has been chosen with a lot of contemplation and deliberation. Sat Sri Akal is a greeting used routinely in Punjabi by Sikhs and otherwise to acknowledge each other. Every body in India and most people in the rest of the world are well-versed with this popular salutation. Further, Sat Sri Akal literally symbolizes and implies truth, divinity and cheer, in true harmony with the essence of the movie.

  • Sat Sri Akal has an interesting cast including Kimi Verma, Arun Bali, and Vivek Shauq—tell us a little bit about how you reached these casting decisions.

Yes, of course, selection of cast for Sat Sri Akal has indeed been an arduous task.

Kimi Verma has been chosen as the heroine of the movie, as of late, she has been indisputably the most established female lead in the Punjabi cinema. Versatility, good looks, unmatchable acting and dancing skills, familiarity with Punjabi culture and fluency in spoken Punjabi language are some of her major assets. Several good, hit Punjabi movies like Jee Ayan Nu, Asan Nu Maan Watna Da, Naseebo and Kehar are testimony to her prowess and popularity in the last a few years.

Arun Bali is a very experienced and incredible actor known for his flexibility and dexterity in acting and his flare for Punjabi. He has already proved his deftness and finesse in a number of Bollywood films and soap operas. A Punjabi by origin, he looks extremely befitting in the garb of a Sikh gentleman.

Dolly Minhas is a Bollywood star since her first film, Mr. Bond, starring Akshay Kumar in 1992. Her acting proficiency, especially in emotional scenes, has been applauded in a score of Bollywood and regional films including a recent Punjabi movie Mitti Wajan Mardi. Reigning Miss India of 1988, and a Punjabi native of Chandigarh, Dolly carries the matchless grace of a middle aged lady in the film.

Manpreet Singh is ostensibly the most handsome and talented actor portraying the complete emblem of a turbaned Sikh young man. Despite his youth, he has already acted with notable applause in over a score of mega TV serials, movies and TV ads.

Known for his quick comedy wits, spontaneity and personal charms, Vivek Shauq is one of the most favorite and admired actors sought in Hindi and Punjabi cinema both.

With nearly 300 Bollywood titles and over 25 years of experience to his credit, Avtar Gill is one of the most sought after and finest character actors in Bollywood till date, and he also stars in the film in a pivotal role.

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  • Initially, Punjabi films had a very limited audience. Recently, however, after the release of films such as Jee Ayan Nu and Asan Nu Maan Watna Da, Punjabi films are being viewed by a wider audience, globally—why do you think it has taken so long for the standards of Punjabi films to go up?

Earlier, the domain of Punjabi films had been only Punjab and adjoining areas. Technically too, these 16 mm or 16 mm super blown up films, were not up to the mark of global standards. Of late, due to growing demand of such films by Punjabi NRI's abroad, the producers have come forward with technically more sound projects and sizable acceptability both in India and overseas.

  • Although Punjabi films are beginning to be produced in a more sophisticated manner and are meeting more financial success, Punjabi films are still not doing as well as Bollywood films which focus on characters from Punjabi backgrounds, such as Jab We Met. Why do you think this is so…does the Punjabi film industry lack finances, appropriate scripts, or is there just a lack of interest and initiative?

Despite the technical competence of the successful Punjabi films produced lately, their story, more or less, had been quite stereotyped like an "old wine in a new bottle", with a part of the movie being shot in India and the other abroad. By and large, there had been little novelty in the concept or script, despite delivering the so claimed "neat and clean" entertainment. Nevertheless, mega budget projects have yet to be taken up in Punjabi films. Lack of initiative, interest and investment, have undoubtedly been some of the other causes behind this. In contrast, Sat Sri Akal , has been produced with entirely new kind of script, objectives and technical distinction, as I have previously mentioned.

  • Is there any interesting moment you recall while you were shooting for Sat Sri Akal which you would like to share with us?

So many moments we experienced during the shooting of Sat Sri Akal, wherein we felt the providential help and divine grace. Having failed and tired off finding availability of apt song locations on two occasions, the director, Mr Kamal Sahni, asked to pack up. The very next moment on each occasion, some body used to approach with excellent options of locales, even much better than we earlier anticipated. During one of the scene, a character had to shout the "Jaikara", "Bole So Nihaal…Sat Sri Akal". Several takes, retakes… And when the final shot was over with "Jaikara", it was 12:00 AM sharp, marking the beginning of the most auspicious Guru Nanak Dev Ji's Parkash Utsav. We all were simply overwhelmed and spell-bound by the divine symbol of Guru's grace on Sat Sri Akal team and crew.

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  • Punjabis and Sikhs tend to be portrayed in a very stereotypical manner on-screen—usually they are portrayed in a comical manner and as being very boisterous…

You are absolutely right. Sikhs, especially turbaned ones, have remained at the helm of affairs and reached very high echelons across the world. Even today, the presence of Sikhs at key and exalted positions in diverse domains is obvious. Nevertheless, gone are the days, when Sikhs used to be idolized as the symbols of valor, honesty, truthfulness, integrity, dignity, self-respect, hospitability, creativity, culture, and art. Haplessly, today they are being portrayed as jocular, drunkard, ruthless, flamboyant, unrefined and rustic kind of people, that too mostly drivers.

Verily, Mata Tripta Ji Charitable Trust has joined hands with Frankfinn Entertainment Pvt Ltd to produce the current movie venture Sat Sri Akal—to uphold the image of turbaned Sikhs. That's why we have selected turbaned Manpreet Singh in the male lead, and turbaned Manmeet Singh in a very vital role. In fact, even Arun Bali kept his beard and hair unshorn for nearly a year to don the true look of a Sikh gentleman! The movie unveils a true account of what Sikhs are and what is ought to be Sikh way of life.

Nonetheless, much needs to be done. Many such ventures like Sat Sri Akal need to be brought forth to ameliorate and uphold the true all-round image of a Sikh on big screen.

  • Please tell us a little bit about your forthcoming projects. Do you and the Trust plan on producing any mainstream Bollywood films?

Why not! We have moved directly from telefilm to 35 mm. God willing, now we would certainly like to plan and produce a Bollywood film too with afore-cited objectives and superstars. All depends upon the public receptivity and the consequent proceeds from Sat Sri Akal.

Cast and Production

Artists: Kimi Verma, Manpreet Singh, Arun Bali, Dolly Minhas, Avtar Gill, Vivek Shauq, Nirmal Rishi, Manmeet Singh, Neelu Kohli, Pooja Tandon, Sonpreet, etc.

Singers: Jagjit Singh, Alka Yagnik, Abhijeet, Sunidhi Chauhan, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Sadhana Sargam, Ravinder, Krishna, Richa Sharma and Late Ishmeet Singh.

Director: Kamal Sahani

Writer: Arvinderjit Singh (Chief Trustee, MTJCT) Cinematographer: Inderjit Bansel

Screenplay & Dialogues: Vijay Tandon

Lyricist: Babu Singh Mann

Music Director: Ravinder Singh

Choreographer: Bhupi (Bhupinder Sayan)

Executive Producer: Dr Bhupinder Singh Bhoop

Production Controller: Satbir Singh

Audiographer: Narinder Singh

Editor: Satish Handa & Nissar

Film Processing: Film Lab, Mumbai

Audio Recording: BR Recording & Dubbing Studio, Mumbai

In the news

SAT SRI AKAL

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Slated for release in the last week of September, Sat Sri Akal –a story of love and faith, is a cinematic contribution for the Tricentenary Gurta Gaddi celebrations.


Are cinema characters to serve as role models? Is eulogizing a Sikh achiever in the field of music and cinema tantamount to preparing Sikhs for a stint in Bollywood?

Well, the times are changing and changing fast. Sometime back, we were yearning for a radio station at Darbar Sahib, now we are looking at setting up a regulatory authority to monitor the plethora of channels blaring religious untruths and falsehood.

Not very long ago, we wanted “good Sikh characters” in Bollywood and Hollywood. If a young Ishmeet Singh or Manpreet Singh chooses to have acting as a career and their visibility happens to be more, much to the chagrin of those who don’t like Sikhs in cinema, it is certainly not their fault. Neither Manmeet Singh nor Manpreet Singh goes around town exhorting young Sikhs to join films. Some of these young people are doing yeoman’s service besides their careers and that needs to be appreciated.

With the fully bearded and turbaned Manpreet Singh as the lead hero, Sat Sri Akal will foster renewed interest in the Sikh face. Whatever happens, Bollywood will have to sit up, listen and take notice. In the years to come, it will become more difficult for them to malign Sikhs as they have been doing for all these years.

In this historic year of the first Sikh calendar, Sat Sri Akal will be a much talked about movie, because it puts on celluloid the true strains of Sikhism, the ethos of faith in Guru Granth Sahib and the importance of tradition and values in modern day life. The protagonists, the Mata Tripta Ji Charitable Trust, Chandigarh have been working hard to ensure that the movie reflects the spirit of Sikhism. Shot on location at Darbar Sahib and Hazur Sahib, the producers say that the film “literally symbolizes and implies truth, divinity and cheer in true harmony.” Interestingly, it is based on a true story and though it has Sikh characters and a Punjabi background, it has a universal appeal.

The cast and crew are essentially Punjabi and the writer Arvinderjit Singh has spared no effort to encapsulate Punjabi culture, moral values and Sikh tenets. The music of the movie also has the Punjabi touch with a string of percussion instruments and singers like Jagjit Singh. Among the Shabads in the movie, there is Dithe Sabhe Thaav, sung by the late Ishmeet Singh, much before he became the Voice of India.

With the marketing support of Frankfinn Entertainment co, the film is likely to go worldwide and with the Diaspora interest in Sikh characters gradually increasing, the film is set to attract much-deserved attention.

Jagmohan Singh is a commentator based in Ludhiana and may be contacted at [email protected]

Melodious Music of film released

Music of Sat Sri Akal released Chandigarh, August 20, 2008

Mr Charanjeet Singh Attwal, Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha, released the music CD of Sat Sri Akal. Pictured here with others

For many decades, a void has been felt in the Punjabi film industry which has not had any significant Punjabi film produced for a long time. The wait is almost over! With the imminent release of this classic film that truly represents the rich traditions of Punjabi culture, pure love and deep faith of the people of this region.

This Cinemascope film project, called simply Sat Sri Akal is produced with digital Dolby sound. It is a sincere endeavour towards providing an elegant piece of real Punjabi family entertainment propagating a way of life impregnated with rich heritage of true culture, moral values, emotions, traditions and Sikh tenets of this area. Mr Charanjeet Singh Attwal, Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha released the music CD of Sat Sri Akal in Chandigarh on August 20, 2008.

A joint production of Mata Tripta ji Charitable Trust, Chandigarh and Frankfinn Entertainment Company Pvt Ltd., "Sat Sri Akal", the movie is a humble tribute commemorating 300 years of Gurta Gaddi Diwas (Coronation) of Sri Guru Granth Sahib]. .....Read full New article.

The True Avatar

‘All Sikhs are Handsome!’ by NavdeepSandhu @ expressindia.com August 21, 2008

The turbaned lot are finally making it big on the silver screen. Yes, you have seen a lot of Sardars in films but here’s one ‘sabat surat’ Sikh lad who is playing the lead for the first time. Meet Manpreet Singh, a Mumbaiyya ready with his first Punjabi flick ‘Sat Sri Akal’. Singh is no stranger to the cameras, he has several cameo roles in movies and 18 television serials in his kitty. “I have been offered a lot of roles but for me choosy is the way to go in the industry. This, because being a Sardar I can only play myself onscreen, while a non-turbaned person has umpteen choices. When I select a script, it’s with the knowledge that I carry the image of the whole community. I prefer roles that promote the community and human values,” shares Singh, at the launch of the music of the movie.

Singh adds that when he joined the industry he was offered only comic roles, “I was asked to play taxi driver and other trivial characters. I did not do them because my community has a lot more. I always dreamt of a sardar playing the lead in a film and today that dream has turned into a reality. I believe that all Sikhs are handsome,” he smiles. The conversation then jumps to the obvious- Aki in Singh is Kinng. “It’s nice to see Sikhs being given such positive exposure,” he says. As for his debut, he shares that though his roots are in Mumbai, Punjab is in his blood. “I love the culture and I’m glad to contribute to the rebirth that Punjabi cinema is going through at present.” As for the movie he stars opposite Kimi Verma. “It’s a socio-religious family entertainer, that touches upon important social issues like female foeticide and drugs. Every single penny earned from the movie will go back to the society to those who need it. It is also the only movie that Ishmeet Singh sang for and it happened before he won 'Star of India'.”

The coming future will see Singh in a movie by Bhupinder Sayan. “I hope Sat Sri Akal starts a trend for movie makers to show more confidence in Sikh actors,” he signs off.

‘Sat Sri Akal’ likely to hit theatres on Baisakhi

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The Tribune Amritsar, December 7, 2007

Dedicated to the 300th anniversary of Gurta Gaddi Diwas of Guru Granth Sahib, “Sat Sri Akal”, a socio-religious Punjabi movie, would have a “Sabat Surat Sikh” as a hero and is likely to be released on Baisakhi next year.

Perhaps this would be the first commercial film to have a “Sabat Surat Sikh”. Another unique aspect of the movie is that it is being produced by the Chandigarh-based Mata Tripta Charitable Trust which had earlier produced a telefilm “Sada Chir Jeevo”. The proceeds from the movie would be used for the charitable works of the trust.

“This is a movie with a cause,” said Arvinderjit Singh, chief trustee, accompanied by Bhoopinder Bhupi, choreographer and secretary general of the trust. Famous Punjabi actor, producer and writer Vijay Tandon also accompanied them.

The movie would cost about Rs 2 crore till its completion. They said almost 75 per cent of the film had already been shot in various places of Punjab, Chandigarh, Sri Hazoor Sahib, Sri Bangla Sahib, Manali and Mumbai. The crew of the film was here to shoot the climax of the film at the Golden Temple.

Manpreet Singh and Kimi would play the lead in the movie, while TV personalities and Bollywood stars, Arun Bali, Avtar Gill, Dolly Mattoo and Vivek Shauq are the others among the main cast of the film.

The film is being directed by Kamal Sahani. Bhoopinder said the movie had seven “shabads”, besides other songs. Jagjit Singh, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Sunidhi Chauhan, Alka Yagnik, Abhijit, Sadhana Sargam and Krishna had rendered their voices to the film. He said Jagjit Singh, Kavita and other singers had recorded the “shabads” in the film bare-footed and with their heads covered. Babu Singh Mann is the lyricist. The film would be released all over the world, including Canada, the USA, the UK, Delhi and Punjab, around Baisakhi next year.

Later it would be released in smaller territories of the country.

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