Gurvinder’s Punjabi film ‘Chauthi Koont’ based on Waryam Sandhu stories




           10th August-Vasant Kunj Mall-Delhi-Film ‘Chauthi Koont’-Gurvinder/Waryam Sandhu

This is Gurvinder’s second film based on Punjabi literary classic

This is Gurvinder’s second film based on literary Punjabi classics. First was ‘Anhe Ghode da Daan’based on Gurdial Singh’s novel. Novelist created a modern meeting of a mythical story, but which turned into a complex film. The film got international acclaim but few audience. His second film based on Waryam Singh Sandhu’s two stories-‘Chathi Koont’(Fourth direction) and ‘Main Hun Thikthak Han’(I am all right now) has earned both international acclaim as well as good number of audience in cinema houses. Film begins with screen shot of story Chauthi Koont, in which two Hindu and one Sikh passenger trying to travel back to Amritsar through only late evening train going from Ferozepur but having no passenger in it. As is common in Indian society’s ‘jugad’ system, they all three are able to push into guard room, which already is having few more passengers. It seems through Guard dream or one of Hindu passenger narrating earlier story of his life, which begins the screen shooting of second story, a longer one-‘ Hun Main Thikthak Han’(I am all right now), in which common people in rural areas of Punjab getting crushed under both Khalistani and state terror is depicted in powerful manner. Joginder, a well-built Kabaddi player is reduced to a beggar state by both terrorists and state armed forces. He is ordered to kill his pet dog by terrorists, as his barking affects their night movements. The dog is loved by all family members-particularly Joginder’s son and daughter. Joginder has tried many times to leave the dog at faraway places, but he finds back his home and returns! They ask veterinary hospital staff to poison the dog, but the concerned Khalsa Sikh employee refuses to kill ‘innocent’ dogs, even if he has to leave his job. They take poison home but not able to kill and if in night terrorists come to terrorise, day comes and comes the armed forces to insult who are attacked by loyal and faithful dog to pin the officer down and dog is just saved. In night time when dog does not stop barking, Joginder in a spur of moment, hits him with farm belch which kills the dog, while dog is being taken by the family out of village, story returns to Chauthi koont as Amritsar station is nearing and guard instructs passengers to get down few yards before the station. When two Hindu passengers rush to go to the Sikh passenger resents their letting him alone by not waiting for him.

  Stories and film both faithfully depict the Punjab reality of 1970’s, which shows that Punjabi people-both Hindus and Sikhs and before 1947-Muslims-Hindus and Sikhs all have lived in peace and harmony and helped each other in time of need. It is only vested political interests which create Bhindrawales and Hafiz Saeeds or Togadias to divide people on religious basis and fight each other to serve these anti-human forces. State armed wing does not protect the common people, they rather harass them as much as the terrorists of religious fundamentalists harass them.

        Film is almost faithful recreation of stories and is realist to the core. One may say Waryam Sandhu is lucky to have got Satyajit Roy of Punjabi cinema in Gurvinder. The way Satyajit Ray immortalised Vibhuti Bhushan Bandopadhya’s novel ‘Pather Panchali’, later the trilogy of the same, Gurvinder has recreated Waryam stories into that realist model of Ray. Of course two situations are entirely different. Pather Panchali was scenic depiction of rural poverty of 1950’s Bengal, whereas Chauthi Koont is recreation of 1980’s terror of common people of Punjab, particularly in rural side at the hands of both Khalistanis and state armed forces!

   Film has good music composition without songs and the language part and acting is so naturally depicted that one does not feel the film is being played by actors, the Majhi dialect of Punjabi has come so naturally from all actors, as if film is being just shot in day to day routine life of people.

    Waryam Sandhu has made no major departure from the text of his stories in film and the dialogues are almost reproduction of stories itself. Both writer and director deserve audience compliments for this marvelous Punjabi film. Gurvinder has brought Punjabi cinema to not only national map, but international as well, but this cinema still is waiting for audience, which could make producing such films financially viable. Till now these are being produced by some official or non-official support. Hope it is produced in Hindi as well for larger audience!







After Mahashweta—Gurdial Singh….2 Letters


In my 45+ association with Punjabi novelist, we may have exchanged hundreds of post cards and few inland’s/envelops,, but I preserved few for records. In early seventies, when I spent nearly two months in Jaitu, we had evening walk almost every evening at Jaitu canal just at outskirts of the town. His close friend Balbir Singh will also be accompanying mostly. I had translated Manmathnath Gupt’s book ‘Bharat Ke Krantikari in Punjabi which was serialized by ‘Desh Bhagat Yadan’ fortnightly edited by Ghadarite revolutionary Baba Gurmukh Singh, during my Jaitu days at the suggestion of Gurdial Singh I started translating his novel ‘Rete di Ek Muthi'(A Handful of Sand) in Hindi and left the manuscript with him. This was published much later but without my name as translator, but I was happy. Gurdial Singh’s two page letter in envelope mentions about its publication plans. Sharing here his letter of 1985 about the translated novel and one post card written after a programme in Jalandhar on Hindi novelist Jagadish Chander in 1995, which makes an interesting reading for literary people.

   Gurdial Singh was well connected with leftist movement of Punjab, even radical groups remained in touch with him, though he was rather careful not to highlight this aspect of his life like Gursharn Bhaji. Punjab’s leftist peasant and other unions joining his funeral procession is not out of nothing. My last meeting with him took place this very January, when we were together at DAV College Abohar function, along with Dr. S S Johl and Dr. Ronki Ram. He also attended Pash memorial annual functions in Jalandhar few times. Hindi critic Naamvar Singh, Punjabi critics-Dr. Attar Singh, Dr. Joginder Rahi and Dr. T.R.Vinod-all three predeceased him, were great admirers of his novels. 

Gurdial Singh letter (4)

Gurdial Singh letter (3)

Gurdial Singh letter (1)

Gurdial Singh letter (2)