Nanak Shah Fakir controversy: The first ever film about Guru Nanak Dev, Nanak Shah Fakir, produced by Harinder Sikka, has been a topic of discussion in the last few days, with Supreme Court ruling in favour of its release on Tuesday.
Nanak Shah Fakir controversy: The first ever film about Guru Nanak Dev, Nanak Shah Fakir, produced by Harinder Sikka, has been a topic of discussion in the last few days, with Supreme Court ruling in favour of its release on Tuesday. The film has faced protests from the Sikh Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) and the Akal Takht who say that no person must portray the Sikh Guru and his family members. Claiming that such portrayals hurt the sentiments of the community, these groups have demanded a ban on the movie.
In May 2003, the Dharam Prachar Committee of SGPC passed a resolution (number 5566) which stated that characters of Sikh Gurus and their family members cannot be portrayed by real-life actors. “Characters of Sikh Gurus, their respected family members, panj pyare, cannot be played by real life actors. Only baptised Sikhs can plays role of other important Sikh personalities,” the resolution which was passed by SGPC executive committee on July 10, 2003, read.
Nanak Shah Fakir had first released in 2015 after getting the green light from the Akal Takht, the supreme temporal body of the Sikh community. The Akal Takht had also reportedly given a letter to the producer Harinder Sikka, praising his services to the community.
However, after a few Sikh bodies protested against the movie, SGPC stepped in demanding a ban. The request was accepted by the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP government in Punjab as well as Chandigarh administration which suspended the screening of the movie.
The movie still managed to release in other parts of the country before Sikka decided to withdraw it and seek SGPC’s approval first.
SGPC is a democratically elected body whose main job is to ensure the smooth running of gurdwaras. It plays an important role in both clerical and temporal matters such as the appointments of the Panj Pyare, and over the three Takhts under it – the Akal Takht, Takht Damdami Sahib, and Takht Keshgarh Sahib.
In 2016, SGPC finally gave green signal to Nanak Shah Fakir after Sikka modified the film to present Nanak’s character in animation. However, the movie was actually cleared by a sub-committee of SGPC and its president Avtar Singh Makkar had claimed he was not taken into confidence while giving the clearance.
The body decided to take its approval back last month after other Sikh bodies objected to the film since the characters of Nanak’s parents are played by real-life actors.
In what came as a good news for the makers of the film, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in favour of the release of the movie by saying that once the Central Board of Film Certification gives a film the go-ahead, no one can be allowed to obstruct it.