—The Akal Takht Sahib appointed Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh has asked the SGPC to take up the issue of anti-Sikh remarks made in the upcoming movie ‘Son of Sardar’. Notably, Giani Gurbachan Singh told the press that he has received numerous complaints from Sikhs living all over the world about the movie. The directive passed by the Jathedar has asked the top Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee to get “questionable” scenes removed from the movie before its release.
The movie stars Ajay Devgun, who plays the role of a Sikh. The official trailer of the video provides a glimpse of what to expect from the movie and it seems no different from previous movies made on the Sikhs. Like most other Bollywood scripts, ‘Son of Sardar’ revolves around comedy and romance. Ajay Devgan has been criticised for making racist statements such as, “if not for Sardars (Sikhs), who would you direct jokes at?” In addition, although Devgun is shown as a Sikh, a tattoo of Shiva, a Hindu deity, is shown on his chest.
A lawsuit has already been filed against Ajay Devgun, through the Singh Lawyers based in Chandigarh. As per information by Navkiran singh, a Punjab and Haryana High Court Lawyer, legal notice was issued to Devgan, but he has failed to provide a proper response. Ajay Devgun has alleged that the movie does not hurt sentiments of the Sikhs, but has refused to comment on the objections by various parties.
In the past, Sikhs have been targeted by Bollywood movies that depict them in a comical manner—promoting a racist, unfounded stereotype that Sikhs are foolish, stupid or ignorant. The SGPC, especially, has failed to deal with such issues. In 2005, the SGPC failed entirely when it reviewed the Sunny Deol Headliner ‘Jo Bole So Nihal’. The SGPC team did such a deplorable job that it allowed Sunny Deol to act as a Sikh while dancing with half naked girls.
Sikhs’ main concern regarding such portrayals is similar to the concerns that black people in America faced in the early part of the last century when white actors would put on “black-face” and portray African Americans as bumbling idiots. Most white people believed these stereotypes as they were their only exposure to the character of black people. Decades of films portraying Sikhs in a similar light will lead to Sikhs being treated as less than other Indian people who are portrayed as smart, sophisticated heroes.