Chandigarh-born Harjeet Kaur sits on a bench on America's 'Ground Zero' during the year 2011, & narrates the story that has impacted and shattered her life following the terrorist attacks of 9-11. Caucasian males start by attacking Hindus, Sikhs, Islamist near Mandirs, Gurdwaras, and Masjids, racially profiling them as terrorists and not only threatening them but also assaulting and killing them. While her sons, Ajit and Vikram, and husband, Ranjeet, were returning home from their restaurant in Los Angeles, in the company of their friends, Rizwan and Anwar Haider, they are confronted by a group of armed and belligerent Neo-Nazis, told to return back to their respective countries, threatened and humiliated. When the group attempt to defend themselves, they are attacked, Vikram is shot dead, and Ranjeet is badly injured. The Los Angeles Police Department arrive on the scene, the Neo-Nazis flee, and the cops arrest Ajit on weapons-related charges. Harjeet telephones her third son, ... Written by
Doesn't qualify the basic requirements of its own title.
Following the recent trend of films being made around Sikh characters, director Puneet Issar comes up with a film which heavily takes the support of Sikh religious beliefs to get noticed. In order to get some instant attention, particularly from the "Punjabi belt" in the North, he even calls it I AM SINGH, poorly meddling with Sikh sentiments in an unqualified way, which cannot be applauded for many valid reasons (given later in the review).
As I feel its indeed a welcome change where films are being made on some sensitive issues related with Sikhs, moving ahead from just using them in some comic references. But at the same time it is not required to turn these films into Religious projects trying to en-cash the soft sacred side of the viewers forcing them to watch it with some different reasons. Unfortunately I AM SINGH tries the same throughout its 2 hours and in turn fails to either entertain or enlighten the viewers in any form.
The film is based on an important theme of Racial Discrimination and Hate Crimes seen in the West against Muslims and Sikhs due to their resembling attires. It's a delicate issue which demanded a responsible depiction from the director and his actors. But IAS portrays the subject in such a manner that one simply feels like watching an aimless angered agitation on the screen and nothing else. The main protagonists of the movie shout more and act less in their respective roles which even crosses the line of hamming at several instances. Hence there is nothing appreciable in the film from the content, execution, acting or music point of view since it represents a hugely important issue in a very childish manner.
For instance the directorial level of the film can easily be judged looking at the way Puneet Issar conceives and shoots the scenes at the Police Station involving only 3-4 foreign officials. The editing further messes it all by confusing interchanging shots of both India and abroad. Actually it seems, that the only mission of the makers is to loudly announce that "We are proud to be a Sikh" taking names of all the Divine Sikh Gurus in its lengthy and unimpressive dialogues. And that's where I strongly disagree with its viewpoint where it never portrays the actual Sikh Ideologies in the right way. And here are my reasons for the same.
Its good to feel proud of your origin, culture and religion but the proud needs to be shown in a decent way. In a multi-religion country like India, If Sikhs are proud to be Sikhs, then Hindus are also proud to be Hindus and Muslims are proud to be Muslims too. So everyone is proud on his religion but that doesn't mean that the same proud should lead to fights showing disrespect towards each other's existence. The basic principle of Sikhism is to Accept, Respect and Protect the identity of others with conviction. And that conviction is completely missing in this film called I AM SINGH.
Secondly, at one end, the whole film keeps on screaming the message that "We are all equal humans without any caste or creed" by making the reference of the sacred text "Maanas ki Jaat Sabhe Eke Pehchanbo" (Consider all human race as one) by Guru Gobind Singh. Yet all the producers in a very questionable way, openly write their third title, i.e. their CASTES in their names as "Thind" which is strictly against the same message of SIKHSIM mentioned above.
Thirdly and most importantly, what can be said about the film called I AM SINGH and its writer-actor-director Puneet Issar, who is intelligent enough to make a project with this title, featuring himself as a tough Sikh policeman in it. But at the same time, is also so unwise that he goes on to promote the film in all channels and interviews in his original appearance of a BALD, which in a clear way is a Big Insult to his own film called I AM SINGH based on a specific religion as per its title. After so many years in the industry, at least one should be professional enough to promote a project keeping in mind its basic requirements. And that I think should say it all about his understanding of the project itself.
To sum up, a 2004 release "I Proud To Be An Indian" still remains a much better film made on this subject till date and I AM SINGH can only be praised for its well designed publicity material and nothing else.
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