Writing a review for movies like “Chaar Sahibzaade” is really tough. It is difficult to give expressions to some things in life. And reviewing this movie is no less than herculean task.
“Chaar Sahibzaade” the epic saga of the sacrifices of the four sons (Sahibzaade) of Dhan Sri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib Ji – the 10th Guru of the Sikhs, is one of the most historic blunders of the Mughal rulers of the times.
The film tells the story of the supreme sacrifice of the four sons (Chaar Sahibzaade) of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. It begins with the still of the first Sikh guru Nanak with rich and resonating voice over of Om Puri informing us about how he talked about the atrocities perpetrated by Babar to forcibly convert non-Muslims to his faith. The Voice Over (VO) goes on to describe, supported by stills, as to how Kashmiri Pandits approached the 9th Guru of the panth Guru Tegh Bahadur to save them from forced conversion and how he stood up for them, challenging the Mughal emperor that if he could convert him, the whole of India would take to Islam. He sacrificed his life for his convictions. He was beheaded in Delhi on the orders of Aurangzeb, the then Mughal emperor.
We get to know about Guru Gobind Singh taking over as the 10th Sikh guru with his headquarters at Anandpur Sahib. The animated story begins. The sons (sahibzaade) of the Guru are being groomed as warriors, scholars, and Shabad singers.
The movie has represented the character of Dhan Guru Gobind Singh ji in animated form which is a controversial issue among Sikhs over whether Sikh Gurus should be depicted as biopics or not.
Though the filmmakers and the writers try to soften the hard-hitting edges of the historical narrative, they do not camouflage the fact that Mughal rulers used barbaric coercive methods to convert people to Islam and they were intolerant to all other faiths in similar ways as ISIS is today.
The film uses basic low-end animation technique. It’s not a great technological feat in view of the kinds of advances that have been made in this field. Nevertheless, it’s an engaging and moving drama.
There were some facts though, which seemed to be distorted in the movie but that still does not give a major setback to the movie compared to the positive side effects. The movie shows ‘Khanda’ insignia on the dastars of Sahibzaades and other Singhs picturised in the movie, whereas historically the ‘Khanda’ symbol originated long after the Guruship period.
I do not wish to criticize, however I look at the portrayal of Mata Gujri ji. In reality, Mata Gurjri ji was a warrior queen. She wore a proud dastaar, along with Sahib Sri Guru Tegh Bahadhur Sahib ji, she spent decades in Bhagti. Like Mata Bhag Kaur ji, she also led Khalsa forces into battle from a young age. She was never weak or emotional, despite elderly she was antaryami, full of bhagti and bir rass.
Also remembering my childhood stories read from some historical books and listening to some old Dhadi vaars, there was a mention that when the Jalads who were building the bricked wall to execute Chhote Sahibzaade. The book stated that during the construction of the wall nearby the knee of Sahibzaade, it started getting bit slanted and the Jalads tried to break the brick then the youngest Sahibzaada Baba Fateh Singh ji warned the jalads saying that, “Sade Gode Di Chappni Nu Shil De par Ett Na Todi, Tutti Hoi Ett Sikhi De Mahalla Nu Nahi Laga Kardi “. I feel speechless on remembering these words…and was awaiting for this scene onto the screen, however it was missed by the story writer.
In the end, The film does tell us about our glorious historical struggle to save our pluralist culture from the murderous Islamist onslaught so truthfully and boldly.
However SGPC and Akal Takht needs to come harder as to what can be screened on big screen. The filmmakers also need is to work a little harder with higher technical benchmarks. Our history has thousands of stories like BRAVEHEART if we care to leaf through its pages. We also have the technical resources to make world-class films.
Also at this point, it will be noteworthy to mention that Similar to the Chaar Sahibzaade, Mohali based Vismaad Productions has also already produced 5 animated movies based on Sikh history, which have been greatly appreciated in the West. However because of limited budget and resources and lack of social media at the time of their release, were never released on a big scale.
SinghStation would highly recommend everyone to please take your entire family to watch those movies as well if you haven’t yet.