Nanak Shah Fakir director moves High Court against producers

Top: A still from Nanak Shah Fakir; (L) Sartaj Singh Pannu (R) Resul Pookutty

The movie, Nanak Shah Fakir, has courted yet another controversy after its director Sartaj Singh Pannu moved the Delhi High Court against producers Harinder Singh Sikka and Oscar winning sound artiste Resul Pookutty.

Sikka, according to Pannu, is claiming that he has directed the movie, which is a biopic of the first Sikh spiritual guru. Sources said the case has been filed by Pannu with 60 testimonials, mostly from the members of the film crew.

The affidavit has also been signed by Tom Altar, who plays the role of Guru Nanak in the film. Pannu has claimed the support of two other artistes – Adil Hussain who plays the role of Rai Bhullar and Arif Zakaria who plays Mardana’s role.

Pannu alleged that he had worked on the project as the film director for over two years. However, he “was taken aback” after noticing Sikka’s name as director in the movie trailer.

“I directed the film. I have filed a case against Gurbani Media Entertainment in the Delhi High Court. I respect Resul sir. But since he is a co-director of the company, a legal notice has also been sent to him,” Pannu said.

When Resul Pookutty was contacted, he said, “I am aware that the final case hearing is on April 7 and I abstain from further comment as the matter is subjudice. Also, I am aware of the contract between the parties and as per that, there was more than one director.”

It is also to be noted that there is no mention of Sartaj Singh Pannu’s name anywhere on the first and second motion poster of Nanak Shah Fakir as well.

The movie had earlier courted a controversy after various Sikh organisations have sought ban on it for “animating” Guru Nanak Dev. One of the radical Sikh outfits – Dal Khalsa – had asked the producers to remove the scenes where animations have been used to portray him. “I have watched the trailer. Sikh gurus cannot be portrayed like that. It is against the Sikh principles. The film-makers should remove these scenes,” Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwarpal Singh said.

“The teaser revealed that the movie is against Sikh sentiments. Many scenes are against Sikh tenets. If the film is released in its present form, it will hurt the religious sentiments of Sikhs across the world. The telecast will also be opposed by all followers of Guru Nanak Dev. This may also result in socio-religious unrest and the censor board will be responsible for the same,” SSF (Kashmir chapter) president Harjeet Singh said.