In the Indian history, there are few episodes that we wish to forget and leave behind. However, it will be injustice towards the victims of such incidents to ignore them entirely. Here’s where the film industry comes into play. One such unfortunate event is the Anti-Sikh riots after the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination.
The Sikh genocide of 1984 is even today considered to be one of the brutal riots in Indian history where 2800 people were killed during the massacre according to the official sources. However, the independent sources claim otherwise. A lot of politics was involved, and even Delhi police and some central-government officials were scrutinized to flame the violence.
The statement from Rajiv Gandhi, who was sworn in as Prime Minister, seemed like a justification to the brutal violence. He said, “When a big tree falls, the earth shakes.”
To give people a clear picture or remember the victims of the 1984 Sikh genocide, many films, mostly Punjabi, were produced over the years.
Indian Movies on 1984 Sikh Genocide, Khalistani Movement, and Operation Bluestar
All Started with Khalistani Movement in Punjab and Haryana, You can read about it on Wikipedia. So many things happened that time which lead our country to Operation Bluestar and 1984 Sikh Genocide.
There are so many films featuring the bad phase of Punjab, but we have sorted the ones that tell a realistic story about the incident and the suffering faced by different people, innocent people.
Here are some of the best Indian 1984 Sikh Genocide, Khalistani Movement, and Operation Bluestar. A few are based on real-life stories whereas the others are just a fiction interpretation of the life during these events.
Amu is an English language film directed by Shonali Bose. The film features the life of Kajori (Kaju) Roy, who comes to know about her true identity as Amu Singh. The film stars Konkana Sen Sharma in the titular role. The film tells the story of Kaju a.k.a. Amu and her journey to find the truth about her birth parents.
31st October (2016)
31st October is a 2016 historical drama film featuring Vir Das and Soha Ali Khan in the lead roles. Directed by Shivaji Lotan Patil, the film is based on a real story and highlights the events post Indira Gandhi’s assassination on 31st October 1984.
Directed by Gulzar, Maachis is a 1996 Hindi drama film that portrays the rise of Sikh insurgency in Punjab during the 1980s. The film features Om Puri, Tabu, Chandrachur Singh, and Jimmy Shergill in pivotal roles. Maachis tries to draw our attention towards one of the reasons why a next door young boy turns into a terrorist.
Punjab 1984 (2014)
Punjab 1984 is a 2014 Punjabi period drama featuring Diljit Dosanjh in the lead role. Directed by Anurag Singh, Punjab 1984 is a film highlighting the impact of 1984-86 Sikh insurgencies on social lives. The film tells the story of a mother and her missing son portrayed by Kirron Kher and Diljit Dosanjh respectively.
Also Read: Best Punjabi Films of All the Time
Set against the backdrop of the 1984 Sikh genocide, Hawayein is a 2003 film directed by Ammtoje Mann. The film is based on some real-life events and features the impact of Operation Bluestar and the subsequent assassination of Indira Gandhi on people’s lives in Punjab. Hawayein depicts the story of Sarabjeet and how he became one of the most wanted terrorists of India.
Dharam Yudh Morcha (2016)
Directed by Naresh S. Garg, Dharm Yudh Morcha is a Punjabi film featuring the life of the central character Satnam Singh, a survivor of Blue Star Attack. Although not a true story, Dharam Yudh Morcha is filmed considering the stories told by 200+ eyewitnesses and official documents. The film tries to depict how a peaceful Dharam Yudh Morcha protest transformed into a violent movement.
Kaya Taran (2004)
Kaya Taran is a 2004 Hindi drama film featuring Angad Bedi and Seema Biswas in the lead roles. Directed by Sashi Kumar, the film is based on a Malayalam short story by N.S. Madhavan titled “When Big Tree Falls.” The film is set in the backdrop of 1984 anti-Sikh riots and tells the story of an incident recounted by Sister Agatha, where the convent decides to hide an protect a mother and her 8-year old son from the rioters.
Directed by Shubhashish Bhutiani, Kush is a 2013 short film inspired by a true story. The film tells the story of a teacher traveling with her class of 10-year-old students from a field trip. The film portrays her struggles to protect Kush, the only Sikh student in the class during the anti-Sikh riots erupted post-Indira Gandhi’s assassination.
Also Read: Best Indian Indie Films
47 to 84 (2014)
47 to 84 is a Punjabi film inspired by a real story. The film narrates the traumatic tale of a girl whose childhood was tormented by the memories of 1947 India-Pakistan partition, whereas the adulthood was traumatized by the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Directed by Rajiv Sharma, the film won many accolades at the time of its release.
Also Read: Indian Films of India Pakistan Partition
Directed by Raj Kanwar, Badal is a 2000 action film featuring Bobby Deol and Rani Mukerji in the lead roles. Inspired by the Hollywood movie The Devil’s Own, the film follows the life of Badal, portrayed by Bobby Deol, who becomes a terrorist to seek revenge after a ruthless police officer massacres his family. Although not entirely a movie based on 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the film has a backdrop of the unfortunate event.
Shareek is a 2015 Punjabi film featuring an ensemble cast of Jimmy Shergill, Mahie Gill, Guggu Gill, Mukul Dev, Simar Gill, Oshin Sai, Kuljinder Sidhu, Prince KJ, Hobby Dhaliwal, and Gulchoo Jolly. Directed by Navaniat Singh, the film revolves around the Sikh insurgency during the 1980s.
Des Hoyaa Pardes (2004)
A National award winner, Des Hoya Pardes is a Punjabi film directed by Manoj Punj. The film tells the story of Gurshaaan Singh Somal and the struggles faced by his family at the hands of a ruthless officer during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. The film stars Gurdas Maan as Gurshaan Singh Somal, whereas Juhi Chawla plays his wife and Divya Dutta plays his sister.
The film won the National Award for the Best Feature film in Punjabi in 63rd National Awards. Chauthi Koot is the story of Punjab and people of Punjab post operation Blue star era. This critically acclaimed film is one of the best film made on this subject.
Over to you!
These movies can ignite the memories of the Sikh insurgency of 1984 and anti-Sikh riots. However, I shared it to draw the attention of the readers towards the sufferings experienced by innocent people across the country. Violence seems the best alternative to violence, but the collateral damage is always vast and disheartening even to anticipate during communal riots.
Watch these movies and take a pledge never to be a part of any violence unless it is necessary to survive.