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Film banned in India - Sadda Haq - draws thousands to Ilford cinema to see story of Punjabi militancy

PUBLISHED: 09:00 17 April 2013 | UPDATED: 12:01 19 April 2013

General manager of Ilford Cineworld, Farooq Alamgir

General manager of Ilford Cineworld, Farooq Alamgir

Archant

A film which has been banned in parts of India for its portrayal of militant groups has been drawing thousands of people to an Ilford cinema.

Sadda Haq is a fictional account of a hockey player who joins a militant group which its makers say draws on real-life “torture” against Sikhs in India in the 1980s.

It has reportedly been banned by state governments in Punjab and other regions in India but has been bumped up to a larger screen at the Cineworld in Clements Road, with Ilford’s Sikh community flocking to watch it.

The Punjabi film, with English subtitles, has drawn fans including Aman Singh, 27, of The Drive, Ilford.

He said: “The film shows both sides of the story and I think it’s a great watch. I found myself lost in the storyline, I enjoyed it.”

And coach-loads of people went from the Karamsar gurdwara in High Road, Ilford, to the Indian High Commission in London on Monday to protest against the ban.

Cllr Balvinder Saund of Seven Kings ward, who said she was one of the first people in line to watch it, said events which inspired it include riots against Sikhs in India in 1984 following the death of Indira Gandhi.

She added: “It doesn’t say anything against the Hindu community or any other communities.

“It is a voice of conscience.”

Ali Raza, the cinema’soperations manager, said the film was originally screened in a 165-seater theatre but was moved to one of the cinema’s largest, holding 300 people, and extra shows have been put on.

He said: “With some Bollywood films we can estimate the audience but we can’t predict with some Punjabi films.” A delegation of Hindu organisations reportedly called for it to be permanently banned because they alleged it glorified the Khalistan movement, which wants a separate Sikh country within the Punjab region of South Asia.


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