Nanak Shah Fakir – Movie Review
Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on April 19, 2015 | No Comments
Director – Sartaj Singh Pannu
Producer – Gurbani Media
Cast – Arif Zakaria, Puneet Sikka, Adil Hussain, Tom Alter, Shraddha Kaul, Anurag Arora, Narendra Jha and Govind Pandey.
Music – Uttam Singh
It is not easy to make films on Prophets and saints, especially given the regressive and extreme religio-political strife we live in today. It is no surprise then that this film, a biopic on Baba Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, is banned in Punjab and Chandigarh. And that exactly makes the film and its message, even more relevant.
The film charts the journey of Guru Nanak from his birth to his death signifying the impact of his presence and teachings on the society and world then. The 15th century India, as we see it, isn’t any different from today’s India, religiously and socially divided. Guru Nanak brought in the much-needed idea of spirituality and one-ness with God back to religion emphasising on compassion and honesty as two very primary tenets one must live by. The film embodies his teachings through his way of life and words, bringing to us the core teachings of the saint.
Mounted on a large scale and shot with an eye for the exotic, the film has a respectful and sincere tone that is touching. It draws you in to engage with the film leaving behind your own predilections and beliefs.
Some how the deification leads to a major vacuum in his depiction. The lack of portrayal of his life as a householder (beyond simply showing his marriage and later his sons) while denouncing ascetism is left out, leaving us with the false impression that he was an ascetic least bothered about his worldly life, while the fact is that it was only material life that had no charms for him. He cherished and upheld his worldly duties, living as a farmer even as he practiced and preached the word of God. We never see Nanak Dev living like that, something that is very important in how he embodied God’s word and the tenet of simple living, so ingrained in Sikhism.
Simplistic in its biographical portrayal and understanding of the spirituality behind religion, the film then remains a mere heart-felt tribute to Nanak Dev without being uplifting or eye-opening. Maybe it was meant to be so too, because the music too refuses to take the film a notch higher either, happy to play simplistic throughout. The performances however, are very capable, especially Arif Zakaria as Bhai Mardana and Adil Hussain as Rai Bular. One just wishes the film provided a more meaningful and fulfilling account of a man who gave us one of the most compassionate religions and the much-needed word of God in modern times.