The controversial Punjabi movie Nanak Shah Fakir got the Supreme Court’s nod for release. The apex court cited the artistic freedom and CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification) nod as reasons for its approval.
It directed the SGPC (Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee) and all state governments to facilitate the release of the movie across the country barring Punjab on the occasion of Baisakhi that is on April 13. The producers themselves are not in favour of releasing the movie in Punjab.
The Supreme Court said, “It is the right to free speech and expression, especially of artists and actors and no one shall be allowed to create any disturbance. It is the duty of the state to facilitate the enjoyment of a right which has the sanction of law.”
The movie ran into a controversy when it was first released in 2015. It was the first ever film to be made on the life of the first Sikh guru and was produced by the columnist and writer, Harinder Sikka. SGPC demanded a ban on the movie back then as they maintain that no person should portray the Sikh Guru or his family members.
Though at that time Sikka had taken the approval of Akal Takht, the objection raised by SGPC and several other Sikh bodies made him suspend the screening in Punjab and Chandigarh. It was however released in the rest of the country.
Sikka then decided to get SGPC’s approval and withdrew the film from everywhere. Then Sikka modified Nanak’s character in animation and got SGPC’s approval in 2016. But, as the family members of the guru were still portrayed by real-life actors, some Sikh organisations opposed the movie, which led to SGPC withdrawing its approval. The matter then went to the court where the ruling came in favour of the release of the movie.