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Time to Help Vismaad Productions

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Admin Singh, Feb 20, 2010.

  1. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
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    Admin SPNer

    Jun 1, 2004
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    Thanks to the buffoonery of Bollywood and a complete image assassination by our own Punjabi Cinema, we Sikhs have finally realized that the only way to counter an unacceptable expression of thought is to create a more powerful one - coming straight from our heart. ‘Creativity' and not ‘protest' is the way to go.

    It has started to sink into even the old fashioned minds that the media is the most effective tool for the preservation of our history, culture and values and to re restore our true image; that due to lack of an effective Sikh media, we have suffered immensely; that history has and will always be written by those who have an effective means to communicate.

    Thanks to this awakening, creativity is starting to be inspired and a whole new generation has determined to change it. In the last decade, many efforts have changed the course by carving small but significant niches in the Sikh media arena. Be it Waris Singh Ahluwalia aspiring to mark the acting scene in Hollywood, Ish Kaur fighting the Punjabi big-screen boys, or documentarians such as university student Valarie Kaur or high school student Angad Singh educating post 9/11 America how to open its mind; they all are striving for a common goal - for the world to see the Sikhs for who they truly are.

    When you start to talk about the positive Sikh media, the name of Vismaad whose vision has led to a series of high quality animations around Sikh history - emerges as a shining star.

    Vismaad has in the past six years given us three wonderful animations starting with Sahibzadey whose adorable signature painting became an icon in many a household ... and a computer wallpaper too.

    http://www.{url not allowed}/files/news/2010/February/sahibzadey.jpg​

    Rise of the Khalsa evokes the justice-seeker in every Sikh heart.

    And the beautiful Sundari that awakens the sleeping spirituality in all of us.

    Recently we had a chance to screen the latest of its creation in our city of Atlanta in Georgia, U.S.A. - "Bhai Taru Singh".

    Until now, we all know Bhai Taru Singh from the classic painting by Kirpal Singh, depicting him more or less as a middle aged man. The image invariably comes before our eyes when we recite the lines in the ardaas, honouring the martyrs 'who gave their scalps but not their hair' - jinnah singhaan singhniyaan ney dharam heyt sees dittey ... khoprriyaan luhaahyiaan ...!

    But after watching the film, you will see young Taru Singh who was martyred at the age of only 24, through the eyes of a younger sister, Taro, his only Sikh companion growing up, and the one he would leave to fend for herself after walking the path of martyrdom.

    And through the eyes of his mother who raised him as a Khalsa, knowing well the odds of his survival as he achieved his prime sporting its visible identity.

    And through the eyes of the residents of the village Poohla - Hindus and Muslims, men and women, elderly and children alike - who revered him as a saint and protected him from the evil shadows of Lahore as long as they could.

    It took Vismaad eight months to get the right image of Bhai Taru Singh - ‘The True Saint' - along with what we already know of him - ‘The Fearless Soldier'. You will fall in love with the imagery.

    From now onwards, I know that whenever I will hear the name 'Bhai Taru Singh', a kind face and a melodious voice will warm my heart. A life of devotion and service and a death of dignity will enrich my spirit.

    Through this movie, he becomes your child, your brother, your life-hero who lives each moment as a true servant of humanity, the lover of life even in death, which he willingly invites as yet another extension of his life - playfully, meditatively and inspiringly.

    We see him as he walks to Lahore with the full knowledge that it's a one-way journey, accompanied only by a blessing and the desire that he serve Sikhi to the last breath, with his articles of faith ... and his faith ... intact.

    He becomes an eternal testament to the unshorn hair as an inseparable part of the Sikh identity; our connection to the Guru.

    The filmmaker's dedication to revealing Sikh history in its full glory is reflected in all of his movies. But by bringing this story to the screen, his desire to underscore the importance of unsorn hair to a Sikh remarkably succeeds.

    While the third movie was being completed, a widely circulated image of a barber showing off the chopped off locks of a Sikh boy was featured in ‘Outlook' magazine in India in an article entitled "Gobind's shorn flock". The everyday reality in Punjab, when visualized in that article, stung the hearts of many, including the film maker and Bhai Taru Singh came as his response to that searing image.

    The animation quality is pretty good, considering that Vismaad goes with 8-12 drawings or frames per second (instead of the standard 24 frames) in order to squeeze into the budget of under $300,000, as opposed to a Hollywood animation that would easily run into tens of millions of dollars. Yes, that's what it takes for them to produce one 90-minute feature-length film.

    35 full-time employees worked for 18 months to bring out this beautiful and inspiring film from their animation studio based in Mohali, Punjab.

    The script, dialogues and usage of gurbani and Punjabi is inspiring and educational. There is a lot of research that has gone into the accurate portrayal of the man and his times. The voice-over artists for all the lead roles in Visamaad films have been extremely talented and have brought all the roles to life in their true imagery.

    The graphic artists and animators come largely from West Bengal and Orrisa, so to get them to reflect the true image of Sikhs and the landcape of Punjab is a challenge. To foster local media talent, Vismaad has started to train young Punjabis in this art and media form. The details in the movie from the little prop artifacts such as the rugs, pots and pans, to the long shots of the village take you right into the heart of 18th century Punjab, capturing its breathtaking colours and atmosphere.

    Matching the quality of graphics is the playback music. Atul Sharma as a music director is simply brilliant. From a customized traditional Punjabi folksong, "Ghori", to the shabads and the heroic ballads - ‘vaars' - the music is so exquisitely done that you wouldn't want to leave the screening without owning a sound track of the movie. The voices of Jaspinder Narula, Bhai Satwinder Singh and Tigerstyle leave you moved, teary eyed and charged.

    From Sahibzadey to Bhai Taru Singh, one can see that the quality of the films keeps improving. There are a few places Vismaad could do a bit better, though. The flavour of dramatization that appeals to a western-educated audience is a bit different and could be adjusted. The scenes could cut from one to other quicker, leaving some thinking to the audience and the songs can embody some story-telling for the sake of brevity and audience engagement.

    The story of Mughal atrocities is getting a bit repetitious, so Vismaad can insert a break by moving a bit closer to modern history.

    The movie is not released for DVD sale yet and Vismaad has carefully chosen a fee-based screening model to recoup at least some of the losses they incurred with the DVD release of previous movies.

    All of their previous films were hacked, packaging duplicated and widely sold by large scale businesses to make tons of money. "Make Money?" - They would beg to disagree. The pirates claim they were doing a seva by copying the expensive DVDs priced at $10 and distributing them free to the sangat for the purpose of "parchar".

    It isn't seva. It is killing the industry.

    Big DVD shops in U.S.A. and Canada that function under the guise of "non-profit" and "seva" have participated in this theft, which has cost losses amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars, with unknown profits to themselves.

    There is no doubt that we have been longing for our films made by our own. We agree that Bollywood will not do it for us; Hollywood couldn't care less. We also know that we have money to spend on movies and entertainment. Some of the latest Harbhajan Mann's films fetched more money than contemporary Hindi films, the audience being largely Punjabis and Sikhs in the diaspora and back in Punjab and India.

    So why do we disrespect the evolving industry that portrays the right Sikh image by choking it in its nascent stage?

    I realize I probably should not be comparing a Punjabi live-action film costing millions, with a low-budget Sikh animation film - but if we don't show these projects our full support and enthusiasm, how will we get anywhere ?

    Surprisingly, due to the personal commitment of the creator, director and co-founder of Vismaad, S. Sukhwinder Singh, and the support of visionaries worldwide, the company is truly emerging as a film house and studio that is here to stay.

    If you take the initiative to screen ‘Bhai Taru Singh' in your city; Vismaad will gladly work out an arrangement with you and guide you through the process. Sukwinder Singh is on his North America tour so if you want to be inspired as well as strengthen this ligththouse of our media, please contact him.

    Don't wait for the DVD release. A group screening with the sangat, followed by a ‘Behind the Scenes" presentation by the Director, will leave you inspired, trust me.

    [Please go to www.BhaiTaruSingh.com for more info.]

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  3. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
    Mentor Writer SPNer Contributor

    Jul 4, 2004
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    Please see the shows..and BUY ORIGINAL DVDS....
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  4. BhagatSingh

    BhagatSingh Canada
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    SPNer sikhiart.com

    Apr 25, 2006
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    Lol its time we start slapping those people in the face who reproduce DVDs without permission. I am all up for non-violence, Gandhi style. So after slapping we should turn to their other cheek...! :D
    The pirated DVDs are so common compared to the originals that you will not find the originals anywhere, kill the market at the roots!
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