Gurvinder Singh’s much acclaimed next, Chauthi Koot, the first Punjabi language film that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, 2015 to release Pan-India on August 5
After making an impressive debut with the award-winning Punjabi language film, Anhey Ghore Da Daan (Alms for a Blind Horse), the director Gurvinder Singh is coming back with his much acclaimed next, Chauthi Koot (The Fourth Direction) which is slated for Pan-India theatrical release on August 5.
Chauthi Koot is the first Punjabi film to have its world premiere at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, 2015 where it was screened in the ‘Un Certain Regard’ section and got a standing ovation.
Kartikeya Singh’s maiden venture as a producer under his banner, The Film Café will be releasing and distributing the film in over 50 screens in Punjab and nearly 30 screens in the major cities across India with English subtitles.
Set during the Sikh separatist movement of the 1980s, Chauthi Koot is adapted from two stories written by Waryam Singh Sandhu called Chauthi Koot and Hun Main Theek Haan. The film was shot mostly around Amritsar and Ferozepur in Punjab.
Among other accolades, the film, which was screened in over 13 international and Indian film festivals, won the best film award in the India Gold section at MAMI, 2015 and bagged the 2016 National Award for the best feature in Punjabi language. It won the Singapore International Film Festival Silver Screen Award for Best Asian Feature Film in December 2015.
Gurvinder Singh’s debut film, Annhey Ghorrey Da Daan (Alms for a Blind Horse), about the plight of farmers, bagged three National Awards and was the first Punjabi film to be showcased at the Venice Film Festival.
Chauthi Koot is co-produced by Gurvinder Singh, Catherine Dussart of Catherine Dussart Productions (France), National Film Development Corporation (India).
When asked about Chauthi Koot, Gurvinder Singh says, “I’m happy that Chauthi Koot is finding mainstream release in India, not just in Punjab but outside the linguistic boundary of Punjab. Because cinema is a universal language that speaks of humanitarian concerns, it knows no limitation of the spoken language.”
He adds, “I’m sure the film will speak to the audience across the country, as it has done to overseas audience already, as it addresses concerns not just limited to Punjab and its history, but reflects the tumult across the world in today’s time, and the human endeavor to continue to live a life of dignity and simplicity in the face of turbulence.”
Kartikeya Singh, when asked about the film’s journey says, “It gives me great pleasure to present the acclaimed director Gurvinder singh’s second film “Chauthi Koot” to a much larger and wider audience across the world. Inspite of its wide festival success, Anhey Ghorhey da dan – our first initiative, did not get such a release. The Film already had a 23 screen release in France and found great appreciation. Newer avenues, digital platforms and keen audiences are helping us reach out wider across the globe. We have a big plan for the film and its theatrical release is a stepping stone towards that plan.
The film creates a truthful atmosphere of fear and paranoia in the 1980’s, recreating a realistic impression. Many people who have had the opportunity to see it at festivals and had lived in those times, told me often that they felt they were revisiting 1980’s. It felt very real to them. It is a true and honest representation and everyone must watch it.”
About their association with NFDC, Kartikeya adds, “NFDC has been a key partner in bringing this works to life. Their numerous efforts in the past few years are showing tangible results and I wish that they get continuous support. I have always felt that they should be given more leveraging power with funds to support distribution of not only their own but other independent films.”
CHAUTHI KOOT evokes the atmosphere of suspicion, fear and paranoia of the Punjab in 1980s. It considers two loosely connected incidents: two Hindu friends trying to get to Amritsar and, some months earlier, a farmer who is told he has to kill the family dog. One story flows into the other and back – like a relay race one character passing on the baton to another. What binds the two is the condition of the common man trapped between the excesses of the military on one side and the militant movement for a separate Sikh nation on the other.
Gurvinder Singh studied film-making at the Film & Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, graduating in 2001. He traveled extensively through Punjab between 2002 and 2006, living and wandering with folk itinerants, documenting folk ballads and oral narratives. He continued to make short experimental works and documenting arts/artists for the next few years. In 2005 he was invited by avant-garde Indian filmmaker Mani Kaul to be his teaching assistant for a month long master class at FTII, which led to a close association with the filmmaker who became his mentor. He translated and published a book of conversations with Mani Kaul, titled Uncloven Space. He directed his first fiction feature in Punjabi, Anhey Ghorhey Da Daan (Alms for the Blind Horse) in 2011. The film premiered in ‘Orizzonti’ competition at the Venice film festival and screened at various festivals including Rotterdam, Busan, London, Munich, etc, besides releasing at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York. It won the ‘Special Jury Award’ at Abu Dhabi Film Festival, and the ‘Best Film’at the International Film Festival of India, Goa in 2012. It also won three National Awards in India, including ‘Best Direction’and ‘Best Cinematography’. Besides film-making, he paints and is working towards his first exhibition.
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