A History of Valour
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At a budget of Rs 60 crore, his Love Story 2050 went down in history by being a sci-fi super dud of the year 2008. Seems like the future didn't look so bright after all, and so, for his next "magnum opus", (the man is a chronic risk-taker) filmmaker Harry Baweja has turned to the greatest storyteller of all — history. Which also explains his long break from the usual Tinseltown talkies.
Baweja had turned into a research junkie, a man on a mission to get his facts and info right for his first animation feature, Chaar Sahibzaade. Based on the life and martyrdom of the four brave sons of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, the two-hour-long animation film has hit the floors and is being made in 3D on a budget of about Rs 20 crore by Baweja Movies and Interactive Realities Pvt Ltd.
While Sahibzada Fateh Singh (6) and Sahibzada Zorawar Singh (9) were bricked alive by Mughal rulers in 1705, Sahibzada Jhujhar Singh (14) and Sahibzada Ajit Singh (18) attained martyrdom fighting the battle of Chamkaur Sahib against Mughal forces in the same year.
"It's the first-of-its-kind 3D stereoscopic war animation feature in the world," says Baweja and his frontman, Prasad Ajgaonkar of the Interactive Realities Pvt Ltd studios. In the same breath, he cites reasons for choosing animation and that too from Sikh history.
"I wanted to make a live action film on these four national heroes, on the their love for each other, the story of their valour, courage and sacrifice, but according to Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC), we can't showcase the Gurus or their families in a live action film format. No actor can essay their role, and hence, animation," says Baweja.
It was a challenge, one that took more than three years to research, several rounds of discussions with SGPC and creation of four convincing characters who would have faces and right attitudes while, at the same time, not sound preachy or too "cartoony". "People mistake animation for cartoons. It is not. This is a historical-religious feature film and made like any regular big-budget film. It is not a propaganda, promotion or educative discourse," says Baweja.