When was the last time when a Sikh in turban appeared as a main actor in the film? Was it GADAR? The context in the GADAR was different as it was a story that had partition in the background. Before that Manoj Kumar had played the role of Shaheed Bhagat Singh in SHAHEED. However, in the contemporary relevance it would probably be for the first time when SINGH is KINNG releases tomorrow that a Sikh is being projected as a turbaned Sikh.
At a time when the identity of the Sikhs is brought under scanner in the places where they have been staying for generations, like England, Canada and USA the release of the film is a timely intervention about underlining the same, particularly for those Sikhs who are staying outside India. In such a scenario the murmurs of protest to delay the release of the film as it supposedly hurts the sentiments of the community should not stop an expression of creativity, about assertion of Sikh identity in the present context should not be stopped.
The unexpected publicity that the film has got on account of the recent vote of confidence in the Indian Parliament has meant that the people all over the country know the name of the film. As a matter of practice Sikhs who have been portrayed as turbaned Sikhs have mainly been in the character roles in the Indian films, or else the female actors have used it as a disguise. Among the most famous disguises has been that of Padmini in MERA NAAM JOKER, Mona in TAXI DRIVER, Hema Malini in JAANEMAN etc. In the old times of the Hindi cinema female actors were portrayed as Sikhs to allow them to earn their living in a man's world, where a woman based on her feminine identity could find it difficult to survive.
But for a Sunny Deol no other star outside historical films has condescended to be a lead actor wearing a turban. For this sheer fact the courage of Akshay Kumar needs to be appreciated and the film should be allowed to grace the cinema halls. Audience can always reject the film if they find it is not up to their expectations. The existentialist dilemma of being a Sikh, if it gets mitigated through this film, it would be able to accomplish its mission.