Kulwinder caught up with Eh Janam Tumhare Lekhe's lead actor Pavan Raj Malhotra who we saw play a negative role opposite Diljit Dosanjh in Punjab 1984 and Bhaag Milka Bhaag talking about the powerful character Bhagat Puran Singh and his selfless service towards humanity.
Eh Janam Tumhare Lekhe – ‘This life is dedicated to you’ is the most eagerly awaited first Punjabi film of 2015, releasing on 30th January, presented by White Hill Production Inc. in association with Pingalwara.
Hello Pavan Ji, hope all is well, please tell us briefly about the character you play?
The characters name is Bhagat Puran Singh; just like Mother Teresa- Bhagat Puran Singh is the male version. Pingal means handicap, home for the handicapped. The home initiated before India was separated, Puran Singh was born what we now call Pakistan.
As a child Puran Singh who at the time was known as Ram was always told by his mother that in any living thing there is a god. Ram always said to his mother ‘if no one else cares why should we?’ From where his mother replied- ‘for a good deed someone must start it. You be the first one.’
He then started doing seva at the Gurdwara, from where he saw someone leave a handicap child at the Gurdwara, this left him in thoughts however this was happening a lot, parents abandoning their children because of disability. After Ram’s mother passed away, he vowed to carry on doing seva.
The partition of India then happened this is when he moved towards the Amritsar side. During this time he found that there was nothing for handicap people, from this point he thought there needs to be facilities for these people therefore he would go into the city, beg and use the money towards helping the handicap. He decided to do this fully and he dedicated his whole life and this is all still happening at a place named Pingalwara near Amritsar. He was a selfless person. He nurtured people just like a mother does to her child.
So how did you feel when you were approached to act out this particular, strong minded and selfless character?
When this story was first narrated to me I was like no, sorry I cannot do this. I was then convinced by the directed Harry Singh to play the part and I accepted, but it was defiantly a challenging role. It was a great resonsilbity to act this character and now I can say that today you can hardly find people like Puran Singh who care for others and dedicate their lives; there are a few people who can do this deed. He changed so many peoples life’s and has set something which has helped so many people and something beautiful has been set up.
Do you feel connected to the character of Bhagat Puran Singh?
We all see poverty, we all see people crying for help but do we stop for them- No. We all carry on with our lives and journey. But he actually stopped and did something for people, I no people’s sensitivity levels are different from one another, but if you spend time in Pingalwara it’s like an alarm clock it is life wakening.
I would like everyone to go and visit Pingalwara if they can. But I do hope that people around you inspire you to help one another, if everybody starts helping then the world will be a better place. Even if you see a guy begging buy him some food, that little contribution will mean a lot. I can’t even think of ever being like Puran Ji, he was so selfless.
Therefore, when people ask me this question I can’t say I don’t feel connected and I can’t say I do but I have defiantly learnt about humanity, kindness and my thoughts have changed.
Watch the video to the the song 'Lori' featuring the vocals by Harshdeep Kaur below!
How was it when you first visited Pingalwara?
Pingalwara is so clean and amazing and for Indian standards it is fabulous, it’s a great area. Before this story was narrated to me I had no idea about Bhagat Puran Singh Ji, in terms of that I have learnt a lot. The maximum donations come from Canada. Pingalwara now has its own land, today things are much better for them, they have their own supplies of food they are much organised. But I urge people to if they can donate something even a £1 will go a long way.
What is the unique selling point of the film?
The story of a selfless man, by watching this film I know everyone will take something away and I hope it brings the sensitivity out of everyone and allow them to start small changes in others life’s which will be a huge impact.
How long did it take to shoot?
45 days, I still haven’t seen the finished product. Sometimes I would have three changes of looks and make up would take time.
So what research did you do prior to the shooting?
Once I had the script, my director and his wife created a documentary on the subject. It was more about Pingalwara then Puran Ji himself.
Who is the target audience for this film?
Everyone, it touches me that youngsters want to see this film. Today I met a young boy who had seen the promo and he came up and said he is eager to watch the film. This film isn’t for people who are educated or non educated, the audience should watch this film because of its story. I hope this film spreads like fire and that people encourage one another to watch it and become inspired.
How are you feeling for the release?
I am always nervous, and that is partially because I haven’t seen the final cut of the film, for the reason that the film promotion had begun and when you haven’t seen the film I don’t know what I could off done better. Of course I have tried hard. Dr Inderjeet Kaur who plays a vital part today in Pingalwara said the film is great and has commented on my acting, so as an actor that has made me feel good.
What kinds of films do you like acting in?
I try to stay away from the masala films, as an actor I like to play a variety of characters. I like to be part of more art, reality type of films as an actor I feel I should challenge myself in which this case I have.
Watch the video to 'Sunn Ve Poorna' by Diljit Dosanjh below!
Well I wish you all the best and the success for the film to you and the team for Eh Janam Tumhare Lekhe.
Thank you SimplyBhangra.com for supporting this so much and I urge everyone to watch it and support this film which is out on the 30th January.
Interviewed by Kulwinder Kaur Kainth