Toronto: Directed by Hollywood director Tarsem Singh, ‘Dear Jassi’, the story of honour killing of Indo-Canadian woman Jassi Sidhu in Punjab in June 2000 for marrying a village boy against her family’s wishes, premiered at the on-going Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) here today.
Somewhat reminiscent of legendary love stories of Punjabi folklore, the film retells the tragedy of 24-year-old Jassi Sidhu who made the mistake of falling in love with Sukhwinder Sidhu alias Mithu, a kabaddi player of the same Sidhu clan, while visiting her mother’s village in Punjab.
Born at Maple Ridge near Vancouver, Jassi was murdered by her mother’s hired killers near Jagraon in Punjab while her husband was left for dead.
Opening with sufi poet Bulleh Shah’s ‘Kamli’, the film brilliantly recreates the tragic events of June 2000, beginning with the Indo-Canadian girl (played by Pavia Sidhu) falling in love with the rugged Punjab boy (played by Yugam Sood) during her first trip to Punjab.
Scenes quickly switch between grimy Punjab towns and Jassi’s swanky Maple Ridge near Vancouver as the romance between the two blooms, first through their secret rendezvous in the Punjab village and then via letters and phone calls when Jassi flies back to Vancouver.
When Jassi’s mother Malkiat Kaur and maternal uncle Surjit Singh Badersha force her to marry an Indo-Canadian boy of their choice, she flies to India and secretly gets married to Mithu before returning to Canada to make arrangements for Mithu to come to Canada.
But when her mother and the maternal uncle get wind of her secret marriage, Jassi is tortured, confined to their home and forced to sign papers to get her marriage in India annulled.
The high points of the movie are the chaotic scenes at Jassi’s home in Canada when her secret marriage is no more a secret and she seeks police’s help to get out to fly to India to save Mithu and her marriage.
The director has made an extensive use of colloquial Panjabi to capture the essence of earthy Punjabi sense of humour in the film which has been dubbed into English.