This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Thomas Mathews. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Review: A Compelling Film On Operation Blue Star That’ll Leave You Awestruck

By Thomas Mathews:

Gurvinder Singh’s Punjabi feature film “Chauthi Koot” is undoubtedly the best crafted film we have seen in recent times. “Chauthi Koot” which has many feathers in its cap including a National Award apart from receiving critical acclaim worldwide has finally released in the theatres for the general public.

The separatist movement that shook the peace of living a normal life in Punjab and the rest of the country in the 1980s and later on which led to the killing of one of the most powerful political figures in India as an aftermath of her decision to flush out terrorists from the sacred Golden Temple under the garb of Blue Star Operation is very well woven in Chauthi Koot as the base of its narrative.

Cinematographer Satya Rai Nagpaul captures fear, silence, helplessness, resistance, belief, revolt and hope through his lens so well that the film leaves you awestruck. Bhupesh Micky Sharma’s editing is noteworthy. Chauthi Koot breaks the set norms of the traditional structure of storytelling.

Gurvinder Singh’s film is a fusion of two stories – “Chauthi Koot” (The Fourth Direction) and “Main Theek Thak Haan” (I am Feeling Fine Now) written by the Punjabi writer Waryam Singh Sandhu who won Sahitya Akademi Award in the year 2000 for his collection of short stories – “The Fourth Direction and other Stories”. The film begins with two Punjabi Hindu men rushing to a railway station to catch a train to Amritsar and missing their train by a minute. Their wait on a desolated platform for hours, the checking of an empty Amritsar-bound train by a bunch of army men, pulling down the shutters on the windows of each and every coach of the train by the army men and not allowing them to board the empty train raises your curiosity to know what is happening and why? The silent train journey without the consent of the conductor and finding a few other passengers already huddled in the compartment looking at each other with mistrust and sometimes for assurance galvanises the sense of fear and uncertainty to a greater level. There are moments we as the audience also feel the fear of the unknown.

The film takes us a few months back to tell us another story about a Sikh farmer called Joginder (Survinder Vicky) and his family. The tale of political and social disruption and lack of peace in a commoner’s life is very well depicted. A barking dog that senses every rustle in the dark as a threat to the family is hell bent to protect its master’s family and the family who loves the canine is equally disturbed by its bark because it attracts the ire of passing militants at night. Caught between the patrolling army in the day and by the militants at night, the family portrays the plight of a commoner. The threat that looms largely in individuals and their social life is beautifully captured and in every frame we pray for their safety and are equally tensed to know what is awaiting next. Gurvinder Singh and his team have done a brilliant work because their work diminishes the barrier of the screen between the viewers and the characters in the film.

In short, “Chauthi Koot” which was screened at Cannes 2015 and later on won a national award should not be missed. Every single actor is distinct and stays in your mind especially Survinder Vicky as the farmer under stress. The film stands out because of its craft, storytelling and the realistic recreation of the disturbed times of Punjab in the 1980s. “Chauthi Koot” doesn’t have high emotional melodrama, political statements, news splashed on the screen by various newspaper cuttings, or a revolutionary to speak about the importance of rights and freedom rather it is the silence, the dark nights, the rattling train, fear in the eyes, the dogs bark, the turbaned heads and non-turbaned heads that convey the message you want to carry home with you – a message if we walk together closely then no turbulence and internal turmoil can disturb the unity of our countrymen.

Cast: Survinder Vicky (Joginder), Rajbir Kaur, Harleen Kaur, Taranjit Singh, Kanwaljit Singh (Jugal), Harnek Aulakh, Nakul Vermani, Gurpreet Bhangu, Tejpal Singh

Genre: Drama

Director: Gurvinder Singh

Producer: Kartikeya Narayan Singh

Written by: Waryam Singh Sandhu, Gurvinder Singh

Screenplay: Rohit Dhawan, Tushar Hiranandani

Based on Stories: Chauthi Koot and Main Theek Thak Haan by Waryam Singh Sandhu

Music by: Marc Marder

Cinematography: Satya Rai Nagpaul

Edited by: Bhupesh Micky Sharma

Production: Film Cafe

Release Date: 5th July, 2016

Duration: 115 Minutes

Language: Punjabi


The social image was shared by Chauthi Koot on Facebook
You must be to comment.

More from Thomas Mathews

Similar Posts

By Rushil Saini

By Ananya Bhuyan

By Barkha Pawar

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below