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Sajjan Singh Rangroot trailer: Diljit Dosanjh film promises to honour India’s World War I soldiers

The Punjabi film sets the right buzz with an impressive story and cast.

Mayur Lookhar

Last year, Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk received some criticism in India because it ignored the heroics of Indian soldiers fighting under the British flag.

But why should India bank on the West to tell the stories of its heroes? So along comes director Pankaj Batra with his Punjabi film Sajjan Singh Rangroot, with Diljit Dosanjh in the titular role, to pay tribute to the Indian soldiers of the British Indian army.

The film's makers have released an intense, gripping, hard-hitting trailer on YouTube. A quick search about Sajjan Singh Rangroot says the Sikh man from Ratlam rose to the rank of major general in the British Indian army.

Though there is no official confirmation from Dosanjh or anyone connected with the film, Sajjan Singh Rangroot does appear to be the story of Major General Sajjan Singh who fought in World War I. More details are sure to emerge closer to the film’s release. However, one can’t stop marvelling at the impressive trailer. 

Plenty has been written about Dosanjh’s good looks, but in his short acting career so far, the man, who first made a mark as a singer, has proved that he also has loads of acting talent. In a war film, the first thing an actor needs is intensity. And while this writer hasn’t seen Dosanjh's Punjabi hits, he certainly stood out for his intensity in Udta Punjab (2016) and Phillauri (2017).

In the trailer, we see Sajjan Singh reluctant to fight for India’s colonial master, Great Britain, but he is motivated by his unit's subedar (Yograj Singh). That one line, ‘Will the blood we shed be valued at all?’, takes us back in history and gives us an idea of the predicament that Indian soldiers must have faced while serving the British.

The trailer also shows how some British officers looked down upon their Indian forces and questioned their competence. Before facing the Germans, Sajjan Singh has to run the gauntlet of his own officers. The Sikhs have to overcome many a hurdle before they get on to the field of battle.

The younger men are reluctant to go, but Sajjan Singh is left with no choice but to fight the war as they hope this will pave the way for India to get freedom.

The other man who grabs your attention in the trailer is fast bowler-turned-actor Yograj Singh, father of Yuvaj Singh. In an early interview, Yuvraj Singh had revealed that his father was a strict disciplinarian. As a child, Yuvraj Singh preferred tennis and skating to cricket, but Yograj Singh one day threw out his skates and tennis racket and ordered his son to concentrate on cricket.

Even in real life, Yograj Singh is known to be an intimidating personality, and that is what makes him perfect to play the subedar of Sajjan Singh’s unit. You get goosebumps just listening to Yograj Singh roar in the trailer.

The trailer suggests the makers have not compromised on the production values. The war scenes look authentic. There is, however, a major blooper. A radio broadcast says, "Great Britain is now at war with Germany. Prime minister Neville Chamberlain announces..." and the newsreader's voice is drowned by bombs.

As anyone who has been through school would, or ought to, know, Chamberlain was Britain's prime minister in the days leading up to World War II, and he resigned, to be replaced by Winston Churchill, after his attempts at peace with the Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler came a cropper.

One can only hope the filmmakers run a thorough fact check and correct such boo-boos before the film is released. It would be a shame if a well-made film were to become the butt of ridicule on account of schoolboy errors. Because, irrespective of whether you are familiar with Punjabi, Sajjan Singh Rangroot promises to be that one film that honours India’s World War I soldiers.

Watch the trailer below: 

Sajjan Singh Rangroot is set to be released on 23 March, which happens to be the 87th anniversary of the hanging of Bhagat Singh, one of India's greatest freedom fighters.