Los Angeles October 15, 2019: Over 200 guests watched the first documentary on Guru Nanak at the Regal theater and gave a thunderous applause as they finished viewing this first ever film on Guru Nanak in English language. Guests from Los Angeles and other parts of United States flocked to view the release of this much awaited film on the founder of Sikhism. Many leaders of various religions joined in this celebratory moment for the Sikhs and they prayed at the conclusion.
Among those who were present were The Right Reverend Alexei Smith, Chief ecumenical and interfaith officer for the Catholic Archdiocese, Atilla Kahveci from Pacifica Institute, Steve and Judy Guilliland from Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Randy Dobbs, General Secretary The Bahai in Southern CA, Tahil Sharma, a Hindu representative and an Interfaith Activist.
Jerry Krell, Bishop John Chane, former head of the Washington National Cathedral, and Dr. Mark Juergensmeyer, professor of Sociology from University of California and Dr. Rajwant Singh joined in a panel discussion following the viewing of the documentary.
Dr. Surinder Kaur Dargan, main organizer of the film’s release welcomed guests and said, “This is thrilling moment for Sikhs in USA and in the world. We have been waiting for this kind of film to spread the word about the founder of our faith.”
Jerry Krell became emotional and said, “It was a great learning and a humbling experience for me to work on this film and I wanted the world to know about Guru Nanak.”
Bishop Chane said, “As a Christian feel that this movie will ensure that Sikhs have a seat at the table when important discussions are taking place in the world. Guru Nanak’s contributions and that of the Sikh community will be appreciated.”
Mark Juergensmeyer said, “This may be the best film I’ve seen on Sikhism and the Sikh community. It humanizes the topic with foci on real people with real stories of how their Sikh faith has entered their lives as a truck driver, a mayor, and a Grammy-nominated singer; and it shows how the image and ideals of the founding figure in the Sikh tradition is not just the stuff of history and legends but lives in the lives of people today.
He added, “The film is a treasure for the ages that will continue to inspire individual Sikhs, the Sikh community, and all of us in this globalized multicultural world who learn from the deep cultural heritages of each other.”
PBS will facilitate the showing of this documentary on 200 TV stations all over America in coming months as Sikhs are celebrating the 550th birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism.
Besides narrating Guru Nanak’s history and key points of Guru Nanak’s teachings, the documentary features reputable authors and articulate speakers like Bishop Chane, a reputable Christian leader and former head of the Washington National Cathedral, Rabbi David Rosen, a prominent Jewish authority and well respected interfaith leader, Bob Thurman, a Buddhist scholar and one of Time magazine’s 50 most influential people, Dr. Vrajvihari Saran, a Hindu scholar from Georgetown University, Ambassador Navtej Sarna, author of a book on Guru Nanak, Roopinder Singh, Associate editor of Tribune India, Hoboken’s Sikh mayor, Ravi Bhalla, Dr. Nikky Guninder Kaur, author of many books and Kamla Kapur, author of book on Guru Nanak.
National Sikh Campaign (NSC) helped support this project and many Sikhs from USA and other parts of the world have contributed.
A week long Awareness Film festival which brings films from all over the world on various social and cultural causes, featured Guru Nanak Documentary on the final day. This is at the cultural heart of Los Angeles.
Dr. Rajwant Singh, Co-founder and the senior adviser of NSC, said, “The response of the audience assures us that this film will have an impact in educating Americans and the world about Guru Nanak and his contributions. There is total ignorance about him among masses and this gap will be filled by this initiative.”
Amritpal Singh, Chair of NSC, said, “We are thankful for the contributions made by Hindus, Sikhs, Sindhis and so many communities have joined to support this effort. Guru Nanak belongs to all.”
Auteur Productions has made many documentaries on world religions and on health and they had traveled to India and Pakistan to shoot the original footage of Gurdwaras related to Guru Nanak.
Charanjit Singh Batth, a prominent farmer from Fresno, was honored by National Sikh Campaign leadership at the reception for his generous contribution to financially support this documentary. Other well-known personalities who attended the opening were Avinder Chawla, Dr. Lakhwinder Randhawa from Sacramento, Mohinder Singh Sohal from Seattle, Gurbax Bhasin from Los Angeles, Dr. Arinder Chadha, Bibi Inderjit Kaur, wife of late Harbhajan Yogi, Mohinder Singh, former editor of India Journal, Dr. Piara Singh, Navneet Chugh, Nirinjan Singh, Kirtan Singh and Sumita Batra.