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December 2003 - January 2004


Jo Boley So Nihal - Sat Sri Akal

by Krishan Ralleigh

It was a show of mammoth proportions at Wembley Conference Centre in Wembley, London. It was part-drama and part documentary, encapsulating history of sacrifice, chivalry and religious resurgence of brave Punjabis living in the northwest of ancient land of Bharat, i.e. India.

Recent folk lore of tragic sacrifices sung by wandering bards with hand-held drums were juxtaposed with sophisticated celluloid projection of film, light and sound. These highly effective shots were interspersed by dramatic rendering of episodes from history by live actors on the stage

Moreover, it is not an ancient history. It is merely 500 years old. The glorious and illustrious history of the Sikhs begins with Bhakti Movement of the 16th century and ends with the Independence Movement of India, culminating in the Freedom of India from foreign rule in 1947. It is almost modern history. Legends are in plenty; but evidence of historical facts is also numerous. Certain episodes of Sikh history are, undoubtedly of epic nature. Travels of Guru Nanak, the nature of his death, the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ultimate sacrifice (kurbani) of the young children of the sons of Guru Govind Singh - these episodes are the hallmark of sublime tragedies which inspire great poets to create immortal epics.

Meanwhile, the grand show at Wembley Conference was no less than a conjurer's trick. It kept two thousand people spell-bound for almost two hours. BOLE SO NIHAL relives Sikh history through 41 carefully selected momentous events of the last five hundred years in the history of Punjab, the land of five rivers.

The show was the result of untiring efforts of famous Father-Son team. Dr Harcharan Singh, one of the renowned playwrights of Punjabi literature and his son, Harbux Singh Latta, the film director who pioneered Punjabi Videos and TV films. He has almost mastered the art of unifying the three media of performing arts - drama, audio-visual technology and celluloid - in which the characters move from one to the other with ease without impairing the flow of the story; and with tremendous impact on the mind and senses of the audience.

BOLE SO NIHAL has been specially designed with the help of latest electronic devices to enact spectacular incidents of unparalleled sacrifices and martyrdom from the glorious Sikh History. In this two hours spectacle important historical events were portrayed in the medium, best suited for them, with the continuous backing of 12 feet hi-resolution, back projection video screen, supported by 4-track digital audio playback consisting 15 shabads and songs sung by the well known Ragis and singers like, Sant Baba RamSingh ji Nanaksar, Bhai Harjinder Singh (Srinagarwale), Bhai Anup Singh (Unawale), Bhai Balwinder Singh Rangeela, Bhai Dilbag Singh-Gulbag Singh, Hans Raj Hans, Mahinder Kapoor, Bhupinder, Surinder Shinda, Kuldip Manek, Vinod Sehgal of film ''Machis' fame.
Famous theatre and film actors like BN Sharma, Amrik Teja, Bhupal Singh, Balkar Sidhu, Arun Sharma, Arun Sud, SP Singh and others play their part admirably. Pammi Latta's costume designing enhances the impact of the period in which the story is based. In a nutshell, BOLE SO NIHAL is a pioneering format in which more historical stories of the past may be created by others in coming years.

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