{Leicester, 23 May 2024. Tarlochan Singh Virk} – The 2nd SIKH lens Sikh Arts and Film Festival at the Phoenix Cinema and Arts Centre on Saturday 18th May in the heart of the city was successful, well attended and very educational where the 1st citizen of the city, the Right Worshipful the Lord Mayor of Leicester Councillor Bhupen Dave was the Guest of Honour.  The Sikh lens festival was a tribute about the  richness of Sikh and Punjabi heritage through animation and documentary films as well as storytelling and Punjabi folk music, Qawalis and Gazals.

The event began sharply at 11 o’clock with an excellent performance by the Falcons Primary School after which ‘American Sikh’ animation film was shown.  Acclaimed film ‘The Sikh Soldier’ from. the UK as well as Bus Driver were also shown.  In the evening the celebrated singers Sonu and Sukhi provided excellent entertainment.  The festival was concluded by the UK premiere of 1947: BREXIT INDIA by Bollywood director Sanjivan Lal – a seven-part documentary of nearly 300 years of British exploitation of India with the help of Indian politicians and Rajas.

Kuldip Singh Bhamra who was awarded the Queen’s Ambulance Award QAM said” I would like to thank the organisers for the wonderful event in our city of Leicester.  It was an amazing experience to watch the films of Sikhs’ contribution in the world and an incredible work has been done by the Sikh lens films and arts.  I met wonderful people and artist of painting, tapestry work team and other contributions to this project and appreciate their contribution to this great project.  I feel very strongly about this festival that we as Sikh community collectively must continue to support everyone who are working day and night to highlight Sikhs’ contribution to the world as our history is very rich and we must all continue to make our new generation to realise this and make them aware of our heritage, our history and the sacrifice made by our ancestors.

This kind of festival must be celebrated and organised in each city of UK.  I was happy to see people come from other cities too.  May Waheguru Ji bless all and everyone involved in organising the festival at a great venue.”

One of the senior and respected Sikh who was recognised with British Empire Medal BEM for his heart health promotion work for the South Asian communities only a few years ago, “The whole festival was very good, and the credit goes to the persons who organised it.  I had known some of the British history in India but the ‘1947: BREXIT INDIA’ documentary film opened my mind beyond, and I learnt how badly they treated the people of India.  Loss of one life is too much but millions were needlessly killed just during the Partition of India.”

The following were some of the views expressed by those who attended.

‘There is nothing like this in Derby, ’,,,GurSukhdev Singh.

‘Loved it. Lots to learn.’………Indrajit from Oadby.

‘Thank you to the organisers.  We all enjoyed and learned loads. ’Harjeet Kaur from Peterborough

Sikh Arts and Film Festival organiser Harinder Singh commented” By the kirpa of Waheguru, The Sikh lens Arts and Film Festival at Phoenix Cinema and Arts Centre was very successful.  We had a very good turnout and more importantly, the feedback from the audience was very positive. 

I look forward to making this an annual or even bi-annual event in Leicester and in other cities across the UK.  Thank you to one and all for coming to this festival and a special thanks for your seva donations and especially to all our tireless volunteers and wonderful sponsors without whose collaboration this event would not have been possible.”

If possible for the next event the Sikh Arts in Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Khalsa Raj should be highlighted in some form.

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