Gurlambir Singh alias Alex is a man with a mission. Passionately artistic and cinematic Alex has found an innovative way of showing his resentment towards the heinous crimes through his movies.
This Melbourne based writer, director and producer has again created a buzz with his new feature film “Maa – the Mother”- a Punjabi film based on the atrocities and abuse being faced by women in society.
Born and brought up in Bandala village of Amritsar Punjab, Alex says he has witnessed many incidences of crime against women which used to haunt him always and prompted him to highlight such issues through his films.
“I would say my association with cinema is inspired by my mother .My mother was a great artist and a singer too, being a housewife she could not get a chance to showcase her talent. But she always inspired me and supported me through every thick and thin”, says Alex.
“Plays, acts, dramas, theatre was something which always attracted me, so while in college I got associated with Punjab Natshala, theatre group. I did a number of stage shows on varied subjects. It was only during those days that I wrote a poem on ‘child labour’, which was published in a magazine that provided me much recognition,” adds Alex.
“I preferred theatre to highlight various social issues. I did a number of plays on issues like child labour, women abuse, dowry issues, etc and that is how I got noticed by theatre directors which gave a kick start to my career in this industry”, says Alex.
He moved to Melbourne in 2006 to explore cinematic aspects of west and did a course in Film Production from Monash. In 2007 he became a victim of racial attack and that was the turning point in his life.
“While studying in Melbourne I became a victim of racial attacks, bigotry and abuse. That was a turbulent phase for me; however my friends motivated and encouraged me to take up such issues through films. Since then I am working on various issues related to the Indian community in overseas and highlighting those issues through films”, says Alex.
Soon after the attack, Alex made a feature film, ‘Patriotic Slaves’, a true story based on an Indian guy and his struggle for survival abroad. This movie showcases various facets of the struggle which students have to undergo while studying in abroad.
While talking about his latest movie ‘Maa- the Mother’ he says, “There are so many incidences of sexual assault, domestic violence, dowry deaths, forced marriages etc which are reported from Punjab every now and then. Being a child I was a close witness to many such incidences and always wanted to do something against those monstrous acts. This film is about a Dalit rape victim who cannot speak. This movie is based on a real life incidence and the story revolves around the woman in rural Punjab who is sexually abused yet unaware about it”.
“It is my effort to highlight the agony, abuse and torture which a women has to undergo at various stages while struggling for survival. We have made two versions of this film, one is a short version for short film category and the other is a normal feature film. I am not making this film for commercial purpose but I want to make such films which could take Punjabi cinema to higher level. We need to project different issues in front of audiences only then they would understand the relevance of such film,” he says.
This is the first Punjabi film for Alex who has also worked as an assistant director and scriptwriter for Shobhna’s film Seven Nights in 2012. Back in Indian he has assisted few directors including Supidto Chattopadhaya, Dharmesh Darshan and Arjun Singh; who is known for his art movies in Bollywood. He has made a number of documentaries and short films in Australia. His film “Eleven Thirty”, wherein he was production and unit manager was screened in St Kilda Film festival recently.
Alex is a member of AFI (Australian Film Institute), MEEAA (Media and Arts Alliance) and a regular movie critique for a Perth based radio channel. Apart from this he has started an organization named ‘Bol’ wherein anyone whosoever is having any issue can speak to them or write to them. He is also hopeful to start a film school soon to conduct courses related to film production and acting