Often, the task of translating a book into a movie is a tedious one as the battle of ‘literary versus visual’ often surfaces. However, a film inspired by late Ram Saroop Ankhi ji’s novel, Gelo is all set to hit the theatres in May this year and the makers seem optimistic about their experiment. Most Punjabi movies have only been offering slapstick humour, but Gelo unravels some serious issues in Punjab, including land occupancy and drug-abuse in the region.The film has been directed by Manbhavan Singh and produced by Nidhi M Singh, under the banner of Celebration Studioz, and co-produced by Sonark Solutions. Manbhavan Singh, who has done theatre with Gursharan Singh, shares that making a film on the issue was slightly more than just a challenge. Says the debutant director, “The film revolves around Gelo, who represents the females of small land tillers and small farmers of Malwa’s cotton belt in Punjab. The film is about making right decisions even in adverse conditions and also how powerful people are unjust with laymen. The film has been inspired by the book; it is not entirely the book.”He opines that even though one can read the book at their convenience, a movie is restricted by time. “The film is also on drug abuse in Punjab and it’s not easy to translate a book into a film, which is only a couple of hours long. But that’s where the challenge lies,” he says. Manbhavan shares that he met several trade union members and labour organisations for research before he started making the movie.
The film features Ik Kudi Punjab Di-fame Jaspinder Cheema and veteran actor Pavan Malhotra, who relived the character of Bhagat Puran Singh recently. The film also stars Gurjit Singh, Dilawar Sidhu, Aditya Sharma and Raj Dhaliwal.Jaspinder, who recently got married to the male lead, Gurjit Singh, shares that he proposed to her for marriage on the sets of Gelo. “It was quite a task to play the role of Gelo as the film shows her journey from early twenties to mid-sixties, but I really enjoyed the process,” she says. Gurjit adds that he will be seen playing the role of a lower-caste man and also Jaspinder’s on-screen husband. “I play the role of a lower caste Sikh who is married to an upper-caste girl. It also has an interesting love track,” shares Gurjit.