Set during the Sikh separatist movement of the eighties CHAUTHI KOOT recounts the suspicions, fears and paranoias of India’s Punjab region, specifically in the year 1984.
CHAUTHI KOOT, which in Punjabi means “The Fourth Direction” is based on the short stories “The Fourth Direction” and “I Am Feeling Fine Now” from Indian author Waryam Singh Sandhu’s 2005 collection “Chauthi Koot.”
Two loosely-connected incidents buttress the film: a couple of Hindu friends are trying to get to Amritsar and, some time earlier to this a farmer who is told he has to kill the family dog because of his incessant barking. Under Gurvinder’s slow and deliberate directing style the suspicions mutually felt by the men from the two camps, Hindu and Sikh are palpable. There is no memorable dialogue or performing here, CHAUTHI KOOT an unvirtuous film about an unvirtuous episode in India’s long and complex history that tells its story effectively and without pretense.
When director Gurvinder Singh walked unto the Théâtre Debussy stage with his cast at Thierry Frémaux’s invitation he spoke passionately about his country and the need to remember the upheavals that took place in the eighties. The conflict between Hindus and Sikhs (and also Muslims) never completely goes away, bubbles of violence sometimes burst at the surface. Thismakes CHAUTHI KOOT a relevant and timeless film.