'Dear Jassi' Film Depicting Real-Life Punjab Honor Killing Selected for London Film Festival

Rozana Spokesman  | Amanat Thaper

Punjabi Diaspora

Tarsem Singh Dhandwar's Debut Film Enters Official Competition at Prestigious Festival

Jaswinder Sidhu and Sukhwinder Singh Sidhu

LONDON: The Gripping Film 'Dear Jassi,' based on a harrowing real-life incident of 'honor killing' in Punjab, has earned a coveted spot in the official competition category at this year's London Film Festival, scheduled to commence next month. Recently, the film was featured at the Toronto International Film Festival, marking a significant moment for Indian-origin filmmaker Tarsem Singh Dhandwar, who directed the film. Additionally, 'Dear Jassi' serves as the debut project for filmmaker Sanjay Grover, the son of renowned Bollywood actor Gulshan Grover.

From Toronto, Gulshan Grover expressed, "It's a heartwarming love story, and my friend, director Tarsem, has done a remarkable job." The film narrates the tragic tale of Jaswinder Sidhu, also known as Jassi, born in Canada in 2000, who was brutally murdered in an 'honor killing' because she had defied her family's wishes to marry Sukhwinder Singh Sidhu, known as 'Mithu'.

Jassi's mother, Malkiat Kaur, and maternal uncle, Surjit Singh Badesha, both Canadian citizens, were charged with her murder in 1999. After years of legal proceedings, they were brought to India as per court orders. The ill-fated love story began in 1996 when Jassi, a Canadian native, met Mithu, an auto driver, during her visit to Punjab. Their love blossomed, leading to their marriage in 1999, but Jassi's family vehemently opposed their union.

In a shocking twist, Jassi's mother and uncle, residing in Canada, orchestrated an attempt on Mithu Sidhu's life by poisoning him. The attack in 2000 left Jassi deceased while Mithu miraculously survived. The Punjab Police categorized it as an 'honor killing,' gathering substantial evidence to support the claim. In 2002, they requested the Canadian government to extradite both accused parties to India, a plea that initially went unanswered. Finally, in 2017, the Canadian court ordered the accused to be handed over to the Punjab Police, following a judicial review rejected in 2018 by the accused parties' legal representation. Notably, The film 'Dear Jassi' powerfully delves into this tragic narrative, offering audiences a poignant and thought-provoking cinematic experience.