SIKH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2009: DOCUMENTARY
Director: Raj Paul Dhillon; Producers: Raj Paul Dhillon & Bobby Nagra
Bhangra Generation is an electrifying, entertaining and enlightening documentary on the fast growing phenomenon known world-wide as Bhangra and how it has influenced the young generation of South Asians in the west.
The film is the first of its kind socio-musical documentary that examines the lives of the second generation Indo-Canadians/South Asians who have been impacted by this music which largely comes from Britain.
The film examines the lives of four Indo-Canadian artists, who are making their mark in the world through dance and music. Most prominent of the four is international Bhangra superstar Jazzy B.
Bhangra, which originated as both a dance form and a musical form in the Northern Indian state of Punjab before being fused in 1980’s and 90’s in Britain, has become an integral part of the worldwide Punjabi culture and Diaspora, playing a revolutionary role akin to black music in America in shaping the identity of Non Resident Indians (NRIs) in the west.
According to tradition, the word Bhangra comes from an intoxicating harvest drink called Bhang, (Siva's herb), which the farmers drank in celebration of finishing their spring harvest. Like the drink – Bhangra music has its own intoxication with its rhythms and beats working like a snake charmer.
Raj Paul Dhillon is an award winning South Asian journalist, producer and filmmaker based in Vancouver. He holds a degree in Communications and a minor in Film from Simon Fraser University. Aside from an extensive writing background with South Asian newspapers and magazines, he has also done freelancing writing for mainstream publications like The Vancouver Sun. Currently, he writes Bollywood film reviews for the Georgia Straight newspaper in Vancouver.
Over the years, Dhillon has amassed a number of production credits, including TEARS AND SIGHS on the abuses of alcohol in the South Asian community as well as a VARIETY television show for Rogers Multicultural Station; PLANET AAJ (1997-98), a South Asian variety show shown on Baton Broadcasting’s flagship Vancouver television station VTV (now BC-CTV - channel 9); The SAINT SOLDIER (1999-2000) - a one-hour documentary on B.C.’s Sikh community also for CTV; SLICES OF MY LIFE (1992-93), a slice of the immigrant experience, which was produced through a grant from B.C. Ministry of Tourism; SOUTH VAN STUD (1992), a play for Expressions ’92 Youth Festival; and AUTUMN LEAVES (1990-91), a short film which was selected at Montreal’s Student Film Festival.
Dhillon has also written several short and feature length film scripts including THE FUSION GENERATION and SPICELAND, both of which MMM is developing. 2008 was a banner year for Dhillon as two of his big projects were released across Canada. His documentary THE BHANGRA GENERATION for Rogers’ Toronto-based OMNI Television made its broadcast debut on September 24, 2008. He also saw the release of his debut indie feature film SWEET AMERIKA, which he co-wrote, produced and directed for MMM Film Finance International. SWEET AMERIKA was released in Canadian theatres on September 19, 2008. The well received film made its US Debut at the SWFF of Hollywood in November 2008 and was released in US on May 22, 2009.