New York, December 05: An animated short film titled "American Sikh," featuring Vikas Khanna, a Michelin-star chef, and Oscar-winning Guneet Monga as executive co-producers, sheds light on inclusivity, acceptance, and the remarkable journey of an American Sikh "superhero."
Directed by Ryan Westra, the under-10-minute film highlights the true-life story of Vishavjit Singh, an American-born Sikh who wears a turban. Vikas Khanna and Guneet Monga, known for winning an Oscar for 'The Elephant Whisperers,' serve as executive producers for the Oscar-qualified 'American Sikh.'
Khanna, expressing his admiration for Sikhs, remarked, "I always saw the superheroes in Sikhs," citing their swift responses during crises and their protective role in society. He emphasised finding solace, nourishment, and compassion in gurdwaras, making his association with the film a natural choice.
The film aims to redefine perceptions and combat hate with empathy, as Singh endeavours to depict through his work. It captures Singh's experiences of feeling alienated, the challenges of fitting into American society, and the aftermath of 9/11, where Sikhs faced prejudice and derogatory labels.
Singh's transformation into 'Sikh Captain America' signifies challenging societal norms and reshaping the narrative on Sikhs and those who don't fit the typical American image. The film seeks to raise awareness about Sikhs, portraying Sikh Captain America not as a conventional superhero battling monsters but fighting hate and intolerance, aiming for societal acceptance and self-identity.
The film, vying for Best Animated Short at the Oscars, is set for screenings at the Asia Society and the Sikh International Film Festival, amplifying its reach to diverse audiences, celebrating inclusivity, and encouraging a broader understanding of Sikh identity and the challenges they encounter.