It was his first film ever – one he will remember for a lifetime.
Karamdeep Singh played young policeman Sohan Singh Sidhu in Astro’s The Amazing Malaysian Heroes film ‘Kisah Benar Kemuliaan Sohan Singh‘, based on a true event in Parit Buntar, Perak on Jan 23, 1965.
And the lanky Karamdeep, who turns 27 on Dec 24, was filled with awe and pride during each take of the film shot mostly in Rasa, Selangor.
“This is my first time acting and to take on a leading role that is so inspiring, it’s beyond words, really,” said Karamdeep.
So what was Sohan’s inspiring tale?
Then a constable, Sohan was walking along Sungai Kerian when he saw teenager Abdul Malik Awang struggling in the water.
Abdul Malik was fishing when he lost his footing and fell into the river.
Sohan was unable to swim and used his turban to help save the boy.
The policeman thought nothing about the incident until it was reported by a local daily the following day. His heroic deed was acknowledged by the force and he received a letter of appreciation.
Muhammad Hadi Putra Muhammad Abdul Hafiz, who turned 10 on March 23, played the young Abdul Malik in the film.
Sohan retired from the force as an ASP. Now, at age 75, he resides with his wife Serjeet Kaur in Taiping, Perak and together they have three children – Inderjeet Singh, Kirandeep Kaur and Harpreet Singh.
Karamdeep was initially unaware the film was based on a true story.
“And that makes it even more impactful and memorable. To be part of this journey is amazing but to play someone who had put aside his religious belief to save another human being … that’s just awesome.”
The Sikhs regard the turban, a six-metre piece of cloth, as an important element of their religion. The turban is held in high regard. Practising Sikhs do not unfurl their turbans in public unless it is a matter of life and death.
The headgear symbolises sovereignty, dedication, self-respect, courage and piety.
Since Sohan’s heroic deed over 50 years ago, there have been many more stories worldwide of Sikhs helping people (and animals) by using their turbans.
“Sohan is a true hero. The community and Malaysians in general should be proud of him. He’s my hero too.”
“This story is a true reflection of humanity, where a man reached out to save another individual. It was not seen through a racial lens but just a story of two Malaysians. And that’s how it’s supposed to be.
“I wish more Malaysians would stop looking at each other based on skin colour, language or faith. I would like to see everyone come together. This is what Merdeka and being a Malaysian mean to be.”
Now, Karamdeep is on a quest is to meet his idol.
“I would definitely want to meet Sohan. It’ll be a dream come true. I’m willing to make the trip (to Taiping) for sure.
“Thanks to him (Sohan) and his heroic effort, I got a chance to be on television!”
Directors Think Tank’s Dewi Yusof shares her views:
“I’ve done commercials but a short film based on a true story in conjunction with a country’s independence, this is a first for me.
Sohan Singh is a true hero. He put aside his religious belief and saved a boy. The act itself is inspiring. As an Indonesian, I am privileged to have worked on a film based on an actual event.
It doesn’t matter where I come from … this is a story every human being is able to relate to.”
The film, a collaboration between Astro Gempak, Directors Think Tank and Professional Storytellers, is available on Astro Gempak’s YouTube page.