Kaur: The short film exploring the female Sikh turban tours our region's Gurdwaras

ITV News Central reporter Ravneet Nandra caught up with the creators of 'Kaur' in Leicester for a special screening of the film:

The Sikh turban is a symbol of respect and traditionally seen worn by men. But now a new short film is exploring the decision by some Sikh women to wear the turban, which can provoke controversy and stigma within the Punjabi and wider communities.

The film "Kaur" - which loosely means Princess or Warrior- tells the story of a Sikh woman who chose to defy her father's wishes by wearing a turban which reminded him of the trauma experienced as a turban-wearing Sikh Punjabi immigrant in Britain.

Her mother is played by 'Eastenders' and 'Goodness Gracious Me' actress Nina Wadia and it's currently touring university Sikh societies and Gurdwaras in the Midlands.

It's a story of identity, family and faith and follows the journey of a young British Sikh woman wanting to wear a turban, to embrace her true self.

But it can come with consequences.

Co-producer and writer of the film, Juggy Singh Sohal says he wanted to showcase his culture, faith and the community in which he's been brought up as a Sikh man.

He said: "...there's no stories like that out there.

"The last one was Bend it Like Beckham, and that was predominantly about football, but it was a Sikh family at the forefront.

"'Kaur' tells the story of Avani. She's a young, British Sikh girl who decides to embrace her identity and her faith and wear the turban for the first time and it's against her fathers wishes.

"So he's suffered from his own traumas from when he emigrated to Britain from India."

The Sikh turban - or the Dastar - represents equality.

It's meant to protect the hair, which Sikhs are to keep long and uncut.

Dr Parvinder Shergill plays the main character 'Avani' in the film as well as co-producing and writing it with Juggy.

She is not a turban-wearing Sikh women herself but says the community preferred that as it enabled her to go on that very journey of self-discovery.

"We actually asked the community, 'does this make sense?' and they all agreed actually to be authentic, it does make sense that I play the role because you're following the journey of her embracing Sikhism, embracing her identity and embracing Dastar, and you couldn't possibly ask someone in real like to take their's off, that would be disrespectful, so we really wanted to honour the story.

Actress Nina Wadia, best known for Eastenders, Goodness Gracious Me and Strictly Come Dancing, plays Avani's mother, Lakhwinder. Credit: Pinder Productions

Best known for Eastenders, Goodness Gracious Me and Strictly Come Dancing, actress and comedian Nina Wadia plays Avani's mother, Lakhwinder.

She is torn between supporting her daughter and the battle her husband faces with his faith, and told ITV Central she said she was excited to portray such a complex character.

"We were looking at the idea of someone who's been baptised within the Sikh religion and wanted to carry that through by wearing a turban, by a female wearing a turban and the complications that arise from that, not only the community itself but also the husband, the dad who I'd fallen in love with who basically took the turban off and cut all his hair off and said that doesn't make me any less of a Sikh man.

"So I think the mother being caught between these two worlds is actually where the true story lies."

Watch the full interview with Nina Wadia here:

The film has been touring university Sikh societies and Gurdwaras across the Midlands, including Leicester's Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara and Baba Deep Singh Shaheed Gurdwara in Birmingham.

The film has been touring university Sikh societies and Gurdwaras, including Leicester's Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara Credit: ITV Central

The creators are now in pre-production for a feature length film with the aim to be on set by the end of the year.

Parvinder says she wants to reach Hollywood and bring more stories told my South Asian women to the forefront of mainstream film and TV.

"Hollywood has never had a lead female role in a Dastar, in a turban and it's visually so beautiful so we really wanted to bring our stories to Hollywood.