SOAS University of London

SOAS South Asia Institute

Screening of Chauthi Koot (The Fourth Direction)

Chauthi Koot
Derek Malcolm in conversation with director Gurvinder Singh

Date: 5 February 2016Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 5 February 2016Time: 8:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Khalili Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Film


1980s, Punjab: peak of the militant movement for Sikh autonomy. Two Hindu friends desperate to reach Amritsar, along with a Sikh passenger, force their way into the guard's cabin of an empty and sealed train. The train rattles along in the darkness and one of them remembers a stressful night when he had lost his way going to his wife’s village and the events that had befallen the Sikh farmer's family who helped him get to the village. The head of the family is threatened by militants to kill his pet dog because "Dogs will bark in the night and betray us. And the security forces certainly don't spare people like you..."

Chauthi Koot evokes the atmosphere of suspicion, fear and paranoia of the Punjab in the 1980s and explores the dilemma of the common man trapped between the ruthlessness of the military on one side and the excesses of the militants on the other.

Duration: 115 mins.

The screening will take place from 17.00 - 19.00, followed by a discussion between Derek Malcolm and director Gurvinder Singh and a Q&A session.

Director Biography

Gurvinder Singh studied filmmaking at the Film & Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, graduating in 2001. He travelled extensively through Punjab between 2002 and 2006, living and wandering with folk itinerants, documenting folk ballads and oral narratives. He continued to make short experimental works and documenting arts/artists for the next few years. In 2005 he was invited by avant-garde Indian filmmaker Mani Kaul to be his teaching assistant for a masterclass at FTII, which led to a close association with the filmmaker who became his mentor. He translated and published a book of conversations with Mani Kaul, titled Uncloven Space. He directed his first fiction feature in Punjabi, 'Anhey Ghorhey Da Daan' (Alms for the Blind Horse) in 2011. The film premiered in at the Venice Film Festival and screened at various festivals including Rotterdam, Busan, London, Munich, etc, besides releasing at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York. It won the ‘Special Jury Award’ at Abu Dhabi Film Festival, and the ‘Best Film’ at the International Film Festival of India, Goa, in 2012. It also won three National Awards in India, including ‘Best Direction’ and ‘Best Cinematography’. His second feature ‘Chauthi Koot’ (The Fourth Direction) recently premiered in ‘Un Certain Regard’ competition at the Cannes Film Festival, 2015. 'Chauthi Koot' has won the Grand Prix at Belgrade Auteur Film Festival, the Best Asian Film at the Singapore International Film Festival and the Best Indian Film at the Mumbai Film Festival.

Discussant Biography

Derek Malcolm was chief film critic of The Guardian for 35 years, during which time he directed the London Film Festival, was a Governor of the British Film Institute, and President of Fipresci, the international film critics association. He has visited India many times as a friend of Satyajit Ray, Shyam Benegal and Mrinal Sen, and is a regular at Indian Film Festivals.


This is a ticketed event. Please register online by clicking this link. There will be a small admission charge on the door to recover some of the director's costs (£5 waged, £3 students and unwaged: please bring exact change). 

Organiser: SOAS South Asia Institute

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Contact Tel: +44(0)20 7898 4390