The Fourth Direction

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The Fourth Direction
Chauthi Koot.jpg
Film poster.
Punjabiਚੌਥੀ ਕੂਟ
Directed byGurvinder Singh
Written byWaryam Singh Sandhu
Gurvinder Singh
Based onChauthi Koot and Hun Main Theek-Thaak Haan
by Waryam Singh Sandhu
Produced byKartikeya Narayan Singh
StarringSuvinder Vicky, Rajbir Kaur, Kanwaljit Singh, Harnek Aulakh, Gurpreet Bhangu
CinematographySatya Rai Nagpaul
Edited byBhupesh 'Micky' Sharma
Music byMarc Marder
The Film Café
Release date
  • May 15, 2015 (2015-05-15) (Cannes Film Festival)
  • June 8, 2016 (2016-06-08) (France)
  • August 5, 2016 (2016-08-05) (India)
Running time
115 minutes

The Fourth Direction (Punjabi: ਚੌਥੀ ਕੂਟ, romanized: Chauthi Koot) is a 2015 Punjabi-language Indian drama film directed by Gurvinder Singh. It is based on the short stories The Fourth Direction and I Am Feeling Fine Now from Indian author Waryam Singh Sandhu's 2005 collection Chauthi Koot. The film is produced by Kartikeya Narayan Singh and is set around the Sikh separatist movement of the 1980s.[1]

It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.[2][3] It won the Silver Screen Award at the Singapore International Film Festival for Best Asian Feature Film in December 2015.[4]

The film was shot mostly around Amritsar and Ferozepur in Punjab, India.


The film plot synthesises two different stories set in a post-Operation Blue Star Punjab in the '80s. Fear and paranoia pervade the atmosphere as the general public is caught between excesses of both Khalistani militants and the Indian government forces fighting them. The first story is about a militant diktat[definition needed] in Punjab that prohibited family-owned dogs from barking, and the other is about two Hindu friends travelling to Amritsar in a nearly empty train. The film merges the two plots into one by making one of the friends travelling in the train recount the first story.[5]

The film opens with two Hindu friends Jugal and Raj looking for a train to Amritsar late in the evening. Having missed the last passenger train, they, along with a Sikh man in the same position, force their way onto a freight train. The small compartment already has a security man and two other young Sikhs besides a couple of train employees. The fearful atmosphere makes Jugal recount to Raj an earlier incident involving him, his wife and their young daughter.

The film goes into flashback. Lost at night in the countryside, Jugal, his wife and daughter reach a farmhouse in the outskirts of the village. While they are frightened to knock at the isolated house, they are not left with much choice. The family in the house, also suspicious at first, later lets them in, as the head of the house Joginder shows them the direction to take.

Later at night, Joginder and his family are visited by the Sikh militants who demand Joginder that he kill the family dog for drawing attention with its incessant barking. The family woes continue the next morning when the paramilitary men arrive looking for the separatists. They turn the house upside down before leaving.

The narrative moves back to the train on its way as the guard asks his unwanted passengers to leave before anyone notices them.[6][7]


  • Suvinder Vicky as Joginder
  • Rajbir Kaur
  • Harleen Kaur
  • Taranjit Singh
  • Kanwaljeet Singh as Jugal
  • Harnek Aulakh
  • Gurpreet Bhangu as grandmother
  • Tejpal Singh as Sikh Passenger


The film premiered at Debussy Theatre in Cannes to a full house where it received a ten minute standing ovation, reported film critic Uma Da Cunha in The Citizen.[8] She noted "the film excels in the minimal devices it uses for dramatising what it says, relying on facial expressions, individual responses and a simple unveiling of events to convey its harrowing story" adding that "The technical skills in every aspect of the film is what hits the viewer. The visuals impress and linger, the clarity of sound enhances every moment, and the striking music track resounds in the silence attached to the visuals."[8]

Reviewing the film for Variety magazine, Jay Weissberg called it "handsome yet ineffectual take on Hindu-Sikh tensions in the 1980s" adding that "formalist attractions don’t equal dramatic strengths in the film." "While he succeeds in capturing the crushing unease of the countryside, full of uncertain, frightened glances, Singh neglects dramatic construction, jeopardizing audience empathy," Weissberg wrote.[7]

In her review for The Hollywood Reporter Deborah Young wrote that the film "takes a very roundabout route in portraying the fear, paranoia and violence of the 1980’s" while "offering an insider’s glimpse into the rural Sikh community in India’s Punjab". Commenting on the minimalist style of the movie, she wrote that "working in miniature..the film pays a steep price in terms of a drama that involved thousands of violent deaths and lead to the assassination of Indira Gandhi."[9]

"Singh’s directorial choices are often remarkably effective, whether in the camera angles, the long travelling shots, the nervous tension and insecurity transmitted in every glance and reflected in every silence and echoed in every sound," wrote Dan Fainaru for Screen Daily while commenting on the pace of the movie as "self-indulgent". "Prolonged sequences and themes repetitively overstated – risk alienating viewers to the point where 30 minutes less would be so much more," he wrote in his review.[6]


Year Name of Competition Category Result Recipient(s)/Nominee(s) Ref(s)
2015 2015 Cannes Film Festival Un Certain Regard Award Nominated Gurvinder Singh [10]
17th Mumbai Film Festival Golden Gateway of India Award for Best Film Won Gurvinder Singh [11]
2015 Singapore International Film Festival Best Asian Feature Film Won Gurvinder Singh [12]
2016 63rd National Film Awards Best Feature Film in Punjabi Won Producer(s): NFDC and Kartikeya Singh
Director: Gurvinder Singh
10th Asia Pacific Screen Awards Best Screenplay Nominated Gurvinder Singh
Waryam Singh Sandhu
2017 1st Filmfare Punjabi Awards Best Cinematography Won Satya Nagpaul [15][16]
Best Original Story Nominated Waryam Singh Sandhu
Best Film (Critics) Won Gurvinder Singh


  1. ^ Shankar, Lekha (26 April 2012). "Many nominations for Indian films". The Hindu. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  2. ^ "2015 Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  3. ^ "Screenings Guide". Festival de Cannes. 6 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  4. ^ Frater, Patrick. "'Fourth Direction' Wins Top Prize at Singapore Festival". Variety. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  5. ^ "Cannes Film Festival 2015: Meet The Directors Of 'Masaan' And 'Chauthi Koot', Competing In 'Un Certain Regard' This Week". 13 May 2015.
  6. ^ a b Dain Fainaru (16 May 2015). "'The Fourth Direction': Review". Screen Daily.
  7. ^ a b Jay Weissber (15 May 2015). "Cannes Film Review-'The Fourth Direction'". Variety.
  8. ^ a b Uma Da Cunha (18 May 2015). "Gurvinder Singh Film Screens with Woody Allen and Gus van Sant". The Citizen.
  9. ^ Deborah Young (16 May 2015). "'The Fourth Direction':Cannes Review". The Hollywood Reporter.
  10. ^ "Indian films Masaan, Chauthi Koot selected for Cannes Film Festival". Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  11. ^ "'Haraamkhor', 'Chauthi Koot' bag top honours at Mumbai film fest". Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  12. ^ "'Fourth Direction' Wins Top Prize at Singapore Festival". Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  13. ^ "63rd National Film Awards Announced" (PDF) (Press release). Press Information Bureau (PIB), India. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  14. ^ Staff, The Wire. "Anurag Kashyap, Leena Yadav and Others Nominated For 2016 Asia Pacific Screen Awards". Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  15. ^ "Nominations for the Jio Filmfare Awards (Punjabi) 2017". Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  16. ^ "Winners of the Jio Filmfare Awards (Punjabi) 2017". Retrieved 31 March 2017.

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