Private Project

1984, When the Sun didn't Rise


Every evening Sikh women from the “Widows Colony” share their lives. They are nestled away from the so-called developed Metropolis New Delhi to a rehabilitated colony as their men and family members who were daily wage earners were killed in the massacre of 1984.
Three decades later, I connect with the women and children to know their journey and impact of violence. One evening, they question what happened to the dead bodies of their men who were killed in the massacre? This brings a turn around in the lives of the women as they set on a journey to reconcile the truth.
Harbans Kaur has not come to terms with her husband’s death. Kuldeep Kaur knows the killers and visits the house where she lived three decades before. Mohan Singh, born after the massacre is into drugs.
The women negotiate the tragedy in their lives each day but they work and move ahead with resilience and fortitude. The layers of history open up as what lead to a massacre of 30,000 Sikhs is revealed using archival footage of the times.

The film follows an observational approach to the lives of the women who negotiate everyday to live bravely.
The primary themes in the film are courage, resilience, justice and identity.

  • Teenaa Kaur
    The deer, tree and me; In Symphony with Earth; Hola! The Mighty Colors;The Woods are Calling
  • Teenaa Kaur
    The deer, tree and me; In Symphony with Earth;Hola! The Mighty Colors;The Woods are Calling
  • Teenaa Kaur
    The Woods are Calling;The deer, tree and me;In symphony with Earth;Hola! The Mighty Colors
  • Tanweer Ahmed
    Director of Photography
  • Sushil Gautam
    Assistant D.O.P
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    1984,Jis Din Suraj Ugya Nahi
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Human Interest
  • Runtime:
    60 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 1, 2017
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    Hindi, Panjabi
  • Shooting Format:
    High Definition
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Korea, Democratic People's Republic of
    Asian Cinema Fund
  • DOK LEIPZIG Documentary and Animation Film festival,Germany
    Work in progress selected for DOC WOK, Doc
  • DC Asia Pacific American Film Festival
    Washinton DC
    United States
    March 18, 2017
    World Premiere
    Best Documentary Feature by an Emerging Filmmaker
  • International Documentary and Short film festival, Kerala
    June 18, 2017
    India Premiere
  • Jagran Film festival, Mumbai Sep. 2017
  • Natioanl Film Award, Best Investigative fiilm
    New Delhi
    National Award for Best investigative film
Distribution Information
  • Green Earth Pictures, Mumbai (
    Country: India
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Teenaa Kaur

Teenaa has been extensively involved in documentaries and screenwriting. Her debut independent documentary
‘1984,When the Sun didn’t Rise’ received Busan International Film Festival’s Asian Network and Documentary fund “AND” Fund in 2015. It has been selected for “DOC WOK” of
International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Films in 2014 and DOCEDGE, Kolkata in 2012.

In 2013, she was awarded a fellowship by Time Warner Foundation supported Asia Society, New York, for her first feature film screenplay ‘The White Autumn’.

‘The deer, tree and me’ is a creative documentary, which was nominated for Best Documentary in Mumbai Intl. Film festival, 2016. It premiered in SIGNS Intl film festival, Kochi 2015 and also screened in Kolkata International Film Festival 2015, Int. Association for women in Radio and Television film festival, 2016. It is the story of a chinkara and a woman who adopts him.

Her upcoming documentary has been received a grant from PSBT. “The Woods are Calling” is on an endangered bird called Blyth’s Tragopan and how a community of hunters in Nagaland have banned hunting to conserve Tragopan and their forest.

‘In Symphony with Earth!’ is a documentary based on the communities in India growing natural fibre and a living sustainable life in tune with nature, and was broadcast on National Geographic and Fox History (2012-13).
Her debut documentary film on a martial art form celebration named as ‘Hola! The Mighty Colors’ was a part of Sikh International Film Festival in Asia Society and Museum, New York, 2012.

Teenaa is a Production Engineering Graduate from M.B.M. Engineering College, Jodhpur. She has worked in the Television and Ad films to pursue her dream in independent filmmaking dedicatedly since 2010.

She has studied Film Appreciation and Basic Videography from Film and Television Institute of India, Pune in 2012 and PG in Mass Communications from Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan, Delhi in 2003.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I live on my own in Mumbai and got touched on reading about the lives of the Single women/widows living in Delhi in a place called Widows Colony.

Every evening in the Widows Colony, women bond and share themselves as they have lost their husbands in the massacre of 1984. After the death of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, people turned hostile and started killing Sikhs everywhere in Delhi and other parts of India. Violence took place for four days till Indira Gandhi was cremated and by that time approximately 30,000 Sikhs were killed all over in India.

This remains the most untalked about state planned massacre in the history of the India. There is little to almost no justice in this case as the Politicians are scot-free along with most of the accused who are lost in the crowd.

The state rehabilitated them in a ghetto called “Widows Colony” but never recognised that it was a massacre. Sikhs form only 1.4% of the Indian population and realisation and the fear of a minority identity dawned on me.
I felt a story needs to be told.
“1984, When the Sun didn’t rise” was born.

The women are courageous and have turned to be the breadwinners and have chosen to battle out life courageously while the pain remains.

Many women were raped but out of the fear of being defamed never spoke about it.

The film follows an observational approach to the lives of three women and a young man on how they negotiate with a lost identity and emotional trauma of a loss in a very positive and a strong way.

Kuldeep Kaur saw her husband being burnt alive by her neighbours. She could not save him. She fought the court case for ten years and recognised the killers of her husband. Eventually, seven accused were given lifetime imprisonment.
Like most of the widows, Meera Kaur was conferred a job by the State after the massacre. She finds solace in office that she works in rather than at home. Her son Mohan Singh is a likeable honest man but takes drugs.
Mohan belongs to the second generation of children who grew up in the Colony. His honest conversations and confessions make me think how deep rooted the impact of violence can be.
Every year a prayer ceremony is held to commemorate the departed.
Harbans Kaur has been waiting for her husband to return till date. She never saw the dead body of her husband and has been a single parent. After the ongoing discussions on massacre she comes to term with his death and puts his photograph in the gallery of the dead men.
It took me five years to actually bond with the women. However, connection with Mohan was instant as he was honest and not shy to show his emotions. After my first interview with Harbans Kaur I could connect with her only after four years. She wanted to submit the photograph of her husband in the gallery of the dead men and claim a closure of sorts.
The film is anchored with my voice over as I connect with different layers in the film from how the incident occurred to the journey of people including my own learning. The journey was fulfilling and I learnt valuable life lessons from the people in the Colony.
In USA, Sikhs are mistaken as Sheikhs and killed in mistaken identity cases. There is violence happening with people who are different in appearance, follow different faiths or religions everywhere in the world. What happened in 1984 is happening even now.
There are millions of survivors of the massacre who left India out of the fear of being killed, many displaced and who have made others parts of the world as their home.
Through this film, I stand for one world, a world without any discrimination of race, color or features. An equal right for everyone to live irrespective of their identity, faith, religion, caste or creed.