Squamish is the backdrop to a piece of recent movie-making history.
The community was the setting for the first 3D Punjabi-language film — Pehchaan 3D. As director of the flick, Simon Fraser University film grad Manny Parmar needed a location with a small-town feel. Pehchaan 3D centres on Jagjot, played by Steve Dhillon, who comes face-to-face with gang brutally. The incident places Jagjot in a witness protection program, landing him in the boonies — Squamish.
“Squamish is showcased so well in this film,” Parmar said. “[The 3D] makes Squamish pop.”
Parmar spent his first 13 years of life in the northern B.C. logging community of Houston, population 3,600. Now living in Surrey, Parmar wanted to create an independent Canadian-Punjabi film with a Canadian taste and Bollywood formula.
A lot of the four days of shooting took place at the Squamish Sikh temple, while the musical numbers were filmed near Nexen Beach. Parmar already knew the temple's president Makhan Sanghera, through Parmar's work as a wedding videographer and Sanghera's time as wedding photographer.
“We had huge support from the Indian community,” Parmar said.
Having completed Pehchaan 3D, Parmar said he's going to take a small breather. The film took two years' worth of work, he said. He plans to spend time with family, before moving onto the next script.
Pehchaan 3D will open Friday (Feb. 1), at Surrey's Empire Guildford theatre. It is set to run at more than 30 theatres worldwide. The film premiered last November at the inaugural South Asian Film Festival Canada.
Parmar hopes to bring the film to Squamish for a screening. Stay tuned for possible dates. From his experience, Parmar said he encourages other Bollywood film producers to shoot in Squamish.
“When we go to Squamish, we feel very at home,” he said.