The better non-biographical documentaries present a situation, state the unbiased facts from various angles, then pose possible solutions. A prime example of textbook documentary making is Davis Guggenheim's 2006 doc, "An Inconvenient Truth".


Satinder Garcha, Meghan Shea, and Mike Rogers collaborated to pose a simple question: Do you know what a Sihk is? The follow the global travels of a Sihk family as they visit Sihk communities in India, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States to define what Sihkism is and the world perception on the religion.

At the onset of the film people are shown a picture and asked at what kind of person they are looking, of the first twelve or so people only one recognized the headdress of a Sihk turban. Everyone else guessed they were either Islamic, Hindu or, at the very least someone one needs to keep an eye on.


The film discusses the origins of Sikhism borne by the rejection of India's caste system. A great deal of time is spent showing how Sikhs don't have a separation of classes as India's caste system; for example during community meals, everyone sits on the floor and eats the same food.


The film carefully follows the history of the Sikhs including their military background which was exploited by the Brits when England wound up shorthanded after World War I. And of course the film gets around to the attack on the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin by a white supremacist. This points out the confusion that most have of Sikhs.


It dutifully includes how Sikhism has evolved over the years and includes interviews win younger Sikhs who decided to shave their beards and cut their hair despite the various covenants of the religion. They are still devout Sikhs, just preferring a more modern appearance.


The solution the film presents is... the film. Identifying and explaining what Sikhism is in a not too biased position.


"Under the Turban" works because it clarifies a misconception that just about every American has about one of the largest religions in the world. Directors Satinder Garcha, Meghan Shea, and Mike Rogers create a nice doc that presents the facts and isn't preachy. [VOD/DVD]   -- GEOFF BURTON