Why Did Gary Become Gurnam Singh In Netflix ‘Cat’? How Did Punjab’s Social And Political Climate Affect His Life?

“Cat,” the Indian Netflix action thriller, is all about the never-before-seen Punjab. You don’t see the expanse of farmlands that surround the beautiful palatial homes or the locals being as hospitable and spiritual. Punjab has been romanticized by the Hindi film industry for decades. Punjab, its culture, and its songs are embedded in the lingo of people who enjoyed Hindi films from the 1990s until the late 2000s. The Punjab that is captured in this show is nowhere close to the image audiences have of the state. Marred with rampant terrorism due to civil unrest in the 1980s, which questioned the loyalty of plenty of Punjabis living in the state and outside as well. Widespread talk of separatism put the people of Punjab under the radar of suspicion. Some citizens never fell for separatism propaganda and supported the state and its law and order and reported the extremists. 

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Gary and his siblings were the sons of a farmer who lived lavishly. Gary was a good son to his parents and a good brother to his siblings. He grew up with the ideology of being true to one’s country and not encouraging anti-social elements around him. Gary’s father made sure his kids would not be driven to pick up arms against the country. His father was always aware of the fact that the extremism and separatist movements in the state were encouraged ideologically by their men, but financial support came from across the border. Gary’s father was against his younger brother joining the separatist groups because he never believed in causing violence between two religious’ communities. His father was always of the opinion that one should not fall for ideologies that would manipulate a large group in such a way that no one could see a logical explanation or answer to a problem.

Gary’s life changed when he came across the dead bodies of his parents on his father’s property. His father was headed to the farm early in the evening. Gary later takes his mother to the farm to deliver dinner. Minutes after he leaves his mother, all he hears is the scream of his mother, followed by two gunshots. Gary heads to see what happened, only to witness the dead bodies of his parents on a haystack. He notices two men walking away from the scene of the crime. Gary clearly remembers the man with a bag of weapons who walked away just minutes before he discovered the bodies of his parents. Gary is sure of his uncle’s involvement in his parents’ deaths as he had heard his uncle celebrating his bail, solidifying his suspicion about his uncle being an extremist sympathizer. Gary, in repeated confrontation with his uncle, does not succumb nor confesses to his involvement. Gary, out of frustration, kills his uncle at their farm. Gary is disturbed by his parents’ untimely deaths. They were murdered, and Gary takes it upon himself to avenge their deaths.

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The socio-political climate was such that Gary was sucked into the hatred that consumed him. Gary joins the extremist group so that he can get rid of the pain caused by his parent’s death. On his capture, too, he is advised by Inspector Sehtab Singh to give up and surrender, for there are no good or bad terrorists. A rampant hatred towards the Hindu community in the late 1980s increased by many folds, and Gary saw an ugly image of the hatred people carried for those who were not Sikhs. Gary was true to the ideology of the man who inducted him into the extremist party of not killing innocent people. Since his death, the followers have ended up murdering innocent Hindus, causing widespread communal disturbances. Gary, knowing he did not sign up for this, runs away to the police station, where he talks to Sehtab Singh yet again. Sehtab convinces him to become an agent for the police, aka the “Cat,” by giving them all the information about the extremist group, their movements, their hideouts, and their plans. Gary is successful in providing them with all the information that helps the police eliminate the terrorists one by one by foiling their attack plans. Gary helps in nabbing the man responsible for killing his parents, terrorist Baljit Singh Rajpuria. The man was responsible for everything wrong that was happening in the state during that decade. Baljit Singh was the top leader of the extremist group that planned to attack Delhi in retaliation for the Sikh riots in the city. They were ambushed, as per the information provided by Gary to the police. Baljit Singh finally comes to know of Gary’s real identity and is taken aback by the role of a young boy such as Gary in his capture. Sehtab, though, was the one who let Baljit Singh go from jail, killed another man, and masqueraded his body as Baljit Singh’s dead body. Sehtab made sure Gary was safe and secure and provided him with a brand-new identity as Gurnam Singh. Sehtab is guilty of killing Gary’s parents and letting go of terrorist Baljit Singh. Helping change Gary’s identity would mean nobody would be able to trace Gary and spill the truth about Sehtab. Changing his name and identity was more to protect Sehtab than Gary and his siblings. Gary hoped that, as Gurnam, he could restart his life as a law-abiding citizen and forget his past and the deeds he did. Gary wanted to run away from his past, for it reminded him of a time that took away his childhood and innocence. He was not the same boy the moment his parents were killed. Becoming Gurnam would mean letting go of the past and hoping that none of the people from his past could track him down. Gurnam would help his siblings lead a normal life and bring them up as his kids. Gurnam was different from Gary. Gurnam is purpose-driven toward things that matter. Meanwhile, Gary only wanted to channel his anger towards something, which led him to join the extremist separatist cause.


What To Expect From Season 2 Of ‘Cat’?

Gurnam Singh was successful in fooling Sehtab. Sehtab headed to Canada with relief that Gurnam was now dead, and he could lead a peaceful life abroad. Gurnam surely has a bigger plan to nab Sehtab now that he knows Sehtab is a corrupt official. Sehtab, in the pursuit of power and money, let terrorists go and indulge in political manipulations to favor him and his position in the force. Gurnam finally comes to know of Sehtab’s truth and decides to pursue him by misleading him. The show ends with Gurnam Singh, sans turban and beard, entering the patrol on the other side of the border. Gurnam might have changed his entire physical appearance, along with his name, and headed to the neighboring country. He will be pursuing Sehtab from across the border to reach Canada. Season 2 of “Cat” will be about Gurnam hunting for Sehtab Singh, who lied to him all his life. The drug menace in the state has not ceased, and the makers will explore more about the other drug rackets running in the state. There is a possibility that Aulakh Madam’s younger daughter Kimi would be pushed to join politics, and she might end up being a popular leader. There would be the possibility of a clash between Gurnam and Kimi if she is told of his double agent life when her mother was alive. “Cat” will surely explore these subplots, among many others.

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“Cat” is now streaming on Netflix with subtitles.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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