Saturday, February 5, 2005


Idol pastime
Randeep Wadehra

On the sets of Sajda: Kamal Tiwari and Mukesh Gautam
On the sets of Sajda: Kamal Tiwari and Mukesh Gautam

Mukesh Gautam is on a shooting spree. The glint in his eyes becomes incandescent as he talks of his pet project, Sajda. Its three episodes are already complete. Sajda, literally obeisance, is a series of compact biopics of Punjab’s cultural icons that have made contribution in the fields of poetry, music and other art forms. Sufi saints like Sheikh Farid, Bulle Shah and Waris Shah; poets of the calibre of Shiv Batalvi and Sahir Ludhianvi; and singing legends Asa Singh Mastana, Surinder Kaur and Prakash Kaur are among those being featured in this teleserial, which will highlight the journey of each personality. Many media personalities have volunteered their services gratis to the project – Hans Raj Hans, Shamsher Sandhu, Kamal Tiwari and Atul Sharma being some of them.

Another bonanza for music lovers is scheduled for February 27 when ETC Channel Punjabi Music Awards – nicknamed as Punjabi Grammy – will be held at Jalandhar and telecast live. Let’s see who the lucky winners will be.

Pyar Naal on Alpha Punjabi is becoming popular with those viewers who prefer to hear their fave songs on demand – a la Vividh Bharati. They send a letter with a message or praise to the show and the anchor Navjot Noor reads it out. Thereafter, the requested song comes on screen. In the episodes that I watched, Navjot wore traditional dresses and kept her head demurely covered. Her voice was inaudibly soft and face expressionless – like a typical bahurani. Well, the fact that this show is receiving a lot of fanmail is evidence enough that tradition has not yet been given the short shrift by a significant section of Punjabis.

Talking of tradition, Pardesan Vich Punjabi showed a Gurdwara’s inauguration at Hounslow, UK, while observing the mandatory Sikh rituals. And the guest of honour? The Queen Mother herself. After the formal ceremonies amidst the chant of Jo bole so nihaal…, she spent quite a bit of time among the kids before leaving the place. The kids were visibly overwhelmed by the Royal presence.


Sudesh Lehri
Sudesh Lehri

A budding stand-up comedian, anchor and actor, Sudesh Lehri has become a regular on the Punjabi entertainment circuit. He has acted in movies like Zaildar, Solhwan Saal, Akhri Saboot, Rajniti, Pind Di Kudi and the Hindi movie Lady Dacoit. He’s been also seen on DD Jalandhar’s Punjabi serial Desi Uncle Vilayati Mama. He’s currently anchoring the popular Alpha Gaddi. Apart from doing such audio cassettes as Kharcha hi Kharcha, Lehri No. 1, he has compered several live TV programmes like ETC and Alpha Punjabi’s Punjabi Music Award (Jalandhar), Ban Ja Stara Yara (Amritsar), Dhol Punjabi and Miss World Punjaban (Kapurthala).