Saturday, August 6, 2005


A memorable date with legends
Randeep Wadehra


Gurcharan DardiHis is a respected name in Punjabi literary as well as entertainment circles. Over the past 43 years, writer-actor Gurcharan Dardiís been associated with scores of Punjabi plays, TV serials and movies. A familiar face on DD Jalandhar and other Punjabi channels, Dardi, as actor, considers Goongi Twareekh and Masterji among his most memorable serials; among movies, he rates his performance in The Train to Pakistan, Shaheed-E-Mohabbat and Des Hoya Pardes quite high. He has written the storylines of Nikkian Jindaan Vadde Sakke Ė a telefilm, and a play titled Singh Soorme, among others. His forthcoming book, Rishta Lahoo Atay Maas Da, has received government funding.

Zee Punjabiís latest serial, Sajda (Fridays 8.30 pm; repeat on Sundays 11.30 am), is a tribute, in docu-drama format, to the legends of Punjab. Thanks to power failure, I missed its first episode, and its repeat telecast too. The subsequent two episodes on Waris Shah (Kamal Tiwari) and Bulle Shah (Ayushmaan) were a feast. Iím sure the succeeding ones would be, too. Warisís muse was a beauty named Bhaghaanbhari. The unrequited love lent sublime, philosophical depths to his poetic renderings, especially Heer Ranjha.

Bulle Shahís Sufi compositions matured when his murshid (mentor), Syed Shah Inayat, disowned him as a result of intrigue. Obviously no pain and expense has been spared in the making of this well-researched serial. The settings and costumes look authentic. Hans Raj Hans plays the role of sutradhaar to perfection. The music, the title song, the dialogue, the photography, acting and direction have enmeshed perfectly. Great job, Mukesh Gautam.

Talking of legends, one saw Puran Chand Wadaliís son Lakhwinder on the Balle Balle channelís Kujh Yadaan, Kujh Geet. The chip of the old blockís acquiring a distinct identity. He sure has matured into an accomplished singer. He talked of his journey from being a child prodigy to his present status. Hope to see more of such shows.

Parat Dar Parat dealt with DNA tests extensively on Zee Punjabi. Citing well-known disputes about parentage involving royal families and ordinary folks, it had interviews of forensic experts highlighting the importance of DNA tests in settling such disputes.

With terrorism resurfacing, news channels have been busy documenting the exploits of our police force which discovered Hawara aides in every nook and corner of the rural Punjab, and is also trying to make sense of the renewed violence. Khabarsaar (Zee Punjabi) devoted a special episode to the phenomenon. The talk was quite absorbing. Incidentally, the participants, led by Kanwar Sandhu, preferred to speak mostly in English, with Ritesh Lakhi gamely trying to re-introduce Punjabi into the debate. Looks like the Punjabi elite isnít all that comfortable with ma boli.