Saturday, June 10, 2006

Punjabi antenna
Preeti Sapru recalls her highs & lows
Randeep Wadehra

Preeti Sapru:  Ex-diva of Punjabi movies
Preeti Sapru: Ex-diva of Punjabi movies

Till yesterday this much awarded and feted hazel-eyed beauty from Bombay was Punjabi cinema’s reigning queen, and now she has aged, albeit gracefully. Preeti Sapru, who teamed up with the late Varinder to give us many a memorable performance in movies like Yaari Jatt Di and Qurbani Jatt Di took a trip down memory lane in Caught On Camera. While watching her one could not help but reflect that although time is irretrievable, memories are not. When one used to watch her on the silver screen years ago one marvelled at the aplomb with which this lady of Kashmiri-Tamil parentage essayed a Punjabi in different movies so convincingly. No wonder she ruled the hearts of Punjabi cine fans for so long.

Sometimes one is surprised to find what one has already given up as lost forever. One is talking of Punjabi folk songs rendered to the tune of traditional instruments – some of the most soothing echoes from the past. This was exactly the treat dished out by ETC Punjabi’s Hai Shava. The lyrics and the rendering reminded one of Asa Singh Mastana and Yamla Jatt. Give us some more of this stuff instead of the shor-sharaaba that passes for music these days.

One has often wondered at the reasons for consigning regional channels to fringe bands by cable television operators. Knowledgeable sources reveal that a lot of hush money changes hands to ensure prime band slots. Since major national channels dish out as much as fifty lakhs per city annually to cable operators, cash-strapped regional channels – barring some exceptions – languish in the shadows. This may or may not be true. But there is no gainsaying the fact that the quality of software has a lot to do with a channel’s popularity.

A chance meeting with Swaran Singh Danewalia, CEO of Punjab TV, revealed that this new channel is already on air. Still in the "test-telecasting mode", it proposes to come up with new ideas in the regional broadcasting. There will be public-interest shows wherein politicians will be facing searching questions from voters of their respective constituencies. Danewalia also talks of reviving drama and sitcoms. Well, we shall believe it when we see it onscreen.