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Posted at: Jan 6, 2016, 12:44 AM; last updated: Jan 6, 2016, 12:39 AM (IST)

Independent films are changing the image of Punjabi cinema

Neha Saini

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 4

Amritsar has of late enjoyed some success in the independent cinema circuit with successful and critically acclaimed productions, including Nooran, Kambdi Deori, Ghar Ajaa Jeetu, Kudessan and a number of short films by budding filmmakers. Known for its contribution towards Punjabi theatre and literature promotion, the city has managed to cater to the indie film circuit with socially relevant stories and a strong cultural influence that make them 'real'. Last year, Kudessan (Woman From the East), a feature film by Jeet Matharu based on playwright Jatinder Bar's story, had won several accolades at the London Asian Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival, another independent project 'Ghar Ajaa Jeetu' on substance abuse by city-based doctor Jaswinder Gandhi is already making rounds of several international and national film festivals and Harnek Aulakh, city-based theatre person, was part of the acclaimed 'Chauthi Koot', one of the two Indian official entries at the Cannes Film Festival. The positive trend has got the experts talking on how the experiments with parallel Punjabi cinema will push it towards regaining its past glory. 

"The wave of short films and docu dramas based on social issues has made an impact on the class of audience who want to see and appreciate quality cinema. Punjabi cinema is just not limited to the tomfoolery or commercial interests, but a section of it is influenced by the social and political changes of the time. Short films have definitely a big role to play in establishing better standards of production and content as well," says filmmaker Navtej Sandhu, who made two short films "Nooran" and "Kambhdi Deori" recently. "Nooran" travelled to Cannes in 2014 for special screening at the Short Film's Corner. Sandhu has also directed "Daughter of the Bin", a short film based on a story by Shiromani Natakkar Jatinder Brar that highlights the issue of female feoticide. The 40-minute film was premiered and stars Rana Ranbir in the lead role. 

Woven around the malpractice of female foeticide, at the same time touching the impact of bureaucracy, politics, wrong policies, poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and casteism and many other issues, the film was released with a few changes from its stage version. 

Gandhi, too, agrees that short films are changing the way of storytelling in Punjabi cinema with crisp content, better production standards and without any fear of commercial failure. "Since, short films are mostly independently financed or sponsored, it means no compromises are made in terms of content and quality. Of course, that doesn't mean it's easy to produce such films, but if you have a good story and production value, the festival circuit definitely provides for a great platform."


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