It takes more than a regular dose of persuasion, slightly organised point of view for this Vancouver-based Punjabi film director Baljeet Singh Deo to sit across the table to talk…talk about anything that he likes, photography, films or just silence, which is a perfect getaway spot for him.
Thrilling experience: Surveen Chawla and Jimmy Shergill in Hero—Naam Yaad Rakhi, Baljit Singh Deo
In Chandigarh with the producers of upcoming film Hero, starring Jimmy Shergill and Surveen Chawla, this is one Punjabi film director who would rather stay back home with his family than running around promoting his film or giving interviews.
He raises his hands the minute you ask him the reason for being the aloof director, “Let my film speak about me,” he pulls the hood over his head. “Ah! this is the right weather for me,” he smiles keeping the hood from slipping down.
Not many have known Baljeet Singh Deo, the director, but he is the person who made Mirza, said to be the most expensive Punjabi film (Rs 9 crore) in the history of Punjabi cinema!
“Really, is that what you think? Well, what I know is that the film was made with Rs 3 crore,” leaving the rest to our discretion.
The director, a passionate photographer, a class cinematographer, doesn’t pick Punjabi subjects easily. He is known to be a hard task master who will do whatever he has to. Written all over him is clear sign—No Interference.
“I am always open to suggestions, but I will stand by anything that goes with the subject,” he shares without sounding boisterous. “If I don’t believe in my work, who else will?”
After Mirza and Himmat Singh, which will be releasing next year, Baljeet’s big project is called Hero. “If I had a way, I wouldn’t call it a Punjabi film. It is so Bollywood, just like any other Hindi film.”
The film has no comedy, something Baljeet clears at the earliest. “It has suspense that will keep the audience hooked till the end,” the director confidently puts across.
The poster of the film is already catching attention. The film releases next year. “Jimmy is a fine actor, look at his Hindi films, for whatever time he is on screen he leaves a strong mark, and he went with the story justifying every bit of it. It was a pleasure working with him and Surveen has acted well in Hate Story 2, also she is beautiful.”
Baljeet shows complete reluctance to go around from one place to the other with his film. At the same time, he doesn’t dismiss the importance of promotion of a film. “Indeed it is important for a film,” he leaves it without getting into the intricacies.
Born and brought-up in Vancouver, Baljeet has no idea how he got into Punjabi films in the first place. “It happened. I don’t know the chronological order of events that made it possible though. Punjabi film industry is dealing with a lot of issues, once they are sorted, we might get good cinema. How we operate has to be checked,” he says, helping himself to a spoonful of warm Manchow soup.
“People say I am in a wrong place, you know a vegetarian and a teetotaler. Not good right?” he asks going back to the serious business, of making the most of the moment. The noises do not perturb him, he doesn’t lift his head, till he cleans the bowl to the last drop.
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