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Posted at: Mar 30, 2015, 2:24 AM; last updated: Mar 29, 2015, 11:21 PM (IST)

In the direction of Bollywood

As Punjabi directors head to Bollywood for upcoming projects, we find out what prompted the shift

Jasmine Singh

‘Greener pastures’, it seems, work better for grey cells — take India’s IT professionals for instance, whose brains begin to function better once they land at the Heathrow airport. The same can now be said for Punjabi film directors. 

After a fine imbalance of the number of flop films overtaking the hits, they are now eyeing a bigger field called Bollywood. It would, however, be wrong to call this the sole reason, because the word ‘creativity’ works here as a major force. We leave it on these directors to share their side of the ‘greener’ story, reasons for moving to Bollywood and challenges waiting on the other side. 

High and low

He made an impact with Punjabi film Nabar, which won a National Award. His next, 47-84, however, did not even make critics take notice. Now, talented director Rajeev Sharma has turned his radar towards Bollywood. He is shooting for his Hindi project, Saavi. “The backdrop of this film is in Himachal and most of the actors are from Punjab,” shares Rajeev. Making a Hindi film is not based on any disenchantment with Punjabi cinema. “My films are based on the barter deal of women in the Gujjar community in Himachal Pradesh and not Punjab. Also, I thought the subject is of national interest and it needed that treatment. It is not a question of moving to Bollywood, it is a question of the subject of the film and where it can get better treatment. Hindi cinema is open to experimental subjects, a Punjabi film director who has creativity would want to head there.” 

Why and how

One name that pops up immediately in this context is Punjabi film director Anurag Singh’s, who has directed successful Punjabi films Yaar Anmulle, Jatt & Juliet and Punjab 1984 that has won a National Award. Now, this man has shifted his focus to Bollywood. Anurag isn’t comfortable revealing too much about his upcoming projects. Nevertheless, he comes up with the information: “I have finished the story of one Hindi film and I am in the process of writing the second one.” Punjabi film Punjab 1984 has definitely made Bollywood aware of the director’s presence. “I think in a way, yes, it is going to be slightly easy for me to approach people in Bollywood, since most of them have heard about the film. On the whole, though, this is going to be the same drill, putting together the team, the cast and everything else,” adds the director, who is soon to start working on his debut Bollywood project. Moving to Bollywood wasn’t a planned move for Anurag, as he adds, “Everyone wants to grow with their creativity; I got the chance, so I thought, why not!”

Back to back

Rohit Jugraj is not a Punjabi film director per se. But, this director has given a hit Punjabi film, Jatt James Bond, and he has finished his next Punjabi film, Sardaar ji, as well. Despite the recognition here, Rohit is moving back to Bollywood. “My next project is a Hindi film, Ikkees, based on the battle of Saragarhi, with a grand cast. As much as I enjoyed making Punjabi films, Hindi cinema absolutely lures us with its grandeur.” Rohit definitely sees certain differences in the two worlds; this, however, is not the reason to choose Hindi cinema again. “As I director, I see a dream project taking form in a Hindi film.” 

Carrying on

He directed the cult Punjabi comedy, Carry On Jatta, Smeep Kang has made some successful Punjabi comedies and now he ventures onto the field with Bollywood project, Second-Hand Husband. The film stars Gippy Grewal and Govinda’s daughter, Tina Ahuja.

Back and forth

Punjabi film director Manduip Singh made his debut film in Hindi Chooron Ki Baraat, which is yet to be released. After the Punjabi film, Just U & Me, and the high-voltage Punjabiyan Da King, Manduip is now shooting for a Hindi children’s film. “I have assisted late director Raj Kanwar for so long, which means making films for me is not just restricted to Punjabi. I would like to put a subject into order by making it look entertaining along with giving out the message, which is the reason I am making this Hindi film.” Manduip’s Hindi film is based on the life of two kids who meet at the India-Pakistan border. “This is not going to be a new experience for me; despite this, I am going to look at this film as new.” Manduip feels that Punjab has a lot of subjects that need to be explored, “We are following the rut, the reason why certain directors have decided to move on to viable soil with their creativity. Punjabi cinema as a whole lacks some amount of professionalism, which indeed is in abundance in Bollywood.” 

jasmine@tribunemail.com

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