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Punjabi Cinema Never Had A Golden Phase Despite Being Eighty Years Old


By Prerna Bhandari

Punjabi cinema is over eighty years old and we know it’s hard to gulp this fact. Unlike cinemas which have had their share of highs and lows, Punjabi cinema, unfortunately never lived through a golden phase. It never made news for entering the 100 crore club, topping the playlists or bringing in fresh talent to the industry.


It’s very unusual for Punjabis to make themselves go unnoticed in a place, and if their cinema has been on a ‘silent zone’ for over a century now, something is really wrong with the industry.

Let me give you a glimpse of what Punjabi movies are like:

Punjabi cinema = Just Diljit Dosanjh, Grippy Grewal and Neeru Bajwa?

For an industry which has produced over a 1000 films, it is tragic to see only a handful actors in all Punjabi movies. While fans surely have their favourites, they don’t want to see Diljit as an NRI ‘anpadh’ jatt and Neeru Bajwa as a snobbish geeky girl every time!

Comedy, comedy and comedy! What else has the cinema got to offer?

Everyone enjoys a dose of humour to lighten up moods and forget about their long list of worries for a while. But for a cinema which hasn’t come out of that genre since the last few years, how will they manage to get the audience into theatres?

For those who love drooling romantic stories or breath taking thrillers, the box office clearly reads ‘not available’ in bold letters!

Art and culture is all about novelty, but Punjabi cinema hasn’t realised it yet.

Be it cinematography, choreography, screenplay or dialogues, if they stand out in a movie, they have admirers. It is a hands down reality that a great movie is not just about its actors but also about thousands of its technicians.

We will always remember Baahubali for its spectacular special effects, ‘Krishh’ for its jaw dropping stunts and ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara ‘ for its shayaris. But none of these ‘wow’ factors ever feature in Punjabi movies.

It seems as if they take the same house on rent in Canada for all their shootings, get all their dialogues from the same storyline and as for choreography, well their stars don’t need it.

Regional Cinemas

A comparison of South Indian cinema with Punjabi cinema will be more unnatural than unusual. While the cinema down South is now called by alternate names, Punjabi cinema is fighting hard to place its name anywhere in India.

But one cannot go all out against Punjabi cinema without knowing of its challenges. They may have no answers to featuring “luck 28 kudi daa 47 weight kudi da” but its attempts to create good cinema have faced major blows.

Competition from a Parallel cinema!

Punjab’s theatre is well established and their ‘naatshalas’ have produced actors like late Om Puri, true that! So the perfection of theatrics surely gives a tough competition to Punjabi movies.

Bollywood will always be the priority for Punjabis

Punjabi audience are apparently all about glamour. So if you ever make them choose between a medium budget Punjabi film and a ‘larger than life’ Bollywood movie, you know their preference.

But it is surprisingly unpleasant to learn that they do not consider Punjabi actors ‘glamorous’ despite being a community who boosts of their “Aan”, “Baan” and “Shaan.”

Punjab similar to Haryana and UP…Errr

Just because Punjab has Jatts and Haryana has Jaats too, though that’s an entirely different concept, they don’t qualify to be the same people. Be it with respect to culture or language, they have diverse traits.

And so Punjabi cinema can’t even think of appealing to audience of neighbouring states. This is something South Indian cinema has used to its advantage and reached huge box office figures in the past.

Whatever set and done, the Punjabi cinema cannot afford to come out with movies at a snail’s pace. The audience might laugh their asses off at their patent comedy style, but people want  more.

And for one last time, after Diljit and Gippy who is next?


Picture Credits: Google Images

You may also like to read: Time to Revisit the Motive of Cinema

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