The good response to the high-voltage Udta Punjab notwithstanding, actor-singer Diljit Dosanjh has his feet firmly on the ground and says his top priority will always be Punjabi cinema.
In an exclusive interview to HT, Dosanjh talks about the favourable response to the film that was embroiled in a huge pre-release controversy and a Punjab cabinet minister flaying him for being a part of the project and his future plans.
You are now being called a mainstream actor after your power-packed performance in Udta Punjab. Did you see this coming?
It’s a big relief after this whole censorship drama. It stressed us all, but I knew the audience would appreciate the film. For me, it was most important to be true to my Punjabi fans and keep their faith intact. The viewers will see honesty in the film’s characters.
A Punjab cabinet minister recently expressed disappointment over your decision to be a part of the project. He said being a Punjabi, you shouldn’t have done the film that ‘defames’ Punjab. What’s your take?
Well, everyone has the right to freedom of speech. If we demand that from the censor board, then he should also be allowed to say what he feels. I’ll continue to do my work. Ismein mujhe koi shikayat nahi hai (I don’t have any complaints). The only thing that has upset me so far is the online leak of the film. I wish I could meet the person who did that and tell him how much effort went into the film.
There is a lot of politics over the issue of drugs in Punjab. It has also been the poll agenda year after year, and gets reflected in the film as well. What’s your stand?
Well, I don’t want to comment on this. Jo hai, sabke samne hai, kissi se bhi kuch chhupa toh nahi raha aur duniya samajdar hai (everything is out in open, and the people are wise enough).
Post- Udta Punjab, will we now see Diljit doing more mainstream Hindi films?
It feels great to be able to reach out to a bigger audience. You will see me next in Phillauri with Anushka Sharma. However, I want to take the Punjabi cinema to a wider audience. Had it not been for Punjabi films, I wouldn’t have been offered the role of Sartaj. Sardaarji 2 releases this week and I am also doing the first super hero film in Punjabi -- Super Singh.