Diljit Dosanjh bowled over audiences with his performance in Udta Punjab. Though he is known as an actor par excellence when it comes to Punjabi cinema, this was the first time Hindi-speaking audiences watched the musician-turned-actor in action. In his next, Phillauri, he will be seen with Anushka Sharma.
Talking about Udta Punjab, which was embroiled in a lot of controversy before its release, he says, “I was happy with the reactions the film received. A lot of people loved the movie; they supported it… I have some new fans now. So, it was a good experience.”
The Proper Patola singer calls himself an accidental movie star. “I feel happy when people hire me only as an actor. Then I think they are serious about me. They don’t just want me to sing for their movie,” says Diljit, who is known for songs such as Ikk Kudi and Goliyan. He adds, “When I’m offered a film, I don’t ask whether I will be singing any of the movie’s tracks. For example, in my next, I haven’t sung anything till now, unless they come up with a promotional song. I end up singing in most of my Punjabi films because that saves my Punjabi producer’s money. But my independent music scene is going good, so I’m not hungry to sing for films. Being able to sing for myself is enough for me.”
While his role in the two film industries may differ slightly, Diljit doesn’t think the Hindi and Punjabi industries are diametrically opposite to each other. “Punjabi picture bhi theatre main lagti hai aur Hindi bhi (Both Punjabi and Hindi films are shown in cinemas). Maybe the number of audience members and theaters will be more [for Hindi movies], but the passion is the same. The only difference is that Hindi cinema has more money than its Punjabi counterpart. But things will get better with time,” he says.
Diljit feels how much a film earns at the box office is important. “My Punjabi films have made good numbers. It is because of these numbers that I was offered Bollywood movies … numbers speak for themselves,” he says.
Meanwhile, though he is not much of a sportsman himself, Diljit has associated himself with a kabaddi league. He hopes the sport gains more popularity in the future. “I have played kabaddi as a child. The game has a major following in Punjab. A lot of people watch and play it. But the rules for the league and the game as it is played in Punjab are different. The league is taking the sport to a new level and creating awareness about it. My friends and I have seen the past seasons. They have been exciting,” he adds.