“Ialways try to look for virgin locations for my films. Bathinda’s remote villages still remain undiscovered,” says Punjabi filmmaker Pankaj Batra who recently finished shooting in Muhalan village for his upcoming movie Dildarian. While shooting of Manbhawan Singh’s film is on at Kot Shamir village, Navaniat Singh’s next film has also been shot at other villages of one of the oldest cities of Punjab, besides the Mansa districts of south Malwa region.
A REDISCOVERY OF SORTS
Filmmakers’ love for this region can be dated back to Punjabi films of the 1970-80s era, after which they forgot about its authenticity till only recently.
The south-Malwa region, which was popularly referred to as the Lakhi Jungle in earlier times, comprised of the modern districts of Faridkot, Muktsar, Bathinda, Mansa, Barnala and Sirsa. This jungle and its periphery evolved to be a preferred choice among film directors eager to highlight the real Punjab and its culture through their movies. The natives’ traditional Punjabi lifestyle evokes interest among production houses of the Punjabi cinema.
For Punjabi writer and director Amardeep Singh Gill, the area still shows the originality of old Punjab. “If you want to see big ponds, huge Peepal and Banyan trees, traditional old houses, you have to come to this region,” he said.
“Various punjabi films like Kartar Singh Sarabha, Mutiar, Ki Banu Duniya Da, Marhi Da diva, Jatt Jeona Mour, Badla Jatti Da and many more were shot in this region ling ago. The new generation of filmmakers have discovered this part of Punjab only now,” Gill added.
HOSPITALITY AND TRADITIONAL SETTINGS
On the other, hand, producer Darshan Aulakh shared how the hospitality facilities in the region had also developed with the passage of time. “It is now easier to stay at Bathinda and to work in rural areas surrounding the ancient city,” he said. Similarly Batra was all praise for the helpful and cooperative villagers of this area, who showed immense enthusiasm during the shooting of Dildarian.
Renowned Punjabi film director Navaniat Singh raises a valid point in this regard. “If we want show traditional Punjab, we cannot shoot at Jalandhar, Ludhiana or Chandigarh.
Even the villages of Majha and Doaba regions have been modernised by the means of outlooks and livings.
So, this makes a place like Bathinda and its villages an ideal option for us all the more,” he said.