Made on the subject of honour killings, Canadian Punjabi film "Work Weather Wife" is shortlisted for the upcoming Academy Awards and director-producer Harpreet Sandhu hopes it raises the bar for the genre.
The film with Sandhu in the lead role alongside Vancouver's Reema Nagra is based in Surrey city of Greater Vancouver region in British Columbia province and was released across Canada and the US in November 2014. It is shortlisted as one of 79 feature films in the upcoming Oscars category for best original song. "It's the only Canadian film on the list," said Sandhu.
"This means more doors will open," Sandhu told vancouverdesi.com, adding: "It means that the bar rises in the Punjabi cinema." He says "Work Weather Wife" "is not a normal Punjabi feature film".
The genre produces light-hearted films generally focused heavily on the wardrobe, song, dance and romance. "Some love story, some comedy, you expect some songs and some loose storyline and that's it," Sandhu explains. But "Work Weather Wife" instead "raises very important issues, related to honour killings".
The film follows the dysfunctional relationship of an immigrant couple, Vick and Dimple, who just moved to Surrey. Vick doesn't pay much attention to Dimple, so she strays from the relationship and is unfaithful to her husband. In Sandhu's views, real-life stories like this in India often end in tragedy with honour killings, but in "Work Weather Wife", the couple works through their issues. "I'm trying to give an alternative," he said, "It's a big issue. It rises in the media and it disappears. It happens over and over but nobody wants to talk about it or the reasons behind it."
As someone who was born and raised in India, it was a more important subject than the mainstream films he's accustomed to producing, especially in telling the story of Vick and Dimple with his first-ever Punjabi film production. "Punjabi films lack realistic cinema," he said, "It was important to raise the bar."
The songs "Moon" and "Long Braid" from the movie have been shortlisted in the best original category from a feature film. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the official nominations on Thursday.