He can aptly be called the pioneer of Punjabi film industry - if not for him, the industry would still have been stagnated, churning out run-of-the-mill films. But ace Bollywood cinematographer-turned-director, Manmohan Singh turned the tables for the industry with films such as Jee Aayan Nu, Asa Nu Maan Watna Da, Yaaran Naal Baharan, Dil Apna Punjabi, Mitti Wajaan Mardi, Mera Pind My Home, and is now coming up with yet another film, Ajj De Ranjhe, which will hit the theatres on September 7. We get talking to the man about the film, which happens to be the first Punjabi film to be released in Pakistan as well.
Excited about the release, Singh says, "Ajj De Ranjhe sketches the relationship between the police and the public. Through this film, we aim to ease out the formalities between the public and police officials. We want to show people that even policemen are human beings and have a life beyond their duty - like everyone else, they too fall in love, have relationships and problems - and how they put their duty first to help people. It is a light hearted film, which is a reflection of our society - right from the crimes, the drug menace to other social evils - the film is full of entertainment, romance and has its share of action too. The film also brings to the limelight the role of present-day media."
Ajj De Ranjhe charts two parallel love stories between the four protagonists of the film. "One of the love stories is between Gurpreet Ghuggi and Kim Verma," he shares.
After having worked with popular actors such as Harbhajan Maan and Jimmy Shergill, this time, Singh opted for newbie, Aman Dhaliwal, "Aman was the second lead in my previous film, Ek Kudi Punjab Di, and I liked his work. Moreover, his looks and physique fit the bill for my film's hero, keeping in mind the action sequences," he says.
About the movie being the first film to be released in Pakistan, Singh says, "I am happy that now about eight crore Punjabis across the border will get to see our films. It marks the opening of a whole new market for Punjabi cinema. If the film does well there, I am open to working with Pakistani actors in my next film and am also keen to shoot my films there. I also view the film as a medium to improve relations between the two countries."
The film has been made on a budget of R2.5 crore. Singh adds, "If the film does good business in Pakistan, the budget of Punjabi films will also see a rise."
After Ajj De Ranjhe, the director is ready to start work on his next films. "I am all set to start some projects in the approaching winter, because I aim at making one film every year."