The last two years have seen Punjabi film industry script a success story for itself. Its success in turn set the ball rolling for the Punjabi television industry and together the entertainment industry has opened up job opportunities—not just in areas of acting, singing, dancing or anchoring—for youngsters who do not have to pack their bags for Mumbai anymore.
Thanks to the quantum of work being generated by the industry, fresh-out-of-college professionals (read fashion designers, event managers, script writers et al) are being readily absorbed in the local industry and are earning anything between R12,000 and R50,000. HT City talks to some young professionals in the field to explore some such opportunities.
Sukhjit Singh Sukhi, 27, a recent pass-out from Panjab University, started running his university channel called Campus TV while pursuing his course. With more than 2 lakh followers, he now runs a youtube channel dedicated to the university. After passing out from School of Communication Studies, PU, he is now handling online PR of an upcoming Punjabi film. “I am handling online promotions for Young Malang via Twitter, Youtube, Facebook and other online mediums. I am also working on a separate Youtube channel for the film,” says Sukhi. About his opening package, he says, “I like doing work and am happy with the starting package that I got.”
Getting into the skin of a character
Vivek Saini, 22, a student of School of Communication Studies, PU, who is also an active member of the theatre group Sandali Pairan Kala Kendra from the past three years got his first break in acting while pursuing studies.
He says, “I bagged the role of a reporter in Dharti, and thoroughly enjoyed my working experience, mainly because I got to work with a seasoned actor like Jimmy Shiergill and director Navaniat Singh. While I got paid for the role, it was actually the tag of working in such a film that embellished my resume and helped me get more work.”
How can the process of filmmaking be complete without a makeup artist? Renowned makeup artist from Amritsar, Ravi Deep Singh, 26, says, “I have been doing makeup for Punjabi celebrities such as Satinder Satti and Neeru Bajwa. Most of these celebrities get
their portfolio done by me for promotions, films and advertisements. I am considering taking on Punjabi films as well. There is a lot of scope [and money] for youngsters in the field of makeup.”
The comic debut
Gurpreet Singh Talwar, 22, is a first-semester student at the Department of Indian Theatre, PU. He, however, is already a comedian. “I play the role of a comedian [a canteen boy] in upcoming Punjabi film Victor Bai Sentimental, which is slated for a February release. Though I got paid well for my role, it was more about the opportunity of working in a film,” says he.
Turning script associate
Jalandhar-based Gursimran Datla, 21, recently finished his BSc in Media Entertainment and Film Technology from ITFT, and is now working as the script associate for a Punjabi film, besides making short films and documentaries. “I started working on films soon after my degree. My film, Farewell to my Past—the story of a metropolitan girl about how women are treated as sex objects—was also screened at the Chandigarh Film Festival last year and is going to be screened at the Orissa Film Festival next month,” shares Gursimran and adds, “Currently, I am working as the script associate for a big-budget Punjabi film that also stars Bollywood actors.”
Dressing ’em up
Fashion designer Neetu Brar, 25, has been roped in as the costume designer for a Punjabi film. “I started working as a designer right after my degree. Thanks to the creative heads of the film—who liked the quirky designs I prepared for the characters after getting the initial brief—I got the opportunity to design costumes. I am now busy researching my characters,” she says.
About her remuneration, she adds, “The money is just alright, but the packages are bound to increase with time and work.”
Too much to handle
With the influx of endless avenues and opportunities, there are some who have both their hands full. Actor Gurpreet Ratol, 28, a PG in Theatre & Television from Punjabi University, Patiala, says there is thankfully a lot of work to choose from now. “Since new-age filmmakers are experimental and are happy to work with newcomers, opportunities in the industry are galore,” says he.
Gurpreet played a small rolein the film Yaar Pardesi and the second lead in Saadi Wakhri Hai
Shaan. “I am now looking forward to playing the protagonist in Mission Fateh, which is set to go on floors this month.
I also have offers for live shows abroad and am confused about which projects to take up,” he confesses.
Encouraging fresh talent
Ready to experiment with new talent in his newfound RSG Studios, Rahulinder Singh Sidhu, CEO, RSG Studios, has five films in the pipeline. “The first film which we are making is Young Malang—a college rom-com—which would be giving a break to 35 young professionals from various fields. I believe that new talent can usher in fresh ideas and can give a fresh perspective to subjects. In fact, our research team is still scouting for fresh talent for the project. I am going to encourage new talent in every film, including one Hindi film and the remake of a south-Indian film.”
It’s not just acting or singing that is giving youngsters a break in the industry. Mandeep Puri, head operations of a leading media house in SAS Nagar, shares, “Filmmaking is an elaborate process, so
youngsters have a lot to choose from now—be it handling logistics, assistant direction, print photography, virtual and print poster designing, catering, makeup, media and public relations, travel, hospitality, in-film branding, online promotions or publicity.”
Stepping stone to success
About the growth rate of the entertainment industry, Aman Sharma, CEO, ITFT Chandigarh, says, “The industry is growing at the rate of 25% annually and FDI is going to usher in more investment, which is good news for Punjabi entertainment industry as well. But, youngsters still use Pollywood as a stepping-stone to further their chances in Bollywood. Give Pollywood another year and the industry would be giving a tough competition to other regional film industries.”
Good launch pad
Meeta Gawri, head of the Department of Fashion, Marketing and Management, NIIFT, SAS Nagar, says, “Punjabi entertainment industry has opened up a deluge of opportunities for our students. Bright students are getting good opportunities to work in Punjabi films and serials. The generation of good job opportunities in the industry has enabled many students to get plump jobs right after their degrees. The starting packages they get are also good.”
Beware of exploitation
Dr Gurpinder Singh Samra, principal, Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar, is happy with the progress of the industry, but warns, “Punjabi industry is finally getting what it deserves. I am happy to see youngsters bag creative jobs. I would, however, advise youngsters to be careful while choosing work—pick work that helps promote the Punjabi virsa. Do not get sucked in the rat race and end up downplaying our religion.”