Jatt is to Punjabi cinema what 'pyar' is to Hindi films. Indispensable. The word common to movie titles for decades.
We cannot figure out how long Jatt has been the darling of Punjabi scriptwriters. Dig into the archives, and you'll find him a hero since the pre-independence days, when "Yamla Jatt" released in the 1940s. Even on the other side of the border, productions such as "Maula Jatt" have cashed on the "J" word madness.
The trend, perhaps, is as old as the Punjabi film industry itself. Jatt has a long and strong connect with the Punjabi audience owing to the dominance of this rural community in Punjab. It has a lot of pride attached, and is synonymous with masculinity, bravery, and, above all, his undying love for his 'zameen' (land).
The Punjabi audience is smitten by the dream persona of Jatt, whose rowdiness is his screen charm.
Movies such as "Putt Jattan De", "Yaari Jatt Di", "Jatt Soormay", and "Jatt Te Zameen" deserve credit for not only making Jatt popular around the world but also giving the industry a hit formula.
There was a time when Jatt-less titles were unthinkable.
If Jatt has stolen the show for generations, can Jatti be far behind? She, too, burned the screen with vengeance in "Badla Jatti Da", "Vair Jatti Da", "Lalkara Jatti Da".
When the NRI fad hit Punjab with "Jee Aaeyan Nu", "Mitti Wajaan Mardi", "Des Hoya Pardes", Jatt went out of the titles but remained integral to the storylines, committed as ever to his roots and culture. The Jatt-less titles didn't survive for long. Soon, Jatt fell madly in love with Canada, winning the west with his quirky ways. The two hit versions of "Jatt and Juliet" and "Jatts in Golmaal" are testimony to his longevity. "Naughty Jatts" and "Jatt Airways" were saved by the title, in spite of loose script.
In the long journey from "Yamla Jatt" to "Jatt James Bond", the rustic character has both entertained us and stood up for Punjabi values. Our Punjabi filmmakers do keep him out for a while, but time and again, bring him back on popular demand. Only time will tell if the Punjabi audience ever finds another hero that justifies Punjabiat to the core. Until then, "Carry On Jatta".