Pollywood queen Neeru Bajwa says she wouldn’t do a film like Prince (Bollywood) today. Comedian Binnu Dhillon believes his talent has been wasted in a couple of films. As for Arya Babbar, he just prefers Punjabi films over Bollywood, or so he says — the trio, to be seen in Naughty Jatts next, has a heart-to-heart with HT City team during their visit to the Hindustan Times office on Saturday.
About your controversial frames in Vivek Oberoi-starrer Prince…
“As you grow, you realise what’s good or bad for you. Today, if such a role were offered to me, I wouldn’t take it up. I did that song in Special 26 also because director Neeraj Pandey wanted me to.”
So, why not try shifting to Bollywood?
“I need to do A-grade stuff, which I am getting plenty of in Punjab. I can’t just be a decorative item; I don’t want to show my cleavage and say ‘Hello, here I am’. I want to be able to sit back and feel proud of my work.”
Your opinion about other female leads of Pollywood?
“Honestly, I haven’t seen anyone’s work. A pretty face I remember is Japji Khaira’s. Let’s be honest, girls in Pollywood are usually used as decorative items. So, you can’t see their real talent surface.”
How can the status of women be changed in Pollywood then?
“We’d have to kill some male egos now, wouldn’t we!”
With your production house launched recently, is the industry finally going to wake up to women-centric films?
“Not really. My only motto is to make good films.” Defining ‘good’ she adds, “I don’t care about genres or critics; I should be in a content state of mind after two hours of entering the theatre. I have never ever been able to critique films or go deep into their technicality.”
After watching Rangeelay, the first thing that hits you is, how can a director dare to waste a talent like Binnu Dhillon. Don’t you think?
“Yes, I was absolutely wasted in the film. Not just here but in a lot of other films as well. Sometimes, one has to return favours; bread and butter is another reason, of course. But now, my ‘favour slate’ is clear. I’ve finally started saying no! You cant appologise to your audience for the wrong decisions you’ve made.”
What’s your take on non-situational comedies, something you clearly encountered in Mirza?
“They are very prevalent, and I obviously don’t agree with them — the characters and comedy seem like they’ve been adjusted somewhere in the movie after its completion.”
With comedians being seeing in a new light in Pollywood, who do you think is your competition?
“I don’t have a competition — I’m the youngest of them all! Almost everyone is a senior to me. So, there are times that I don’t even get to talk! That’s what happened in Carry on Jatta; they really didn’t let me speak. The film had all great comedians — Bhalla sahab, Sharma sahab and Ghughi ji. So, all I could do was use my expressions. It’s a challenge to establish a connection with the audience based solely on your gestures and body language.”
You’ve been aspiring to do Hindi films for a long time now…
“Yes. I had a lot of queries this year, but they all require dates in junk, with not much money, honestly. So, Punjabi cinema it is!”
Straight up, when are you going to shed your lover-boy image?
“My roles in Virsa and Yaar Anmulle were not exactly that of a lover boy, but I see where that question is coming from. You can expect all kinds of roles from me — be it intense, serious, action or thriller.”
While you have your hands full with Pollywood movies such as Naughty Jatts and Heer & Hero, you’ve also been spotted in Bollywood films Matru Ki Bijili Ka Mandola, Dangerous Ishq and Tees Maar Khan.
Does the work in Bollywood affect your career graph in Punjabi cinema?
“No. Though my first preference would always remain Punjabi cinema, I have contacts in Mumbai; if great work comes up, I take them up. I’m doing another Bollywood film called Dusshera with Neil Nitin Mukesh and Tena Desae.”
Movie making, a profitable pastime
“Assi keha vehle haan, picture hi producer kar layiye,” the words come straight from new-born producer Sandeep Bhalla, during his visit to the HT office with co-producer Satish Katyal.
Accompanying the star cast of Naughty Jatts — Neeru Bajwa, Binnu Dhillon, Arya Babbar and music director G-Deep, the ‘real estate’ producers share, “When director Pankaj Batra approached us, we scouted for a good script for six months and kicked off Naughty Jatts, which also stars actors Roshan Prince, BN Sharma and Karamjit Anmol.”
Naugthy Jatts is the story of three boys, played by Binnu Dhillon, Arya Babbar and Roshan Prince, wanting to impress Simmi (Neeru Bajwa).