Jatts in Golmaal, Naughty Jatts, Jatt Boys: Putt Jattan De, Jatt Airways - it's a Jattsunami that's swamping Punjabi cinema these days, giving viewers such an indigestion that even Baba Ramdev's 'pachak anardana goli' can't cure it. At this rate, we might soon see Capt Amarinder Singh, president of the All India Jat Mahasabha and former Punjab Congress chief, on the big screen as the heroine's stern father. And guess what the hero would be? A Youth Akali Dal leader!
The haughty, naughty, doughty and nutty Jatts have always been an integral part of Punjabi films. Actor-director Veerendera (Yaari Jatt Di, Jatt Soormey, Jatt Te Zameen, Vairi Jatt) was quite active in the 1980s before he was killed by terrorists, who probably believed that gunshots made better music than dhol beats. More recently, it was 2012 blockbuster Jatt & Juliet which really opened the floodgates. I wonder if Shakespeare tried some bhangra steps in his grave to celebrate this comic tribute to his tragic heroine. And this year has been even more joyful for the Bard of Avon, thanks to the success of Jatt & Juliet 2 and the herculean efforts of a scholarly Sardar, Prof Surjit Hans. The latter has painstakingly translated into Punjabi every word that the great playwright-poet ever wrote (whether or not Shakespeare actually wrote them all is another matter).
Not many people know that the Bard was fascinated by Jatts, even though he never got the time to visit Punjab. Take Julius Caesar. Despite his wife's scary dreams and a soothsayer's 'Ides of March' prophecy, the Roman ruler proudly goes without Z-plus security to the Senate, where he is duly assassinated by Brutus and Co. Who else but an overconfident Jatt could have taken such a suicidal step? Another example of reckless Jattitude is Othello. It takes just a handkerchief to convince him of his innocent wife's infidelity, and he goes on to smother her with a pillow. And then there's Macbeth, brave but gullible as any Jatt, who is lured by his wife into murdering his king.
Being a Jatt myself, I would stick my neck out and say that this community's greatest quality is its ability to laugh at oneself. No wonder every Jatt film nowadays is a comedy, but the problem is that most of them barely tickle your funny bone. Sadly, filmmakers seem to be killing the goose that laid two 24-karat golden eggs last year (Jatt & Juliet and Carry on Jatta). Rarely does one get to see a belligerent Bikkar Bai, who uses a wooden cot leg ('paava') as powerfully as an AK-47. I suggest Pollywood should give the Jatt a much-needed break to help him recharge his overused batteries. In the meantime, they can focus on other castes and make films with names such as Khatarnak Khatri and Chanchal Chamar.
In case Punjabi filmmakers are interested in making adaptations of famous English movies, here are some suggestions for the J-word titles:
James Bond series: Jasoosi Jatt
Titanic: Jatt and Jahaaj
Forrest Gump: Jhalla Jatt
Terminator series: Lohe Da Jatt, Kadduga Vatt
Kill Bill: Badla Jatti Da (Sounds familiar? Then go for Jatti Poch De Fatti)