Punjabi cinema has undergone a transformation in recent years. More films are now being made with production values much higher than before; the plots are more varied and complex; investment is pouring in and returns are breaking records.
However, budget continues to be a concern. “If a film on Milkha was to be made in Punjabi, it won’t appear to be the way the Bollywood bipoic turned out to be. Our budgets are not as high. Punjabi cinema is not ready for a Dangal as yet,” said singer-actor Gippy Grewal. Grewal and actor Sonam Bajwa were at Hindustan Times’s Mohali office for an interaction for HT City’s Stars in the City event on Thursday.
Title of your next ‘Manje Bistre’ is intriguing. It is based on a Punjabi wedding. Tell us about the connection between the two.
Gippy: It is a film on Punjabi weddings which are very intrinsic to our culture. We wanted to revisit the old charm of a typical wedding in a Punjabi household. Friends and relatives come to the house where the wedding is and that’s why there is a need for extra bedding, which is referred as ‘Manje Bistre’.
What attracted you towards doing this film?
Sonam: The script was appealing. I was looking forward to working with Gippy. He has proved himself as an actor, director and writer. The idea is nice, happy and fun.
What is the future of Punjabi cinema?
Gippy: There is no language barrier. We have a wide market to grow and it is getting better. The number of shows for Punjabi films has also doubled. We are aiming at a variety in genre as opposed to only comedy. However, budget continues to be a limiting factor. Punjabi cinema is still not ready for a Dangal.
Female actors have become finicky about their roles given the women-centric films that are emerging. Is it something you also look into
Sonam: I like to know my role when I read a script. You tend to become choosy with time and gain inspiration from strong female characters. One evolves with every film one does.
Gippy gears up for Bollywood stint: While he might have made a Bollywood debut last year, Gippy Grewal is gearing up for his next. This time, he will star opposite Farhan Akhtar and Diany Penti. Grewal shared that he recently finished shooting for Nikhil Advani’s ‘Lucknow Central’, which is based on jail escape. Gippy, who plays the role of a prisoner from Punjab in the film, said he is excited for the release.