Punjabis dominate Bollywood releases this season

March 19th, 2009 - 9:27 am ICT by IANS  

Aftab Shivdasani By Joginder Tuteja
Mumbai, March 19 (IANS) It’s time for bhangra. Three films to be released in the next fortnight will have one common theme - a Punjabi background.

“Aloo Chaat”, “Ek - The Power of One” and “Videsh” all have either a Punjabi or someone settled in Punjab as the principal protagonist.

“In ‘Aloo Chaat’, I play the part of an NRI who returns to his Punjabi family based in Delhi with a prospective bride,” says Aftab Shivdasani, who is actually hard to be imagined as a young Punjabi man. However, director Robby Grewal, who is a Punjabi from Delhi, has ensured that the Punjabi milieu is very much on the forefront in his third directorial outing.

While his supporting actors like Kulbhushan Kharbanda and Manoj Pahwa are shown to be hardcore Punjabis, there is this entire culture drive revolving around Punjabiyat in the film. No wonder the film promises to feature Punjabi celebrations in full fervour. There are Yash Chopra style “ladies sangeets” featuring the entire cast of the film too.

For director Sangeeth Sivan, it was obvious to move into a Punjabi setting once he settled down on Bobby Deol as his leading man for “Ek - The Power of One”.

“‘Ek’ is a remake of Telugu film ‘Athadu’ and once I decided to remake the film with Bobby Deol in the lead, there was no other place to go than Punjab. The mustard fields there bring an altogether different look and feel to the film,” says Sivan.

No wonder the romantic outings of Bobby Deol and Shreya Saran are in the mustard fields. The fight sequences feature Bobby Deol taking on a bunch of Sikhs.

“Videsh”, of course, is a serious film that has been highly acclaimed well before its release in India. The film features Preity Zinta in the role of Chand, a young woman from Ludhiana who moves to the US with her husband (Vansh Bhardwaj). She immediately faces challenges in her new household with immense family pressure and lack of living space turning out to be the core problem areas.

“Though Preity is not a Punjabi by birth, she looks extremely convincing as one,” says an industry follower.

With more Delhi-based films like “Love Aaj Kal” and “It’s My Life” releasing soon, there may be more portrayals of Punjabi culture on offer this year.

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