After a bumpy ride, Punjabi cinema has bounced back with a bang. What do the stars foretell for this regional industry?
While the Hindi film industry is in a bullish phase right now, a regional film grabs the spotlight every now and then. We all know that South Indian films already enjoy the lion’s share of the regional film space, so much so that many Hindi filmmakers have been inspired to remake South Indian films. While Marathi and Bengali films are soon gaining momentum, Punjabi cinema is on the verge of hitting a high note too.
Recently, the Punjabi film industry has seen rapid growth by making a foray into new markets overseas. Corporate studios have also gotten involved with Punjabi productions infusing fresh investments in these films. As a result of which these films are now, like their Hindi counterparts, going all out to market and promote their products in a big way.
But the sail for Punjabi cinema has not been that smooth. The journey has been rough right since its inception in 1936. Besides, terrorism dealt the industry crippling blow in the ‘90s but there was a resurgence in the early 2000s. Budgets increased which attracted even some Hindi film actors to try their luck in these films.
The biggest plus for this industry is that, Punjabi films have a stronger foothold than Hindi films overseas, especially in countries like Canada, the US, the UK and Australia. For instance, Taur Mittran Di featuring Rannvijay Singh did exceptionally well and netted over Rs 10 crore overseas. Needless to say, the film, which released along with Housefull 2, did impressive business in Punjab as well.
Punjabi filmmakers have now also started paying attention to technical and production aspects. For instance, the film Mirza – The Untold Story was appreciated for its cinematography. In 2010, Mel Karade Rabba starring Jimmy Shergill broke records and earned Rs 3.25 crore to become the highest-grossing Punjabi film in Punjab. Unfortunately, these films are not assigned many shows at multiplexes, thus restricting their reach to the Northern circuits.
The questions we are asking this week is: Is the future promising for the Punjabi film industry? Are Punjabi films being appreciated beyond the North and making their presence felt all over India? How profitable are these films? How much has the involvement of corporate houses helped Punjabi filmmakers? We spoke to professionals from the Punjabi film industry for their views. Read on…