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Punjabi cinema, which was once written-off the big screens due to its weak plots, unconvincing characters and rustic music is today carving its niche into the hearts of the audiences both at home and abroad.
This month witnessed the release of two critically acclaimed movies - Jimmy Shergill-star 'Daana Paani' and Ammy Virk's 'Harjeeta' both of which registered an average business in their opening weekend here in Australia.
While ‘Daana Paani’ raked in $90,147, ‘Harjeeta’ closed in nearly $48,000 upon its release - earlier an unrealistic dream for Punjabi movie makers just a few years ago.
However they don't match the 2016 movie, ‘Love Punjab’, a family drama starring Amrinder Gill and Sargun Mehta which set the cash registers ringing by minting $406,601 at the Australian box office.
The movie not only broke previous records of box office collections of Punjabi movies in Australia but also overshadowed the opening week collections of big-banner Bollywood movies 'Airlift' and 'Bajirao Mastani' - a surprise that created ripples in the movie industry.
An ardent film lover, blogger and a critic by profession, Mimansa Shekhar says she feels that the success of Punjabi cinema in Australia can be largely attributed to its growing Punjabi migrant community and their appetite for the speedily evolving Punjabi language cinema.
"It is because of the Indians living abroad, who not just take their culture and food, but even cinema preferences there. And given the reach of Punjabi community which is conquering the world by the day, it is but obvious that even their regional films will no longer remain within the confines of India."- Mimansa Shekhar, Deputy Copy Editor, The Indian Express.
"Today, a film buzz isn't just created through trailers and posters but through big music launches, press conferences and audience interactions over social media. This all has culminated into Pollywood (Punjabi movie industry) becoming big. It is a golden time for Punjabi films, and they are giving tough competition to all the other industries," adds Ms Shekhar.
Another big reason behind the overwhelming success of these films is that Punjabi cinema appears to be slowly coming of age.
The storylines have evolved and so have the heroes who no longer gallop on horses and spew over-the-top dialogues to woo their lady love.
Today the protagonist in a Punjabi movie carries himself with swag, the proverbial horse has been replaced by swanky cars and the shooting locations have moved away from the quintessential mustard fields to the greener pastures of foreign countries.
The audiences too have changed, says Mitu Bhowmick Lange, director of Mind Blowing Films, a production company that specialises in the distribution of Indian films throughout Australia and New Zealand.
"Today, the audience is very discerning. The success of a movie here no longer depends on its cast alone; it has to have a strong storyline and good music to succeed."- Mitu Bhowmick Lange, Director, Mind Blowing Films
Unlike the Punjabi movies of before, today this brand of cinema is recognized globally with many movies finding their way to Cannes and other such prestigious film festivals.
What's more is that big production houses such as Viacom 18 and Eros Now, as well as Indian companies including T-series and Tips are joining the bandwagon of production and distribution of Punjabi films. It's a trend which has given a financial lease of life to filmmakers, something which was earlier confined only to Bollywood.
In the 4th year of Punjabi cinema’s appearance at Cannes, an upcoming film’s first look will be unveiled.
After the success of ‘Rabb Da Radio’, the most talked about duo of Punjabi Film Industry, Jass Grewal and Tarnvir Jagpal are back to hit the big screen through their movie ‘Daana Paani’.
Hear the latest news from Bollywood and Pollywood - about all the stories that are buzzing this week...
Acclaimed filmmaker Mr. Gurvinder Singh's second feature film Chouthi Koot has been selected for screening in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Also in this feature, Preetinder Grewal interviews Vikas Paul - a Sydney based Punjabi Film Distributor who is present at Cannes to witness the worlds most prestigious film festival….