Underworld, gangster, mafia…welcome to the new genre of Punjabi cinema. Recently, films like Rupinder Gandhi 2, Jora 10 Numbaria and Rocky Mental have sure ushered in another era of action. So, do these stories carry some kind of message or is it Punjabi cinema’s desperate effort to churn out something fresh?
Director Amardeep Singh Gill of Jora 10 Numbaria-fame wonders why someone should question these kinds of films. “I am a filmmaker and I like certain kind of cinema, which is dark, like Godfather, Gangs of Wasseypur, Company and Satya, to name a few. If I get a similar kind of story from Punjab, I will definitely make a film. Besides, as part of social responsibility, it is my duty to tell the audience stories that exist for real.”
Amardeep, however, feels that one can question such topics in general, but not the sensibility of a director.
Stories on gangsters and their role in student politics is much-talked about these days. In such a scenario, is it right for Punjabi cinema to highlight them, whether it is through a film like Rupinder Gandhi, which is based on real-life gangster Rupinder Gandhi or through some fictional character? Actor Dev Kharoud, who plays Rupinder Gandhi in the film, shares, “We haven’t created Rupinder Gandhi, he existed. And if the papers and television can talk about it, why can’t cinema do the same? Hollywood and Bollywood have been showcasing gangster kind of stories and audiences have appreciated them.”
Comedy will go on
So, in the near future, will we be witnessing more gangster movies?
“Of course not, why are we assuming this already. Just because we’ve seen action-based, ‘right-man-gone-wrong’ movies does not mean that this will carry on. Punjabi cinema’s comedy and romance is very much here to stay. Besides, what we call gangster movies are issues, subjects that are prevalent in society. We are showing the reality, so that youngsters can see what happens if we one takes a wrong detour in life.”
Finding new genres
Though most filmmakers of this industry deny having a hand in popularising these characters, many believe it is fiction and any relation to living or dead is just coincidental. So, where does a film like Toofan Singh fit in this slot? “Well, for this you might have to coin a new genre in Punjabi cinema, which should be called the khadku genre,” director Amit Dheer laughs about it. Punjab entertainment industry is opening its eyes and ears to various kinds of subjects…gangster seems to be a part of the list!