Fun-loving, optimistic, spontaneous, kind-hearted, etc are some of the traits of Punjabis. I belong to a Punjabi family and have grown up in an environment wherein we are taught to respect our culture & language along with other languages & cultures. The world knows, Punjabi music is ahead of all and is famous worldwide, so how can our movies lack behind. Punjabi movies are as beautiful and amazing as Punjabi culture. Almost all movies come with learning and give us a different point of view towards life. A ‘hit’ film or a ‘not so hit’ film, they teach us something. Punjabi cinema is popularly known as Pollywood.
In a country like India where the entire film industry is ruled by Bollywood, Punjabi movies have gained popularity for their amazing stories, fresh content, and impactful performances by the actors on the 70mm screen. Watching a Punjabi movie in a theatre in such a pleasure to eyes and ears for Punjabis. There has been an immense rush of Punjabi movies and that too with a majority of the good and best ones. Undoubtedly, the majority of them are even better than Bollywood movies. People rush to the theatres when a Punjabi movie is released, irrespective of the language barrier. This happens not only in Punjab, but also in Delhi along with adjoining and many other parts of India. Countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, USA, UK, etc are great fans of Punjabi culture, movies, and language.
The Punjabi industry has come a long way. The legendary Gurdas Mann Saab needs no introduction. He, along with Late Jaspal Bhatti and Meher Mittal had ushered in the new wave of Punjabi movies with great emphasis on the comedy and music like never before. Now, the new crop (generation) of talented artists have taken Pollywood to an entirely different level. In today’s time, we have such versatile actors like Amrinder Gill, Jimmy Sheirgill, Binnu Dhillon, Jassie Gill, Diljit Dosanjh, Ammy Virk, etc., while on the other hand, we have beautiful and soulful actresses like Neeru Bajwa, Sargun Mehta, Simi Chahal, Mandy Takhar, Sonam Bajwa, etc. who are constantly making Punjab and Punjabi industry proud with dynamic performances in their respective movies.
HOW CAN WE FORGET THE VETERANS?
Versatile veteran actors like Jaswinder Bhalla, B.N Sharma, Nirmal Rishi, Sardar Sohi, Anita Devgan, Gurpreet Ghuggi, etc. add a special flavor of their own. Their presence only makes the movie outstanding.
Movies like Ardaas, Daana Paani, Rabb Da Radio, Love Punjab, Angrej, etc. give a pure and deep insight of the Punjabi culture. People love Pollywood movies worldwide, the emotions are so relatable that even the difference in language does not make a barrier. Multi-talented and multi-taskers are some traits of Punjabi artists. Gurdas Mann Saab, Harbhajan Mann, Satinder Sartaj, Amrinder Gill, Diljit Dosanjh, Ammy Virk, Yuvraj Hans, etc. are amazing singers as well as actors. They entertain us with their mesmerizing voices as well as dynamic performances on the big screen.
Punjabis living in cities may miss that “Pinnd (village)” flavor in their busy lives. If you are a Punjabi and you have never seen Pinnd (village), you can easily discover your roots and live that typical life by just watching the movies. Also, these movies have brought back our memories of the long-forgotten typical Punjabi words. Many Punjabi movies address serious social issues like drugs, education, corruption, dowry, etc. A movie, “Golak Bugni Bank Te Batua” starring Harish Verma and Simmi Chahal has portrayed Demonetization and the problems people faced. Above all, comedy is the basic essence (flavor) of a Punjabi movie. Mere sight of actors/comedians like B.N Sharma, Jaswinder Bhalla, Gurpreet Ghuggi, Karamjit Anmol, Rana Ranbir, etc generates laughter in anticipation.
Some MUST WATCH Punjabi Movies:
1. Ardaas (2016)
Written and directed by Gippy Grewal, the movie stars Gurpreet Ghuggi in the lead role and Sardar Sohi, Ammy Virk, Karamjit Anmol, B.N. Sharma, Mandy Takhar in supporting roles. The story revolves around Master Gurmukh Singh (Ghuggi) as he moves to a new village. It shows the life of people of that village and how Gurmukh helps them to find their inner selves and live happily while he suffers from inner guilt.
2. Qismat (2018)
A romantic drama film written and directed by Jagdeep Sidhu stars Sargun Mehta and Ammy Virk in lead roles and Tania in the supporting role. The story revolves around Shiva (Ammy) as he falls in love with Bani (Sargun) whilst studying in Chandigarh, despite his parents are planning to fix his marriage with Aman (Tania). This movie turned out to be the 2nd highest-grossing Punjabi film of 2018.
3. Daana Pani (2018)
Daana Paani is a total family film. Directed by Tanvir Singh Jagpal, it stars Simi Chahal and Jimmy Sheirgill in the lead roles while Gurpreet Ghuggi plays a supporting role. A young girl, Basant Kaur (Simi) who lost her father in childhood and got forcefully separated from her mother too, is the plot of the movie. The film runs in a flashback as the old aged Basant Kaur (Nirmal Rishi) writes an autobiography novel and names it ‘Daana Paani’.
4. Rabb Da Radio (2018)
Directed by Tanvir Singh Jagpal & Harry Bhatti and written by Jass Grewal, Rabb Da radio stars Simi Chahal, Tarsem Jassar, and Mandy Takhar in the lead roles. Set in the 80s and 90s of Punjab, the film revolves around the eternal family ties & love and an unconditional faith over God. This beautiful movie takes you back to an era where lovers just used to see each other and decide that they are going to be together for a lifetime.
5. Yaar Anmulle (2011)
Directed by Anurag Singh, Yaar Anmulle stars Arya Babbar, Yuvraj Hans, Harish Verma, Jividha Ashta, Kajal Jain, and Jenny Ghottra in the lead roles. The story has 3 college friends Deep (Yuvraj), Sher Singh (Harish), and Guru (Arya). All three of them come from different backgrounds, but they stand together in each other’s thick and thin and refuse to give up on friendship. This indeed is the real beauty of the movie. As the name suggests, ‘Yaar Anmulle’, it gives a true example of pure and loyal friendship.
6. Jee Ayaan Nu (2002)
Released in the year 2002, Jee Ayaan Nu (English translation: Welcome) was directed by Manmohan Singh & starred Priya Gill and Harbhajan Mann in the lead roles. It was the first most successful movie of the Punjabi Cinema. Simar (Priya) is an Indian Punjabi girl who lives with her family in Canada. She comes to Punjab with her family and meets Inder (Harbhajan), son of her father’s best friend. On request of Simar’s father, Inder takes her on a trip to nearby villages and shows her the beauty of Punjab, while gradually they fall in love.
7. Punjab 1984 (2014)
‘Punjab 1984’, a period drama film directed by Anurag Singh stars Kirron Kher and Diljit Dosanjh in the lead roles. Set in the era of 1984-1986, it is based on a real-life mother-son story. Satwant Kaur (Kirron) lost her husband to the Operations Blue Star, struggles again when her son Shiva (Diljit) goes missing. She knocks every door to locate her son. This movie has a lot of heart churning emotional scenes.
8. Carry On Jatta (2012)
Carry On Jatta is a total comedy family entertainer. Jaswinder Bhalla, Binnu Dhillon, Gippy Grewal, and Mahie Gill played the lead roles supported by B.N Sharma and Gurpreet Guggi. The story revolves around the Dhillon family: Advocate Dhillon (Bhalla), Goldy (Binnu), and Jass (Gippy). Jass falls in love with Mahie (Gill) who wants to marry an orphan. He tells a lie to Mahie that he is an orphan and has no family. How their married life becomes a rollercoaster ride is a must-watch.
9. Angrej (2015)
Set in the pre-partitioned Punjab, it is a historical romance film. Directed by Simerjit Singh, it stars Sargun Mehta, Aditi Sharma, and Amrinder Gill in lead roles. Ammy Virk, Binnu Dhillon, Sardar Sohi, Nirmal Rishi, and Anita Devgan played the supporting roles. The film was shot in the villages of Punjab and Rajasthan and was completed in around 40 days. The plot is set in the time when India was under British rule and chronicles the love story of a young man & woman who belong to different social strata. It marked a debut film for both Sargun Mehta and Ammy Virk. The jury and audiences praised the performances of the cast chiefly.
10. Chaar Sahibzaade (2014)
A 3D Punjabi computer-animated movie, it was written and directed by Harry Baweja. It portrays the sacrifice of Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s 4 sons, Sahibzaada Ajit Singh, Jujhar Singh, Jorawar Singh and Fateh Singh. The film’s narration was provided by Om Puri (a veteran Bollywood and Pollywood actor). It was marked as the highest-grossing Punjabi film when it was released.
11. Surkhi Bindi (2019)
Directed by Jagdeep Singh and scripted by Rupinder Inderjit, it stars Sargun Mehta and Gurnam Bhullar in lead roles. Both audiences and critics highly praised their on-screen chemistry. The film showcases a village girl, Rano (Sargun) who dreams of marrying an NRI and moving to Canada. Instead, she was forced to marry Sukhwinder aka Sukha (Gurnam), a village youngster. How Sukha tries to fulfill his wife’s dream of migrating to Canada is the real beauty of the movie.
12. Love Punjab (2016)
Written by Amberdeep Singh & directed by Rajiv Dhingra, it stars Sargun Mehta, Amrinder Gill, and Manvir Johil. The story revolves around Pargat (Amrinder) and Jessica (Sargun) who are unhappy in their marriage & going through a separation. They have a son named Manveer (Manvir) who is going through depression as he faces discrimination and racism in school. The couple then takes him to Punjab to show his culture and ancestral village where his grandparents live.
13. Sufna (2020)
A romantic drama written and directed by Jagdeep Sidhu, it stars Tania and Ammy Virk in lead roles. The story revolves around Teg (Tania) and Jeet (Ammy). Teg (a cotton picker), whose mother was Muslim, passed away in Teg’s childhood while her father, an army man, goes missing. She lives with her Taaya Ji and Taai Ji (father’s elder brother and sister-in-law). She moves to a new village where she meets Jeet and gradually they fall in love. How she encourages Jeet to pursue his higher studies is such a pleasure.
14. Des Hoya Pardes (2004)
A National Award Winning film directed by Manoj Punj, it stars Gurdaas Maan and Juhi Chawla in the lead roles. Divya Dutta, Parmeet Sethi, and Anup Soni played supporting roles. The plot is set in the 1980s when former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards. After that, the Sikh community was under the threat of violent attacks in India. When Gursharan (Maan) discovers that he is a target, he fears for his family and leaves for America. There, he seeks political asylum. Unfortunately, soon a family matter forces him to give up his asylum, and return to India where he is still in danger of being killed. Gurdas Maan won a Special Jury Award for his outstanding performance.
15. Chal Mera Putt (2019)
Directed by Janjot Singh and co-produced by Rhythm Boyz Entertainment, Chal Mera Putt is a comedy-drama film. It stars Amrinder Gill, Simmi Chahal, Iftikhar Thakur, Nasir Chinyoti, Akram Udas, Hardeep Gill, and Gurshabad. The film revolves around Punjabis who tries hard to make a living in a foreign land. The filming took place in Birmingham, Punjab, India, and some parts of Lahore, Pakistan. It was reported to be one of the highest-grossing Punjabi films and the highest-grossing Punjabi film overseas.
IT’S YOUR TURN NOW!
Which is your favorite movie? Do you have your list of iconic Punjabi Movies? Share it in the comment section below.