Sardaar Ji and the dilemma in Punjabi Film Industry

Even though the super success of Sardaar Ji gives Punjabi Cinema its biggest blockbuster till date having a record weekend, it still brings along some serious worries if one looks into the scenario with a deeper understanding of the trend witnessed in Punjabi film business over the last decade.
No, the problem isn’t about any one-man show, (with Diljit Dosanjh featuring in almost all Punjabi blockbusters of late) as that has been the feature of every film industry at one time or the other. Like the era of Amitabh Bachchan and others, this is sure to witness an inevitable break sooner or later with new competitive performers coming in with the changing times.

Since the film has important elements like – romance, action and good performances, it is expected to find several takers. But the concern is much more critical here because with the roaring success of Sardaar Ji, where at one end the Punjabi film industry might be feeling relieved with a quick revival in sight, at the other it actually gets stuck deeper into the same monotonous mess (threatening the industry over the last few years) since the latest hit is yet again ‘A Comedy’ failing to row the industry’s boat any further.

Giving a broader picture of the present scenario of Punjabi mainstream cinema, it all revolves around only three basic subjects, finding no courage to go beyond them either by the producers nor by the directors or writers or for that matter actors and even the viewers since the last 4-5 years. And these three key subjects are:

A. Comedy films (taking the biggest share of current projects).
B. Films made around the dark events of 1984.
C. Religious projects revolving around Sikh history or Sikhism.

Now where the last two have their own share of ‘difference in perception’ and ‘related controversies’, it’s only the ‘comedy genre’ that has quite pathetically taken over the entire Punjabi film industry since the release of ‘Carry on Jatta’ or ‘Jatt & Juliet’ in 2012. And unless Punjabi cinema makes a major breakthrough, coming up with a worth watching, successful film made beyond these three overused, clichéd subjects, it will keep going in circles generating a fake picture of cinematic development in just money terms and nothing else. Perhaps a few brave producers/directors are trying their best to come out of this repetitive phase at the earliest by bringing forward the rich Punjabi literature and its forgotten masters in their sincere attempts. But what they desperately need is the encouraging response from the viewers who can easily change the trend whenever they wish to.

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