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Amritsar plays host to second Punjabi film festival
by Sawinder Singh

     Amritsar: Amritsar recently hosted the second Punjabi Film festival which was attended by eminent Punjabi artists who used this opportunity to promote Punjabi films. An idea conceived a year ago by prominent film lover Navtej Sandhu, it has now evolved into a major platform to encourage Punjabi films. The second edition of the festival showcased this fact and much more when it was organized under the aegis of Sur-Saanjh Productions promoted by a group of Punjabi film fans here recently. Their aim was to promote the Punjabi language and culture through films that have received good reviews in India and abroad. "Punjabi film, be it a small budget or a big budget film, I personally feel that Punjabi should be promoted. My success in winning the `Miss World Punjaban' title is because of my love for the culture, language and Punjabi costumes," said Japji Khara, a Punjabi actress. "There is no Hindi film without Punjabi flavour. Interestingly, Bollywood films are placing Punjabi songs and using Punjabi characters with a traditional touch. A recent hit is `Singh is Kinng'. But Punjabi films are not so successful," opined Mohan Bhakdi, a Punjabi film producer and director. Punjabi film industry is witnessing a tremendous change for quite some time. Since Punjabi film producers today know that they have a large non-resident Indian (NRIs) audience and a global market for Punjabi movies, there is a trend for high-budget films. Films like 'Dil Apna Punjabi', 'Mera Pind - My Home' and 'Lakh Pardesi Hoiya' were among the recent hits. Punjabi film industry got global recognition when Waris Shah - Ishq Daa Waris was nominated for the 79th Academy Awards. It was felt that the hard work and determination of Punjabi artists has been rewarded. "The legendary singers like Gurdas Maan, Harbhajan Maan, Wadali brothers and Lakhwinder Wadali have made a great contribution to the promotion of Punjabi. They are also popular overseas, which has also had a great impact on Punjabi films. We have become veterans now, but the new generation of artists is really good," said Punjabi actor Guggu Gill. "As far as Punjabi films are concerned, even though it a small industry, but it has made a great contribution in popularizing Punjabis worldwide. Be it a singer or actor, they have achieved success. In Bollywood, Punjabis artists have done tremendous work - Mohammad Rafi, Sukhwinder Singh, Dharmendra and Dara Singh, who are from Punjab and were on the top in Mumbai. The day is not far when Punjabi film industry will reach the level of Bollywood," said Punjabi singer and actor, Lakhwinder Wadali. Punjabi film industry is heading towards a new dawn and the next generation is gearing up to take on the challenge.
-Feb 5, 2009

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