Capital hosts Punjabi Film Festival, focus on larger viewership

Punjabi Film Festival
Mumbai: The second edition of International Punjabi Film Festival is going on in the capital. The organisers, who want to ape Iranian filmmakers in terms of meaningful content, say that the aim of the fest is to create a market and lure viewers for Punjabi movies.

The four-day festival, which started Thursday, is showcasing both documentary and feature films, reflecting the richness and variety of the region.

"The idea behind this film festival is to promote Punjabi cinema. Punjabi films are not released or screened here as the distributors think there are less number of viewers. We want to create a good chunk of Punjabi cinema lovers over here," Rawail Singh, secretary Punjabi Academy, Department of Art, Culture and Language (Govt of India), told IANS.

"I think the viewers are not at fault. They want Punjabi cinema, but there is no supply. Through the film festival, we are trying to bridge the gap between demand and supply. We need to create more viewers so the distributors would realise that they should release the films beyond Punjab also," he said.

The festival opened with screening of four documentary films – "Aatu Khoji" by Rajiv Sharma, "Pakhi" by Gurcharan Singh Channi, "Bhai Vir Singh" by Amarjit and student film "Adda Khadda – The Game of Life" directed by Paramjit Kattu.

Singh is overwhelmed with the response.

"The response for the documentary section has been beyond our expectation. Short films and documentary films are meaningful and realistic. You see the art and you get swayed by it," he said.

Three films were screened on the second day of the festival – well-known Punjabi filmmaker Manmohan Singh’s "Ik Kudi Punjab Di", Mandeep Kumar’s "Ekam – The Son of Soil" and Jasbir Jassi-starrer "Khushiyaan".

In fact, actor-singer Jassi was here for the screening of his film.

Over the next two days six feature films — "Jawani Zindabad", "Yaar Anmulle", "Sukhmani", "Jihne Mere Dil Lutiya", "Mitti" and "Heer Ranjha" — will be screened.

"Cinema is entertainment but at the same time it should be educative. The festival is also an attempt to tell producers and directors of Punjabi films that we need realistic cinema in Punjab, which is not only entertaining but also educative," said Singh.

"We don’t need superficious cinema, which we increasingly see in Bollywood. We want to have meaningful cinema, similar to that of Iran," he added.