Sometimes the entire ambience, atmosphere and anxieties of the people of an entire state changes over night. That is specially what happens in a democracy. Like it happened after the results of the recent election in Punjab were declared and the congress lost out to its opponent very badly. The government of Captain Amarinder Singh was over thrown by the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bhartiya Janata Party. The sudden change is sure to affect the lives of millions in the state. It will affect every field of life and the one field which will be affected the most is Punjabi cinema. It was just some two years ago that the industry had started blossoming with the drastic changes brought about for the better. There was a feeling of revitality, of rejuvenation and resurrection in an industry which was almost lying dead. Now, suddenly all those heady feelings are under a cloud. The future is a big question mark whose answer will be found only after Mr.Sukhdir Singh Badal and his government takes over and decide on policy and decisions when it comes to films, a field which was literally dancing the bhangra and now the mood is one of suspense, of an eerie silence and a sense of suspicion. What about the future of the industry under the new government to be formed by a party whose policies are radically different from those of the party that brought in the winds of change. I decided to talk to some of the filmmakers and artists who led the field with the active support of Captain Amarinder Singh who himself, an ex-Maharaja is a patron art, culture and specially cinema taking all the major decision.
Manmohan Singh, the renowned cinematographer from Mumbai who was called the pioneer of the ‘Green Revolution’ in Punjabi cinema after he made film like ‘Jee Aayt Nu’ and ‘Dil Hai Punjabi’ which brought the industry alive and who had decided to dedicate the rest of his life to spreading the growth of a better Punjabi film movement who is a man of few words said: ‘I was not prepared for this sudden change. Everything was going so well for the Punjabi industry. There was a new excitement in the air. The number films being made suddenly took a big leap, films were being announced and made easily because of the strong support of the government. The tax incentives, the various facilities offered and the general encouragement at all levels had led renowned filmmakers to make good films and put the Punjabi film industry which was among the most under developed industry in the country in a place of respect. And all our efforts subsided because the government and the people encourage the kind of films they saw. The youth came back to Punjabi films which also found a whole new market, a new audience among the NRIs in the USA, Great Britain and Canada. I don’t believe in the politics of any party but it is a fact that a big change in Punjabi films can make progress in the future only if the new government encourages it like the government of Captain Singh with. Now everything seems to be in some kind of a strange shadow. I have nothing against the new government that will rule. I wish it all the best. I am an optimist. I know they will work for the betterment of the people of Punjab who have voted for chang. I only hope that they don’t come in the way of the progress of Punjabi cinema. It happens when a new government takes over and tries to implement its own policies and I only hope that the new government takes decisions that will take the state ahead from where it has already reached. And for me and my colleagues in the Punjabi film industry, it is a very trying time. We were all going ahead hoping to make better films to do Punjab proud. I hope we are allowed to continued making progress. I hope the new government doesn’t come in the way of cinema which is above all politics, policies and ideologies. I have my fingers crossed and I know there will many in the same state of mind. I hope Mr. Badal ends our anxiety soon.’
Mrs. Manjeet Mann, a lea