K.D. Mehra made the first Punjabi "talkie" film, Sheela, also known as Pind Di Kudi, in 1935. Young Noor Jehan was introduced as an actress and singer in this film. Sheila was made in the city of Calcutta (now Kolkata) and released in Lahore. It ran very successfully and was a hit across the province. Due to the success of this film more producers started making Punjabi films. K.D. Mehra made his second film, Heer Sial (1938), with the assistance of M.M. Billoo Mehra. This film had Noor Jehan and new artists Balo and M. Ismail. The film was commercially successful.
Due to the vast Punjabi community in Lahore and Punjab, the area soon became a significant Punjabi-language film market. Studios opened up and many artists, producers, directors, and technicians from Bombay and Calcutta shifted to Lahore. Prominent names were Shanta Apte, Motilal, Chandra Mohan, Hiralal, Noor Jehan, Mumtaz Shanti, Wali, Syed Attahullah Shah Hashmi, Krishna Kumar, and Shanker Hussain. Baldev Raj Chopra, later known as a director, got started in the movie industry in Lahore, where he ran a film magazine called the Cine Herald. Ramanand Sagar, also later a director, was associated with the Evening News. Syed Attahullah Shah Hashmi worked for the film newspaper Adakar.
In 1947, the British province of Punjab was partitioned between India and Pakistan. West Punjab became part of Pakistan and East Punjab became part of India. This affected Punjabi cinema because most Muslim artists and directors moved to Pakistan, and worked in Lollywood, while Sikhs and Hindus moved to Bombay.
Attempts were made to keep Punjabi cinema alive in this period. Filmmakers made films like Posti, Do Lachhian and Bhangra with some success but were not able to revive Punjabi cinema. Songs from the films would run for months and years on the radio resulting in a long-term audience for the films.
Post-partition, the trend of comedies continued. One of the hit comedies was Mulkh Raj Bhakhri's Bhangra (1958), starring Sundar and Nishi. It was remade by director Mohan Bhakhri as Jatti in 1980 with Mehar Mittal and Aparna Chowdhry, and it was again a commercial success. The music from the film was by Hansraj Behl with lyrics by Verma Malik. Songs sung by Shamshad and Rafi like "Batti balkay banere utte rakhdi han, rah bhul na jave chann mera" and "Chitte dand hasnon nayion rehnde" were widespread hits. Johnny Walker (1957) was a hit.
The big-budget romantic Punjabi film by director Padam Prakash Maheshwary, Satluj de Kande, was released in 1964. This film starred Balraj Sahni, Nishi, Wasti, and Mirza Musharraf, with music by Hansraj Behl. This was the only Punjabi film starring Balraj Sahni. It was a major hit and earned a National Film Award. Satluj de Kande was telecasted three times on the public TV channel Doordarshan in India.
In 1969 the religious film Nanak Nam Jahaz Hai starring Prithviraj Kapoor, I. S. Johar, Vimmi, Som Dutt, Nishi, Suresh, and David Abraham was released. The film was the first really major successful Punjabi film in post-independent India, with a major cultural impact on Punjabi Sikhs at home and abroad, and is credited with the revival of the Punjabi film industry in India. People stood in kilometre-long lines to buy a ticket for the film.
After the success of Nanak Nam Jahaz Hai, films were released in huge numbers. Hindi actors of Punjabi descent became interested in Punjabi films. Kankan De Ohle (Dharmendra, Asha Parekh and Ravindra Kapoor) and Nanak Dukhiya Sab Sansar (Dara Singh, Balraj Sahni, Ram Mohan and Asha Sachdev) were released in 1970. 1971 saw no major releases. In 1972, Dara Singh starred with Prithviraj Kapoor in Mele Mitran De. Man Jeete Jag Jeet, a religious film starring Sunil Dutt, Radha Saluja and Ranjeet, was a major release of 1973. In 1974, Do Sher (Dharmendra and Rajendra Kumar), Bhagat Dhanna Jatt (Dara Singh and Feroz Khan), Sacha Mera Roop Hai (Manmohan Krishan) and Dukh Bhanjan Tera Naam (Shaminder Singh and Radha Saluja) were released. The most successful was Dukh Bhanjan Tera Naam, due to the wide appeal of its religious historical setting and appearances by Bollywood actors including Sunil Dutt, Rajendra Kumar, Dharmendra, Johnny Walker, Ranjeet and Dara Singh.
Teri Meri Ik Jindri (1975) starred Dharmendra and introduced his cousin Veerendra. Many films were released in 1976: Daaj, Giddha, Main Papi Tum Bakhshanhaar, Papi Tarey Anek, Santo Banto, Sardar-E-Azam, Sawa Lakh Se Ek Ladaun, Taakra, and Yamla Jatt. Sawa Lakh Se Ek Ladaun was the biggest hit and starred Dara Singh in the main lead; Rajesh Khanna made a special appearance as the Qawal. The film ran into conflict with the Sikh political parties as the film had Fauj-i-Khas soldiers wearing fake beards. The year 1977 was not a major one for the Punjabi film industry. Jai Mata Di, Saal Solvan Chadya, Sat Sri Akal, and Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha were released, amongst others. Saal Solvan Chadya was a highlight because of the cameo appearance by Rekha. Sat Sri Akal was another hit film. It starred Sunil Dutt, Shatrughan Sinha, and Premnath. In 1978 Udeekan, Dhyani Bhagat, Jai Mata Sheranwali, and Jindri Yar Di were released. The drama Udeekan was a hit. Walayati Babu, the first ever remake in Punjabi cinema, was released in 1978. The film was remade from the Punjabi film of the same name by Johnny Walker; it featured a special appearance by Amitabh Bachchan and Mehar Mittal played the main lead. 1979 was a big year: Guru Manio Granth, Jatt Punjabi, Kunwara Mama, Sukhi Pariwar, and Til Til Dalekha were released. The religious film Guru Manio Granth was an instant hit. Jatt Punjabi had a big cast and a special appearance by Manoj Kumar. Til Til Da Lekha starred Rajesh Khanna as the main lead hero and Mehar Mittal played the comedian's role; the film became a golden jubilee hit at the box office. Til Til Dalekha was the second Punjabi movie of Rajesh Khanna and his first film as the lead hero in Punjabi films. It won the Punjab State Government award for best story writer and second best feature film of 1979. The first Punjabi mystery film, Vangaar (The Challenge), was released but it failed to become a hit.
Chann Pardesi, the first Punjabi film to win the national award, was released in 1980, and was the biggest hit of that year. It starred Raj Babbar, Rama Vij, Amrish Puri, Om Puri, and Kulbhushan Kharbanda. Fauji Chacha had veteran Bollywood actor Sanjeev Kumar in the lead. A remake of Mulkh Raj Bhakhri's 1958 film Bhangra came out in 1980 from director Mohan Bhakhri. The film was titled Jatti, and starred Sundar, Nishi, Mehar Mittal, and Aparna Chowdhry. As with the original, the remake was a tremendous success.
1981 had only one hit: Balbiro Bhabhi. This film had Veerendra in the lead role. Two major releases of 1985 were Ucha Dar Babe Nanak Da and Sarpanch. The former was a religious film that established Gurdas Mann as a star. Sarpanch starred Veerendra. In 1983, many movies were released, with Putt Jattan De being the biggest commercially. Veerendra had another hit in 1984 with the film Yaari Jatt Di. This was the first Punjabi film to have more than half its footage shot in the United Kingdom. Mamla Garbar Hai was a hit for actor Gurdas Mann. The film's songs were especially loved.
Two hit films of 1985 were Mohammad Sadiq's Guddo and Veerendra's Vairi. Long Da Lishkara was the big hit of 1986, starring Raj Babbar, Gurdas Mann, Om Puri, and Nina Deol. In 1987 Veerendra starred in Patola and Jor Jatt Da. Punjab was shaken with the assassination of Veerendra by gunshot during the filming of Jatt Tey Zameen. The death opened the door for supporting actors including Guggu Gill and Yograj Singh to take leading roles.
1988 had no major film releases. In 1989 came the critically acclaimed Marhi Da Deeva. The film starred Raj Babbar, Pankaj Kapur, Kanwaljit Singh, Parikshit Sahni, and Deepti Naval.
In 1990 Qurbani Jatt Di was released, starring Guggu Gill, Yograj Singh, Gurdas Mann, Dharmendra, Raj Babbar and Priti Sapru. The film was directed by Preeti Sapru herself, and did well at the box office. A second important release was Dushmani Di Agg, the last film of Veerendra. It also starred Gurdas Mann and Priti Sapru, and was successful at the box office. In 1991 the major film Anakh Jattan Di starred Daljeet Kaur and Guggu Gill. It was the first movie where the audience really accepted ex-villain Guggu Gill as a hero. The film was followed by films like Jor Jatt Da, which managed to recover its cost. Badla Jatti Da was the major success of the year. It starred Guggu Gill, Yograj Singh in a villain role, and Aman Noorie. Udeekan Saun Diyan garnered critical acclaim, but was not a commercial success. Sounh Menoo Punjab Di, starring Satish Kaul, Rama Vij, Mehar Mittal, and Pal Randhawa was also one of the releases of 1991. The film was directed by Sukhdev Ahluwalia, one of the most successful directors of Punjwood, and had music by Surinder Kohli.
Vaisakhi, starring Deep Dhillon and Sunita Dheer, was released in 1991 to critical acclaim, but did not succeed commercially. Jatt Jeona Morh was a major hit that year, and made Guggu Gill a superstar. Also released was Yograj Singh's Jagga Daku, which did moderately well. Dil Da Mamla, starring Guggu Gill and Amar Noori, did poorly at the box office.
1993 had films like Jatt Sucha Singh Soorma (with Yograj Singh and Neena Sidhu), Mirza Sahiban (starring Guggu Gill), Lalkara Jatt Da, and Saali Adhi Gharwali. These films managed to do adequately at the box office, but were not major successes. Preeti Sapru's Mehndi Shagnan Di, starring Malkit Singh, Hansraj Hans, Preeti Sapru, and Yograj Singh, lost money. Kudi Canada Di starring Yograj Singh also did poorly.
Kachehri (1994) starred Gurdas Mann, Yograj Singh, and others. The film was praised by critics, was a commercial success, and won a national award. A second release was Tabahi, starring newcomer Vishal Singh; it was the blockbuster hit of the year. Guggu Gill's Vairi did quite well at the box office, but Jigra Jatt Da, with Yograj Singh as the villain, did poorly at the box office.
Kimi Verma starred in Naseebo and Qahar in 1995 to critical acclaim, but not commercial success. Naseebo managed to recover its costs. Pratigya, starring Guggu Gill, Gurdas Maan, Preeti Sapru, and Dara Singh, did well at the box office. Zaildaar (Yograj Singh), Nain Preeto De (Yograj Singh), and Sir Dhad Di Baazi did well. Gurdas Mann's Baghawat did not. Jakhmi Jagirdar and Mera Punjab amongst others also did poorly that year.
Punjabi cinema began to decline in 1996. Only the film Sukha (starring Vishal Singh) did well at the box office. Deson Pardeson, Dhee Jatt Di (Upasana Singh, Gurkirtan, and Shivinder Mahal), Vichoda (Yograj Singh), Gawahi Jatt Di, and Jorawar all did poorly at the box office. Dara Singh's Vindoo and Farha's Rabb Diyan Rakhan also fared poorly.
Films of 1997 (Mela, Truck Driver, Sardari, Preetan De Pehredaar, and Pachtaawa) all failed to make a profit. Even Guggu Gill's films were not successful. Train to Pakistan was filmed in a mixture of Hindi and Punjabi, and was later dubbed into Punjabi for film festivals.
In 1998, Purja Purja Kat Mare with Guggu Gill, Laali with Dara Singh, Ravinder Maan, and Vishal, and Dildaara with Kalbhooshan Kharbanda and Tanuja did not make money. Even big budget films like Guru Gobind Singh did poorly. The critically acclaimed film Main Maa Punjab Dee (directed by Balwant Dullat) won a National Award. The film Main Maa Punjab dee has been shown repeatedly on national television. The year ended on a positive note as Jaspal Bhatti's Mahaul Theek Hai became an instant hit of Punjabi cinema. It was the first big hit since Jatt Jeona Morh (1991) and Badla Jatti Da (1992).
Punjabi films were more successful in 1999. Mahaul Theek Hai, Shaheed-e-Mohabbat Boota Singh with Gurdas Maan and Divya Dutta was a critical and commercial success. Muqqadar, Tera Mera Pyar, Nadiyon Vichde Neer, Door Nahin Nankana, and Ishq Nachave Gali Gali (Randeep Virender, Manjeet Kullar, Deepak Saraf, Neeru Singh, and Surinder Sharma) all did poorly at the box office. Rajniti, which was also made in Hindi, failed to make money. Raj Babbar's Shaheed Udham Singh did well towards the end of the year. There were only two major hits that year, Shaheed e Mohabbat and Shaheed Udham Singh.
In 2000 there was just a single release: Dard Pardesan De, starring Avinash Wadhawan, Upasana Singh, Paramveer, and Deepshikha, which fared poorly in Punjab, but did very well overseas. Sikandra and Jagira were released in 2001. Avinash Wadhawan and Ayesha Jhulka starred in Khalsa Mero Roop Hai Khaas, which was released to the overseas market but not in Punjab.
In 2002 Jee Ayan Nu was released, featuring singer-turned-actor Harbhajan Mann and directed by Manmohan Singh. The movie was made on a big budget for Punjwood - 9 million, as compared to the more typical 20-25 million. It was very successful. This was a turning point in the revival of Punjabi cinema.
Badla came out in 2003. Asa Nu Maan Watna Da was released in 2004, again with actor Harbhajan Mann and director Manmohan Singh.
Jija Ji, Des Hoyaa Pardes, Main Tu Assi Tussi, Yaaran Naal Baharan, and Nalaik were released in 2005. Dil Apna Punjabi (again pairing Harbhajan and director Manmohan), Ek Jind Ek Jaan (introducing Prabhleen Sandhu), Mannat (directed and written by Gurbir Singh Grewal, having Jimmy Sheirgill and introducing Kulraj Randhawa), and Waris Shah: Ishq Daa Waaris came out in 2006. Kambdi Kalai, a Punjabi diaspora movie based out of the United States, came out in 2006. Rustam-e-Hind and Mitti Wajan Mardi (with Harbhajan and Manmohan) were released in 2007.
A significant number of movies were produced in 2008: Hashar: A Love Story (introducing Gurleen Chopra), Yaariyan, Mera Pind, Lakh pardesi hoye, Heaven on earth, and Sat sri akal. In 2009, Jag Jeodeye Deh Mele became a hit, and Tera Mera Ki Rishta with Jimmy Shergill and Kulraj Randhawa was a hit. But the biggest earner of all the Punjabi films was Manmohan Singh's Munde U.K. De with Jimmy Shergill and Gurpreet Ghuggi.
Munde U.K. De broke the record of Dil Apna Punjabi which was also directed by Manmohan Singh and became the biggest earner of all the Punjabi movies.
Mehndi Wale Hath (2006), written and directed by Harinder Gill and with the new-star cast of Goldie Somal, Gavie Chahal, and Prableen, was a hit film in east Punjab territory.
In 2010, 16 movies were released. Mel Karade Rabba starring Jimmy Shergill, Gippy Grewal later broke all records and grossed 110 million net, becoming the highest-grossing Punjabi film ever. Babbu Maan's Ekam – Son of Soil was released in April and was smash hit. It brought british-punjabi actress Mandy Takhar to the industry. Jawani Zindabad, written and directed by Harinder Gill and starring the famous Punjabi singer Raj Barar, Pooja Kanwal, Guggu Gill, and Gurkirtan, was released in March 2010. It became a big hit in Canada. Channa Sachi Muchi, written and directed by Harinder Gill and starring Miss Pooja and Goldie Somal, was released in August 2010. Also released in 2010 was Sukhmani (Hope for Life), starring Gurdas Maan, Juhi Chawla & Divya Dutta.
In 2011, film Ek Noor starring Harshdeep Kaur and Yami Gautam was released. Chhevan Dariya (The Sixth River), directed by Ish Amitoj Kaur, was released in September 2011. Kaur was the first Punjabi woman to have directed, produced, and written a Punjabi film. The film starred Gulshan Grover, Neena Gupta, Manpreet Singh, Lakhwinder Wadali, Christa Cannon and Rana Ranbir.
At the end of the year Chak Jawana was released, directed by Simerjit Singh and starring Gurdas Maan.
In February 2011, the PTC Punjabi channel organised the first ever PTC Punjabi Film Awards at Panchkula. It was a tremendous boost to the industry and was attended by the likes of Om Puri, Prem Chopra, Gurdas Maan, Guddu Dhanoa, Preeti Sapru, Raza Murad, Satish Kaul, Manmohan Singh, Amrinder Gill, Gippy Grewal, Jasbir Jassi, Puneet Issar, Rakesh Bedi, Rama Vij, Sudhanshu Pandey, and Akriti Kakkar.
2011 looks to be the year when the industry moves away from the "typical NRI-centered" storylines and towards more meaningful and creative storylines with movies like The Lion of Punjab starring Diljit Dosanjh and Dharti starring Rannvijay Singh.
Jihne Mera Dil Luteya is a 2011 Punjabi film directed by Mandeep Kumar with story and screenplay by Dheeraj Rattan, produced by Batra Showbiz Pvt. Ltd. and starring Gippy Grewal, Diljit Dosanjh, Neeru Bajwa, and Jaswinder Bhalla. It grossed 125 million. These films raise the bar of Punjabi films and took Punjabi cinema to next level.
In September 2011, Yaara o Dildaara was released, directed by Ksshitij Chaudhary and starring Harbhajan Mann, Tulip Joshi, Kabir Bedi, and Gurpreet Ghuggi. In October, Yaar Annmulle introducing Yuvraj Hans and Harish Verma was released. This film was a box office hit.
This year was the considered as the golden year of Punjabi cinema and industry reached many milestones in this year by having all India impact. There was release of Hollywood-style film Mirza – The Untold Story the most costly film (₹9 crore (US$1.3 million)) in the history of Punjabi cinema in April starring Yo Yo Honey Singh and Gippy Grewal. In June the film Jatt & Juliet was greatest blockbuster and till now holds the title of best ever film of Punjabi cinema. This film established Diljit Dosanjh and Neeru Bajwa as superstars of Punjabi film industry. Himesh Reshammiya has purchased the remake rights of the movie for ₹3.5 crore (US$520,000). In July 2012 out and out comedy film Carry On Jatta starring Gippy Grewal was also blockbuster only after Jatt & Juliet commercially. First time in punjabi cinema sequel of sperhit film Yaaran Naal Baharan, film Yaraan Naal Baharaan 2 was released.
In September, Ajj De Ranjhe starring Deep Dhillon and Kul Sidhu was released. It was directed by Man ji. In October 2012, Saadi Wakhri Hai Shaan, directed by Gurbir Grewal, was released. The film featured eight songs, which were composed by debut music director Dilpreet Bhatia. The film's music was a contemporary fusion of western classical and Punjabi folk music.
This year many new Production houses started the production of too many comedy movies. Binnu Dhillon, Gurpreet Ghuggi, Jaswinder Bhalla, Rana Ranbir, Karamjit Anmol and B.N. Sharma established themselves as greatest comedians of Punjabi industry.
In August 2012, the first ever Punjabi International Film Academy Awards were organised in Toronto, Canada. This was a tremendous success, attended by a host of Punjabi stars. With renewed interest from the public, Punjabi cinema has seen a revival with more releases every year featuring bigger budgets, homegrown stars, and Bollywood actors of Punjabi descent taking part. Also there are film festivals like Punjabi Film Festival, Amritsar , Ma Boli International Punjabi Film Festival, Vancouver and Punjabi International Film Festival, Toronto held annually.
2013 carried the Golden phase of Punjabi movies to the next level. Superstars Diljit Dosanjh, Neeru Bajwa, Gippy Grewal and Surveen Chawla stole the hearts of audiences by their successful films this year. Jatt & Juliet 2 broke the records of its prequel Jatt & Juliet. Jatt & Juliet 2 was also released in Pakistani Punjab in over 15 screens and was greatly liked by Pakistani audiences.
Sadda Haq, a true story based in the late 1980s and early 1990s during a period of extreme turmoil in Punjab was the second blockbuster of the year 2013 only after Jatt & Juliet 2. Bhaji in Problem starring Gippy Grewal was another blockbuster of the year produced by Akshay Kumar and also having his extended appearance along with cricketer Harbhajan Singh. Other hit films were Jimmy Shergill's Saadi Love Story starring Diljit Dosanjh, Fer Mamla Gadbad Gadbad starring Roshan Prince and Japji Khaira, Jatts In Golmaal starring Arya Babbar and Samiksha, Tu Mera 22 Main Tera 22 starring Yo Yo Honey Singh and superstar Gippy Grewal's Lucky Di Unlucky Story and action flick Singh vs Kaur. A religious film, Pagri Singh Da Taaj, was also released.
The Hollywood blockbuster A Good Day to Die Hard dubbed in Punjabi with superstar Gippy Grewal's voice was released in Punjab.
Many meaningful films based on social issues and the reality of Punjab were also successful like National Award winner Nabar, Stupid 7 based on student life in Punjab, Chandigarh student politics based Sikander, Sadda Haq, corruption and social issues based Bikkar Bai Sentimental, religious film Dastaar, Punjab Bolda, Haani, and Dil Pardesi Ho Gaya.
This year also saw the production of the first Punjabi 3D feature film, Pehchaan 3D, produced and directed by Manny Parmar.
Irrfan Khan starrer Qissa won four awards in Indian International Film Festival of Queensland of best actor award for Irrfan, best actress award for Tillotama Shome, best director award for Anup Singh and best cinematography for Sebastian Edschmid.
In year 2014, around 42 films were released and nearly 80 percent of those films were all slapstick comedies. Most successful films of the year were blockbusters like Chaar Sahibzaade(3D), Diljit Dosanjh's Punjab 1984, Gippy Grewal's Jatt James Bond, Disco Singh, Double Di Trouble, Mr & Mrs 420, Goreya Nu Daffa Karo. In This year many Action Films were released like Kirpaan: The Sword of Honour, Fateh, Romeo Ranjha, Yoddha The Warrior and Baaz. Released in January, Patiala Dreamz was a romantic thriller, with right doses of action, suspense, romance and comedy. There were many movies touching 1984 subject such as Punjab 1984, Kaum De Heere, 47 to 84 Hun Main Kisnu Watan Kahunga. Other films released in this year were Aa Gaye Munde U.K. De starring Jimmy Shergill and Neeru Bajwa, Mundeyan Ton Bachke Rahin starring Jassi Gill, Roshan Prince and Simran Kaur Mundi, Dil Vil Pyaar Vyaar starring Gurdas Mann and Neeru Bajwa.
Also this year many notable actors and singers debuted in Punjabi cinema this year notably veteran actors Dharmendra and Poonam Dhillon in Double Di Trouble, famous Bollywood comedian Razak Khan in Marriage da garriage, Bollywood actress Zarine Khan in Jatt James Bond, singer Garry Sandhu in Romeo Ranjha.
Chaar Sahibzaade was first Punjabi 3D animated historical drama film. It was blockbuster grossing over ₹70 crore (US$10 million) globally and was made tax free by governments of states like Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab, Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh.
Canadian-Punjabi feature film Work Weather Wife represented Canada at 87th Oscar Awards (87th Academy Awards) and it was the only Canadian film that made the final shortlist of 79 Best Original Songs with its songs Moon and Long Braid. At 72nd Golden Globe Awards for Best Foreign Language Feature Film and made the top 53 films in the long list. It stars Harpreet Sandhu and Reema Nagra in the lead role with Dilbag Brar and Kirat Bhattal. It is directed by Harpreet Sandhu.
Year 2015 was attributed to a few directors who took the risk of taking up different subjects with some fresh stories and some fresh actors and villains. Diljit Dosanjh, Neeru Bajwa and Mandy Takhar-starrer Sardaar Ji was blockbuster film and even achieved ₹50 crore (US$7.4 million) milestone gross earning record, according to the film pandits. Second Blockbuster film was Amrinder Gill, Sargun Mehta, Aditi Sharma and Binnu Dhillon starrer, 1945 based rural Punjabi love story Angrej which did very well both in Punjab as well as abroad.
Punjabi films of a strong storyline with an equally strong direction were Shareek (directed by Navaniat Singh, starring Jimmy Shergill and Mahie Gill), Qissa Panjab (directed by Jatinder Mauhar that weaved in seven different stories into one), Judge Singh LLB (directed by Atharv Baluja as the first Punjabi courtroom drama), Gippy Grewal's Faraar (directed by Baljit Singh Deo brought in double role with suspense) was the highest budget film with ₹13 crore (US$1.9 million) in the history of Punjabi cinema. Other hit films were Dildariyaan, Hero Naam Yaad Rakhi, Mitti Na Pharol Jogiya, Oh Yaara Ainvayi Ainvayi Lut Gaya, Munde Kamaal De. While films raking up controversy or inviting a ban were The Mastermind Jinda Sukha and Pata Pata Singhan Da Vairi and Nanak Shah Fakir (Temporarily that faced a ban in some parts of the country).
The awards are organised to recognize the excellence in Punjabi cinema.Punjabi International Film Academy Awards organized by Parvasi Media Inc.
PTC Punjabi Film Awards annually organized by PTC Punjabi channel
Virasat International Punjabi Film Festival and Awards organized by Sanjhi Awaaz Radio (Australia)
Punjabi Film Festival, Amritsar
Ma Boli International Punjabi Film Festival, Vancouver
Punjabi International Film Festival, Toronto
Sikh International Film Festival
Chandigarh Cinema Festival, Chandigarh
In 2013, The Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board and National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC) formulated Punjab Entertainment Industry and film Tourism Promotion Policy (PEIFTPP) 2013 by working in close association. Punjab State Film Commission will be set up. The policy allows a rebate of 5% entertainment tax to Punjab filmmakers if 75% of dialogues of the movie are in Punjabi. In March 2016, Punjab Government abolished entertainment tax on films that promote Punjabi culture and language.
Cinema halls in villages are proposed to set up and will have one or two screens each with capacity of 100 seats, providing entertainment facilities to villagers.
From year 2014, Punjab would have Annual film awards amounting to ₹1 crore (US$150,000) for quality films, producers, actors and others with awards ranging from ₹25 lakh (US$37,000), ₹15 lakh (US$22,000) and ₹10 lakh (US$15,000).
Ajitgarh will soon figure on the Pollywood network with the coming up of a Film City. Sensing the future of entertainment, specially in Punjabi medium, the Punjab government has decided to give 'support to Pollywood' by setting up Film City and Film Institute in the vicinity of Mohali district. After the Chandigarh administration scrapped the much-publicised ₹191 crore (US$28 million) multimedia-cum-film city project, the Punjab government has decided to open its doors for the same. Film City is aimed at giving a much-needed fillip to Punjabi cinema, which has over the years suffered a major setback. The Punjab government had initially considered Rupnagar for the proposed film city in view of its scenic beauty, but Mohali which has better infrastructure and in close proximity to the state capital scored over Rupnagar. A film and television institute on the lines of National Film and TV Institute, Pune, will also be set up as an integral part of the Punjab Film City, Ajitgarh. There are lot of requests from film producers and directors to shoot their proposed movies in the scenic areas of Punjab villages, historical forts, Golden Temple and to capture the rare beauty of narrow lanes of historical towns of Amritsar, Patiala, Kapurthala, Bathinda etc.Joke Factory is owned and run by the inimitable Jaspal Bhatti's family in Ajitgarh. It is one of the most sought after studios for many upcoming films and TV shows. This production studio spread over 5 kanals in the Industrial Area here is wooing stars and big production houses to its funky interiors most of which have a joke to go with it. There is the big sound shooting floor (40 feet by 50 feet), which is also the main studio and a big lawn for outside shoots as well. There small hut in the corner of the lawn called the pachhtava hut.
Basic Brothers Productions (P) Ltd (alongside Surya Cinemas and White Hill Productions (P) Ltd.)
Studio 7 Production is a production house run by professionals engaged in events management, film making, TV film production, photography and variety of community based talent and entertainment programs. It is located in the heart of Surrey in the Punjabi homeland of Canada.
Faculty of Film,, Television & Media, GNA University, Punjab runs undergraduate (three year) and post-graduate (two year) courses at its sprawling campus. The courses - B.Sc. (Film & Television), B.A. (Acting), B.Sc. and M.Sc. (Animation and Multimedia) and a one year certificate course in animation and multimedia, are all full time courses. The undergraduate degree is divided into six semesters while the post-graduate degree in four semesters of roughly six months each.
Mad Arts Jaspal Bhatti Film School, Chandigarh is a film training institute owned by Jaspal Bhatti family.
My Dream Academy is a professional acting school in Ajitgarh at which budding actors of Punjabi cinema are provided with hands-on training in basic acting and associated skills by seasoned film and theatre artistes. With the help of Academy's own production house, My Dream Entertainment which have wide network and tieups with various production houses, established actors periodically visit the academy for interactive sessions and acting workshops. It is situated at Industrial Area, Phase 8 B, Ajitgarh.
Film Institute, Mohali will be set up on land of 12 acres of land at the cost of ₹115 crore (US$17 million) provide specialisation in 48 trades like advance diploma courses (Diploma level program at under graduate level in lighting design, multi camera studio operations, commercial photography, production design, visual effects etc.) and post graduate courses( three-year graduation level courses in direction, cinematography, editing, sound engineering, animation and visual effects, screen writing, makeup, acting, production design and art direction) in mass communication, journalism, advertising in public relations, development communication, media management etc. with student strength of 2850.
Punjabi film industry has lots of potential as it is still a fast-growing ₹50 crore (US$7.4 million) industry - against the Bollywood of ₹4,000 crore (US$590 million) - but based as it is in Mumbai, it is able to draw on many of the Hindi film industry's resources. Trade pundits are agreed that industry could easily expand to twice its current worth.
The Punjabi film industry is doing what many couldn't even perceive; lifetime revenues are touching figures like ₹30 crore (US$4.5 million) and ₹40 crore (US$5.9 million). In reality the share of makers is 50% but even that is too much for an investment as little as ₹1.5 crore (US$220,000).
With quality improving, Punjabi films are finding releases in Punjabi dominated areas of Delhi like Rajouri Garden, of Uttarakhand (like Rudrapur, Bajpur, Kashipur), of Jammu, Haryana alongside Whole of Punjab. Main territories of Punjabi film industry in India are East Punjab circuit, Delhi circuit and Rajasthan circuit (like Sri Ganganagar, Hanumangarh). Punjabi films had limited scope even in northern belt in earlier times. They had no prospects in the metro cities. They used to release films with just five or six prints in territories like Delhi but now they releasing with more than 30 prints. Over 50 percent of the revenue for all Punjabi films comes from the overseas market territories include areas with vast Punjabi populated countries like Canada, UK, United States, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Many of Punjabi films have surpassed the gross collections of Hindi films in the overseas market. Canada (mainly areas of Vancouver, Surrey, Victoria etc.) which is the favourite Punjabi film shooting destination is also second largest market of Punjabi films after India.
Recently, Punjabi films are also having shows in less-Punjabi populated or nascent territories in India like Hyderabad, Kolkata, parts of Gujarat, Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), Patna (Bihar), Bengaluru, Nanded and Bhubaneswar while also at overseas markets such as Austria, Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands (North western Europe), Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Pakistan coming up as new territories for Punjabi films.
As of home territory Punjab, there are 196 single screens. In the last five years, the multiplex chains in Punjab have seen a boom too. Against four multiplexes in all of Punjab in 2007, there are now 36 and 99 under construction. These in turn have attracted a large middle class audience for Punjabi films which did not exist before.
Punjabi cinema currently makes zero money from satellite or music due to absence of a sustainable satellite mechanism. Punjabi filmmakers face challenge while getting satellite rights because movies released in the Punjabi film industry do not have many options for a satellite release as compared to Bollywood films. There is not much support from satellite as there are hardly 4-5 Punjabi channels that prefer to play Punjabi songs than movies.
With vulgar and obscene content growing in some videos and Punjabi songs, the Punjab government wants to set up a censor board to regulate the content in 2012. Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister Swaran Singh Phillaur regretted the "vulgar words and lyrics used in the latest songs by some particular singers and the obscenity in the video content of Punjabi songs and movies". "The real Punjabi culture lies in the folk songs, folk instruments, drama, literature and the rich heritage of Punjab," he said, presiding over a meeting of officers of the cultural affairs department and renowned artists and writers.The blockbuster film Jatt & Juliet was remade in Bengali into Bangali Babu English Mem. The film had an excellent response there and its collections is almost matching with the original. Jatt & Juliet is also being remade in Hindi. Salman Khan's production house along with Himesh Reshammiya's HR Musik will be producing the Hindi remake of Jatt & Juliet starring Akshay Kumar and Neeru Bajwa.
Superhit Punjabi film by Akshay Kumar's production, 'Bhaji in Problem, will be remade in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada.
The superhit film Singh vs Kaur' is to be remade in Telugu starring Naga Chaitanya by D. Ramanaidu's production.
The hit Punjabi film Double Di Trouble is to be remade in Hindi by Dharmendra.
Telugu Filmmaker Vasu Manthena acquired the rights of Blockbusters Sardaar Ji and Jatt & Juliet 2 to produce them in Telugu cinema.
In 1994, the Hindi film Do Sher starring Akshay Kumar and Sunil Shetty was dubbed in Punjabi.
Hollywood blockbuster A Good Day to Die Hard dubbed in Punjabi with superstar Gippy Grewal's voice was released in Punjab.
India's first photorealistic performance capture film Kochadaiiyaan released in Punjab for traditional viewing on 23 May 2014 in Punjabi.
Satluj De Kandhe (1964) and Nanak Nam Jahaz Hai (1969) directed by Panna Lal Maheshwari won the National Film Award's Certificate of Merit.
Best feature film awards were won by Chaudhari Karnail Singh (1962), Jagga (1964), Sassi Punnu (1964), Satluj De Kandhe (1967), Chann Pardesi (1980), directed by Chitrarth; Marhi Da Deeva (1989), directed by Surinder Singh; Kachehri (1994), Main Maa Punjab Dee (1998), written and directed by Balwant Dullat; Shaheed-e-Mohabbat Boota Singh (1999), directed by Manoj Punj; Shaheed Udham Singh (2000), directed by Chitrarth; Des Hoyaa Pardes (2005), directed by Manoj Punj; and Waris Shah: Ishq Daa Waaris (2006), directed by Manoj Punj. The film Anhe Ghore Da Daan (2011) won National Awards for Best Direction, Cinematography and Best Feature Film in Punjabi at the 59th National Film Awards of India. Nabar (2013) won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Punjabi in 60th National Film Awards. Punjab 1984 (2014), a film is based on the 1984-86 Punjab insurgency won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Punjabi in 62nd National Film Awards.
In Punjabi cinema only a few movies are considered meaningful. Punjabi film industry has established Parallel Cinema in these years also. The National Award winning Marhi Da Deeva (1989) mercilessly explores the issues of economic inequality, social segregation in life of dalit farm labourers and other landless communities in Punjab. Another National Award winner, Anhe Ghore Da Daan (2011) diligently puts across the distressed and frustrated life-cycle of marginalised Dalits in Punjab. It is the first Punjabi-language film to have travelled to so many international film festivals. The film premiered in the Orizzonti section (Horizons) at the 68th Venice International Film Festival. It won the Special Jury Award and the $50,000 Black Pearl trophy at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival. It was also shown at the 55th BFI London Film Festival, 49th New York Film Festival and the 16th Busan International Film Festival. The film also won the Golden Peacock award for best film at the 43rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2012 held in Panaji, Goa. Khamosh Pani (2003) is a tragic story of widowed mother and her young son set in a late 1970s village in West Punjab and relations of communities after 1947 Partition of Punjab starring Kiron Kher and Shilpa Shukla.Nooran (2014), based on famous Punjabi author, Balwant Gargi’s story Rabbo Marasan, which represents a woman’s emotions, was sent for Cannes Film Festival-Short Film Corner.
Sutta Naag (2014), adapted from Sahitya Akademi Award winner Punjabi writer, Late Ram Sarup Ankhi’s short story of same name. The narrative portrays 50 years old Punjab and addresses serious subjects like infidelity and the suppression of women has been premiered at Punjabi International Film Festival, Toronto.
Khoon (2015), film based on Gurbachan Singh Bhullar's Short story was shown at the Punjabi International Film Festival, Toronto.
Zindagi A life of Kinner (2012), based on the story of Jagdev Dhillon, talks about the lives of the third gender, Eunuch (Hijra). The film was directed by Harman Aggarwal and was showcased in Punjabi International Film Festival, Toronto and Delhi International Film Festival.
The Punjabi film industry has produced a number of successful actors, actresses, writers, directors and filmmakers, many of whom have been known internationally.Smeep Kang
Baljit Singh Deo
Rohit Jugraj Chauhan