Jatt, Juliet and the Punjabi Poster


With slick marketing campaigns, quirky posters and fast paced teasers, the Punjabi film industry has shifted gears

Even before it hit theatres, Anurag Singh's Jatt & Juliet had caught a lot of attention. The cartoons of a naughty looking turbaned hero tagged as 'Dangar' (donkey in Punjabi) and a Miss-Know-It-All heroine labelled as 'Doomna' (collective noun for a hive of bee like insects that sting) had the audience sit up and take notice. "I wanted to steer clear of clichés, and come up with something fresh and eye-catching. So we got a cartoonist on board to add character to the film's promotion," says Singh, who went an extra mile to make an impact with hip and happening poster shots and breezy trailers. It clicked, and Singh's romcom has been running to a packed house ever since its release about three weeks ago. "A good story sustains a film, but one cannot undermine the first look," reasons Singh.

With as many as 50 releases slated for this year alone, the Punjabi film industry is sprinting ahead with worldwide premieres and domestic screenings. In such a scenario, it becomes imperative to stand out from the competition, points out filmmaker Navaniat Singh. From large scale 'Top Gun' shots of Jimmy Shergill in fighter jets in Dharti to an adventurous photo shoot with the cast of Tor Mitran Di in Leh-Ladakh, Navaniat made sure he delivered new poster boys and girls to the Punjabi audience. There is no denying that the inspiration is Bollywood. If Yaar Anmulle got a Dil Chahta Hai treatment for its posters, love stories like Heer Ranjha and Tera Mera Ki Rishta went the Yash Raj way while Baljeet Singh Deo's Mirza took the dark Sanjay Gupta underworld approach. "It is an interesting phase in the Punjabi film industry. Distributors have realised that regional films make more money than Hindi ones, and have therefore backed them with aggressive marketing campaigns," says Manoj Zore of Mumbai-based film promotion company, Ideas & Dreams. With projects like Yaaran Naal Bahaaran, Tera Mera Ki Rishta and all of director Manmohan Singh's films, he maps the journey of the Punjabi films from the saada pind effect to the stylised, thematic concepts of today. "Films are being released overseas and they need to look global in their appeal. Peppy posters, social networking sites, red carpet premieres, road shows, music releases help," says Zore, who is working on an "out of the box" concept for Dil Tehnu Karda Hai Pyaar.

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