Jatt’s the Way
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Punjabi cinema is once again obsessing over the 'Jatt' title and theme
When it comes to Punjabi cinema, 2012 has been a 'Jatt, Set, Go' year, literally. Run through the list of releases and it is Jatt all the way. The trendsetter is director Anurag Singh whose film Jatt & Juliet broke all records and drew audiences by the hoards to watch re-runs of the film. Because Punjab is synonymous with the Jatt identity, filmmakers seem to have struck gold. Soon after, the Punjabi film industry saw film titles like Carry on Jatta, Yamley Jatt Yamley, Jatt Airways, and the latest Jatts in Golmaal, taking the Punjabi audience back to the '80s and '90s that was called the 'Jatt era', which saw films like Anakh Jattan Di, Badla Jatti Da, Jor Jatt Da, Jatt Sucha Singh Soorma, Gawahi Jatt Di, Qurbaani Jatt Di, Putt Jattan De, Yaari Jatt Di, Jigra Jatt Da and so on. "That was a different time, when we respected our women, our culture and values, when a Jatt looked, walked and talked like a true son of soil. Today's Jatt in Punjabi films has a 22-inch chest, spiked hair, wears diamond studs and moves around in a jeep. He is more like a Jatt in Honululu," says actor Yograj Singh, who is a Punjabi cinema veteran. For him, the Jatt identity is about self-respect, honour, rootedness and not "making a mockery".
The filmmakers and producers, on the other hand, have a different perspective. "It sells," is what filmmaker Navaniat Singh feels. Harjit Rikhy, who directed Sirphire and then took up the comedy Jatt Airways, agrees. "The word Jatt is the most saleable, commercially viable item and identity today," say Singh and Rikhy. According to them, it's everything Punjab and Punjabis spell universally. "The characteristics and personality, audience world over are well-versed with the Punjabi Jatt," explains actor-producer Gurpreet Ghuggi, who describes it as a phase that will soon pass. "Audiences are evolving, the cinema is growing and it will move on to another level," he assures.