Packing a Punjabi Punch

As irresistible as Mumbai's tinsel town is, Tarun Khanna could never break free of his roots — Punjab. So, when the actor received an offer for his first Punjabi film, Pata Nahin Rabb Kehdeyan Rangan Ch Raazi, he gave it a green signal. In the new year, the actor, famous for his Vikram-Betal series, will return to "Pollywood" with debutant director Nidhi Sharma's romcom, Pooja Kiven Aa, opposite Punjabi singing star Miss Pooja. Sharma was assistant director on Pata Nahin.

After shooting for almost two months in the region, Khanna takes time out for candid observations and comments regarding the Punjabi film industry. "This is my first time in a comedy and I have my fingers crossed," he says. The "senior-most" actor on this film's team, Khanna says this one's a make-or-break project for him. "It may not be a record breaker, but it will be a hit," he says. The actor plays a regular Punjabi lad Deep who loves a rich girl named Pooja. "How I get to her, cross all the hurdles and challenges is the film's premise," explains the actor.

Khanna is effusive in his praise of Pooja's hard work and Sharma's focus. "It is a brand new team with a new writer, so I am excited," he says. Khanna adds that he has signed another film, an out-and-out action flick. Punjabi cinema, he opines, has come a long way and has immense potential. "Jatt & Juliet is being remade in Hindi. So yes, the industry is growing exponentially but it needs to be cautious and not get too over zealous," he says.

Though optimistic, Khanna says that there are lessons to be learnt from Bhojpuri cinema, which saw a meteoric rise but eventually fizzled out. "We should be inspired by South Indian cinema, which has made a global impact," he says.

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