Watching a Punjabi Movie in a Canadian multiplex

By Prabhjot Singh

There was nothing unusual about it. Punjabi movies are a big craze in Canada. Not only ever swelling Punjabi community but others, including immigrants from all over the globe, have developed a special taste for the Pollywood.

Punjabi films have grown big. Though I was never an ardent fan of films, still I followed developments in the celluloid world out of curiosity. “Nanak Naam Jahaaz Hai” was perhaps my first Punjabi movie that I went to a theatre in my hometown Ludhiana to watch more out of religious urge than to watch film doyens like Prithvi Raj Kapoor in action.

After roaring success of this movie, there was a thaw. For the next few years, there were not many Punjabi movies. Then came couple of good family movies like “Long da Lishkara”, that once again put the Punjabi movies in limelight. An excellent movie by great theatre artiste couple Harpal and Neena Tiwana, it remains one of my favorites. I was lucky to watch its premier in Chandigarh.

Last week when I went to see Diljit Dosanjh’s latest movie in a multiplex in Downtown Toronto, the journey of Punjabi movies from “Do Lachhian” (that is what I remember) to “Honsla Rakh”  has come a long way.

It is not only an ever-demanding audience overseas, but Canada has also become the favourite destination for producers of Punjabi movies for shooting their movies.  “Honsla Rakh” is no exception.

It may be also an interesting coincidence that many of Pollywood (now of Bollywood) stars have strong Canadian connections.

When we – me and my won Paul – arrived at the multiplex to watch the movie at the Dundas multiplex, adjoining Toronto’s Eaton Centre, there was a big crowd of Indian students. Since it was drizzling outside, we took a cab instead of walking down to the multiplex. There was a big rush, and we just arrived a few minutes before the actual screening time. Unfortunately, the escalator had developed a technical snag and there was a big queue to get to the Hall no 8 where the movie was being screened.

Anyways, we just comforted ourselves in our seats before the movie started.  Surprised or to be more precise shocked, there were only handful of people inside the hall. I wondered where all those who were queuing up outside had gone. Probably, their choice was for other movies being screened in the remaining seven halls.

Once the movie started, we were so engrossed in it that we completely forgot about the nearly empty hall. A little more than two hours of entertaining story kept us enthralled and laughing. I had another pleasant surprise. There was no intermission. Wow, things are changing.

Perhaps, movie buffs do not want any break in their time of enjoyment.