Diljit Dosanjh
Diljit Dosanjh Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Punjabi pop idol and actor-producer Diljit Dosanjh has enjoyed a versatile 2022 and is in blazing form.

In September, he rolled out his searing Netflix feature ‘Jogi’ about the 1984 anti-Sikh killings and two months later he’s back with a whacky colourful comedy ‘Babe Bhangra Paunde Ne’, out in UAE cinemas on October 7.

These two films are disparate in genres and treatment, but Dosanjh’s ability to straddle comedy and emotionally-charged scenes with equal ease makes you believe that he’s a powerhouse performer. He’s also one of the few actors who crossed over to Bollywood from Punjabi cinema with roles that have heft. His turn in hits such as the drug drama ‘Udta Punjab’ and the pregnancy mix-up comedy ‘Good Newwz’ with Kiara Advani and Kareena Kapoor indicate that he’s a force to reckon with.

The turban-wearing rock-star, who has always embraced his roots and openly joked about his shaky English, is on a proverbial roll.

A still from 'Babe Bhangra Paunde Ne'
A still from 'Babe Bhangra Paunde Ne' Image Credit: Supplied

Gulf News caught up with Dosanjh and his ‘Babe Bhangra Paunde Ne’ co-stars Sargun Mehta and Pakistani actor Sohail Ahmed in Dubai earlier this month to know all about their new comedy.

“‘Babe Bhangra Paunde Ne’ is going to be fun, family-entertainer and will bring a smile to your face … It feels good to know that Punjabi cinema is going from strength to strength,” said Dosanjh.

The UAE has often showcased Punjabi films in theatres in this region.

Directed by Amarjit Singh and produced by Dosanjh, ‘BBPN’ is a comedy about a young man and his friends who come up with this devilish scheme to con old men out of their insurance money once they die. The trailer shows how Dosanjh’s character craftily pretends to care for old men, who are likely to die soon, and ‘adopt them’ and rehabilitate them. But their real quick-rich-scheme is to collect the hefty insurance money and live it up.

Here’s what we gleaned from the actors about their new comedy, COVID-19, and why they don’t read reviews:

‘Babe Bhangra Paunde Ne’ is a full-on family entertainer:

“We have been through such a tough time and there’s a lot of stress at work and back home. My sister-in-law who has kids has categorically told me that she’s in no mood to watch two hours of heavy stuff. And this is perfect for her. ‘BBPN’ entertains you and will make you laugh out loud. There’s a slight message towards the end, but it’s delivered in the most fascinating and fun manner,” said Sargun Mehta in a combined interview with Dosanjh and Ahmed.

Ahmed also echoes her thoughts with: “This is a film that you can watch with your entire family. These dates you are flooded with films that are high on violence and cuss words, but this film is not one of them. And I can vouch that the actors and the makers have through a lot of pain to make a worthy film. Each of our dialogues were well thought of.”

‘BBPN’ gave Dosanjh a chance to act with his idol Sohail Ahmed:

“The best part about this film is that I got a chance to work with Sohail sir as he is one of my favourite artists. I have never seen a better actor in the world. It was my dream to work with him. We have learned a lot from him. It’s his first Punjabi film and I feel as if we have got his blessings,” said Dosanjh. Ahmed pitches in by joking that his son would have been miffed if he were audacious enough to reject a movie with Dosanjh.

They didn’t cut corners for this film:

“In Punjabi films, you often have producers and director who think of saving costs during production after carefully calculating how much they will recover from a film. But that was not the case with this films. We didn’t skimp on the locations … From filming in a real Governor’s home to some unbelievable filming locations, I was witness to how everyone on the set was committed to making a compelling feature where saving costs was not the only agenda,” said Khan.

Punjab is filled with superlative talents:

Dosanjh believes that his native state is filled with talents, but often these spectacular artists don’t get a chance to “shine”.

“When you go and see all those [councils] where you see all artists gather and share their thoughts, then you will understand the depth and variety of talents that exist in Punjab. I wish they would all get a chance to shine,” said Dosanjh. Pakistani actor Ahmed also believes that Punjabis are an amiable, loud, whacky, and funny bunch.

“They are not the ones who will just wear a stiff tie and walk around. They are the ones who scream out each other’s names and ask about their neighbour’s well-being and whereabouts. They spread cheer and happiness,” said Ahmed.

A still from 'Jogi'
A still from 'Jogi' Image Credit: Netflix

COVID was a big learning curve for Dosanjh and gang:

“During COVID, I mastered the art of forgetting everything. I was zero and now I have come back with a fresh, blank slate,” said Dosanjh. For Mehta, she learned the lesson of not running in that rat race anymore.

“I stopped running,” said Mehta. For Ahmed, COVID gave him the golden chance to hang out with his family and spend time with them.

“Actors often watch their kids growing up as the sleep. But now we saw them during daylight and it made me realise the importance of spending time with family,” said Ahmed.

Reviews are looked at under these circumstances:

All three talents have an interesting take on how they take in reviews of their films.

“I don’t read it, until someone sends me links of the good ones. If they don’t, then I don’t read because why spoil your day unnecessarily,” said Dosanjh. Recently, he got rave reviews from ‘Jogi’ and he began reading them only when he realised that the majority are praising their performance. Actress Mehta also believes in reading reviews that are glowing for the fear of being bogged down by negativity.

“If it doesn’t validate you, what’s the point?,” said Mehta.

But actor Ahmed believes that a person is truly bless if he is surrounded by people who will point out flaws too.

“But the big deal is when you don’t clutch onto your mistakes and you go forward believing that everything will be OK,” said Ahmed.

Don’t miss it!

‘Babe Bhangra Paunde Ne’ is out in UAE cinemas now.