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The transformation of Punjabi singers

The transformation of singers into actors is an age-long notion in the Punjabi film industry. The practice doesn’t have any novelty about it for it has been followed for over decades now. Not that artists do not jump platforms in Hindi cinema or other regional cinemas, but the success rate with which Punjabi singers have made the transition from a three-minute video to a three-hour movie is beyond comparison.

From the legendary Gurdas Maan to experienced campaigners like Diljit Dosanjh, Gippy Grewal and Amrinder Gill to a more contemporary singer like Ammy Virk, each one of these singers-turned-actors have been successful in donning the coat of an actor. Call it the mere extension of their craft in terms of keeping the basics intact during their transmutation or their genuine intention of working as mainstream actors, these names have found the formula of not letting their acting affect their singing or vice-versa.

Having said that, there have been singers, good one at that, who perhaps couldn’t manage to travel in both the boats at the same time. As a result, they ended up giving up on movies or perhaps their acting affected their singing in terms of their fan-following. Some of the names which fall in this category have been mentioned below.

Jazzy B, the Crown Prince of Bhangra, made his acting debut in Manmord Sidhu’s ‘Best of Luck’ (2013). In the following year, he did his second movie in Navaniat Singh’s ‘Romeo Ranjha’, which also saw Garry Sandhu making his debut as an actor. Apparently, it was also the latter’s last movie. The former has appeared in cameo roles both before and after his two movies as a mainstream actor but did not appear on the silver screen as a lead actor ever again.

Hardy Sandhu, a heart-throb singer, made his debut as an actor in Abhay Baiju Chabbra’s ‘Yaaran Da Ketchup’ (2014). ‘Mera Mahi NRI’, his second movie, released three years later. As luck would have it, none of the movies clicked at the box-office. However, it didn’t affect his popularity as a singer. Miss Pooja, a name that needs no introduction in Punjab, has featured in four movies, the last one of them releasing half-a-decade ago. Other notable singers who couldn’t make it big in movies are Preet Harpal, Geeta Zaildar, Jasbir Jassi, Vinaypal Buttar Balli Riar etc.

Happy Raikoti, lyricist-turned-singer-turned-actor, featured in three movies in four months in 2016. Having played pivotal roles in ‘Daara’, ‘Teshan’ and ‘Motor Mitraan Di’, it seemed as if he was here to stay at the celluloid. As it turned out, he hasn’t appeared in a movie since then. In an exclusive interview with Punjabi Mania, he revealed that it was it was his dream to work as an actor in the Punjabi industry. “There was no particular reason behind me venturing into acting. It was just that I had a dream and when I got the opportunity I accepted it gleefully.”, he said.

On being asked about singer-turned-actors attending acting classes or workshops before their stint in front the camera, he replied, “I think singers attend acting classes. In my opinion, this is how it should be. Having said that, there are some people who are naturally talented and might not require the same.”

On being asked about whether he feels satisfied about all his acting assignments, he said, “I think I was average in ‘Teshan’. But I feel that I was an improved actor in ‘Motor Mittran Di’. Not saying that I was perfect, but I liked my work in it. I would like to credit director Amitoj Maan for the same. He brought out the best from me.” Talking about the financial aspects of film-making, Raikoti agreed to the fact that singers are casted as actors because they are known faces in front of the audiences.

He also let out the fact that he has been offered a trio of films (renowned ones at that) since his last release. Throwing light on his acting ambitions in the future, he said, “I feel that if I do a movie now, I should do it in the best possible manner. I still have a lot to learn, a lot to improve, in this field. I am working hard on it. I am also looking for an appropriate script, something which is really unique.”

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