It was a fun night hanging out with my buddy – the renowned singer-songwriter and now actor Balvir Boparai, who’s acting and writing songs for many Punjabi movies including his upcoming Nadoo Khan. The PTC Punjabi Film Awards, like it’s musical cousin PTC Punjabi Music Awards, which I also attended with my buddy the Bhangra superstar Sukshinder Shinda in December, was your usual Dog and Pony show with Gippy Grewal fronted Carry On Jatta taking top 3 awards in Best Film, Best Actor for Gippy and Best Director for Smeep Kang. How it can really compete or beat much better films like Sajjan Singh Rangroot or critics and audience darling Qismat is not a question they ask at these awards where the chief performing guest Gippy and his team get award for just showing up. Other notable winners were from Qismat including rising young writer director Jagdeep Singh Sidhu and starlet Sarun Mehta, who won Best Actress. Others in supporting role winners included Rupinder Rupy for the creative and commercial misfire Asees and the hardest working actor in Punjabi film industry Yograj Singh for Sajjan Singh Rangroot. A number of Bollywood greats like Super-villain Prem Chopra, Jaggu Dadda Jackie Shroff and director Rakesh Om Prakash Mehra we’re honoured at the event as well lifetime achievement for director-cinematographer Manmohan Singh “Man-ji”, who’s credited with kickstarting the current phase of Punjabi cinema with his Canada-set film Ji Ayyan Nu. Overall it was a fun night with Punjabi film stars and celebration of Punjabi cinema with PTC announcing that they will now get involved in the global distribution of Punjabi films – giving filmmakers another route for their films after much criticism against existing distributors for ripping off producers during release, causing major losses to already 90 percent money losing Punjabi films.
****By R. Paul Dhillon