It was a casual meet of few friends just a week before the release of DISCO SINGH, a film featuring one of the biggest Punjabi Stars, one of the most successful directors and the top most entertainment house of Punjab with great production values and positive vibes. Incidentally I was the only one related with Punjab in that meet and all the remaining friends were mainly from Mumbai. As the ongoing discussion somehow got into the topic of Santa-Banta jokes cracked on Sikhs, I strongly raised an objection blaming the fictitious duo only for ruining the identity of Sikhs, taking a stand against the Hindi Film-makers too, who aimlessly portray Sikh characters mostly as mere clowns, behaving weirdly in some funny get-ups in their big films.
Hearing my personal grudge expressed, one of my friends (who happened to be an extremely well read person in Punjabi literature too) simply asked me a bold question in the following words and I just felt like stoned sitting in the sofa having no answer whatsoever in my mind for a considerable period of time as he finished.
And his question was,
“Brother, I do understand and can truly relate to the pain felt by you regarding the silly portrayal of Sikh characters in Hindi films forcibly. And I can more feel the agony, since I personally know all about the rich culture of Punjab including the blessed personas of the visionary Gurus and the true creative minds such as Nanak Singh, Rajinder Singh Bedi, Shiv Kumar Batalvi, Surinder Kaur, Asa Singh Mastana, Kartar Singh Duggal, Balwant Gargi, Gurdial Singh, Rajjab Ali, Amrita Preetam, Ram Saroop Ankhi, Paash, Surjit Pattar and many more displaying their exceptional talent in the past.
But then looking at the current bunch of Punjabi films made in the last few years in the state, which are 80 to 90% only comedies having all comic characters making fun of each other hilariously……………….., anyone can easily put you a counter remark that,
‘How can you raise an objection on Mumbai film-makers for showing Sikh characters as comedians when your own people and your own Punjabi Film Industry only is regularly portraying Sikhs as funny, clown like figures in its films quite shamelessly?
So wouldn’t be better to make this much desired change in your home, among your own Punjab & Punjabi film-makers first and then ask the outer world to follow the example, portraying Sikh characters as an integral part of the storyline and not just silly comedians?”
The point was well-made and well taken too in a helpless mode which kept teasing me throughout while watching DISCO SINGH, another carelessly made film portraying its lead Sikh character as a laughable, silly struggler, who very well knows everything ranging from comedy, singing, dancing and fighting to romancing the girl.
Here to add a valid argument, Yes I do accept ‘Comedy’ as an interesting and potential genre to perform at the box office unarguably. But hasn’t Punjabi Cinema gone too far using this one genre repeatedly? Haven’t we churned out enough silly comedies one after another without any clear vision vaguely following the other? Or maybe these are not film-makers but just big influential people with bags full of cash who have just entered the market to take their own share of the cake before it gets eaten by the rest.
So needless to say, DISCO SINGH remains the latest offering in this overused and avoidable category which simply aims to make you laugh in the theaters cracking deliberate jokes every five minutes by its in-demand Star. And thus earn some quick money in the first weekend itself without caring much for the remaining weekdays.
However, moving ahead than its other flaws, the biggest shock for me in the film was the name of talented director Anurag Singh, who had earlier strongly proved his command over the medium; language and regional flavor too through his last 3 highly successful films, including the biggest grosser of Punjabi Cinema till date JATT & JULIET. Unfortunately the director of Jatt & Juliet series is no-where visible in DISCO SINGH unexpectedly and I really missed ‘the Anurag & his finesse’ I was looking for, the most.
Following the recent set pattern of Punjabi films (of copying the flop Hindi comedies), DISCO SINGH is again based on an inspired plot taken from a French Comedy THE VALET (2006), which was earlier copied by Govinda & David Dhawan in their film DO KNOT DISTURB back in 2009 (which didn’t work). Having a thin story idea, the film doesn’t get any help from the script or dialogues either and they only impress you in few scenes coming after long gaps. Many typical insertions like a hero saving the heroine from goons and 6 songs in the narration make you feel like watching something from the 80s. Plus it was really not anything funny seeing a Punjabi lady decently dressed in a suit running on the tread mill just to generate a silly laugh. Also it was quite strange to promote the film with a Superman promo when it had simply nothing to do with it at all.
Musically the songs sound fine while watching the film, but then there are too many and also missing any track which one can remember while coming out of the theater. Talking about technicality, the Cinematography does break some new grounds in Punjabi Cinema brilliantly canning the Delhi locations also chosen for few recent Bollywood films and remains one of the few best features of DISCO SINGH putting it honestly. Besides there is one department in which Punjabi films still have to go a long way and that’s the Background Score since only choosing various sounds & tones from the keyboards is not what is called Background Music in films. As far as writing is concerned, the comedy remains loud throughout and works only in few sequences particularly in the first half. The second half becomes too forced in and the climax doesn’t take it any higher as normally seen in hit Punjabi comedy movies of the past.
Regarding performances Diljit Dosanjh works hard and delivers a fine act. But actually he can easily be compared to the multi-talented Parineeti Chopra of Hindi films as both always come up with great performances using the same mannerisms and therefore are on the verge of being typecast, fast moving towards an annoying repetitive shell. So Diljit soon needs to come out of this ‘similar mode’ essentially for his own growth proving the actor in him to the audience (in his next ventures which ideally should not be comedies).
Playing the female lead Surveen Chawla works more on looking beautiful than giving a fine act. She looks great on the screen but still needs to work on her dance and Punjabi speaking skills for sure. In the supporting roles Manoj Pahwa, Karmjit Anmol, Upasana Singh, Chandan Prabhakar and Apporva Arora fail to rise above the routine. But there is one actor among them all who truly prevents the film from sinking badly, becoming the only saving grace right from his first scene.
The veteran actor is B. N. Sharma and I have been a fan of him right from the days of Jaspal Bhatti’s Ulta-Pulta & Flop Show in late 80s and early 90s. Sharma is simply synonym to the word ‘versatile’, reminding me of Anupam Kher who has also brilliantly played the role of a funny gay in the past as Pinku in MAST KALANDAR released in 1991. Posing as a well suited gay gangster, Sharma successfully brings in the much required funny moments in the film often and thus remains the brightest merit of DISCO SINGH along with Diljit and its camerawork undoubtedly.
Summing up, I would like to address the viewers watching Punjabi Cinema as it all depends upon we the ticket-buyer audience in the market only that what we wish to see in our Punjabi films in the coming future. Because if a restaurant serves bad, distasteful food at a high price and the visitors keep eating it calmly, without making a scene or complaining at all. Then the chefs in the restaurant’s kitchen would go on cooking the same kind of awful food unknowingly and the owner would keep on earning good money out of those badly cooked dishes like an ignorant entrepreneur.
Rating : 2 / 5