The Punjabi film industry is promising and does not lack good content but it needs hard work to reach a better world status, says Punjabi filmmaker Harish Vyas.
You will get to see Sanjay Mishra in an entirely new avatar. Sanjay Ji was hardworking and had interesting inputs since day one. He used to carry his radio and would set up his own kitchen.
The Delhi-born writer director’s ‘Angrezi Mein Kehte Hai’ comprising a brilliant star cast of Sanjay Mishra, Ekavali Khanna, Pankaj Tripathi, Brijendra Kala, Anshuman Jha and Shivani Raghuvanshi has done the rounds of film festivals across the globe. The film has also won an official selection in SAIFF (South Asian International Film Festival) New York.
“To be very honest, we all believed that our film had the potential to be selected because it was a well-made film and we had a very strong faith in our product. However, winning the award for Audience Choice Best Film in SAIFF, New York was unimaginable. I think all our hard work was answered.”
I don’t think Punjab lacks content-driven cinema. We have promising content but we need to work harder to reach a better world status… With this digital revolution, you can now shoot your film and showcase it on various platforms without any hassle.
Ever since Punjabi Filmmaker, Harish Vyas has donned the hat of a director, he has been rolling brilliant movies one after the other. His thoughtfulness and eye for detail self-connects to the minds of the audience and roots them to his films.
“Angrezi Mein Kehte Hai is a film for every generation. It is a love story and I have been extremely fortunate to have worked with a brilliant ensemble cast and skilled technicians. Bunty Khan, Vikas Arora and Manav Malhotra have been important figures in the making of the film. Manav took the film forward and he has given everything to it. I really cannot imagine the film taking its course without him. You will get to see all kinds of emotions like love, humour and depth. The idea for this film came naturally, while I was attending my friend’s anniversary party where he had so much to tell about his love marriage. I, on the other hand, did not have much to share as I had an arranged marriage. This thought stayed with me for a long time and I realised that most of us are really very calculative and inexpressive about our love and emotions.”
After winning an award in SAIFF, ‘Angrezi Mein Kehte Hai’ had an overwhelming opening in Jaipur International Film Festival where Sanjay Mishra bagged the Best Actor Award.
The director further adds that the film features Sanjay Mishra in a completely new avatar and that his working patterns inspired everybody on the set.
“You will get to see Sanjay Mishra in an entirely new avatar. Sanjay Ji was hardworking and had interesting inputs since day one. He used to carry his radio and would set up his own kitchen. While shooting in Benares he had properly set up his kitchen where Ekavali Khanna would cook for us whereas Shivani and Anshuman did the serving business. We all became like family members. As Pankaj and Brijender are great singers, they would sing and entertain us sometimes. This film made us all value genuine relationships in a professional environment.”
The renowned director went on to explain why Varanasi was so important for the film.
“We didn’t choose Varanasi; Varanasi chose us. It was a blessing. Sanjay Ji gave us the excellent idea and Faroukh Mistry and I immediately jumped into it. Faroukh captured the location beautifully. He is excellent and the fact that he has sound technical knowledge is the icing on the cake.”
While Harish made his debut as a director in Punjabi flick ‘Proper Patola’ that won more than six nominations in various Award shows, ‘Angrezi Mein Kehte Hai’ will mark his debut performance in Bollywood. Before ‘Proper Patola’, the talented director has written the script and screenplay of ‘Chhodon Naa Yaar’, ‘Bhaangarh’. He has also been a part of ‘Not Today’, ‘Masti Express’ and ‘Delhii Heights’ where he has worked as the associate director.
He continued to express how the Punjabi culture has influenced his style of filmmaking.
“Being a Punjabi I know the culture, folk music and literature but it is sad that people know Punjab and Punjabi films only for its pop music when there is so much more to explore. I would like to make a film on the great Shiv Kumar Batalvi. Working in the Punjabi film industry is always fun and it’s very easy to shoot in Punjab. The people are very welcoming and always provide a great input.”
He noted how regional cinema has so much to offer to the world but somehow never gets its credit.
“As I mentioned, regional cinema and regional industries as a whole in India have a lot to offer. There are hidden gems in the form of great writers, poets and musicians in all the corners of this country. It is our duty to bring them in front of the world. I am in awe of artists like Amrita Pritam, Bulle Shah and Shiv Kumar Batalvi and their artistic contributions. “
He further added that the Punjabi industry has a few exceptionally talented filmmakers and storytellers. He strongly believes that with the digital revolution people have more exposure to greater cinema.
“As contrary to the mass belief, I don’t think Punjab lacks content-driven cinema. We have promising content but we need to work harder to reach a better world status. But all thanks to digitalization now. Not just the filmmaking process but you can also make anyone in any part of the world watch a film anywhere. With this digital revolution, you can now shoot your film and showcase it on various platforms without any hassle.”
The process of filmmaking breeds along with your own experiences, so listen to good music and travel alone. We should all watch films that changed the course of cinema. My personal favourites are Gurudutt, Hrishikesh Mukherji, Manoj Kumar, Vijay Anand, Mira Nair and Raj Kumar Hirani.
As for his upcoming projects, Harish Vyas stated that 2018 will be a busy year.
“My upcoming Punjabi flick is up for a release. I am also working on a Hindi script which has a very sweet and simple plot. Apart from that, we’re working on another film, and the shoot will start in May.
It was a hunger for films with greater depth that established the success of Harish. Yet the humble artist remains grounded and says,
“The process of filmmaking breeds along with your own experiences, so listen to good music and travel alone. We should all watch films that changed the course of cinema. My personal favourites are Gurudutt, Hrishikesh Mukherji, Manoj Kumar, Vijay Anand, Mira Nair and Raj Kumar Hirani. Be honest with your films and make a film with your entire heart in it.”