Comedy star and Punjabi actor Gurpreet Ghuggi asserts that for now he is focusing on performance-oriented roles and be part of meaningful cinema.
The Cuttputlli (2022) actor says, “I started in 1998 with the launch of comedy audio cassettes and then featured in first Great Indian Laughter Challenge. It’s due to TV that a larger audience knows me more as a comedian. In Hindi films also, people have seen me in comic roles like in Khiladi 786 (2012), Singh is Kingg (2008) and Singh is Bling (2015) with my friend and superstar Akshay (Kumar). So, masses mein meri image comedian ki ban gai hai… that’s what I have to change.”
On his recent visit to Lucknow, the actor says, “Comedy is no longer the focus for me. It surely had given me a lot but for now, I want to explore serious genre. I basically come from a theatre background so the actor deep inside me is craving to do some serious roles. I am no longer solely doing comedy. I have done a cameo in director Raj Kumar Hirani’s Dunki starring actor Shah Rukh Khan.”
A big name in Punjabi cinema, he feels his regional industry was not picking subjects that could appeal to the audience at national and international level.
“We are stuck with limited subjects and making films in our comfort zone. The focus largely is on rom-coms and comedies which have worked well with local audiences and pockets abroad. We need to come out of that bracket and pick subjects rooted in our rich culture and history like Southern industry makers do,” adds the Carry On Jatta (2012) star.
Ghuggi gives example of successful Hindi films made in Punjabi backdrop. “Films like Flying Jatt, Kesari and others have worked well but those were Hindi films. Punjabi cinema would benefit if films made there, work pan-India and abroad. Like for Mastaney we worked on subject for three years and made a big budget film rooted in culture which has slice for our history which the world should know our glorious past.”
Ghuggi emphasised on scaling up the budget of Punjabi films.
“We need to make big budget films to showcase our history and make a period drama on a relatable scale – the grandeur must be big. So, budget to ab aur zyada hi hoga if accha cinema banana hai! Popular rom-coms genre has its own market and will keep happening but Punjabi movies, on the pattern of Southern film, with a global appeal, is what we should aim for. I am very hopeful. In Bollywood too the focus is on collection and weekend opening. Art is getting lost and that’s where Southern industry is scoring.”