Punjabi Cinema 2017 vs 2018: How Many Films Actually Recovered Their Cost?

by Monita Sharma

While there’s no doubt that Punjabi cinema is soaring to new heights like never before, yet what the budding producers and investors must know is the kind of business it’s doing overall.    

Although there’s no denying that Punjabi cinema has improved itself in almost every sphere of filmmaking. From powerful acting performances to unique storylines, to world-class production standards to 360 degree promotions, our industry doesn’t lag behind any other Indian film industry, when it comes to the quality. But at the same time some experiments by our filmmakers, no matter how strong subjects they choose, don’t go down well with our audience which is ‘famous’ for accepting only light-hearted family dramas or heavy comedies mostly. Or, is the truth something else? Let’s find it out.  

This year Punjabi cinema did a business of INR 159 Crore in total (India Only) compared to INR 135 Crore last year (India Only). Total films released this year were 46 as compared to 35 last year, and while this year out of these 46 only 9 were declared by the box-office as hit, semi-hit (covering their costs and staying in theatres), last year they were 8 out of 35. 

So while the makers tried foraying into war movies, sports-based movies, movies based on intense social dramas – they didn’t quite receive the kind of response that could help them even recover their costs. Take for instance, Sajjan Singh Rangroot and Subedar Joginder Singh. None of these films worked well at the box office resulting in the actors going once again on the tried and tested path.

So now Diljit Dosanjh, the lead hero of SSR, is coming up with ‘Shadaa’- a mindless comedy (judging from the way it is being promoted right now – ‘Kutta Howe JO Vyaah karwaaye’ – really very good way to promote a film? Eh..?), Gippy Grewal too, in less than two weeks of the release of SJS, had announced Mar Gaye Oye Loko, another comedy which despite its lame subject did much better than SJS and even set the cash registers ringing at the box office. But you can’t blame these actors, right? At least, they TRIED doing something different! 

Moving on to the other set of films like Ammy Virk’s Harjeeta and Ranjit Bawa’s Khido Khundi, both the films were much-awaited due to the kind of efforts that these actors put in looking the part and learning a new sport, and sadly both of them went without leaving a trace at the box-office! Were the films too bad? Or was our audience unwilling to accept such films? Or simply put, were these films the victims of bad promotional strategies? Whatever be the reason, we appreciate these filmmmakers for at least ‘attempting’ to do something out of the league. 

Another disappointment this year was Kapil Sharma’s production – Son Of Manjeet Singh, in which Gurpreet Ghuggi perhaps gave the performance of his lifetime. The film was so well-made that it was difficult to find any flaw in it, yet it bombed at the box-office! 

So talking about the business, first thing first: This year Punjabi cinema did a business of INR 159 Crore in total (India Only) compared to INR 135 Crore last year (India Only). Total films released this year were 46 as compared to 35 last year, and while this year out of these 46 only 9 were declared by the box-office as hit, semi-hit (covering their costs and staying in theatres), last year they were 8 out of 35. 

Some of the confirmed hits this year have been:

1.Carry On Jatta 2,


3.Vadhayiyaan ji Vadhayiyaan

4.Daakuan da munda

5. Mar Gaye Oye Loko

6. Golak bugni bank te batua

7. Mr and Mrs 420 Returns

(We can’t name all 9, as every producer wants to claim their movie as a superhit and we’re not interested in any kind of debate with them! So, keep guessing the remain! ).  

And now the moot question remains: Should the film producers stop experimenting with new subjects and rely only on comedies? In our opinion – No! Take for instance, Daakuaan Da Munda – who thought that a film without any big star as the super hero and based on a biography of a a non-sports/non-film star/politician, would become such a huge hit? The truth is that the film (apart from being well-made) was marketed very well to its “target audience”. 

Who thought that Golak Bugni Bank Te Batua, based on a contentious subject like Demonetisation, without having the lead character with a JATT Surname, would become such a hit despite having Harish Verma as a hero, who was out of the hit films’ league for so long?

And though it wasn’t released this year, but the success of a film like ARDAAS two years back also made the point very clear : If a Film is good, promote it well to the target audience as strategically as possible. Who thought a film without any hero or heroine and based on some “social issues” of Punjab can do well ‘Commercially’?

Also, sometimes if a film’s subject is good and even if the actors’ seem to have put in their very best, DOESN’T mean that the film is actually that good as well.

Take for instance, Sajjan Singh Rangroot. The film was technically superb with each actor having played their part very well, yet the film failed to touch any emotional chord with the audience. Why? Because the makers put in so much effort in just making the film technically so sound and ‘Hollywood like’ that they forgot that the film needs to have a heart too! Sunanda Sharma was wasted and what worse than having NOT even a single song of hers in the movie? Really, who actually conceptualised this promotional strategy? Finally, the film also suffered due to the makers touting it not as a Punjabi war movie, but a film catering to one religion only. When it comes to religion, the audience always remains a bit apprehensive in India which affects the business, for sure! 

Subedar Joginder Singh suffered because of the trailer being too similar to Hindi film, Border and also due to the fact the person on whom the biography was made, wasn’t a known historic figure. The spillover effect of SSR was another reason behind its failure. After all, if one war movie doesn’t register much influence, the other releasing just two weeks apart, is bound to face some heat as well! Finally, taking most non-actors as actors in the film, was perhaps not a very smart move by Simerjit Singh. 

Son Of Manjeet Singh? A brilliant film that suffered due to its inability in reaching out to the audience well. Getting some tweets from your Bollywood’s Friends doesn’t result in the sale of tickets in Punjab, Mr Sharma and also, you should’ve perhaps hired a better marketing team! 

The reason for Harjeeta not doing much at the box-office was its inability to meet the expectations of the viewers. The film was promoted as a hockey-based film, however in reality, it turned out to be just another love-story with hockey as a mere backdrop. As for Khido Khundi, it wasn’t a remarkable movie, anyways. 

Finally, we hope that our Punjabi filmmakers shall keep trying new subjects and  entertaining us, at the same time, we hope they make more profits too! With the right subject, professional actors and technicians and well thought-out targeted marketing strategies, they certainly can!

Here we urge our readers to never resort to piracy and help our producers earn some money so that Punjabi cinema keeps shining always. 

And a NOTE to the Filmmakers: Punjabi Audience Is Not Foolish. It is however, Foolish to think that they are. 

[h3] And Now Come OUR Top 5 Entertainers From This Year! [/h3]

(Not based on the business, and purely OUR personal viewpoint! You’re free to disagree but please don’t fight!)

    1. Mr and Mrs 420 Returns

    2. Qismat

    3. Carry On Jatta 2

    4. Daana Paani/Ashke (Tie)

    5. Golak Bugni Bank Te Batua

    The Topmost Boring Movies Of 2018

    1. Aate Di Chidi

    2. Afsar

    3. Laatu

    4. Harjeeta

    5. Banjara

    Special Thanks To Films Like:

    1. Subedar Joginder Singh

    2. Sajjan Singh Rangroot

    3. Son Of Manjeet Singh

    4. Asees

    5. Rang Panjab

    Production Houses That Made A Strong Mark

    1. Whitehill Studios (Carry On Jatta 2, Distributed – Qismat)

    2. Rhythm Boyz Entertainment (Golak Bugni Bank Te Batua, Ashke, Bhajjo Veero Ve) 

    3. Humble Motion Pictures (Mar Gaye Oye Loko – Unexpected Box Office Hit)

    4. Friday Russh Motion Pictures (Mr and Mrs 420 Returns)

    5. A&A Advisors/Naughty Men Productions (Vadhayiyaan Ji Vadhayiyaan)

    Directors That Stood Out: 

    1. Jagdeep Sidhu – Qismat

    2. Tarnvir Singh Jagpal – Daana Paani

    3. Ksshitij Chaudhary – Golak Bugni Bank Te Batua/Mr and Mrs 420 Returns

    4. Vikram Grover – Son Of Manjeet Singh

    5. Smeep Kang – Carry On Jatta 2/Vadhayiyaan Ji Vadhayiyaan 

    Some of the most memorable Character artistes of 2018: 

    1. Ranjit Bawa’s in Mr and Mrs 420

    2. Yograj Singh’s in Sajjan Singh Rangroot

    3. Rahul Jungral’s in Laatu

    4. Harby Sangha – Son Of Manjeet Singh/Vadhayiyaan Ji Vadhayiyaan 

    5. Jagjeet Sandhu’s in Daakuan Da Munda/Rang Panjab 

    One Film that shouldn’t have been made at all: 


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