March 31, 2020
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Jaspal Bhatti

The humorist on the "mushrooming" of Punjabi channels on television

Jaspal Bhatti
Why the sudden focus on Punjabi channels?
Punjabi is in fashion. Punjabi food, Punjabi suits, Punjabi songs and now Punjabi channels.

You began your career with a Punjabi programme, graduated to the small and big screen in Hindi. When do you return to Punjabi channels?
Last year I made the superhit Mahaul Theek Hai, a film in Punjabi. I'm now working on a Punjabi serial.

Why do all Punjabi stars prefer Hindi programmes than Punjabi ones?
Film territory in Punjabi is very small. Producers don't get due returns; nor do stars get any mileage.

Why aren't Punjabi channels and programmes of the expected quality?
They're in their infancy. They can't afford high-budget productions. Most channels give Rs 40,000 to 65,000 per episode to the producers. That's a meagre budget.

When will Punjabi programmes, like pop music, be accepted universally?
One or two more Daler Mehndis, and it will be universally acceptable.

Why are you getting your maiden Punjabi film dubbed in Hindi rather than getting your popular Hindi TV serials dubbed in Punjabi?
I want to show the rest of India that original films can be made in Punjabi also.

Why are non-Punjabis behind Punjabi channels and Punjabis behind other language channels?
Non-Punjabis are more business-minded. They are not after Punjabi channels because of their love of the language.

When do you plan to start a regular TV serial in your mother tongue?
I have already started work on a Punjabi TV serial.

What is the potential of Punjabi TV channels?
Tremendous, but only for channel owners.

What do you prefer: a good quality production for a Punjabi channel or working for a producer of a serial in Hindi?
I'm equally interested in both the languages. I have fans all over the nation both in the Hindi and Punjabi belts.

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