This was for the third time I met Sonam Bajwa and Gippy Grewal, two of the most popular faces in Punjabi film industry. There's something special about the aura of Punjabi stars. They carry a distinct warmth when they talk, whether about films or in general. I noticed this warmth when Gippy told me, folding his hands -- 'Sab Rab Di Marzi Hai Ji,' when I congratulated him for the success of his last release, Manje Bistre. The movie featured Sonam, who has worked with him again in their upcoming -- Carry On Jatta 2.
Looking for her coconut water, and waiting for Gippy to finish his 'soya chaap', which he, quite jokingly, called his diet food, Sonam looked as beautiful as ever. She revealed the secret of her beauty: a strict diet, with a cheat day once or twice in a month when she eats a full brick of her favourite mango ice cream. "I am that crazy about mangoes," she laughs.
Carry On Jatta 2 is the second part in the popular franchise. The first film broke records and became an instant hit with audience, especially in the north belt of the country. The same team is bringing the second part. "There's more laughter, more entertainment in this one," both Gippy and Sonam say. Here, in an exclusive chat with Peeping Moon, the two talk about things, they say, they have never answered before. Excerpts:
To Gippy: You said in the press conference that there was no need for Carry On Jatta 2. Then, what made you work in the film?
People had started telling us so. Wherever I used to go, people used to ask me 'when are you making Carry On Jatta 2?' We, personally, never believed in coming with its part two. The film (first part) is still fresh for the audience and they wanted its second part. Part two of any movie is made only when there's a demand from the audience. It took us six years to make it because we intended to beat Carry On Jatta 1.
To Gippy: Will it be able to do so?
Gippy: We have tried our best that it does. We have included more laughter this time.
To Sonam: Since we are talking about laughter, here's a thought. I watched the trailer and there's this punch line delivered by Ghuggi paaji where he's telling a woman 'Ye doll hai ya dolphin'. Haven't we come far ahead from making cinema which makes jokes around body shaming?
Sonam: Yes, we have. I know certain things could become sensitive. But, just to make someone laugh... to be done in a cute way, we have used that. But, of course, I'll agree with you. Every girl is beautiful. It wasn't intended to body shame someone. It was just for fun (here).
Gippy: There's always a way to deliver things. We try to present things in a way which is not insensitive. The line you picked from the trailer doesn't mean to offend anyone. It just intends to deliver laughter. We don't intend to show any woman in a bad light with this.
I remember in Manje Bistre, we had this last scene in which she slaps me and I slap her back. Now, a few asked me 'how could you slap a girl?' It's all about perceptions. Moreover, if it's a demand of the scene, it will never look bad on screen.
To Gippy: You had worked as a waiter before getting into films and went through intense struggle. Do you see any change in the Gippy Grewal of those times and Gippy Grewal of today?
Not much has changed. Friends, the circle of people around me, situations -- a lot of things didn't change.
Even when I was working as a waiter or a security guard, I used to enjoy my work. I never looked down upon my life. Today, when I see waiters coming to me with dull expressions on face, I ask them 'what's wrong?' Even I have done the same work but I always use to have fun with it.
I used to attend guests with so much interest that next time, they used to especially ask for me. I believe in falling in love with my work.
To Sonam: You were an air hostess before movies happened. Now that you have got this popularity and stardom, can you recall the moment when you first felt like a star? Or thought that 'this is all mine, I have worked hard to achieve this'?
Sonam: I never worked for it. I have always been a hardworking person. Even when I was an air hostess, I used to make sure I am doing my work perfectly. Even today, I try to give my 100 per cent to whatever I am doing. I think I was just destined to be here and it was all God's favour. Otherwise, I come from a very humble background. Both my parents are teachers. I don't take this (stardom) as permanent.
I believe you have to retire someday irrespective of the kind of job you're doing. In fact, I tell myself to never ever base your security or happiness in your stardom, because this is not permanent.
To Sonam: Is there any self-made rule on something that you'll never do for any project you take up?
Sonam: No one has ever asked and I never answered that.
I'll never do a kissing scene for any film. Even it is Hindi. In fact, that's one of the reasons why I have not been doing Hindi films...because every second film in Bollywood has a requirement of a kissing scene.
I just don't have that comfort level. And I have drawn that line, made that decision. Mujhe nahi karna hai, chahe vo Hindi ho ya Hollywood. I want to sit with my dad and watch my films.
It's a delight to interview the actors from Punjabi film industry. Not only you go back with a good interview but also takes back memories which are absolutely unpretentious in nature. Carry On Jatta 2 releases in theatres today, June 1.