It’s just one hour to go for Sunday evening to commence. After a week full of stimulating brainstorming sessions over dozens of cups of coffee, and some quality creative work, it’s that time of the week when their hearts tingle with childlike excitement, waiting to burst over what Indians love the most - a cricket match!
We are talking about those creative minds of our Punjabi film industry - a bunch full of behind-the-scenes heroes, who gather in a college ground in Mumbai to play cricket every Sunday and bond in the most naturally happiest way possible. These highly accomplished men turn into enthusiastic boys in an attempt to rejuvenate themselves and of course, relive their childhood.
And the list includes some of the most talented people of our industry- Anurag Singh, Dheeraj Rattan, Amit Prasher, Navaniat Singh, Amberdeep Singh, Jaidev Kumar, Rahul Maniktala and many more. Sometimes actors like Yuvraj Hans and Jimmy Rampal also play with them.
“No matter where we go, we Punjabis are bond to stay together. Though we’ve got a lot of friends in Mumbai, but the excitement and comfort we feel in meeting fellow Punjabi brothers is unmatched. Besides catching up in the coffee shops during the week days, we make sure to meet every Sunday for a cricket match,” says Amit Prasher, one of the most talented directors that our industry has - the man behind films like Tu Mera 22 Main Tera 22, Ishq Brandy and Munde Kamaal De.
“Most of us are ardent cricket lovers. What started casually once has turned into an activity that I now really look forward to every Sunday. I find it a wonderful way to catch up with my friends and get updated on what’s happening in each others’ lives. This is a great way to de-stress myself and apart from playing, there’s a lot of fight also that happens in between,” laughs off the genius director, Navaniat Singh who has given us super-hits like Dharti, Singh vs. Kaur, Shareek, Mel Karade Rabba, Tera Mera Ki Rishta and so on!
Talking to the massively talented writer/director Dheeraj Rattan, who reportedly, is one of the highest scorers as well, we realise how strong the bonding is between our writers and directors. While we keep hearing about the rivalries between the actors, it is interesting to know that the backbone of our industry is really strong. “A lot of people assume that since we all are working in this small industry, there must be a feeling of envy or competition between us. While this might be true in some cases, but luckily, as far as we the creative minds are concerned, we are very much together and supportive of each other. We all want to see everyone growing because that’s how our industry will grow. Cricket is just another way to connect with each other and understand what one is going through,” explains Dheeraj.
“Mumbai is not a very easy place to live. And in the film industry there’s always a struggle. Probably it’s that feeling of staying connected to our community and give each other a chance to laugh and celebrate life no matter what it throws at us, is also one of the reasons why we make sure to catch up as often as we can. Cricket is a beautiful excuse. But there’s much more that happens in the field beyond cricket,” says Amit.
While signing off, Amit jokingly talks a bit about his cricketing skills. “While Navaniat and Dheeraj Bhaji are great batsmen, I am trying my hands at everything.” All-rounder? We ask! “No, ‘all-trier’ would be a better term,” he laughs.