Sargun Mehta talks about why despite Punjabi films’ global reach they haven’t reached Cannes, & why she doesn’t consider Ravi Dubey a colleague.
You have transitioned from being a TV actor, to Punjabi lead actress and now a producer. For someone who has seen the industry grow, does it pinch you when you don’t see the presence of the Punjabi film fraternity at Cannes?
With the south industry making a show of strength at this year’s festival, what do you think stops Punjabi industry from reaching that evel? Though Punjabi films have a huge global following, frankly I don’t know why we haven’t reached Cannes yet. This time when I saw the south industry making its presence at Cannes, I thought why not us? It’s a question that has come into my mind quite recently. Maybe we were all just so consumed with what was happening with our own industry that we were not thinking bigger and beyond. But, this is going to be something that we are going to be rooting for very soon.
You’ve taken your time to accept a Bollywood offer. Was that deliberate?
Yes, it is because I was very sure that I didn’t want to just be around there and do two songs without giving importance to the story of the film. I don’t think it will be very exciting for me to do that. I always wanted to do something different. If someone wants to watch a certain type of my work, they can see it in Punjabi too. But if I’m doing some work apart from Punjabi films or songs, I should be doing something different and new. And you’ll see a completely new avatar in Bollywood. It’s very special for me and I loved working with Akshay sir. It was kind of like a dream come true.
Punjabi industry is evolving from comedy based stories to experimenting with daring subjects, case in point was Saunkan Saunkane . As an actor, do you still wish there were subjects this industry should explore?
I think as the industry evolves, so does the acceptance of the people. What’s happening right now is that we are playing with our flavour, with the culture that we have. And we are attaching more and more audiences to us every day. There’s going to be a point when people will accept new genres. In fact, even when I did Qismat , everybody said that it wouldn’t work in Punjab because it was not a typical comedy film that Punjab was very used to. That film became one of the biggest blockbusters and then there was its second film. So, when you give people content with a lot of meat and something that they can enjoy also, it doesn’t matter what genre it is.
How is it working with your husband as a co-producer? As a colleague, has Ravi changed?
It’s the best thing ever. I thoroughly enjoy working with Ravi. Both of us are in sync, being creative people. But both of us have different viewpoints on every subject. Where I am going wrong, he catches it and vice versa. And regarding who calls the shots and decision making depends on what decision it is. We don’t overlap our roles (laughs), and we are managing it well. He’s not my colleague.