Renowned filmmaker Rohit Jugraj, recognized for helming Punjabi hits like Jatt James Bond, Sardaarjii 1 & 2, and Khido Khundi, is back in the director's seat after a four-year hiatus, this time with the OTT series Chamak. Following his previous lighthearted venture, Arjun Patiala, featuring Diljit Dosanjh, Kriti Sanon, and Varun Sharma, Rohit shifts gears to delve into a more serious theme with his latest OTT project. The Free Press Journal team had the opportunity to engage with the filmmaker for an insightful conversation.
Delving into the shadows of the Punjabi music industry, where the dangers of death threats and extortion loom large, Rohit sheds light on the concept behind Chamak, “The idea of writing this story came to my mind over 4-5 years ago. This was a story that I knew would resonate with everyone. This is a story about the Punjabi music industry which was waiting to be told. I do not know any other music industry in another language where one faces death threats or extortion or cold-blooded enmity. The reason why this is so is because there is such an influx of success and money in this industry. The stamp of Punjabi music is such that it will play at weddings or celebrities will attend concerts of leading Punjabi artistes.
He further adds, “Also, the Punjabi film industry is the only place in the entire world where all the leading stars are primarily musiciansl. Which speaks highly about how much is music respected in Punjab. You’ll find a lot of music in every nook and corner of the state. Where there is music, there will be money and where there is money, there will be crime. So that’s what I wanted to portray through Chamak.”
How does he view the perception about Punjab as a state in the larger media? “The image of Punjab has been stereotyped to a huge extent. The state is not all about drugs and guns. It is the state of a lot of faith and pride that has given a lot of saints and warriors to the nation. Yes, we keep hearing instances about the attacks and threats that Punjabi artistes receive. But that does not mean we brush the state with an image and point out only the negatives. Punjab has always been known to be very hospitable and welcoming.”
Chamak boasts of some sparkling cameos including Mika Singh and MC Square to name a few. Interestingly, Rohit had also approached late rapper Sidhu Moose Wala for a cameo. In conclusion to our interview, Rohit shares on a poignant note, “My team and I had written a guest appearance for Sidhu in the show’s second episode. With his demise, I feel that society has killed itself. Because art is a reflection upon the society. So, anytime an artist suffers injustice, it is lost upon the human race,” he concludes.