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‘Gippy Grewal changed my life’: Actor, playwright Prince Kanwaljit shares his journey to success

"Pollywood Saada Hollywood (Pollywood is our Hollywood) (laughs). I dream that our Punjabi film industry will grow exponentially and our artists will go and work in Hollywood," said Prince Kanwaljit in a chat with The Indian Express.

Prince Kanwaljit (Instagram/@princekanwaljitsingh)

Actor and playwright Prince Kanwaljit in a candid chat with The Indian Express shared that he was never interested in studies but as a schoolboy, often attended graduation-level lectures on Punjabi literature and history. This, he said, helped him immensely in his theatrical performances.

A resident of Kotkapura, around 50 km from Bathinda in Punjab, he also said Gippy Grewal changed his life.

Early life and family

I completed my matriculation and Class XII from Government Boys Higher Secondary School, Kotkapura. Later, I joined a lab technician diploma programme at the Homeopathic Medical College in Abohar. My elder brother Vir Bikramjeet Singh is a businessman and my sister is settled in Canada.

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Your journey

Honestly, I was never much into studies. I always felt I was born to act and perform. During my school days, most of my time was spent rehearsing for the theatre performances at Bhagat Singh College. Interestingly, during our rehearsals, I used to overhear lectures on Punjabi literature and history in the college. At times, I even attended the graduation classes as a schoolboy. All those lessons helped me in my theatrical performances.

Soon after, we formed a theatre group called ‘Kalakar Lok’ and presented two-three shows in a year. And that’s how the journey began.

From early on, I was very passionate about learning the art of filmmaking. In 1992, my friends Sukhbir, Pappu, Manish, Jasdev, Lucky and I watched a series titled ‘Lehre’ on VCR where they showed how films were shot, produced and released. We were so inspired by it that we constructed our own crane and trolley to capture films.

Your journey as a writer

I have written various plays for children. I have already released a book titled ‘Chand Jado Roti Lagda Hai’. I am excited to share that its English translation and Braille version will be out soon. Another book of four plays and a collection of short stories are also in the process of production.

I am deeply influenced by Russian writers. I have read Punjabi translations of their works and they are simply amazing. My aunt Surinder Kaur, who I fondly call Rani Bhuaji, is to be thanked for introducing me to the world of literature and inculcating love for it.

Your turning point

My life took a drastic turn after I met Gippy Grewal in 2015. During that time, I was a dialogue writer in his movie titled ‘Faraar’. Grewal changed my life. He put so much faith in me and established me in the industry. He is always there with me and I consider him to be a family member.

Your works

I have appeared in more than 20 films which include ‘Sukhmani’ (2010), ‘Chak Jawana’ (2010), ‘Yaraan Naal Baharaan 2’ (2012), ‘Daddy Cool Munde Fool’ (2013), ‘Jatt Boys Putt Jattan De’ (2013), ‘Shareek’ (2015), ‘Teshan’ (2016), ‘Toofan Singh’ (2017), ‘Long Laachi’ (2018), ‘Surkhi Bindi’ (2019) among several others.

‘Panchhi’, ‘Zila Sangrur’, ‘Warning’, ‘Shava Ni Girdhari Lal’ and ‘Posti’ are my latest flicks.

Your upcoming projects

I will be soon seen in a sequel of ‘Warning’, a Gippy Grewal starrer film, besides movies like ‘Sector 17’ and ‘Cheta Singh’.

Your claim to fame

I think I became famous for my role in ‘Warning’. However, if I talk about the respect and admiration as an artist, I received it from ‘Panchhi’ released in 2021.

Your secret sauce

I have no secrets in life. I have one simple belief that I will never meet any wrong person in life. I believe I will never get deceived or cheated or come across any negative person. I am an optimist and I approach life with positivity and it really keeps me going.

Your thoughts about Pollywood

Pollywood Saada Hollywood (Pollywood is our Hollywood) (laughs). I dream that our Punjabi film industry will grow exponentially and our artists will go and work in Hollywood. Although I don’t know English, I would also want to do an English movie (laughs).

On a serious note, Pollywood has delivered some of the finest movies such as ‘Chann Pardesi’, ‘Long Da Lishkara’ and ‘Marhi Da Deeva’ in the past and even today, the industry is bringing out great movies. All young artists of the day are doing amazing work and making the industry proud.

Your favourite song

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s Sufi track ‘Jhoole Jhoole Lal Dam Mast Qalandar’ is my favourite. A painter of Pakistani origin in my neighbourhood had gifted Khan Sahab’s cassette to me when I was very young. Since then, I have been listening to his songs.

Your favourite movie

When I started learning theatre in Class VIII, I was made to believe that to become a good artiste, it was important to watch art films. So, it was more like a compulsion than enjoyment. I really liked watching Amitabh Bachchan’s movies, however, my list of favourites includes Om Puri’s ‘Ardh Satya’ (1983), ‘Mirch Masala’ (1987), ‘Droh Kaal’ (1994), ‘Bandit Queen’ (1994) and Nirmal Pandey’s ‘Train To Pakistan’ (1998) to name a few.

Your fitness mantra

Don’t consume a lot of sugar, wake up on time every day and be honest and limit your expenses according to your earnings to stay happy and stress-free.

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