Diljit Dosanjh is probably one star we all love and just cannot get enough of onscreen. The Punjabi sensation might have forayed into Bollywood quite successfully, but he still prefers to call himself a Punjabi singer, not even an actor! Diljit has been in the business for more than a decade, but it is his grounded personality and rawness, above anything else, that make him a crowd favourite. As this Punjabi munda turns 34 today, here’s tracking why despite coming from regional cinema, the pan-India appeal of this hit machine is nothing less than any other superstar.
Before Diljit debuted in Hindi films, I knew him for his chartbusters – “Lak 28 Kudi Da”, “Proper Patola” and “Patiala Peg”. His Punjabi hit films Jatt & Juliet, Punjab 1984 and Sardaarji were also heard of. For me, he was the poster boy of Punjabi entertainment industry and his charm seldom met the eyes. It was soon heard that he is coming to Bollywood with an ambitious project – Udta Punjab. That’s when I seriously got down and took note of him. He went on to prove his craft amid the heavy-duty Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Kareena Kapoor Khan. Soon, a handful of interviews and few public appearances revealed that here was a man who had no air about his stardom, despite being so big, SO BIG in his industry.
What really makes Diljit, the man who can make women go weak in their knees? No, he isn’t any Khan whose films mint Rs 200 crore and beyond at the box office. He doesn’t romance his heroines the Shah Rukh Khan way. He refrains from giving intimate scenes. His films have very non-Salman style action. In short, he does things just like you or me, or any other random person.
Oh Mereya Parmatma.. Hun Banda Dil Di Gal V Na Karey 🙈😍 https://t.co/bsnp6BBAOt
— DILJIT DOSANJH (@diljitdosanjh) January 3, 2018
The Jalandhar-born artiste prefers to be someone anyone can relate to. He likes to post morning selfies, uses Snapchat filters, has accepted his love for Kylie Jenner quite publicly (though his loyalties have drifted to Gal Gadot now!), and responds to as many followers personally as possible on social media. Yes, his Twitter feed is full of adorable messages sent by his massive fan base from around the world which he retweets and replies to whenever he gets time. He has made his fans, his family. While writing this piece, he had 3.19 million followers on Twitter, which might have increased by now!
— DILJIT DOSANJH (@diljitdosanjh) November 19, 2017
His fans call him anything from a ‘puttar’ to ‘paaji’ because they see him as part of their family. And he replies to them with folded hands and a ‘Shukran’ or a ‘#lovemyfans’. He is one guy whom anyone of us can own! So, is staying directly connected with his fans one of his tricks? Maybe! At least that has assured that his followers only grow by every passing day.
— DILJIT DOSANJH (@diljitdosanjh) December 26, 2017
Diljit’s second Bollywood outing Phillauri showed streaks of his romantic side to the Hindi speaking audience. His chemistry with Anushka Sharma was so talked about, that there were even rumours that the two might be teaming up again. Indeed, even the biggest production banners want to cash on Diljit’s growing popularity now. His next Hindi film Soorma, opposite Taapsee Pannu is already making news. Yes, he also owns a private jet, but that’s probably the fruit of his years of hard work.
Many lauded Diljit for becoming the first Sardar actor to make it big into mainstream Bollywood and with utmost vigour. Until now, we had our own actors donning the turban and a fake beard to get into the character of Sardars. Take for instance Akshay Kumar (Singh Is Kinng), Sunny Deol (Gadar), Ajay Devgn (Son Of Sardar) and Anil Kapoor (Mubarakan). Did they try too hard to do justice to their roles? These Bollywood biggies had to act it out given the scarcity of real ‘Turbanators’ in the fraternity. Diljit has filled that vacuum. He not just proved that a Sardar actor can also make it big on screen, but even that the audience connect better with the real turban-clad heroes. By the way, he claims that he will always retain his turban for any role. Does that restrict the films offered to him? Well, at least our screenwriters will draft characters better suiting a Sardar actor.
When Diljit bagged Udta Punjab, he couldn’t believe that he was getting to work with one of his favourite actors – Kareena Kapoor Khan. In an interview, he even gushed – “Main subah uthta kehke, uth mama aaj Kareena naal kaam karna hai (I used to wake up in the morning and tell myself – ‘Get-up boy, you are going to work with Kareena today!’)” He is someone who would whistle and clap for his favourite heroine at a theater, keeping aside that he himself is a Bollywood royalty now.
Diljit has always preferred to call himself the real ‘Pendu’ (villager), politely refusing to single-handedly take all the praise coming his way. His uniquely stylish wardrobe is a reflection of his ‘Urban Pendu Swag’ too! He speaks in Punjabi in an English language interview. He says he never plans his career and accepts whatever is offered to him. When Diljit was chosen to be on Rajeev Masand’s Round Table with the best actors of 2016, his honesty and humbleness in the company of Amitabh Bachchan, Shahid Kapur and Ranbir Kapoor won hearts.
Diljit’s humbleness and dedication reflect in his work. His superhero Punjabi film Super Singh might not be at par with any of its Bollywood counterparts in terms of visual effects and budget, but he chose to do it to bring the Punjabi cinema on the map of VFX films in India. His first love remains singing and his mega concerts around the globe have hundreds of fans travelling from far-flung areas to see him live. He, however, calls Punjabi films, his priority. And given his loyalty towards his roots, we are sure he will continue to fly. Remember, he is a superhero with a cape?!
Here’s wishing Diljit Dosanjh, a very happy birthday!