Actress Sargun Mehta, who has starred in Punjabi films like "Love Punjab" and "Angrej", says the UK is one of the biggest markets for the genre.She had attended the first edition of BritAsia Punjabi Film Awards, presented by Metatron Global Fund, here on May 12. The winners, including her, were acknowledged for their work and contribution to putting Punjabi cinema on the global map."The Punjabi film industry is a growing industry, and we need people to watch, love and support our movies. This is the only way the industry will grow. And I'm happy that the UK is one of the biggest markets for the Punjabi film industry," Sargun said in a statement to IANS.She feels the reason for the popularity of Punjabi films in the UK and their growing popularity elsewhere in the world is that they connect."When we are out of India, we crave for Indian food, we crave something like going back 'home'.
So anybody outside of Punjab who watches our films, they tell them a narrative about the old Punjab or how their grandparents used to live in Punjab or how and what happened during, before or after Partition."It's a great way to know these stories, and we are storytellers. I think when you tell a story with a heart, it connects with the audience," she said.She won the Best Actress award for her work in "Lahoriye".Other winners were - Best Debut Performance: Tarsem Jassar, Best Female Playback Vocalist: Nimrat Khaira, Best Male Playback Vocalist: Diljit Dosanjh, Best Supporting Actress: Nirmal Rishi, Best Supporting Actor: Karamjit Anmol, Best Film Song: "Dubai wale Shaikh" ("Manje Bistre"), Best Soundtrack: Sardar Mohammed, Best Cinematography: Chakravarty ("Sardar Mohammed"), Best Actor: Gippy Grewal ("Manje Bistre"), Best Director: Baljit Singh Deo ("Manje Bistre"), Best Comedy Performance: Karamjit Anmol ("Manje Bistre") and Best Film: "Manje Bistre".Additionally, Satinder Sartaaj picked up the award for Outstanding Achievement, British Punjabi actress Mandy Takhar got the Inspiration Award and Punjabi comedian Gurpreet Ghuggi bagged the Special Recognition Award.
British Punjabi Singer Gurj Sidhu said: "It was an honour to perform at UK's first ever BritAsia Punjabi Film Awards in the city of Birmingham.""Punjabi cinema has gone to another level over the last five years and so much effort goes into films from acting to storylines to directing. It's not something everyone can pull off. I respect all the artistes who are making films and keeping our mother tongue, Punjabi, alive."Tony Shergill, CEO, BritAsia TV, added: "The box office numbers for Punjabi movies have been consistently increasing to a surprising rise in the UK within the last two years particularly.""Film budgets and production values have increased with films like 'The Black Prince', 'Sajjan Singh Ranjroot' and 'Subedar Joginder Singh' and slowly reaching at par with Bollywood budgets."The product itself has become much stronger and has become a healthy box office contender, competing and often surpassing parallel Bollywood films releasing on the same date in the UK."