Jatt Like That

How Diljit Dosanjh helmed the rise of Punjabi comedy

Diljit Dosanjh has emerged as the first sardar to have carved a space for himself in films on the national stage, without having to give up his Sikh identity. kshitij mohan / indian express archive
01 August, 2019

SOMETIME AFTER THE 2005 RELEASE of his third Punjabi pop album, Smile, a young Diljit Dosanjh, only a musician then, gave an interview to Channel Punjabi, dressed in maroon from head to toe, wearing a turban, shirt and bell-bottoms.

The interviewer asked him about the song “Aa Gaye Paggan Pochvian Waale”—The turban lovers are here. “In these times, most people believe that wearing a turban does not look glamorous,” he said. “But you remained confident in how you look. Tell us about how you have this confidence.”

“Most people seem to believe,” Dosanjh responded in Punjabi, “that if a sardar boy ties a turban, he cannot be called good-looking or glamorous. I have nothing against those who have cut their hair. To each his own. But I have no inferiority complex about the turban, as if we are lacking something. Hum kisi se kam nahin”—we are no less than anyone else.

Over the next decade, Dosanjh not only released several hit albums, but also began acting in Punjabi films, becoming one of the biggest celebrities in the region. In 2016, as his first Bollywood film, Udta Punjab, was about to come out, Dosanjh appeared in another interview with the famous film critic Anupama Chopra. While Chopra asked questions in a mix of Hindi and English, Dosanjh, who does not seem uncomfortable in Hindi, often chose to answer in Punjabi. He repeated a version of what he had said in 2005. “People used to tell me, ‘Since you wear a turban, there’s no way you can work in Bollywood films. There will never be a role for you.’ So I also believed that Bollywood would never have a role for me … but anything can happen if god wants it to happen.”

praveen negi / the india today group / getty images

“I’m still being asked, ‘Don’t you think you will get limited roles because of the turban?’ Well, I only want to do limited roles then,” Dosanjh said with a grin. “I don’t want to do too many roles anyway.”

Dosanjh’s pride in the turban and Sikh culture struck a chord with the community. Several Punjabi film protagonists began appearing on screen wearing turbans. An article in the British daily The Guardian noted the increase in turban-tying services in the United Kingdom, and attributed the trend to “younger members of the Sikh community displaying increasing pride in their roots and the rise of Bollywood stars such as Diljit Dosanjh bringing turbans into the spotlight.” A Facebook group called “Paggan Pochvyian Wale,” the title of Dosanjh’s hit song, has about thirty thousand members, and YouTube is flooded with videos with titles along the lines of “How to tie the turban like Diljit Dosanjh.” Dosanjh has emerged as the first sardar to have carved a space for himself in films on the national stage, without having to give up his Sikh identity.

Dosanjh’s rise has paralleled the growth of the genre of Punjabi comedy. The 2012 film Jatt and Juliet, starring Dosanjh and Neeru Bajwa, quickly became the highest-grossing Punjabi film until that time, and did remarkably well across India and in several countries with high Punjabi diaspora populations. His most recent Punjabi film, Shadaa, still in theatres, has already made over Rs 50 crore worldwide and has broken several previous records.

The national and international prominence of Punjabi pop music and comedy—there is often an overlap, as many Punjabi musicians are also actors—entails several stories of the triumph of Punjabi innovation and humour. However, its flip side has been the recurrence of themes of caste pride and the glorification of drugs, violence and blatant misogyny across Punjabi music and film. Dosanjh’s output has been no exception. In a state that is grappling with a serious drug menace, senseless gun violence and rampant crime against women, its film stars and musicians are often questioned on whether their art contributes to these problems. Unfortunately, Dosanjh’s answers to these questions have often come up short.

DOSANJH WAS BORN IN Dosanjh Kalan, a village in the district of Jalandhar, and completed his schooling in Ludhiana. Initially named “Daljit,” he began singing gurbani—Sikh hymns—which require training in Hindustani-classical music and knowledge of the ragas, at local gurdwaras.

In 2004, at the age of 20, Dosanjh released his first album, Ishq Da Uda Ada, produced by the Ludhiana-based Finetone Casettes. He also changed his first name to Diljit. As he explained in an interview, the change of name was “thoda cool rakhne karne ke liye”—to keep it a little cool. In the album’s title song, which also got its own music video, a young Dosanjh looks largely out of place, jiving alongside professional dancers. The album failed to make any impact.

But in the years that followed, Dosanjh steadily grew in popularity with his music featuring themes of love and Sikh pride. Dosanjh belongs to the Jatt Sikh community, a dominant, agrarian Sikh caste that comprises roughly sixty percent of all Sikhs. The Sikh pride in Punjabi popular culture often amounts to Jatt pride, with films and songs repeating the traits of a good Jatt—some recurrent ones include a generally happy disposition, pride in one’s community, an ability to consume large quantities of alcohol, being unafraid to speak one’s mind and being quick to confrontation and sometimes even violence.

In 2009, Dosanjh began collaborating with the music producer and rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh, the most prominent among the musicians infusing elements of hip hop into Punjabi music. The collaboration had an immense impact on Dosanjh’s aesthetic and image.

His album that year, The Next Level, was a marked departure from his previous work. Dosanjh appeared alongside Singh as a brash, cocky gangster in the video for the song “Panga.” Dosanjh was seen toting guns, and the lyrics said, “aasi rehne de aa rab kolo darr ke, gun rakhi di ae golian naal parr ke”—we are god-fearing men, but we keep our guns loaded. The glorification of drugs, sex and violence became an intermittent feature of his songs. Dosanjh’s popularity soared, especially among the young. The music videos also proved that Dosanjh could not only sing, but also act.

Two years later, Dosanjh made his film debut in the director Guddu Dhanoa’s action film The Lion of Punjab. Though the film, produced by the Norwegian company Tanda Films, collected a poor Rs 2.5 crore at the box office, Dosanjh’s song “Lak 28 Kudi Da”—The girl’s waist size is 28—produced again with Honey Singh, became the first song by a non-Bollywood singer to top the BBC’s Asian Download Chart, which cumulates data from various downloading websites. Dosanjh’s acting, though passable, borrowed from his gangster image, built in partnership with Honey Singh. In the title song of the film, which he did not sing, he is seen dancing with a gun resting on his shoulder with what can be read as the boldness of the Punjabi Jatt.

With gun culture on the rise in Punjab, Dosanjh has often been questioned for contributing to it. In March 2018, in an interview with Indianews Punjab, Dosanjh uncharacteristically lost his cool after the interviewer pointed how the poster for a film he was headlining had a weapon in it. Dosanjh responded, “Ee hathyar na honge taan apne haq kinna milange?”—how would we get our rights if we were not armed? This discourse of “haq” here is not about a noble political goal, but refers to the feudal realities of Punjab. Since land continues to be the most important asset, land feuds are common among the Jatt Sikh community. It is not uncommon to kill rivals while claiming one’s land. Dosanjh’s music video for the song “Jatt Fire Karda”—The Jatt opens fire—approvingly dramatises a revenge killing of a land usurper. Not just Dosanjh, several other musicians appear wielding guns in their videos and glorifying similar violence.

Dosanjh’s collaboration with Yo Yo Honey Singh had an immense impact on his aesthetic and image. While he became more popular, he was also criticised for glorifying violence and for the songs’ sexist content.

When Anupama Chopra brought up his musical output, however, Dosanjh tried to distance himself from it. “This is my profession so I have to make these songs to make money,” he said. “In a few years, maybe even I wouldn’t want to hear these songs. But I make these songs for the people, not for myself. … When you’re from a middle-class family, you always think, ‘I hope those bad times don’t come back again.’ Once I am feeling secure, and I have other sources of income, maybe I’ll make different songs. But I’m not there right now.”

Dosanjh’s first veritable hit as an actor was the director Mandeep Singh’s 2011 romantic comedy Jihne Mera Dil Luteya, alongside Gippy Grewal, the other rising star of Punjabi music and films. Both Grewal and Dosanjh were lauded for their roles in the film, and now have a healthy rivalry going.

Dosanjh’s real breakthrough came the following year, through Anurag Singh’s romantic comedy Jatt and Juliet. The film was not only Punjabi cinema’s biggest hit, but also did well in the Hindi belt, and overseas, collecting about twenty-five crore rupees in total. The film gave Punjabi cinema a handbook for filmmaking, and a genre that has since enthralled and gripped the country. Most believed that the turban would stall Dosanjh’s journey into stardom, but by sticking with it Dosanjh not only made it big in Punjabi cinema, he also penetrated the insular Mumbai film industry. In the process, he became a style icon for Punjabi youth.

With the release of Udta Punjab, in 2016, Dosanjh truly arrived on the national stage. In the same year, he entered Forbes magazine’s list of the 100 most popular people in India, and was the only Sikh in it. He has acted in several successful Bollywood films since then, and starred in Arjun Patiala, which was released late last month. In February 2017, the website Catch News reported Dosanjh’s net worth to be around twenty-five million dollars.

Though Dosanjh has acted in several serious, critically acclaimed films, such as the National Award-winning Punjab 1984, and Soorma, he has become synonymous with the idea of comedy. If his many interviews are anything to go by, Dosanjh’s persona in comedy films gels well with his own personality. “Dosanjh paaji was Fateh Singh even in real life, I realised later,” Anurag Singh told me, referring to Dosanjh’s character in his film. “The role was made for him.”

DOSANJH’S SUCCESS WITH Jatt and Juliet seems to owe nothing to the image of the proud Jatt gangster he cultivated alongside Honey Singh. Instead, it was the product of the affable charm and joie di vivre from Dosanjh’s early days. The film was also part of a revival of comedy writing and films in the region, coupled with innovative filmmaking.

Dosanjh features in the film as Fateh Singh, a young, unemployed, rambunctious man, whose only dream is to travel to Canada, marry a gori and become a Canadian citizen—a fantasy shared by many young men in today’s Punjab. Fateh Singh cannot speak English, has been spoilt silly by his mother, whom he calls “bebe,” refuses to follow rules and remains disdainful of any kind of etiquette. While unqualified assertion of the Jatt identity remains a feature, as evident in the film’s title, it is the self-deprecating humour that makes the character charming.

In a scene midway through the film, the female protagonist, Puja, played by Neeru Bajwa, tells Fateh Singh that his inability to speak English does not take anything away from his other qualities. “Tu khushdil banda hai,” she tells him. Gallan battan na dil nahi rakhda hai. Dil da saaf hai. Jo man vich hai oh hi muh te”—You keep a happy disposition. You’re good-hearted. There’s no difference in what you say and what you think.

Much of the humour comes from Fateh’s disdain for norms of acceptable behaviour. In one scene, where he is picking his nose, Puja is disgusted. “Rab ne ungliyan aisliye ni dittian”—that’s not what god gave you fingers for, she says.

Achchha ji?” he responds. “Je aisliye ni dittian te eh das, ki unglian te naslan da size barabar kyun hai?”—If that’s not what he gave them for, then tell me why did he make fingers and nostrils the same size?

Perhaps the most memorable comic character from the film, though, is Shampy, a foil to Fateh who reappears in the sequel. Shampy calls himself Raja Beta, and is a short, skinny and whiny man-child, who also has a speech impediment to make his comparative lack of masculinity amply clear. He spends both films getting slapped and being bullied, appearing randomly throughout, on each occasion being splattered like a bug on the windshield of the narrative.

“We wanted to create the duo of Shampy and his father,” Dheeraj Rattan, the writer of the film, told me. However, Anurag Singh “asked me to write him a little differently. Turn him into something the hero is not, or the exact opposite of him.” Thus, Shampy is the opposite of what a good Jatt should be. “I think Shampy has stuck in memory because he has that honesty about him,” Rattan told me. “He has aspirations but can’t get to them.

Jatt and Juliet gave birth to what has now become the biggest production house in the Punjabi film industry—White Hill Productions—which has produced several massive hits over the last eight years. courtesy white hill productions
The cousins Gunbir Singh Sidhu and Manmord Sidhu, both 38 years old, who run White Hill Productions, have become the most powerful men in Punjabi cinema. courtesy white hill productions

He understands little of the world but is good at heart. He is like that squirrel in the Ice Age films, chasing something we know he won’t get, but that is what makes it lovable.” While Shampy also wants to go to Canada to marry a gori, he is unable to accomplish either of those goals. Fateh does make it to Canada and is able to make a white woman fall for him, only to realise that he would rather be in Punjab and marry the Punjabi woman he loves.

“It is all about how you write your characters,” Rattan added. “If you know your characters well, if you can write them the way you see them in your head, they will stick in the audience’s minds. People who look at Punjabi cinema from the outside may think that it is all about a lot of gags or jokes that we list on a whiteboard. But we work on our characters just like any writer writing a screenplay would.”

Rattan was born and brought up in Amritsar, and moved to Mumbai at an early age. While doing odd jobs to make ends meet, he started assisting directors. Jihne Mera Dil Luteya was his first writing credit, before Jatt and Juliet the following year.

Rattan told me that humour comes quite naturally to Punjabi culture. He pointed to a trend in Hindi comedies of setting families in Punjab or as Punjabi, such as in Jab We Met or Tanu Weds Manu. But Rattan finds these portrayals to be superficial. “Hindi writers who try to write about Punjabi families think of Punjabi culture through tokenisms,” he said. “The pairi-pauna type of culture, where they think that authenticity can be arrived at by introducing these standard tropes. Some of the comedy written in this way might be funny, but it will rarely be funny for the Punjabi audience. They want humour that is raw, gruff, loud, without it necessarily being physical. Such comedy is best written through dialogues.” The difference between Hindi and Punjabi audiences, he said, was that “while the Hindi audience is dying to have a laugh the Punjabi audience wants to die laughing.”

According to Anurag, Punjabi comedies can only be written by someone who is rooted in Punjab, and knows what will be funny both in the villages and in the cities. Rattan, who was a salesman of paging devices in Ludhiana through the early 1990s, seems to fit the mould. He told me it was his interactions with ordinary people that gave him most of his characters. “I was in a job where I had to talk to people, no matter who he or she was. I was always trying to sell a product. Maybe, that is where I understood the way Punjabis talk, having to establish a rapport with them, trying to sell them something. I had to make them smile before they would even begin listening to me carefully. Isn’t that what we are doing as writers in film?”

Since Jatt and Juliet, Rattan has delivered comedy hits such as the 2013 films Singh vs Kaur and Tu Mera 22 Main Tera 22. What stands out in Rattan’s writing is his ability to take the mickey out of his own culture. There are, for example, the alcoholic Punjab policemen in Jatt and Juliet 2, and the dhaba-running couple in Canada in Jatt and Juliet—characters straight out of Punjabi lore. These films do little to challenge the stereotype of the Jatt Sikh, constructed over centuries—in local folklore, in the glorification of martial races by the British, and more recently in the Deol family’s Bollywood oeuvre. But it is the local knowledge of people such as Rattan that imbues these characters with a little more complexity.

Despite several breaks from conventional writing, most Punjabi music and film remain centred on the journey of the male protagonist. Jatt and Juliet also carries forward another trope common in recent Punjabi music and film. The hero of the film is often someone who is rooted in his culture, is not very well educated and struggles to speak English. Dosanjh has described this character as “Urban Pendu­—a term that literally means a villager, but is sometimes used in a derogatory manner. The Urban Pendu, however, has no inferiority complex about these shortcomings. The female protagonists, however, are well-educated, speak English and are from comparatively wealthier backgrounds. There is often an arc of the heroine initially being disgusted by the pendu’s lack of sophistication, and eventually coming around to liking him for his good heart. Punjabi films are yet to award women the luxury of being a good-hearted pendu.

BESIDES MAKING DOSANJH a crossover celebrity, Jatt and Juliet also gave birth to what has now become the biggest production house in the Punjabi film industry—White Hill Productions, run by the cousins Gunbir Singh Sidhu and Manmord Sidhu, both 38 years old.

Gunbir and Manmord started out as line producers of the film, which was initially being produced by the Ludhiana-based Darshan Grewal, owner of the Punjabi music channels Josh and Tadka. In 2011, it was Grewal who brought together the team of Anurag, Dosanjh and Rattan.

However, after the film overshot its initial budget, Grewal could not provide more funds. “The film had a stop-start journey,” Anurag, whom I spoke to on the phone while he was shooting the Akshay Kumar-starrer Kesari, told me. “We ran out of funds on multiple occasions. Our Canada leg of the shoot began without a producer, which meant we had to be innovative and adapt in the way we were going to shoot.”

A large portion of Jatt and Juliet takes place in Canada, specifically Vancouver. While there are few roving shots of the city or overhead surveys of its landscape, the viewer gets other cues that establish the location as Canada. A majority of the film takes place either inside a bungalow, or in what looks like two restaurants.

“When we were looking for a bungalow to shoot in Vancouver, the line producers couldn’t get us anything because of uncleared payments,” Anurag said. “I then contacted my mother, who had once told me about a student of hers who had bought a house in the city on a hill. This family opened up their house for us and even though we turned it upside down we managed to finish the shoot within ten days.” To ingrain Vancouver in the viewer’s mind, Anurag kept returning to a bench with the city as its backdrop. Punjabis living in the city still visit the spot and take photos, he told me.

The Punjab leg of the film, as well as post-production, was not smooth either, Anurag said. “We were squeezed for funds at each point.” Gunbir and Manmord took on the role of producers and the responsibility of arranging funds to finish the film. Jatt and Juliet was put together on roughly four crore rupees, and around half the cost was borne by the cousins.

In June last year, I met Gunbir, a postgraduate in electrical engineering, in the hall of the JW Marriott hotel in Chandigarh, the site of a press meet to publicise Carry On Jatta 2, produced by White Hill. Though the hall was swarming with people, and cast members were being interviewed in each corner of the room, Gunbir told me that this was a part of the process they struggle with. “We don’t have a general-entertainment channel in Punjab,” he said. “That presents a huge problem for the producers. You have to spend your own money on gatherings like this. There are only a handful of news channels, and a couple of newspapers that cover film. That is why we have to choose our films carefully and plan our production schedules smartly.”

Manmord studied fimmaking at the Vancouver Film School. Jatt and Juliet running out of money is perhaps the greatest thing to have happened to the two. Today, White Hill Productions is the biggest studio in the region, and is referred to as the “Yash Raj Studio of the Punjabi film industry.” They have an office in Chandigarh, and another in Vancouver. “After Jatt and Juliet we knew there was potential in the industry, so we decided to open our own studio,” Gunbir told me.

The film, along with Gippy Grewal’s comedy Carry On Jatta, which had released a month earlier, made Punjabi comedy visible across India. Both films were made on similar budgets and both more than quadrupled their initial budgets in collections. While Carry On Jatta brought back the trend of out-and-out comedies, Jatt and Juliet’s makers claimed they had invented Punjabi romantic comedy.

White Hill released Jatt and Juliet 2 within a year of the first film—a sequel, but with a completely new storyline. Dosanjh went on to become part of other franchises, such as Sardaarji and Sardaarji 2, and starred in comedy hits such as the 2014 film Disco Singh.

The boom also helped the careers of several comedians, such as Gurpreet Ghuggi, Binnu Dhillon and the almost forgotten BN Sharma, who once shared the spotlight with the comedy legend Jaspal Bhatti in the television programme Flop Show. “Punjabis especially love to laugh and at times laugh at themselves,” Anurag told me. “I think that is what sets it apart from Hindi comedies, and also what makes Punjabi comedies better.” By better, Singh also meant more successful.

Since then, a number of studios in Punjab, such as Amrinder Gill’s Rhythm Boyz or the Jalandhar-based Kapil Batra Studios, have tried to replicate White Hill’s success, but have failed. Gunbir said that this is because Manmord and he do not just provide funds, they know each part of the process of filmmaking. “We are completely hands-on,” he said. “We will get into the script, we will get into the film. Most producers or studios here think that all they need to do is throw money at a big face. Even a Diljit Dosanjh or a Gippy Grewal needs a good story, a good character for them to play and you need to understand what you are making. We are involved in the filmmaking, the production and distribution, the complete process.”

White Hill has produced 12 films in the years since Jatt and Juliet, most of which have been successful. White Hill’s strength, according to Gunbir, is planning. Each of the studio’s big comedies in the past seven years has been released in either May or June. “People want to step out in the summer, because they are tired of sitting under the fan or in front of the AC,” Gunbir said. “And they want to especially step out at night. They want to laugh, have a good time, and forget the heat. Summers are also a time where we know that even the late shows will see good bookings, because people want to have that freedom of going back home late.”

Unlike with the Hollywood summer blockbuster, the logic here is based on necessity. “It is a cycle: shoot in the winter and premiere it in the summers,” Gunbir told me. “Shooting in the winter saves me several lakhs of rupees because then I don’t have to worry about air conditioning and all those issues.” Gunbir said that this is what he and Manmord have brought to the industry—structure, management and professionalism.

There are creative ways of cutting costs, Gunbir said. A scene at the airport, for example, could be shifted to a bus stop. A car chase is not needed when a chase on foot can make the same point. Films are tightly strategised for month-long shoots, and are wrapped as soon as possible.

A good understanding of the diaspora also allows the studio to exploit both local and international markets. “Punjabis living outside want the quintessentially Punjabi experience,” Gunbir said. “They probably miss the community or the places where they grew up, or the people that they knew but have now left behind. All writers that we work with, including Dheeraj, are people who have seen rural Punjab through and through. They understand its language and they know what is funny there, and would similarly fit for an international audience.”

Gunbir is touted as the most powerful man in Punjabi cinema today—during our conversation, at least three grown men came to touch his feet by way of greeting. His studio has also taken over the distribution of Bollywood films in the region. “We know the market,” he said. “And we have always played it safe. We either distribute films in the Punjabi communities, or in north India in the Hindi-speaking belt. I would never pick up a film, however good, for a market that I do not understand.”

In the couple of weeks after our conversation, the Sidhu consins’ position got even more solidified. Carry on Jatta 2 would go on to become the biggest ever hit in Punjabi cinema, raking in almost sixty crore rupees at the box office. Meanwhile, distribution of Bollywood films provides the studio a channel for steady cash inflow.

I asked Gunbir why his studio does not make more serious films, especially on Punjab’s recent history—Partition, the insurgency and the drug menace. “We made Punjab 1984, and it was a box-office success,” he said. “But, yes, it was a one-off, an exception. Even we weren’t expecting the kind of response we got. The National Award and everything, it was worthwhile. But can such films be made on a regular basis? I don’t think so, not yet.” Just a few months before our conversation, Dosanjh’s Sajjan Singh Rangroot, produced on a big budget, an estimated twenty crore rupees, by Vivid Art Studio, had not fared as well as expected. The movie was based on the experiences of Sikh soldiers who fought for the British during the First World War.

Punjabi film journalists have also questioned filmmakers for only roping in popular musicians as actors, instead of hiring specialists. “We don’t want to continue doing films with only singers,” Gunbir told me. “We want to bring in talent from theatre and acting backgrounds as well. It’s just that when as a producer your margins are so narrow, and the risks so big, only popular figures like Dosanjh and Grewal can guarantee a big opening. We have only once had an opening below Rs 1 crore, and even that isn’t poor by numbers in the industry here. So it is a system that has proven it works.”

White Hill is still trying to do its bit, Gunbir told me. The studio has been helping budding directors and writers make short films for release on its YouTube channel. It is the only studio in Punjab that produces short films.

But giving one of these directors or actors the reins of a big-budget film remains a risk that the studio is not yet willing to take. While White Hill’s average budget for a film has increased to Rs 10 crore over the years, Gunbir said that the studio still cannot afford a major flop. “Even after the years of success that we have had, that is the life of a producer,” he told me. “I still at times struggle to put funds together, because it is crucial to make money from your investments. I would love to do a film on Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It has been my dream. But we can’t afford for it to be a flop, or it at least has to be free from the limitations of the box office. Only then will I be able to make it the way I have always wanted to.”

Meanwhile, Dosanjh is about to face another test on the national stage, with the comedy Arjun Patiala. His success would bode well for Punjabi cinema, and the brand of filmmaking that has produced oddities such as Fateh Singh, who prefixes his retorts with “chaped maarni main tere”—I’ll give you a tight slap—a phrase that can perhaps only be endearing in Punjab.

IN THE 2016 INTERVIEW, Anupama Chopra asked Dosanjh to explain the term “Urban Pendu.”

“So is that a character you have created?” she asked Dosanjh. “How close is that to the truth? Are you really Urban Pendu?”

“I’m definitely the Pendu,” Dosanjh said, causing Chopra to break into loud laughter. “But the urban part is what I’m trying to be. That is just something where I observe my city friends and young people—what they eat, drink, wear and so on. So the urban part is a bit fake, but there’s a real pendu inside.”

When Chopra asked him why the urban pendu character resonated with the audiences, he said, “Ab sab pendu banna chahte hain”—now everyone wants to be a pendu. “Even the shehri”—city people—“are trying to be pendu. That’s because the pendu has swag, and the shehri doesn’t.”

Dosanjh paused for a second as Chopra laughed at the remark. “Sorry yaar,” he added, “but I love everyone—Punjabi, shehri, pendu. Everyone.”