Gippy Grewal we know today is one of the recognised names in the Punjabi film and music industry.
Not only is he known for his acting and singing, but Grewal’s talent spans (but is not limited) to song-writing, film direction and production.
We recognise the 35-year-old multi-talented artist from films such as Mel Karade Rabba, Carry On Jatta, Lucky Di Unlucky Story, Bhaji in Problem and Jatt James Bond.
Now, Gippy is set to present us with a modern representation of the afterlife in the upcoming film, Mar Gaye Oye Loko.
The movie is a comedy of errors in which Gippy plays an innocent guy named Tittu, whose soul is mistakenly taken by Hakalcu (Karamjit Anmol) a bumbling inefficient death soul collector (Yamdut).
Explaining more about this novel and intriguing comic potboiler, Gippy Grewal talks candidly with me, Anuj Radia.
**ORIGINAL INTERVIEW WAS TAKEN IN HINDI**
Gippy, we’ve loved and seen you in several comedy avatars before. How come you chose to do ‘Mar Gaye Oye Loko’ (MGOL)?
Naturally, it’s a very different concept. Normally, comedy movies are punch-to-punch these days, but this is a situational comedy.
This is a different experience for me. I wrote the script. As a child, I used to hear about what happens to us after our death – I.e. how we pay for our bad karmas.
How could someone say that and love to tell the tale? This is something I used to question.
So I wrote the story of MGOL, which is relevant to today and if someone goes to the afterlife today, what it would be like.
So we have created a Punjab in life after death. It’s a hilarious madhouse film!
The film showcases death in a light-hearted manner. What would you say is the biggest risk of this?
Our aim is to always entertain and make people laugh. But in addition, we also try to convey a special message.
It seems as though people have forgotten how to live life whilst trying to pursue a well-to-do-life, they actually forget about living it!
Through the film, we try to tell people to enjoy whatever life that they have been blessed with.
The movie’s basic purpose is to tell people to enjoy every moment that they are given in life before it’s too late.
Your character Tittu seems to be quite sincere determined to get his love. How much could you personally resonate with the role?
In my last film, Carry On Jatta 2, my character was quite sharp. He used to lie and make conspiracy theories.
Tittu, on the contrary, is an honest guy who is living a dignified life but is taken by Yamraaj (god of death) mistakenly for the wrong guy.
This character is a complete opposite of how I am in real life.
In reality, I’m quite a loud guy who laughs a lot and I can easily find solutions to problems.
Titu is contrary to this. He simply adheres to the life situations circumstances that he’s faced with.
Comedy is a serious business. How difficult is it to make people laugh?
I always believe that there are two types of films: one is story-driven films like MGOL.
In such story-driven movies, the trust of people is maintained, even if one does not laugh or find the film funny.
But I find the second types of films riskier. These are movies which are driven by performances or punch-to-punch.
These type of films are risky because there is a possibility for an artist to go overboard whilst attempting to make the viewer laugh. I don’t want to do this.
We always try and ensure that there is a balance in our comedy and acting.
It is maintaining that balance which is very risky.
Let’s talk a bit more about your career. It was lovely to see you last in Lucknow Central. How has the transition been for you from Punjabi cinema to Bollywood?
I believe there is not much difference between Punjabi cinema and Bollywood. It is only the languages which distinguish each other.
I’ve also done a few serious Punjabi films too, but sometimes the business of comedy movies are so much over serious films.
If we look at the ratio, however, I definitely have done comedy a lot more.
I had a few reasons for doing Lucknow Central. I loved Farhan Akhtar’s work, especially in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag which also did very well in Punjab.
I already knew the producer of the movie Nikkhil Advani, so when I got a call about the film and had a meeting with Nikkhil, I thought the film would be good.
This thought strengthened even after Ranjit Tiwari (director of the film) narrated the script to me.
Ranjit is a very talented filmmaker. Plus, I felt that my audience would like my role because I played a Punjabi who ensures respect is given to every aspect of him – including his turban.
Doing Lucknow Central was not that hard because I feel the way Bollywood shoot films is calmer in comparison to how we make them.
Also, there are so many workshops that actors which prepare them to gradually visualise and enact their characters.
I’ve learnt to work at such a high-speed that it became a little bit hard to match-up with the speed!
Being a superstar in the Punjabi music and film industry, how do you feel the industry has changed and what do you think is in the future?
The future definitely seems strong and powerful. I’m a typical Punjabi I never learnt Hindi – it is thanks to Bollywood films which helped me to pick up the language.
Furthermore, people can now also understand me when I speak Hindi.
I remember when my film Manje Bistre released, I was shooting for Lucknow Central at that time.
Bhushan Kumar of T-Series told me that he would hold a screening for Manje Bistre in Mumbai, alongside Nikkhil Advani.
At that time the entire team of Lucknow Central saw the film. I thought to myself “how would they understand it since it’s a typical Punjabi film?”
Listen to the full interview with Gippy Grewal here. Plus, he also sings!
Whilst they were watching the film, I saw them laughing-out-loud, enjoying it.
At this point, I realised that language is never a barrier in cinema. It is about the feeling of movies.
Punjabi film industry has a wide scope to spread.
There has been a lot of awareness amongst multiplexes and the quality of Punjabi movies have increased.
Moreover, we also work with well-known people from Mumbai.
Overall, I think the music and film industries are growing. There is so much energy in the songs.
You’ll always hear a Punjabi track at a wedding!
Mar Gaye Oye Loko releases in UK cinemas from 31st August 2018 and is distributed by Rising Star Entertainment.