Manje Bistre Film Review (By Anisha Kaur Johal)
Manje Bistre, a recent Panjabi film starring Gippy Grewal and Sonam Bajwa, written by Gippy Grewal and directed by Baljit Singh Deo was released in cinemas on April 14th 2017. Featuring the popular Bhangra song Dubai Wale Sheik, it is of a comedy genre based around a traditional Panjabi wedding in India. On Monday 1st May 2017, I watched the film in Star City, Birmingham. As most Panjabi films no longer have a meaningful storyline and almost always depict an obsession with the West and the need to be Westernised, I was not expecting anything great. However, I was surprised to witness the absence of this ideology in Manje Bistre as it focused purely upon the traditional Panjabi culture.
Although the film focuses on the typical love story that was exaggerated for a comedic effect, it provided viewers with an insight into the planning, preparation and rituals that take place prior to a Panjabi wedding. The seemingly odd title – Manje Bistre (literally translated as beds and bedclothes) – signifies the simple concept of community as assets were shared among the neighbourhood. The simplistic traditional way of weddings defamiliarises the Westernised lavish wedding styles, enabling viewers to obtain an insight into the way in which weddings were conducted in their homeland. The fact that the protagonists don’t adopt the false ideology of getting married and immigrating to the West, like many other Panjabi films do, makes it more meaningful. Traditions such as the ladies’ sangeet and jago are prevalent, showcasing the pre-wedding rituals in a Panjabi wedding.
Overall, Manje Bistre was an entertaining film with many comedic scenes, simultaneously conveying the importance of traditions and a sense of community. So make sure to check it out!
By Anisha Kaur Johal