Diljit Dosanjh calls himself a farmer at heart. “Hal and tractor chalana har Punjabi ka janm-sidh adhikar hota hai,” he once told when we were discussing his close proximity to his roots. And now Diljit, like so many sons of the soil in Punjab has pitched in his might with the protesting farmer, raising his voice to make it heard right across the corridors of Parliament House.
I’ve known Diljit from long before he was seen in a Hindi film. His stardom in Punjab is unparalleled by any other actor from the state of fighters and farmers. During my visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar a young autorickshaw driver, when he got to know that I wrote about cinema, asked if I knew Diljit Paaji. When I answered in the affirmative the young chap’s eyes lit up. “When you speak to him next tell him he is my hero.” Not Dharmendra? I teased. ALSO READ: Farmers' Protest: Diljit Dosanjh Makes A Donation Of Rs 1 Crore To Buy Winter Wear Essentials For Farmers
“Dharam Paaji superhero hai, he-man, lekin yeh banda asli hero hai hum mein se ek,” the driver replied. I didn’t know what he meant back then. But today I do. Diljit Dosanjh fits into the heroic mould effortlessly. He doesn’t need to flex his muscles or post cosy pictures with his mother to flaunt his metrosexuality. On the contrary Diljit makes fun of his own lack of upper-classiness. When he doesn’t follow what you are saying he doesn’t pretend to go along. ALSO READ: Farmers Protest: Diljit Dosanjh Takes A Dig At Kangana Ranaut During His Speech; Says ‘Hindi Main Bhi Bol Raha Hun, Phir Badh Me Google Na Karna Pade’
“Sir yeh gregarious kya hota hai?” he interrupted me once. Diljit is comfortable with Hindi, as we all should be. He is even more comfortable with Punjabi his first language and his first and most enduring romance.
He once confessed to me that his primary and most vital concern as an entertainer is to never let down his fan base in Punjab. “Main bhale hi Bollywood se alag ho jaoon lekin Punjabi filmein Punjabi gaanein aur Punjabiyat mere liye sabse keemti hai (I don’t mind moving away from Bollywood. For me Punjabi films songs and culture are of utmost importance).”
Diljit’s standing doesn’t depend on his status in Bollywood. He is his own best judge and critic and doesn’t seek approval from anyone. This is why Kangana Ranaut’s taunt made no sense. What it(the taunt) did was to bring out Diljit’s ‘Punjabiyat’ in full force. Today if he stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the agitating kissans it is not because it gives him an opportunity to further his popularity.
Dilijit can’t bear to see farmers being insulted. He is a farmer himself. And a bigger hero than the Bollywood superstars who only believe in being generous when the cameras are on. Charity for Diljit begins at home. His home Punjab.
Image Source: Instagram/diljitdosanjh