Kulraj Randhawa is one of the leading actresses of Hindi & Punjabi Cinema. After a promising start in both Hindi & Punjabi Films, Kulraj did appear in a few films but then, her regularity declined and she disappeared from the big screen. In fact, her absence from the screen even gave hype to her death hoax!
But Kulraj is already busy with her next acting offers and we're glad that she's back.
Here are some excerpts:
In spite of your promising start, we did not get to see you more often. Why is that?
Ever since I started working in this profession, if you notice my work carefully, you will find out that I have always preferred quality over quantity. I never wanted to become part of the rat race. But due to some reasons, I let go of some good offers too.
What kept you busy in the last two years?
In the last two years, I could not concentrate on films, as I was busy setting up my own production house in Canada.
So you are venturing in to film production. Tell us about your maiden project. Is it in Hindi & Punjabi?
It is neither Hindi nor Punjabi. Its an English film and it isn't bilingual either. Before you ask me more, let me tell you that the entire cast and crew is from Canada.
Death hoax of yours was taken seriously due to your absence from films, What did you feel about it? Did it have an effect on your career?
No, it had no effect on my career though it certainly was sad. But it was pretty irresponsible of the press to mix names (actress in question was Kuljeet Randhawa) and photographs too. It was disturbing for my family, friends and fans. Surprisingly, even after so many years, whenever there is a story of an uneventful death, they again circulate it.
When you look back at your films and roles, how do you feel?
There have been some wonderful characters that I've played. Kareena Kareena was such a fun character and it was a new kind of show for the TV audience back then. Kareena, Mannat, Rajjo (TeraMera Ki Rishta), Needhi Singh or for that matter even Sahiba from Yamla Pagla Deewana, all the characters were very progressive. I got to play a double role in Mannat, it was one strong role for me. Then I played a girl with family values in Tera Mera Ki Rishta. Doing Yamla Pagla Deewana with the Deols was a great working experience. The character of Needhi was courageous and playing it was very difficult, both mentally and physically.
What changes do you see in Punjabi Cinema now?
Looking back to the days when I was working in Mannat, and now, Punjabi Cinema has gone through a huge make over. Budgets have increased, a larger number of films are being made and there are more theatrical shows for Punjabi films. But still, a lot still needs to be done.
Like, in the case of Needhi Singh, the film was not given much shows because they saw it as a non comic and female oriented film. I don't understand this tag of male driven or female oriented film. Its the content that matters. We put a lot of hard work in the film and as an artist, I gave my hundred percent but once it released, I just couldn't do anything. There were people who wanted to watch it but couldn't. Thanks to digital platforms, many people have seen it now and they praised the film. It’s a singer driven industry, but non-singer actors must get opportunities too. In this industry, people must work on content because it is ultimately content that will work.
Now as you have mentioned this aspect of Punjabi Cinema, what's your take on the pay disparity when it comes to female actors?
That's another issue to be talked about. Its the same in Hindi films but there, things are changing for good. Over here it will take some time. But after I worked on my Canadian project, I found out that there is no such difference in the pay scale of female or male actors there. They have certain rules about it.
Your next film is Naukar Vahuti Da. Tell us about it.
As the title suggests, it is a comedy film but unlike the other films of this genre. It is a very real kind of comedy with some real life situations of a married couple. I had worked with Smeep Kang earlier in Double Di Trouble and we wanted to work on another project again but nothing materialized. Finally, we are working again. I also got to work with Binnu after Tera Mera Ki Rishta.
Sometime back you were supposed to do a film with Jordan Sandhu. What happened to that project? Is it shelved?
Sometimes some films take time to get started but frankly, I am not the best person to comment on this. The film might still be in it's pre-production stage and from as much as I know, it isn't shelved.
Before you, Kavita Kaushik was offered Naukar Vahuti Da. Was there any insecurity in doing the same role?
I can't comment on the reason why she left the film but in this profession, all I can say is that it happens. There were a couple of films which were first offered to me such as Punjab 1984, Sardar Ji and Jatt and Juliet, but for some reasons, I could not do those films. What matters the most is the final starcast of the film. As I said, Smeepji and I wanted to do a film again and this one was the perfect subject to work on. So other things did not matter.
What do you have to say about the much-hyped cold war between you and Neeru Bajwa?
I don't know where such stories erupted from. Yes, we worked together on Kareena Kareena where she did a special appearance and we worked like professional actors. There was no such thing as a cold fight and we had no problem with each other. In fact, I admire Neeru for her body of work. She has done some amazing films.
Not much is known about your marital status. Are you single?
I know, ever since I started spending most of my time in Canada, people assumed that I've got married and shifted there. But I would like to clear the air by saying that I am very much single. I am not going to hide my marriage whenever it will happen.
So what are your future projects?
I am already shooting for Naukar Vahuti Da which will release on 23 August. Besides that, there is my own production venture. Talks are on for some other films as well. This time my fans will surely get to see more of me, be it in Punjabi or Hindi Films.
(While we were talking to her, Smeep Kang came in and said, "I have been requesting her to work more, When I approached her with this offer, I thought she will refuse it but she was kind enough to accept the film. I would love to work with her again).
On that note, we hope to see more of her on the silver screen.