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Chaman - The First Released Punjabi Movie Of Independent India!

By: Harleen Kaur | May 19, 2021

In the era of 40s, when the entire Indian history was taking a giant leap, the Lollywood what we today know as Pollywood too wasn’t untouched of it. The night of 1947’s 14-15 August changed everything forever in this Indian subcontinent. two separate nations were carved out of Indian landmass which ultimately left millions of lives across clueless about their fate.

Similar to those, Lollywood family too was dubious about the fate of the industry. Soon all their apprehensions came alive when millions left the industry for good. This event did not just take away the harmony and unity of people but it also snatched away the life from the budding Punjabi film industry of Lahore. As a result, the industry came to an absolute halt.

The movies which were in the release pipeline got shunted due to an unexpected change of events. However, amid this turbulence, there was one movie that managed to survive despite all odds. That movie was ‘Chaman.’

Yes, ‘Chaman’ was the first released Punjabi movie of independent India. This movie was released in theatres on 6th August 1948, almost 12 months after partition. But the astonishing thing is that the premiere of the film took place in Lahore’s Ratan Cinema, not in India. Whereas the Bombay and Amritsar premiere of Chaman took place in October and November, respectively.

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Nevertheless, despite getting a theatrical release, ‘Chaman’ failed to do well at the box office. That’s because the majority of the Punjabi movie audience was left behind in Lahore. The partition ultimately created an ironic situation for the entire film industry as most of the artists migrated to India, whereas the majority of the Punjabi moviegoers were on the Pakistani side.

The consequence of this ironic situation came upon other movies too, which were released after ‘Chaman’ and Punjabi cinema took almost two more decades to get back on track!

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