A video featuring a couple of Punjabi women enjoying the Punjabi boli 'Saunkan Saunkane' sung by their two friends went viral and soon it was all over on social media. One of the women who is singing in the video is Gick Grewal, who was there in the original version too. The Punjabi boli went viral in a big way and soon we saw many including Punjabi celebs lip syncing to this song, which was really funny. In fact, many social media users came out with their own version of this boli, including some male versions too. Tik Tok users are also getting good attention with Saunkan videos.
But unfortunately, no one is talking about the original which must be given its due credit. So here we go..
Back then, Cinema and Doordarshan were two major sources of entertainment. VCR had just arrived like an NRI cousin, and one by one variety of dishes(video cassettes) used to be stuffed into its mouth for entertainment purpose. Old movies got a new lease of life with video format but there was not enough Punjabi material for family viewing. T Series's Laal Dupatta Malmal Ka (video film) audios were selling like hotcakes and its video cassettes were also preferred over popular Hindi films which released theatrically. So a number of tele films got made for video format only. Around the same time, some Punjabi telefilms and musical shows also were made for video format but the biggest success story was Giddha Pao Kudiyo-A Dhanoa Production with Harbux Latta as Director.
Harbux Latta had worked in every creative field, be it films, TV or theatre. He had directed Punjabi films, Punjabi and Hindi serials and a couple of musical plays. He discussed the video film based on folk dances with Palco Videos (Pal Videos) Head but he did not like the idea. But he did agree to buy the rights because of Latta's work experience in the field.
Dolly Malkiat recalls, "It was being said that Gidha is a dance of non-dancers and nobody will be interested to see a Gidha in video format."
But Gidha Pao Kudiyo proved everyone who dismissed it wrong. It was one of the most selling non-film VHS in the History of non-film videos. There was a huge demand for its VHS and it had record-breaking sales.
They did not use regular Punjabi Boliyan, instead, they came out with some rare, unknown and almost forgotten folk songs for the video album. This fun form of Punjabi boli is called Tamasha Boli. Other than Tamasha Boli Saukan Saunkane, the video album got famous for some other boliyan too such as Aithe Laddu Rakh Bibi, Kaane Nu Teri Maa Karugi, etc.
Born in Indonesia, Dolly spent her early childhood there. When she came back to India with her parents, she was clueless about her Punjabi culture. Since she was not having friends of her age, she used to spend most of her time in the company of senior household women. She learned a lot of folk and traditional songs from old women.
Dolly says, "I remember all the folk songs related to love, separation, birth or death, all by heart. I was active in cultural activities while studying at MCM DAV College, Chandigarh. Post studies, I joined the college as a dance coach and then actively continued as a freelancer dance coach in other colleges too. In between, I also got married."
Coming to Gidha Pao Kudiyo, she narrates, "Gidha Pao Kudiyo was the next big step. Most of the girls who participated were my students. There were few professional actors, as acting was also required. Most of the boliyan were written and recreated by me. I made sure to add less popular phrases of our Punjabi Folk. By the time we were to start the shoot, I was heavily pregnant. After writing and recording, my job was to choreograph the video. But a girl backed out at the last minute and I stepped in to fill her place.”
Was it not difficult to manage all the girls and dance along with them while choreographing the whole song during pregnancy?
“Not at all, I was always this happy go lucky person and Gidha Pao Kudiyo was great fun. In fact, the whole process worked as a stress buster for me," she said.
Gidha Pao Kudiyo turned out to be a big success. Sharing her excitement Dolly says, "It was surprising for all of us. After it came out, I went for some cultural shows in Canada and was surprised to know that every Punjabi household had a VHS of it. Then we came out with a few more volumes too.”
Soon, due to its popularity, Dolly got offers for ladies sangeet programs, though she kept saying no but her mother in law was very supportive and encouraged her to take up the offers. Dolly formed a musical group and since then has been doing ladies sangeet shows in and outside the country.
“I feel whatever I could achieve in my life, it’s thanks to that album and it’s nice to see Saunkan becoming a rage all over again. Though the original video on YouTube also made everyone nostalgic, " she concludes.
Apart from Dolly Malkiat, others too got fame from the video album such as Satwinder Bitti. Then famous singer, Suchet Bala was also associated with it. Gick Grewal (the other Saunkan who featured in original and recent viral video) too is a famous theatre personality who played Preity Zinta’s mother in Videsh and also acted in a couple of Punjabi Films.
Such was the success of this album that at Punjabi get together one would mostly see Punjabi household women singing these boliyan. Soon these boliyan were released as an audio album too.
A record selling video album is making waves even after three decades. Kujh ta khaas hoega na esch!