Surrey-based Punjabi film Work Weather Wife shortlisted for Academy Award

Director-producer Harpreet Sandhu is hoping his Surrey-based Punjabi film getting shortlisted for the upcoming Academy Awards will “raise the bar” for the Punjabi genre.

Work Weather Wife, which stars Sandhu in the lead role alongside Vancouver’s Reema Nagra, was released across Canada and the U.S. November 2014 and has since been shortlisted as one of 79 feature films in the upcoming Oscars category for best original song. It’s the only Canadian film on the list, Sandhu said.

Surrey-based Punjabi film Work Weather Wife shortlisted for Academy Award

“This means more doors will open,” Sandhu told Vancouver Desi. “It means that the bar rises in the Punjabi cinema.”

According to Sandhu, Work Weather Wife “is not a normal Punjabi feature film.”

The genre generally produces light-hearted films heavily focused on the wardrobe, song, dance and romance.

“Some love story, some comedy, you expect some songs and some loose story line and that’s it,” Sandhu explains.

But Work Weather Wife instead “raises very important issues,” Sandhu said, as it tackles the subject of honour killings.

The film follows the dysfunctional relationship of an immigrant couple, Vick and Dimple, who just moved to Surrey. Vick doesn’t pay much attention to Dimple, so she strays from the relationship and is unfaithful to her husband. According to Sandhu, real life stories like this in India often end in tragedy with honour killings, but in Work Weather Wife, the couple works through their issues.

“I’m trying to give an alternative,” he said. “It’s a big issue.

“It rises in the media and it disappears.

“It happens over and over, but nobody wants to talk about the issue, about the reasons behind it.”

As someone who was born and raised in India, it was an important storyline to tackle for Sandhu, rather than the mainstream films he’s accustomed to producing, especially in telling the story of Vick and Dimple with his first-ever Punjabi film production.

“Punjabi films lack realistic cinema,” he said. “It was important to raise the bar.”

The songs Moon and Long Braid from Work Weather Wife have been shortlisted for best original song from a feature film.  The Academy will announce the official nominations Thursday.


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