Spearheading the growth of Punjabi cinema, Omjee Group based in Jalandhar began its journey in 2008 from the time when it was a 10 film release industry in a year. “Cut to 2019, the industry boomed to over 50 film releases annually,” says Munish Sahni, owner of Omjee Group, one of the largest production houses and distributors of Punjabi films in India and the NRI markets. Known for distributing films like Angrej that marked a milestone in the Punjabi film industry, to producing Harjeeta, the film that went on to bag an award at the 66th National Film Awards in 2019 breaking a four-year jinx of Punjabi language films winning National Awards.
“I think what really drives any film market is content,” says Munish who took over the group from his father, Late Om Prakash Sahni. He adds, “And we have ensured that we give good content to our audiences. One of the elements for good content is the association film producers share with credible people in the industry. Right from Amrinder Gill, with whom we collaborate for our films, to Gippy Grewal, Tarsem Jassar, Parmish Verma putting their weight behind our projects, we have sought associations that will elevate the level of Punjabi films.”
Omjee Group is credited with having produced and distributed some of the highest-grossing films of Punjabi. These include ‘Nikka Zaildar’, ‘Lahoriye’, ‘Angrej’, ‘Bambukat’, ‘Naughty Jatts’, ‘Mr. & Mrs.420’, ‘Chal Mera Putt’, ‘Ardaas’, and ‘Ardas Karaan’. The group has also taken the initiative of taking Punjabi films to non-Punjabi and staunch Hindi speaking belts. “Like I said, if you are making good content, you have the confidence that audiences will watch it irrespective of language. Who could have imagined that a Punjabi film, Sajjan Singh Rangroot will release in Russia? But we did that too,” he says.
Munish adds that in 2021 the group has a kitty of 40 films ready to release.