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What Success Of Jatt & Juliet 3 Tells Us About Punjabis In NZ

The phenomenon throws light on the cultural prominence of the Punjabi community in NZ

Diljit Dosanjh-starrer ‘Jatt & Juliet 3’ is blazing a trail in New Zealand. Nowhere else in the world has the Punjabi movie beaten the much-anticipated blockbuster ‘Kalki 2898AD’ at the box office.

The film that also stars stalwart Neeru Bajwa grossed $209,434 in its opening weekend in Aotearoa, much more than the $145,635 that Kalki grossed in the same time.

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This isn’t the first time a Punjabi movie is breaking the box office in The Land of the Long White Cloud. ‘Mastaney’, which hit theatres in August 2023, raked in even more in its opening weekend, $234,514.

The phenomenon throws light on the cultural prominence of the Punjabi community in New Zealand, highlighting their significant influence within the Indian diaspora. 

Pritesh Raniga of Forum Films, one of New Zealand’s biggest film distributors, says it has been an interesting year for Indian cinema.

“We see different genres of movies working at the box office. Big Bollywood movies like ‘Animal’, ‘Fighter’ and ‘Shaitaan’ have always worked. But it’s the power of a culture and strong fan following of Punjabi movies…showing support for regional cinema since it’s in their mother tongue…keeps the younger generation in touch with their language and culture.”

The Punjabi community in New Zealand, though a relatively small segment of the population, has made significant contributions to the country’s cultural tapestry. 

Punjabis began migrating to New Zealand in the early 20th century, initially drawn by opportunities in agriculture and labour. 

Over the decades, they have become an integral part of New Zealand’s multicultural society, excelling in various fields like business, education, and politics.

The success of Jatt & Juliet 3 is a testament to the strong cultural presence of Punjabis, who have maintained a close connection to their roots while embracing their Kiwi identity.

The recent global stardom of Diljit Dosanjh has also contributed significantly to the film’s success. He made history as the first Punjabi singer to feature on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," an appearance that catapulted him into the global spotlight. 

The achievement not only showcased Punjabi music and culture on an international platform but also solidified Dosanjh's status as a global icon. 

His performance on Fallon was widely celebrated, earning him new fans across the world and amplifying his influence far beyond traditional Punjabi audiences.

The success of Jatt & Juliet 3 over Kalki, a high-budget sci-fi thriller, has surprised many in the industry. Kalki had been expected to dominate box offices globally, with its futuristic storyline and star-studded cast. However, in New Zealand, the charm and relatability of Jatt & Juliet 3 has won the hearts of the audience, sparking discussions about the evolving tastes of moviegoers and the importance of cultural representation in mainstream media.

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