‘Tunka Tunka’, ‘Batch 2013’ fame actor Hardeep Grewal says OTTs bring about balance in regional entertainment world


Quitting his job as an engineering lecturer, Hardeep Grewal chose to explore his singing talent in the Punjabi music industry. His debut album ‘Thokar’ became a huge hit in 2015 and opened new doors for him as a singer, lyricist, and actor in Pollywood.


Hardeep hails from Jamalpur village in Punjab’s Ludhiana district and is presently settled in Mohali.


Hardeep comes from an agrarian household. His father Satinder Pal Singh is a farmer while mother Manjit Kaur is a homemaker. His younger brother Bobby Grewal, who is a fitness coach and an instrumental part of his journey, is settled in the United States of America.


Hardeep completed his secondary and senior secondary schooling at Sacred Heart Convent School, Jamalpur, in Ludhiana. He later graduated in mechanical engineering from the Regional Institute of Management and Technology (RIMT), located in Mandi Gobindgarh town of Fatehgarh Sahib district. For post-graduation, he joined Ramgarhia Institute of Engineering and Technology in Phagwara and studied production engineering. After completing his education, he started working as an assistant lecturer at a regional engineering college. However, soon after, he quit his job as his heart pushed him to chase his interest in singing.


During schooldays. I started singing on stage when I was in sixth grade and never stopped after that. My passion for music kept growing as I participated in college fests later. As far as writing is concerned, I started penning down my thoughts during classes 11 and 12. However, I never felt confident about my writing skill. It was only after the release of my first album that I started trusting the magic of my words a little more.


I am a big fan of Bollywood songs of the ’90s. Kumar Sanu and Sonu Nigam are still my favourites. Talking about Punjabi music, I prefer listening to the songs of the same era. The works of Punjabi folk singer Manmohan Waris intrigue me to the core.


I have always loved watching movies. Genres of all kinds. Growing up, I consumed a lot of Bollywood content, and now with the emergence of OTTs, I am able to stream global cinema at my fingertips.


I began my journey in the entertainment industry as a singer and lyricist in 2015 when I launched my debut album ‘Thokar’. Further, I delivered three more albums – ‘Taare’ (2016), ‘Bulandiyan’ (2018), and ‘Unstoppable’ (2019). I have also released a wide range of singles including ‘Jindarriye,’ ‘Mashhoor,’ ‘Hook n Crook,’ and ‘Yes You Can’, among many others. In 2021, I plunged into acting and released my first film ‘Tunka Tunka,’ followed by another titled ‘Batch 2013’ in 2022. While ‘Tunka Tunka’ is already available on Chaupal OTT app, ‘Batch 2013’ will hit the platform on December 24.


Until the outbreak of Covid-19, cinemas were running successfully. However, there were no exclusive platforms to release regional films. The pandemic forced regional viewers to shift to OTTs, which supported the industry in the most difficult times. I think balance is the law of nature and OTTs are here to maintain that balance in the world of entertainment. Now, quality content can even be watched in the comfort of homes and there is scope for more experimentation in filmmaking. With the coming of Chaupal OTT, Pollywood artists and content have got a big boost and there has been an overall positive impact on the regional film business.


I am working on a few films, which are conceptually quite different from the previous ones I made. They are in the pre-production phase right now so I will talk more about them when the time comes.


Miraculously, my first album ‘Thokar’ was an overnight hit that changed the entire game for me. I hadn’t expected the kind of response I got from the viewers. In no time, people got connected with me and the relationship continues till date. The same thing happened when my first film ‘Tunka Tunka’ was released. It was the first Punjabi feature film to hit the theatres after the pandemic and the response or the recognition it got during that difficult phase was overwhelming for me.


As a creative person or an artist, I don’t work keeping a target in mind. For me, it’s all about the process and I focus on enjoying the creative journey that I’m onto. And that’s perhaps the secret of what keeps me going.


Talking about regional cinema-goers, I have observed that people prefer watching Hollywood films first, followed by South and Hindi movies. Punjabi films are the last choice in the range of options. This shows that artists and filmmakers really need to work on the content and its quality. For the national audience to recognize our talent, we must first garner appreciation from the local audience. This can happen only if we focus on the commercial part of filmmaking a little less than the creative part.


When you are a newbie in the industry, you are highly energetic to make things happen. But once you get recognition and fame, your real struggle begins. It’s quite a challenge to maintain the same status or success, so to speak. Even though ‘Tunka Tunka’ came out after a long period of struggle and risks, it did fine. So, the take here is that nobody likes challenges but there is no growth without them.


Music is a part and parcel of my life, and I will keep creating more of it. As far as acting is concerned, I will not take up projects for the sake of it. I will try my best to do something different as the industry can only survive on quality content today.


Honestly, I was not very focused in this regard till 2015. The first time I took fitness seriously was when my first album was in the making. I had to train hard to build an athletic body. Since then, I have prioritized taking care of my health and body over any other thing. It’s sad how we run after materialistic things and treat our bodies as dustbins. As a part of my fitness routine, I eat a clean and healthy diet and work out in the gym for two hours every day.


Stay natural. Don’t force yourself to act. A camera’s eye is sharp and captures everything. The more natural you remain, the better you perform.


‘Thokar’ – my first album. It changed the course of my life in the most unexpected ways. Besides, it is special because it is a source of inspiration for youngsters preparing for civil, administrative, or police service examinations. ‘Thokar’ will always be an instrumental part of my journey.


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