Rajeshwar Singh ‘Raju’
Dr. Baljeet Singh Raina is a well known name in all the three mediums of expression like Print, Audio and Visual Media. He has been a regular contributor as a poet, short story writer and a playwright for different magazines being published from the state as well outside the state, All India Radio and Doordarshan Kendras Srinagar, Jammu & Jallandhar in Hindi as well as Punjabi language for such a long time now.
As a punjabi short story writer, he has seven collections of short story books to his credit that include ikk jamma do manfi, ghar parat riha aadmi, mithi mithi chobh, ajeeb aadmi, jaayez najaayez, katha ajab desh di and sudhish pachauri ne keha si. In addition to short story writing, he has equally displayed his potential as a poet and has four collections of poems like jiyun layee, mainu iven hi piyar kar, teeji akkh de nan & mere eh shabd shakti ne. At the same time he has been a regular contributor as an established playwright with more than twelve plays to his credit that include nikke vadde raste, ujrhe – pujrhe, gumraah , ghar parivaar derani – jethani, manu di maar, jaadugar, pithbhoomi, vigyaapan, manzilan te raste, hot springs : 1959 , mera qasoor ki hai, etc. The majority of his written plays have been staged by prominent theatre groups of the region in and out of the state as well. He has also well acclaimed books like agnigeet ( 21 stories), halla-gaadi ( 21 stories ), panch-naat ( 5 full length plays ) and dogri translation of sudhish pachauri ne aakheya ha (translation from hindi ),hanere talchhat vich chamkeya ( hindi novel) to his credit. His literary works have been translated in different regional languages.
His commendable works in literature and electronic media have been duly recognized by different governmental as well as non governmental organizations. The major awards include best book award twice from j&k academy of art, culture & languages in 1991 and 2010 for ghar parat reha aadmi” & “sudhish pachauri ne kiha si”, modern literary scholar award from punjabi academy, wolverhampton, uk in 2002, best film director award in fiction from an ngo ” stap – jammu ” in 2005 and best playwright award from j&k academy of art, culture & languages in 2015 for the play “mera qasoor ki hai”. He has been chief editor of punjabi magazine: “aabru magazine” for the last 17 years.
Writing has been in his genes as his father S. Gurmukh Singh Raina is a well established Punjabi writer. Even his wife Surinder ‘Neer’ is also an accomplished writer in Punjabi language.
He is an eminent Director in electronic media with more than thirty Tele Films, numerous Short Films, Documentaries, Literary & Musical Programs for Doordarshan Kendra Jammu & Srinagar to his credit. He has also directed feature films like GULDASTA in Hindi, ZIDDI MAAHI in Punjabi and FUNTASIYAAN (Under production) in Hindi. FUNTASIYAAN has been his ambitious project in which he has himself played the lead role in addition to being Writer, Producer and Director.
In a conversation, he said that making films had been his dream since childhood. When he was studying in Calcutta, he got an opportunity to work in Bangla Film Industry as an Assistant Director at a very young age. Bangla Film Industry is well known for classical works thanks to world famous Directors of the likes of Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen etc. Here, he learned the basics of film making and got inspired to make films one day.
Honestly speaking, film making is not an easy job. It requires lot of funds and in a city like Jammu it is very tough to raise funds for the same and the response of spectators is also not a guarantee. It’s quite risky financially as the previous initiatives made in this direction have not given encouraging signs. Moreover, there is scarcity of talented young female actresses who may perform without any reservations. Whenever one has to work on any fiction, the lack of professional female actresses always poses a problem from creativity point of view as certain restrictions are imposed on writers that affects making. A creative writer wants full liberty to expand his vision so as to make it more appealing to all. When you draw limitations, creative works suffer.
Baljeet advocates that not only in temple city but our state has scarcity of good female artistes who may perform with all openness/boldly. He had to cast female artistes from Punjab and Delhi for bold roles in his feature film.
It is pertinent to add here that Baljeet Singh Raina is among those few ones who started film making in temple city. The problems at large didn’t demoralize him . Now all eyes are set to see of his ambitious project_ FUNTASYIAN, the post production work of which is in full flow and is expected to release this year.
Lastly, I will like to add here that it’s a fact that art, whatever form we may refer to survives and flourishes only owing to passionate devotees like Dr. Baljeet Singh Raina, who make it a mission to work with all dedication and devotion to satisfy their thirst for art and serve it with all honest approach. Let us hope that more producers/ Directors will come ahead, gain courage to cultivate work culture here, get adequate response from masses so that Film making becomes a regular feature in temple city.