Loins Of Punjab Presents

Manish Acharya’s Loins of Punjab Presents is freaking hilarious! After I missed the first screening at NYU’s First Run Film Festival (where the film won the award for Best Feature), I hounded Manish to show me his film. It just so happened that NYU held a marketplace for their graduating students. And that is where, at 2pm in the afternoon on a weekday, I finally watched this film, in a screening room of the basement of Tisch.

Loins of Punjab Presents (let’s just call it Loins for fun) is about a bunch of random characters who are thrown together over a weekend in New Jersey as they compete for the title of Desi Idol.

Who are these people? Well, there is the rich-bitch socialite, Mrs. Rrita Kapoor (Shabana Azmi) who is desperate to win, but even more desperate to show up her socialite competitor, Bubbles Sabharwal.

Ajay Naidu is Turbanotorious BDG, a quintessential angry young man who also happens to be a gay bhangra rapper. Oh and his partner in his act is also his life partner – an African-American-bhangra-rapping sidekick.

Josh Cohen (Michael Raimondi) is the token white guy in the competition (hey, Hollywood has token black guys and token international guys! We have truly arrived when Indian films have token white guys πŸ˜‰ ) who loves all things Indian, including his girlfriend Opama Menon (Ayesha Dharker), who loves the fact that he loves all things Indian.

There’s sugary-sweet Preeti Patel (Ishitta Sharma), who’s been ruled by her parents her whole life. The poor kid is surrounded not just by the overly controlling parents, but the entire clan of Patels, at least one of whom is constantly attached to Preeti. The true talent of the competition, she seems fated to win.

Sania Rahman (Seema Rahmani) is the good-looking ABCD wannabe-Bollywood-actress who can’t speak a word of Hindi. Ah well, she’s convinced she can just fake it.

And finally, the director takes on the role of Vikram Tejwani, the stats-addicted geek who’s job has been outsourced. The competition is his last chance to make enough money to give him some financial freedom.

Confused? Not at all. Manish manages to introduce the audience to a whole host of characters very effectively, each in his or her own element. For example, Turbanotorious BDG is introduced in a club as he does his own version of gansta rap as his family looks on, aghast at the cursing. Mrs. Rrita Kapoor is learning music from her guruji when she receives a call about how her rival Bubbles is one-upping her. Reaction? A severely-arched eyebrow and a furiously-churning brain. Preeti Patel and her parents are introduced in her counselor’s office as her parents plot her life for her. Despite the plethora of characters, I never really had to struggle to remember them since each one was introduced in a way that imprinted their key attributes in my mind.1
bokadeTake these characters, a slew of others including judges and random family members, put them in a confined space two days, shake vigorously and you get a cocktail of humor that is Loins. Oh wait! I forgot to mention one of the funniest characters, the event manager for the competition, the I’m-laughing-at-you-not-with-you Bokade (Jameel Khan). I mean look at him – an over-the-top choice that is perfect for the character who will have you rolling on the floor laughing!

There was so much to like about the film, but before I make this a dedicated rah-rah review, let me quickly hit a couple of things that I didn’t love. Sometimes it felt like there were snippets that were thrown in there just because – Preeti’s overweight, porn-watching kid-brother was “eh, whatever”, almost a been there done that, “haven’t we seen that character before?” moment. And some of the Idol contestants were a touch over the top and not that believable. However, these and a few other small cinematic things are minor quibbles in an otherwise really enjoyable film.

One of the things I loved about the movie was the instant association. You feel you know some of these people. You start laughing from minute one because you know what they are going to say and it is just the perfect thing for them to say! Part of feeling you know some of these people is the casting – it was close to ideal. And the acting was excellent – Shabana shines with her nuanced gestures, Ayesha Dharker nails her role as the tougher half of the in-love and idealistic couple, Seema Rahmani is sexy and touchingly sweet when she needs to be and Jameel Khan is… brilliant!

The first part of the film introduces you to all the characters and gets them into the hotel for the competition. The second half of the film is where things come together really nicely as the true characters are revealed. In the intro, Manish sets up each character in the way in which he wants you to see them. But is that who the person really is? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. The “Ahh, ice runs through her veins!” realization makes the characters much fuller, much more real.

This is a film that has stayed with me since I’ve seen it. Yes, there are some underlying messages of what it means to belong, but that’s not why it stayed with me. It stayed with me because the characters were so funny, so real and so endearing (slimy Bokade is now a favorite!) that any time I think of the movie, I smile.

Want more Loins lovin’? Watch the teaser!

  1. Apparently this film may be used to teach NYU grad students about how best to introduce multiple characters to the audience. 

  • First — thanks for enjoying the movie so much. It is always gratifying when the movie the entire cast and crew worked so hard to make finally finds a place in someone’s heart and mind. Do I souund sappy? Thankfully, the film isn’t as overly-sentimental as me. πŸ™‚

    A comment on “PreetiÒ€ℒs overweight, porn-watching kid-brother was Ò€œeh, whateverÒ€ Γ’β‚¬β€œ almost a been there done that, Ò€œhavenÒ€ℒt we seen that character before?Ò€ moment.” — there was a reason Preeti’s brother was included in the movie … but I feel that if I expound on it here, I may give away some of the climax. Maybe I’ll talk about this on the director’s commentary on the dvd. But it is good to know that the intended purpose didn’t necessarily hit the target. As a director, what doesn’t work sometimes teaches you more lessons that what does.

    Anyway … thanks againg for enjoying our film and spreading the word. Do visit us at http://www.loinsofpunjab.com … we’ll be updating the site regularly and putting out new content.

    Best wishes,

  • Manish – thanks for stopping by. You don’t sound sappy – I think given the amount of work that goes into making a movie, it makes total sense for you to be excited.

    Thanks for the feedback on that bit of the film. I am really looking forward to watching the film again and figuring out the reason for the piece. I love films where repeated viewing highlight new revelations.

    Good luck getting distribution so that more people can enjoy it!

  • GG

    Any idea if this movie will be screened in select theaters across the country?

  • Pradeep Sethi

    Look forward to watch the movie. When is it going to be launched on theaters?

    Is there a place to download the movie (legally, of-course)?

  • Hi GG and Pradeep!

    The movie is releasing in India on Sep 14. It is being released by PVR. In terms of US distribution, we are waiting for the right distributor. I think there is a good chance that it will release in October in the US.

    Downloads? Not yet. πŸ™‚


  • Suruchi

    Is the movie releasing in the UK as well?

  • Krish

    Do we have a weblink from where I can download the song – dhakinaki ???

  • Movie done without due diligence

    DESI IDOL Federally registered trademark of Universal Consultants Inc.
    check it out http://www.desiidol.us DESI IDOL Copyright And Trademark

    All information contained on this site is protected by Copyright. No
    information may be copied or reproduced without the express written
    consent of Universal Consultants Inc. DESI IDOL is a federally
    registered trademark of Universal Consultants Inc. …chech it out DESI
    IDOL currently working with partners across USA for the upcoming
    National Contest Goodluck

  • @ Suruchi – Manish is working on all non-Indian distribution deals. Hopefully soon. Or at a minimum, it will release on DVD.

    @ Krish – The trailer with the music is on YouTube. You currently can’t download the MP3. http://youtube.com/watch?v=JatjWt-_fDY

    @ Isha – interesting. Before you make sweeping statements, please do share *when exactly* the trademark was registered. The script for Loins was written a while ago, so… so much for that.

  • Shripriya

    Since 2004 registered early 2006

    check it out

  • GG

    Shripriya – trademark registration? πŸ™‚ Was I the only person who dismissed Isha’s comment as a spam for the desi idol website?

  • Thanks all for all the interest in the film. Glad you guys like it.

    About the trademark, I don’t think this is a ploy by Isha to have one visit the Desi Idol site. Universal Consultants filed for their trademark on Feb 13, 2004; it was published for opposition on June 28, 2005, and was approved on May 23, 2006. Our script predates them SUBSTANTIALLY. Our legal team took a look at their trademark registration before we went into production, and we are fine.

    Interestingly, DESI IDOL actually benefits from the movie and all the publicity it is getting. I am happy for them, as I love these contests. I wish them the best of luck … maybe they’ll invite me as a guest judge someday. πŸ™‚


  • Shiva

    Manish – I have heard so much about the movie that I am dying to watch it and it is still not here in the US. I am a movie buff and have visited all the Indian Stores in Columbus to see if they have a copy and none yet.

    I have seen the trailers and they are awesome. Great job dude. Do let me know if there is a plan for any screening in Columbus.

    I am sure Loins would be a commercial success. Great going and All the very best. Hope to see many more movies from your end.


  • Thanks Shiva!

    Will definitely let you know when Columbus is on the screening schedule.

  • GG

    Its playing at the South Asian Film Festival on November 17th in the Castro theater in San Francisco at 2pm.

  • Rupali

    I saw the trailer on a coverage of a film festival, the movie seems hilarious…cant wait to watch it. Have been recommending it to my friends in the US and India..and is there anyway of watching it here in Europe?

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  • Gaurav

    Saw Loins on Punjab a while ago when it was playing in Bombay. i thought it was an evil good film, especially considering the relatively small budget (which i think works out nicely considering the low budget nature of the Idol contest,)

    the film is hilarious and takes interesting shots at us as a people and our crab like nature. Kudos for getting Shabana Azmi in there, i am sure she didn’t do it for the money…

    I did have certain issues with the film, especially the number of characters that we meet and ditch (not a bad idea per se, to show the kind of people that are participating and their peculiarities) it would have tighter to get maybe two or three and then kept them running throughout instead of pop in once and out you go. But then it might end up in the Adam Sandler zeitgeist.

    Also, you could do a whole film on Ajay Naidu’s character.


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    the dvd of the film hasnt yet been released..so how do we get to see the movie now??
    i mean its outa the theatres now..and the dvd’s arnt out..and d movie isnt availabl on d net
    either..so what do we do??

  • Manish Acharya

    Hi all!

    We are in discussions about the DVD release right now and so it should be out by Aug-Sep. Will definitely let all readers of Tatvam know.

    Until thank .. thanks for the continued interest in the film.



    hey hey manish..ur in discussion about the dvd release by about august-september..
    but i am dying to see the movie since ages..
    i mean its been nearly a year since its outa the theatres..
    could u plz put up the movie on the net??

  • Manish Acharya

    Dear Sarvesh,

    The movie was released on Sep 21 2007 and so it has been about 8 months since release. Also, unlike Indian films which have a very small calendar timeframe for all exhibition windows, we are following the American model where the windows of exhibition (Payperview, satellite, home video, etc.) are exploited over a much longer time period. For example, the movie showed at a festival in Los Angeles last month and won the Audience Award for Best Feature. Since then, it has been invited to other festivals in Europe, after which it will be theatrically released in the US. So we are on track given our schedule, and see no reason to release the DVD yet.

    Also … movies on the net have not displayed strong earnings for producers yet, and so they are hesitant to put their movies there until all other windows are “closed.” I do believe that this will change in the years to come, and the net will become a large source of revenue for filmmakers, and movies will officially be released on the internet very soon after theatrical release.

    Hope that helps.

    Thanks though for your interest in the film. I am very happy to know that the movie has such strong friends. πŸ™‚



    you have a valid point there manish..
    but do you have no other advice for me rather than to wait till about september
    for the movie release?
    and 1 more thing i would like to point out..more then half of the people back here in india
    never knew about the movie only..when it came and when it went..so i am sory if i am offending you sir..but it was quite terrible marketting on your part..i mean such a splendidly hilarious movie deserved much much better..so perhaps a re-release wouldnt be a bad idea..lol

  • Manish Acharya

    No offense taken, Sarvesh.

    Actually the movie ran for 7 weeks in cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Banglaore, and only left the theaters because the twin juggernaut of OSO and Saawariya showed up. Also, our press clippings file (newspapers, magazines, reviews, etc.) during this time, even impressed Fox Searchlight execs, who I believe know a thing or two about marketing. Perhaps you might have seen the multiple half-hour specials on MTV and Channel V?

    Regardless, one can never market enough. Next time, we’ll make sure the other 500 million also hear about the film. πŸ™‚ Actually, marketing is so expensive that you can never do as much as you would like. Oh well.

    And yes … nothing else to say but wait until September. Hopefully the long wait will make the viewing even better.

    Once again, I thank you for being a friend of the film.


  • Gaurav


    dont know whereabouts you live but most people i know (in metros BOM,DEL,BGLR) have watched the movie and thought it was freaking hilarious.

    i think the movie did great and hopefully Manish does not get spoilt when he starts working with bigger budgets a la Nagesh Kuknoor.

    i had my issues with the film but at the end of the day it was a great effort. Will the DVD have additional scenes etc or a longer version?


  • Suruchi

    Well, people living abroad have still not been able to watch the movie. Manish, I’m sure you considered distributing it via the internet (like they did with The Blue Umbrella)- didn’t it work out?


    even i would love to watch the uncut uncensores version of the film…

  • Sarvesh

    hey gaurav..you mean to say that manish is currently working with nagesh kukunoor or any big budget films of the kind??

  • Gaurav


    No mate, i dont know what he is working on, i just hope whatever it is does not end up being something big budgeted and self indulgent.


    hey manish..i would like to know what are your upcoming films??




  • Sarvesh Agarwal

    Hey Manish,

    September has come.Now where are the DVD’s??

  • The movie is releasing in the US on Sep 12 in New York City. Will roll out nationwide in select cities in the US this Fall.

    Harsh, I assume/hope that UK will be the next “territory” for the film.

    Sarvesh, about DVDs … because of the theatrical release in the US, all DVD release plans have been put on hold until the end of the theatrical run. Hopefully that will result in more DVD viewers, not less. But one never really knows … πŸ™‚

    If you are in the NY/NJ area, please do come out (with your friends) for the movie on Opening Weekend (Sep 12-14). Theater information will be on the new and improved LOINS site: http://www.loinsofpunjab.com


    thanks for the quick reply manish. But Can I not find any Cd / dvd/ or any copies to buy online. Nothing at all.. This is quite weird. One year after the movie release , One cannot find anything online to buy.



  • Harsh – You cannot find anything online to buy because we haven’t released the rights yet. Whether it is weird or a smart business decision or something else is not anything I really want to comment on anymore. If interested in earlier thoughts on this, please scroll through my comments above.

    Thanks for your interest in the movie.


    Dear Manish.

    I did not mean to offend you. I am not in a position to question your judgement, or how to ditribute and release your film. I respect and appreciate you for making such a movie with a shallow budget. Directors like you and movies like yours are capable of putting India on the world map of Cinema . Otherwise, all other commercial movies are made to mint money and do not focus on quality.

    I fully understand that its a smart business decision to distribute it slowly than all at once. I would have done the same thing, if I were you. But it was my desperation to watch the movie , that my words seemed harsh.


    I thank you again for your quick replies. Cant wait it to release in Uk. Shall see it on my next vacation to India.



  • No worries Harsh, I am not offended. 99% of the time I am thankful that people care enough about the film to ask for the dvd, and are looking forward to seeing the film. . Perhaps 1% of the time, I get just a bit tired of explaining why the dvd isn’t out yet. πŸ™‚

    I am really looking forward to the movie releasing on DVD, as a lot more people will see it. At the same time, I understand the need of the financiers to maximize the return of the movie in different territories.

    Anyway, do tell all your US friends to go see the movie when it opens theatrically in their city. NYC is Sep 12 at the Quad and the ImaginAsian.


    Coolio, shall do that ( though i dont have many frnds in US) πŸ˜‰

    I wish to be a director too. My plans are to go back to India and join FTII for a course.I am right now working as a marketing mgr in UK. I have done theatre in my college in Delhi though.

    Must say, you are the first director, I have seen who responds so quickly.

    It is much appreciated.



  • Gaurav


    mate, are you ever making another film? whats cooking?

  • Harsh — Just happen to be on-line at the same time, and in-between meetings … but I am glad I can answer your questions in such a timely fashion.

    Gaurav — I am working on three different films right now. The first one should go into production early next year. I, unlike many others in this industry, prefer to not talk about my projects when I am making them. I actually enjoy the rumors that I read. For example, there was one about me doing a sci-film with Mithun Chakrabarti. πŸ™‚ When my movies are ready, I will be shouting from the rooftops about them. πŸ™‚

  • Gaurav


    well it seems were all online at the same time. What a wonderful world.

    Anyway, im producing an animated feature right now and i know exactly how you feel about talking before things are set.

    whatever it is that you do, LOP is going to be hard to top.


    PS. Mithunda Sci-Fi (you SURE you dont want to do that anyway)


    Yeah. even I would vouch for the mithun da story. aoouu.. πŸ™‚

    i would look forward to seeing LOP and then your next movie Manish.

    Best of Luck.



  • Rohit

    Manish – Last saw the movie when you brought it to San Francisco and thoroughly enjoyed it. Even moreso because I am friends with one of the actors (who still hasn’t seen the movie as of yet). Anyhow, I noted the upcoming shows you listed on September 12 at Quad and ImaginAsia, yet when I checked their respective websites and further called them, they displayed nothing on the former and had no knowledge of the upcoming shows when I spoke to them. I am attempting to buy tickets in advance and send them to my friend’s family so that they may attend. Please advise…

  • Sarvesh Agarwal

    what about your upcoming movies..??

  • Abhijit

    I have been hearing fabulous things about your movie (seems like this one is another path breaker after Flavors). I am very interested in buying the DVD (since there seems to be no other way of getting to watch your film) – can you point me in the right direction in this regard.

  • Gaurav


    An idea, why dont you set up a mailing list for people who want the DVD’s for Loins of Punjab? additionally if you have a timeline in your mind as to when it could be released (the dvd) you could offer them on pre-order on Amazon or elsewhere.


  • Ashish

    Hi Manish,

    I can’t tell you enough about how I’ve been dying to see the movie since what seems like ages now (my grey-er hair I’m sure would serve as proof ;).

    Is the film scheduled to release anytime soon on the West coast? If not, and at the risk of sounding repetititititive, when can we get our hands on the DVD?


  • Brhmtej

    Hi Manish,
    Congrats first of all for taking out such a wonderful movie, although I have not been able to see it yet. I have heard a lot of great things about ur movie and am since waiting for the uncut dvd to come out. As far as the above discussions go it seem ur taking the slow approach which is in a way very nice, but I would appreciate it very much if you could tell me the exact date of dvd release of ur movie. Wish u lots of luck for ur other projects and take care.

  • Sarvesh Agarwal

    Hey Manish,
    You told me that you would release the DVD by October..So when’s it releasing now?

  • neha

    I hv seen the movie only once wen it released in India n i cant wait to see it again…from where can i download the movie

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  • Paresh


    We’re waiting for the DVD to be released. Can you gve us definate timelines. We are already in December and its been a very long wait for all of us.


  • Hi Manish,
    The same question everyone is asking. It’s 2009 now and there is no sight (or news) of the DVD release of a movie which for me (and my friends) has become a collector’s item almost.
    Truth be told, I haven’t seen the movie. But I had bought tickets for the same and had to give it off to my friend’s sister because of the untimely demise of a colleague. And I am still in a ditch (the colleague is a sweet memory, the movie is a dream unfulfilled).
    I hope I haven’t irritated you with the oft repeated question.
    Thank you,

  • Gaurav


    Manish, this is for you specifically.

    I was talking to a friend last night and she mentioned that almost all of her friends in NYC had watched the film on DVD.

    So unless you have regionally released the DVD the bootlegs are out and about.


  • Bharath

    Hi Manish,
    I have not been able to watch this film in the US cause I live in a small university town. The only way to watch Indian movies is on DVD or by downloading bootlegs. I was wondering if there is any news about you releasing the DVD. I have seen the trailer and read about the movie all over and would love to watch this movie. Please so let us fans know about plans you have for the DVD.



  • Paurav

    Hi Manish,
    Don’t understand the delay in releasing the DVD. I personally watched it in NYC theater and thought it was fantastic, but lot of my friends and family want to watch it in NJ. Plus it is not playing in any of the theaters in NJ. Please update us.

  • amit

    Manish plz realz da dvd. m dyn 4 dat dvd. i saw dat movie at kalaghoda.n i dont wnt nly dvd i want a DH quality DVD. can i gv u ma no. jst let me mkn at once whn u ll realz da dvd plz rply

  • Savio

    Once every 6 months or so I google “Loins of Punjab on DVD” and it invariably brings me to this post πŸ™‚ I think it’s time I stop being a nice guy and look for the nearest download option!

    Manish, I am sure you’ve made a good movie and like many, I too am dying to see it thru legal means. But your producer’s reasoning behind not releasing the DVD is borderline delusional! Are you guys really selling out theatres with the staggered releases you have been having?
    Give it a rest with all the marketing strategy; and release it on DVD. Try and capture a little buzz on the DVD circuit while the movie is still a little fresh and topical.

  • Anurag Pandey


    I have been wanting to watch this movie for ages! But since I have been in Belgium for the last two years I have no access to this movie.

    Manish, Could you please update us about the plans for the DVD release? It’s high time!

  • Sorry I haven't been checking this blog for a while.

    And I feel like a broken record about the DVD … close friends of mine are giving me crap for not releasing the DVD. Now I feel it seems like a race between the DVD release and being Mr. Unpopular.

    So … when will this DVD release? The good news is that discussions are on, and deal memos are being exchanged. The bad news? No fixed date yet but by the end of the year for sure.

    Hope some of you still want to buy it when it comes out.

  • mol007

    For sure… heard and read great stuff about your film… we'll wait while you work it out with the suits…

  • parth2009

    Itne tarse ke pyaas hi na rahi..

    Forget it Manish. Too late. Take a few hundred years more, if you require, not interested anymore πŸ™

  • Manish Acharya

    mol007: Thanks. πŸ™‚

    parth2009: it is our loss. For the next film, we will try to be more timely.

  • anjani

    Hi Manish-

    I saw your film at the IFFLA festival in 2007?. I've been dying to get all my friends to see it as well as my non-Indian boyfriend. Particularly because I quote jokes from it and the reference is lost on everyone.

    Is there some sort of email alert I can get when it comes out on DVD? Every few months I think about it and check online, but thats kind of getting old..

  • Darshan

    HI.. MANISH…


  • divyendra

    hey manish..

    can tell u only one thing about the movie.. It is 'fantabulous'.!! u ve put in a great amount of effort and it shows.. inspite of being an amateur ur work is better than prominent directors.. had been to see ur film with my friends a couple of years back.. the time i was in blore.. was pursuing engg..since then i ve been wonderin here n there to see the film again.. but :(. would like to be a part of ut next project(if possible)

    Overall: One of the best movie i ever watched.. keep makin such films.. kinda off track.. it works!!! n u rock..great work.. kudos.!!! cheers..!!

    Divyendra Singh Chauhan

  • omakr

    Manish any signs of the DVD ???? Its jan now

  • Hi Manish,

    Dude i have been waiting like hell for this movie. I can probably find gold on the internet if i search for it but not “Loins of Punjab”. Dude, i hope i get to glue my eyes on this one before my eyes give up :-p

    Any appox date yet for the release?


  • himanshu4lions

    Hello Manish,

    I need lions of punjab as soon as possible, you are being infamous for not releasing it DVDs, I saw this movie in PVR in Bangalore when I couldn't get the tickets of other movies in the theater, but i believed in the movie and saw with my friends, everyone of us liked it, I have tried searching the DVD of this movie at every library in Bangalore and Hyderabad. Dont make us feel bitter about you….ab bahut ho gaya Manish….release kar do…lest we start loathing you…abhi k liye we love u 4 ur work nt 4 ur laziness or ur inefficiencies of not releasing d DVD…ur word of mouth publicity is at negative inclination now, do smthing gud 2 make ur audience happy….luv ur movie….

  • Savio

    After 2 years of waiting for this movie, I finally saw it on the the officially released DVD. Feel proud I did not cave in and watch it online πŸ™‚
    That was the good part. Now for the not so good part. Was this movie worth the wait? I'm disappointed to say NO. What is it with desi movies made in the US that inherently have a cheap, amateur feel to it? I can even live with bad lighting and color schemes(Shabana Azmi's flesh tone goes from blue to beige in a single scene!!) But with all the hype surrounding this movie even before release, I had taken it for granted that we would at least get a movie that was on par with low budget films that are now made in India. Compared to this, a “Bheja Fry” and “President is Coming” looks like Avatar in terms of production quality!!
    Sorry Manish, I am just disappointed having waited so long (see my earlier post too). You seemed to have got some really good actors involved – come to think of it, some amazing actors – but this this movie seems to be just a an excuse to cast yourself as an actor πŸ™