Bol­ly­wood re­turns to the val­ley

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - Live - - Front Page - Idrees Bukhti­yar

K ash­mir and Bol­ly­wood have al­ways shared a spe­cial re­la­tion­ship, with films such as Jun­glee (1961), Bobby (1973), Kab­hie Kab­hie (1976), and more re­cently, Rock­star (2011), High­way and Haider (both 2014) con­sis­tently shot in the val­ley over the years. This year, too, will see films with Kash­mir as the back­drop, as film­mak­ers con­tinue to flock to the state for recce and shoots.

A lot of up­com­ing films have also been shot over the past year in the val­ley, from film­maker Neeraj Pandey’s Aiyaary, Meghna Gulzar’s Raazi, to Divya Dutta-star­rer Gul Makai (based on the young Pak­istani ac­tivist and No­bel Peace Prize-win­ner Malala Yousafzai), and film­maker Sa­jid Ali’s Laila Ma­jnu.

Ac­tor Sid­harth Mal­ho­tra says, “We have shot widely in Kash­mir (for Aiyaary), and I haven’t wit­nessed any­thing neg­a­tive. The armed forces un­der­stand that they need to send a pos­i­tive mes­sage to the peo­ple by al­low­ing a film to be shot there.”

And in­deed, nei­ther the au­thor­i­ties, nor Bol­ly­wood is back­ing out of shoot­ing films in

the trou­bled state. Film­maker Vidhu Vinod Cho­pra plans to shoot his up­com­ing film, based on the plight of the Kash­miri Pan­dit com­mu­nity, in the state. Singer Nakash Aziz and ac­tor Shiv Pan­dit will shoot a love track at Gul­marg. Ac­tor Ran­jha Vikram Singh, too, has been shoot­ing for a film at the hill sta­tion, Sona­marg.

Kabir Khan, who has shot Ba­jrangi Bhai­jaan and Phan­tom (2015) in Kash­mir says he will gladly re­turn to the val­ley if a fu­ture script de­mands so. He says, “We got over­whelm­ing sup­port from lo­cals, the tourism in­dus­try, se­cu­rity forces, and ho­tel peo­ple. We were also given per­mis­sion to shoot wher­ever we wanted to.”

The man re­spon­si­ble for most of it — line pro­ducer for Bol­ly­wood films in Kash­mir, Khawar Jamsheed, says, “We help them get per­mis­sions, se­cure lodg­ing, lo­ca­tions, and equip­ment. We try to give the best fa­cil­i­ties avail­able to us. Even the charges for shoot­ing are very low.” He goes on to note, “Bol­ly­wood has again started mak­ing in­roads into the val­ley, which is a pos­i­tive sign. It will def­i­nitely pro­vide an im­pe­tus to the Kash­mir tourism sec­tor,” he notes.

From top : Manoj Ba­j­payee and Sid­harth Mal­ho­tra in Aiyaary, which has been shot in Kash­mir; Divya Dutta with the crew of the film Gul Makai; Alia Bhatt on her Raazi sched­ule, in Kash­mir

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