Bollywood comes home!

De­spite bet­ter trans­porta­tion, wel­com­ing coun­tries and im­prove­ment in bud­get, film­mak­ers to­day are shoot­ing more and more in­land. SHUBARNA MUKERJI SHU writes on the lit­eral change in the filmy scene

The Free Press Journal - - WEEKEND -

Pick some of the bet­ter films this month, be it Toi­let Ek Prem

Katha or Bareily Ki Barfi, Sniff,

Shubh Man­gal Saavd­haan and of course, Daddy, the films are tied to our land – to In­dia. Babu­moshai Ban­dook­baaz did as well as A Gen­tle­man, de­spite one hav­ing the dust and grime of In­dian in­te­ri­ors and the other swanky for­eign lo­cales. We have truly come a long way...

Re­mem­ber days when they passed off Long Leat, a coun­try house in Wilt­shire, Eng­land, as Gu­rukul school in

Mo­hab­batein. Ox­ford and Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ties were also used for film­ing the sup­posed In­dian fic­ti­tious school for boys. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was shot in Scot­land, es­pe­cially the songs which were sup­posed to be shot in In­dia as per the story.

Song pic­tur­i­sa­tions went from Am­ber­nath to Alps un­apolo­get­i­cally and yet to­day we have an ac­tor of the cal­i­bre and star power like Sal­man Khan shoot­ing only in the con­fines of our coun­try. In fact, Ba­jrangi Bhai­jaan passed off the sands of Ra­jasthan and the hills of Kash­mir as Pak­istan.

No more a fan­tasy land

For a long time, cinema was con­ceived as a route to es­cape the woes of life, for­get what’s hap­pen­ing in life and em­brace the fan­tasy. Let the char­ac­ters we watch be larger than life. If they are wrapped in tin-foil and float­ing amongst the clouds be­cause they are in love, so be it. Give us the fan­tasy, give us the pill to for­get. No more!

Films have no longer re­mained that fic­ti­tious place where any­thing can hap­pen, give us re­al­ity the harder the bet­ter, right Ph se Phan­tom? “Peo­ple who have watched my films are of­ten those who see it when time per­mits, not in the theatres but down­loaded ver­sion from the in­ter­net, these are peo­ple who want to re­late to what’s hap­pen­ing in the film. Who would much rather have the pill for re­al­ity than es­cape into some myth­i­cal world,” claims Anurag Kashyap who has been one of the flag­bear­ers of the change in ge­og­ra­phy and in­ten­sity of the In­dian films.

Into the heart­land

“The real In­dia is in the vil­lages. They are the ones that make sto­ries hap­pen­ing. Be it the folk­lore or politics, it be­gins from there and some­times even ends there. The gamut of emo­tions that the vil­lages of In­dia can bring forth is phe­nom­e­nal. There is noth­ing that shocks them, but they can re­ally shock the ur­bane... just be­cause they speak in a di­alect that is not taught in school, does not make them back­ward. They are far more progressive than many me­trop­o­lises we have. So why not shift the Bollywood scene into the vil­lages? Why should we not delve into what’s hap­pen­ing there, when that’s the cen­tre of the whirlpool?” Ab­hishek Chaubey asks...Sure why not?

The afore­men­tioned, Kashyap’s brother was the one who ac­tu­ally pulled the mighty Sal­man Khan in the mid­dle of the In­dian heart­land with Da­bangg and Mr Khan is now stay­ing put. Sud­denly, we have Shah Rukh Khan who though prop­a­gated films like Swades and Chak DE, In­dia years ago, has fi­nally come to in­te­ri­ors de­spite his rag­ing NRI au­di­ence. So we have him in films like Chen­nai Ex­press and more re­cently Raees.

Desi boys at work

When sto­ries are open­ing up in the land­scapes of Leh Ladakh, the beaches of Goa and even the cul­tural soil of Luc­know (Ak­shay’s Jolly LLB 2 was shot here as well), why would we go Kaavaan kaavaan…. Any­place else, right Farhan? But is that the only rea­son why we are stick­ing to shoot­ing within the con­fines of our coun­try? Well no! “I re­mem­ber it was first Ayaan Mukerji who made Dharma Pro­duc­tions scrooge for lo­ca­tions in We got the bear­ings to­gether be­cause Ayaan re­fused to shift the film abroad. But it was an ex­pe­ri­ence we will al­ways re­mem­ber. I al­ways tell him jok­ingly it would have been eas­ier to shoot else­where…” quips Karan Jo­har, who is known to have the flare for larger than life, still drags the de­si­est of his films abroad for a lit­tle com­pany tour, be it Badri­nath Ki Dul­ha­nia or Ok Jaanu. Of course, for Jo­har an Ae Dil

Hai Mushkil could have never been made in In­dia, but he is just one part of Bollywood.

All oth­ers seem mighty pleased with the change of at­ti­tude In­dian states have de­vel­oped to­wards be­ing Bollywood lo­ca­tions. We might have wo­ken up late to the need for tourism but we are def­i­nitely putting the right foot for­ward now. For once, we have a lot of states agree­ing to pay in­de­pen­dent film­mak­ers some money for shoot­ing films in their states.

“If we spend two months in say a state like Luc­know or even Bhopal, the state is will­ing to pay film­mak­ers a tidy sum for fa­cil­i­tat­ing jobs and tourism in their state, why wouldn’t an in­de­pen­dent filmmaker grab onto that op­por­tu­nity,” asks the trade an­a­lysts who are root­ing heav­ily for films made in the In­dian heart­land, be­cause in it does help dis­tri­bu­tion they say. Hrithik Roshan wisely points out, “You know why world cinema works? Be­cause each of these Ira­nian films or Korean films are not re­mov­ing their film from the own coun­try and forc­ing it abroad for their NRI au­di­ence. If we stay true to our­selves, we will make bet­ter cinema.”

Shubh Man­gal Saavd­haan Ba­jrangi Bhai­jaan

Babu­moshai Ban­dook­baaz Mum­bai. Be­fore that lo­ca­tion hunt­ing for us was al­ways some gor­geous for­eign lo­cale, we had no idea how to go about the whole thing. We were to­tally clue­less.


Bareily Ki Barfi



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