Although Bollywood filmmakers are now exploring the length and breadth of India in their films, nothing can replace their love for Kashmir. Their romance with the Valley — as seen in films such as Janwar (1965), Bobby (1973), SilSila (1981), Dil Se (1998), 3 Idiots (2009), Rockstar (2011), Highway (2014) and Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani (2013) — is going strong, with several upcoming films being shot in Kashmir’s picturesque locales.
n a year, the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism gives approval for about 30-40 films to be shot in the state. Mahmood Ahmad Shah, Director Tourism, believes that even a small film becomes big if shot in the Valley. “Whatever you shoot on the camera, it doesn’t need photo correction. That’s the beauty of Kashmir. Also you don’t have to travel much as locations are nearby. In the 60s, 70s and 80s, the films were shot in the hotel and the adjacent garden only as the whole state is beautiful... Romance is back in Kashmir, as we are making sure that we give permission to only those films that show Kashmir in positive light,” he says.
Khawar Jamsheed, brother-in-law of Sajid, adds that Kashmir is a sought-after location in all seasons. “It is the most versatile location... There’s greenery, mountains, snow and river, everything at one place. Ask him how the unit manages to shoot when there is unrest in the state? “We try and make sure that everyone is safe and then take them to a different location,” adds Jamsheed.
Meghna Gulzar’s next starring Alia Bhatt and Vicky Kaushal, Neeraj Pandey’s Aiyaary featuring Sidharth Malhotra, Sushant Singh Rajput-starrer Romeo Akbar Walter and Ashwin Kumar’s Noor, all have Kashmir in the backdrop. Karan Johar’s upcoming movie, the sequel to Student Of The Year, will also be filmed there. Meanwhile, Arya Babbar just finished shooting for his upcoming film and sometime back, Tiger Shroff shot there. At the moment, Sajid Ali, brother of Imtiaz Ali, is shooting his romantic drama in the state.
While unrest in Kashmir does stall film shooting at times, the incidents haven’t demotivated filmmakers. Sonmarg, Pahalgam, Gulmarg and Srinagar are the most-sought after shoot locations there.
“Kashmir’s stunning beauty never ceases to appeal to filmmakers. Also, its people are warm and friendly, and that makes shooting easier,” says film critic Taran Adarsh.
At times, the script of the film demands the location, says Vicky Kaushal. The actor shot for an ad in Kashmir last year, and loved the experience. “I was there for just a couple of days and had a wonderful time. The ad required a location like that,” he says.