Recently, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed attended the MAMI (Mumbai academy of moving images) Film Festival in Mumbai, and reminded Bollywood about the picturesque locales available to them right in their own country. He requested Bollywood to shoot their more frequently, in order to allay the fears that still exists among several Indian tourists.
Mufti, who also holds the tourism portfolio, thanked Salman Khan and Shahrukh Khan for filming in the Valley, and promised a single-window clearance system to film crews, besides providing back-end support in procurement of high-tech equipment and logistics to make it shooting in Kashmir hassle-free for big-banner production houses.
Mufti said, “Overall violence in Kashmir, where an insurgency raged for more than two decades, has been on a decline in recent years and a few film-makers have already shot films in the Valley ever since. But there’s still a negative perception about travelling to Kashmir and its “one of the most difficult challenges” confronting us.” And the Jammu Kashmir CM wants Bollywood’s cooperation to help change that perception.
The good thing is that several Indian film-makers have started shooting in the valley.
Bollywood Ready for the Scenic Locations Once More
When it came to Indian films, Kashmir was always synonymous with romance. During the 60’s and 70’s the scenic valleys and picturesque locations of Kashmir were the preferred place for outdoor shoots, until the time the situation started becoming turbulent there.
Some of the most romantic films of the sixties have been shot in Kashmir, which is also known as the “heaven on earth”. Perhaps “Roja” was the only popular non-romantic film shot there, which reflected the turbulent times that had hit Kashmir.
There was a time when even films from south used to be shot at the various scenic locations of Kashmir. But now, after a long break, movies are being shot at Kashmir. Gradually film-makers, stars and crews are shooting at the scenic Kashmir region, to sing and dance in green meadows against the backdrop of snow-capped peaks.
Even big stars like Salman Khan are okay with shooting in Kashmir, Bollywood is no longer worried or stressed about working in the Valley, which should be great news for the people of Kashmir.
“Pahalgam was famous even before Betaab (Sunny Deol’s debut movie) was shot there but the tourists would only go to a particular point. After the movie, Betaab Valley was created and tourists now flock to see it.
Region Offers Better Economics
There’s no doubt that Kashmir offers some of the most stunning locations, some of which are as good as those found in Europe.
But what makes it even more enticing to filmmakers is the fact that it costs several times less to shoot here, than to shoot outside India.
No wonder, several production houses have this location in mind for their upcoming movies.
Even Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi echoed the need for Bollywood to return to Kashmir for the benefit of both. “I have to bring back Bollywood to Kashmir,” Modi told while addressing a rally. He added, “I have to bring back tourism to the state and I have to make Jammu and Kashmir the ultimate tourist destination in the world.”
Well, so far it has been a good going for Kashmir.
Recent / Upcoming Movies
Post the improvement in the ground situation in the Valley, films like Karan Johar’s Ye Jawaani Hai Deewani(2013), Haider, Karan Johar’s Student of the Year (2012), Yash Chopra’s Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012), Highway, Rockstar(2011), 7 Khoon Maaf (2011), Lamhaa(2010), Yahaan (2005), Mission Kashmir and few other films were shot in Kashmir.
Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider was shot at several locations in Kashmir including Sonamarg, Anantnag, Pahalgam and Dal Lake. The popular song ‘Tere Bina Zindagi Se Koi Shikwa Toh Nahi’ from the movie Aandhi was shot in Kashmir. It was shot at the same location where the song Bismil from Haider was filmed.
Salman Khan’s upcoming film ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’, directed by Kabir Khan, will also have several scenes that will be filmed in the picturesque Kashmir valley.
Popular Movies Shot in Kashmir
Director Imtiaz Ali’s ‘Highway’ was shot in this region recently, in some of the upper reaches of the Aru valley and at the snow-clad upper reaches of Chandanwadi. The only hitch while shooting here was that one had to trek for hours to capture the splendor of Kashmir. However, nobody was complaining during the shoot as it was a good workout for them. The director was also all praise for the police and civilians there, who have been quite helpful.
‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ by Yash Chopra was also partly shot on location in Kashmir (Srinagar, Pahalgam and Gulmarg). Locals were not really happy with the way Kashmir was projected during the period of turmoil; those movies were about militancy and most locals didn’t like it all. When Yash Chopra started shooting in Kashmir, the locals were quite happy and were hoping that the romantic theme (usually found in Yash Chopra’s movies) will help cast Kashmir in a better/rosier light.
Here we list some more popular Bollywood movies that were filmed in the Kashmir Valley.
Mission Kashmir (2000)
Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965)
Kashmir Ki Kali (1964)
Shammi Kapoor’s Affair with Kashmir
Guess who’s the most famous Bollywood celebrity in Kashmir? Well, it has to be the ‘yahoo’ star Shammi Kapoor, at least with the old-timers. For decades, Shammi Kapoor has been a household name in Kashmir.
Almost everybody will recall seeing Shammi sliding down the snow-capped mountains singing ‘Yahoo’ (in Junglee), and singing ‘Yeh chaand sa roshan chehra’ (Kashmir Ki Kali) on a shikara on Dal Lake.
The ever-green song ‘Yeh Chand Sa Roshan Chehra’ from Kashmir Ki Kali, where Shammi Kapoor woos sharmila Tagore.
A significant portion of all his blockbusters (‘Tumse Achha Kaun Hai’, ‘Andaz’, ‘Kashmir Ki Kali’, ‘Junglee’) were shot in the Valley.
‘Ye Chand Sa Roshan Chehra’ song from the movie Rockstar (Ranbir Kapoor & Nargis Fakhri) shot as a tribute to the original.
Popular Songs Filmed Here
Such is the charm of this place that several filmmakers come to this place only to film the songs. Besides, ‘Yeh chaand sa roshan chehra’ from Kashmir ki Kali, ‘Pukaarta chala hoon main mere sanam’ is yet another fabulous song filmed in Srinagar. (Both these songs were composed by O.P. Nayyar and sung by Mohd. Rafi)
‘Jiya Re’ from Jab Tak Hai Jaan is among the most recent songs to be shot in the heavenly valley of Pahalgam. ‘Madno’ (honey in Kashmiri language) from Lamhaa is another melodious song shot at Pari Mahal, Dal Lake. ‘Tum Ho’ from ‘Rockstar’ is another song showing the high snowy mountains and rough terrained roads of Kashmir.
“Yeh haseen Vaadiyaan” (from Roja) is perhaps the best song that’s not only melodious but also captures the scenic beauty of the valley and the mountains.
Jammu & Kashmir Government Invites Indian Filmmakers
The Government of Jammu & Kashmir is keen to have filmmakers shoot in this region. Few years back, they had set up a Film Tourism Promotion Committee to better promote the region as a filming location. For the filming of ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’, they provided timely permissions to the production team, and ensured all the help to make the shooting convenient and comfortable.
With an aim to promote tourism, Jammu and Kashmir government has set up a single window clearance system for granting permission within seven days of application for shooting Bollywood movies in the Valley.
The local Government knows the importance of promoting film tourism in the region, and the fact that more productions are filming in Kashmir is evidence that peace is returning to Kashmir. The state extends all support to film productions, including providing high-level security!
And that’s why Omar Abdullah vented his frustration when the creators of ‘Ye Jawani Hai Deewani’, despite shooting in Kashmir, gave the credits to Manali. Omar wrote: “It’s irritating when we roll out the red carpet and facilitate the shoot only to have people believe its Manali”
When the movie, produced by Karan Johar, was shot in the Valley (in 2013), Omar had visited Gulmarg in the dead of winter to host a dinner for the film crew. No wonder he’s unhappy! Omar says: “Those of you planning to visit Manali because of what you saw in YJHD should know except for the Temple and Span resort, it’s all Gulmarg”.