Long ago, Kashmir was the Indian filmmaker’s choice for snow clad peaks and shoots apart from Himachal Pradesh. The strife and unrest in Kashmir then led to filmmakers seeking snowier pastures as they moved to the Alps in Switzerland.
Now after last year’s unrest in the northernmost state of India, there was a lull again as filmmakers who had opted to shoot again in Kashmir were again looking at other options. Not long ago, films like Haider, Fitoor, Rockstar, Yahaan, Tahaan, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, a song from Student of The Year, portions of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and Lamhaa were some of the films picturised in Kashmir.
But now with things looking better, more film crews from Bollywood have been filming in Kashmir.
Jalebi, bankrolled by Vishesh Films and Mukesh Bhatt sees Rhea Chakraborty, Digangana Suryavanshi, Varun Mitra sees Mahesh Bhatt shepherding the film directed by Pushpdeep Bhardwaj. Bhatt and crew have been filming in Kashmir silently.
Mahesh Bhatt’s daughter Alia Bhatt has just returned from Kashmir shooting in the state for Raazi, based on the novel Calling Sehmat.
Alia and director Meghna Gulzar loved the experience there. “Kashmir is a beautiful place to shoot and the weather is also very pleasant there. And because you had no network here, all you had to do was look at the mountains and it was lovely,” says Alia.
The film making more noise in Kashmir thanks to the lead actor Salman Khan is Race 3, whose scenes are being shot in various locales in the state. Funded by Ramesh Taurani and directed by Remo D Souza, this schedule of Race 3 also has Jacqueline Fernandez romancing Salman Khan. Jacqueline has been constantly posting pictures on her social media accounts on how she enjoys the shoot there. For Meghna Gulzar it was more of a homecoming. “She was born there and spent a lot of time as a child there,” says Gulzar about Bosky (Meghna’s nickname). “It was great going back there because I grew up there and the connect is inexplicable,” says Meghna.
Meanwhile the Race 3 team also finished their schedule on Friday.
“There are a lot of facilities and subsidies that the Kashmir government is now offering which is also helping filmmakers shoot there,” explains a trade source. Be it facilities, subsidies or administrative issues, Kashmir has now become heaven on earth again for Bollywood.