Ready to be silver-screened!
After 30 years of lying low, the Valley is yet again ready to revive its romance with cinema!
by Mareaya Fayaz
THE stunning scenery of Jammu and Kashmir – dotted with meadows, valleys, high altitude passes, dense forests of pine and conifer, lakes, apple orchards, and snow-capped peaks of the Pir Panjal Ranges – makes it the ideal location for filming. It is, therefore, no surprise that it is in such high demand.
Film tourism in Jammu and Kashmir continues to be quite popular. Several films have been filmed in this beautiful Valley. Not only does cinema stand to benefit from the locales in Kashmir; filming here also increases the awareness about the Valley among tourists and
J&K always did and continues to draw filmmakers from all over India and the world.
Always a cinematic delight
Filmmakers, producers, directors and actors have always been attracted to Kashmir. Broadly speaking, Bollywood’s obsession with Kashmir began with Raj Kapoor's 1949 film ‘Barsaat’ which presented the Valley’s beauty to a wide audience. Thereafter, the Valley became the favoured spot for Bollywood producers.
In the 1960s, Jammu and Kashmir was the setting for a number of hit films including
‘Himalaya Ki God Mein’, ‘Jab Jab Phool Khile’, ‘Kashmiri Ki Kali’ and ‘Jaanwar’. The pristine
alpine setting not only significantly aided in these films’ accomplishment, but also raised
Kashmir’s standing as a filming site. Later, in the 1980s, came the film ‘Betaab’ where
a brawny Sunny Deol courted Amrita Singh, the hapless heroine across the Valley. The spot where it was shot – once known as Hagan Valley – was renamed Betaab Valley as a result of the success of the film and the setting.
Similarly, a hut was nicknamed ‘Bobby Hut’ after several moments from the 1973 film ‘Bobby’ – another well-known film – were filmed here. The cinema of the 1970s and 1980s celebrated Jammu & Kashmir and also drew interest from both foreign filmmakers. The Kashmir Valley served as the backdrop for two worldwide films – The Razor’s Edge (1983) and The Climb (1986). Folklore claims that up until the 1980s, Kashmir was a popular location for filming, but there was a void after the insurgency began.
Boom after the break
With peace returning to the Valley in the recent months, hundreds of requests from producers to shoot their films here have returned. This kind of interest has come after a 30-year break with just a few exceptions. By making Jammu and Kashmir
the most sought-after location for the entertainment industry and recovering the region’s
former glory as a cinematographer's paradise, the present film policy seeks to maximise the potential of talented locals and offer employment possibilities for people.
Bollywood began to actively return to Kashmir in 2022. For his film ‘Ground Zero’, Emraan Hashmi shot at Humhama BSF camp, Pantha Chowk, and Laripora village in Pahalgam, south Kashmir. Last year, the Sam Bahadur star Vicky Kaushal shot in Kashmir.
And now, after receiving permission from the UT administration, the ‘Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani’ crew, led by director Karan Johar, has arrived at a renowned ski resort of Gulmarg to begin filming one of the movies songs. The return of megastar Shah Rukh Khan and his crew to Kashmir to film Rajkumar Hiranis ‘Dunki’ has once again shown Kashmir’s
Fans and the local tourism business are excited. It's encouraging to see this again. The Valley has always been a paradise, and with the reopening of cinematic tourism, the future seems bright. Let us hope that this positive momentum continues and Kashmir becomes a beacon of hope and prosperity for its people.
G-20 and tourism
In Srinagar, the G-20 summit is hugely centred around tourism. This event will exhibit Jammu and Kashmir as a global tourism destination. Tourism is to be projected to help regional economic growth during the G-20 event. It may also boost investment in the area.
Amir Manzoor, a tourist agent says: “The G-20 summit and the advent of the film industry will benefit us in a number of ways. Kashmir will see a new surge in tourists as Bollywood will obviously portray a bright image of the Valley. The economy of all the stakeholders associated with the industry will grow. And then, a tarnished image of Kashmir can be erased which will make our region a global hub for tourism in the coming years. Our
hospitality is famous all over and we should take advantage of that to embrace the new boom in Bollywood tourism in Kashmir”. Dr. Rafi, a research scholar studying tourism and
travel management, says “Bollywood tourism was long overdue since the footfall in Kashmir was not up to the mark in the past years. Recent visits by top notch superstars and directors will open the floodgates of domestic tourism. It’s heartening to
see Kashmir return to the Bollywood scape after a vicious three decade period of dullness and dread”.