Despite recent drop in Kashmir’s tourist footfall after the Pulwama attack on February 14, popular tourist hubs across the valley continue to be popular destinations for Bollywood to shoot their films.
With Tulip and almond bloom expected during end of this month, a considerable increase in permissions being sought for film shoots is being witnessed.
Director, Tourism Kashmir, Nisar Ahmad Wani told Greater Kashmir that both feature film-makers and short film producers are seeking permission for film shoots here. “Tulip garden is a major attraction for film crews and we are receiving requests for film shoots of different types,” said Wani.
Javed Ahmad Bakshi, director, SKICC, who recently represented Jammu and Kashmir as the “partner state” at country’s largest media and entertainment event, ‘FICCI Frames’ in Mumbai told Greater Kashmir that Bollywood and even television industry is upbeat about the Valley.
“We interacted with a lot of filmmakers and television personalities during the event who expressed their love for the Valley. J&K being the partner state for the event was a value addition to promotion of Valley and we hope we can have an improved footfall this summer,” Bakshi said.
Film producers and actors who recently visited the Valley cherished their experiences saying they would be keen to visit the Valley again. Actress Divya Dutta who has been seen in many Bollywood and Punjabi films said her shooting in Kashmir for Bollywood film “Gul Makai”, based on the young Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Malala Yousafzai, was when she had the best time shooting. Earlier also Dutta has shot for a film in the valley with singer and songwriter Gurdas Mann .
“With people being absolutely supportive and warm towards everyone, it is fun being in Kashmir. If things are so nice in Kashmir, I would like to request people to show this positive side of the place and encourage people to visit Kashmir. The negative reporting scares people while the situation may not be as bad.” said Dutta.
Producer of film “Hamid”, Siddharth Anand Kumar says Kashmir plays a vital role in the script of the movie. “The film is a tale of empathy as thematic which is essential for human being especially in our troubled times. The message of the film is very relevant.”
Kumar said his soon to be released film Hamid has a relevant message for everyone in the valley and outside.
Actress Feryna Wazheir who shot for ‘Sadiyaan’, that was the first film to be shot in Kashmir after a long time when the shootings of films in the Valley had stopped for many years said their crew shot at many locations in Kashmir adding that local people were warm and helpful to the whole cast and crew.
According to a tourism department official, more than 15 movies and advertisements were shot in Kashmir over last two years. Salman Khan has shot his movie Bajrangi Bhaijan in Kashmir earlier. Last year, an ad shoot for ICC World cup shooting schedule was also completed in Kashmir. John Abraham starrer ‘RAW’, Manmarziyaan which featured Abhishek Bachan were also shot in the Valley. A number of films have been shot in the state over the past year alone, including Neeraj Pandey’s Aiyaary (starring Sidharth Malhotra, Manoj Bajpayee, and Rakul Preet Singh), Meghna Gulzar’s Raazi (with Alia Bhatt and Vicky Kaushal in the lead), to Divya Dutta-starrer Gul Makai (based on the young Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Malala Yousafzai), to Imtiaz Ali’s brother Sajid Ali’s Laila Majnu, with newcomers Avinash Tiwary and Deepthi.