Film shoots in Himachal to become easier
The government has made new rules to facilitate the process
Remember Dev Anand singing Tu kahaan yeh bataa iss nasheeli raat mein on the streets of Shimla?
From black and white films to new age romance Jab We Met, this picturesque hill town continues to be a backdrop for films. And shooting here has become all the more easy, thanks to Himachal Pradesh's new policy.
The government has introduced a single-window system to grant permission to film and TV serial makers to shoot in the region.
"To facilitate filmmakers, single-window clearance for shooting in various locales would be granted within three days. Earlier, the promoters had to seek permission from various departments and it was a lengthy procedure," Arun Kumar
Sharma, director of tourism, said.
He said the producers have to just submit a request, specifying the place and date of shooting. However, the promoters have to follow the usual conditions for shooting.
Indian filmmakers have typically loved scenic backgrounds and they spotted the serene locations of Himachal many years ago. And their all-time favourite has also been Manali in Kullu district. Recent releases like Govinda-starrer Naughty@40 was shot there and its suburbs in August last year; Akshay Kumar and Aishwarya Rai's Action Replay and Riya Sen-Vinay Pathak's Tere Mere Phere too captured the picturesque locales of the hill station.
"The hill state has always attracted big budget Bollywood film producers. Be it Subhash Ghai or Mani Ratnam or Rakesh Roshan, hundreds of films have been shot amidst the hills," Sharma said.
In the 1990's, Ghai's Saudagar, Ratnam's Roja and R.K. Banner's Heena were filmed in the state. Among the current lot, Imtiaz Ali shot parts of his hit romantic movie Jab We Met there; so did Raj Kumar Hirani-he shot sequences for 3 Idiots in Chail and Shimla.
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan spent time in the hills for Anil Sharma's Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyo and he also shot for Sujit Sircar's Shoe Bite there.
The town was captured in the reel in more than three dozen big banner films, including King Uncle, Yeh Dillagi, Badal, Gadar - Ek Prem Katha, LOC and Raju Chacha.
Sanjay Sood, a Shimla-based artiste who performed miniscule roles in 3 Idiots, Mein Aisa Hi Hoon and Kareeb, said Bollywood biggies have a fondness for the Queen of Hills.
"Not only Shimla's imperial grandeur of buildings but also its fairytale look has mesmerised the producers. The silvery moon lighting up the lush green mountains at night is a sight to behold," he said.
In 1960, R.K. Nayyar shot his black-and-white romantic musical hit Love in Shimla there. In fact, he fell in love with his heroine Sadhana while capturing the beauty of the place.
Another sought after spot is Woodville Palace Resorts, a heritage hotel in Shimla. "More than a dozen big budget Bollywood movies were filmed in the hotel. The latest in the series were 3 Idiots and Bachchan-starrer Black," owner Raj Kumar Uday Singh said.
3 Idiots was also shot at the Chail Palace, a Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation heritage hotel, and an official says the Aamir Khan blockbuster has popularised their property.
"3 Idiots has given a good mileage to the hotel. Now more and more tourists are visiting and they love to visit the room where Javed Jaffery reveals the truth about Rancho (played by Aamir)," said Sarla Chopra, senior manager of Chail Palace, adding, "the tourists prefer to pose for photos with the waiters who played small roles in the movie."
Apart from movies, television serial makers too trained their camera on the hills like Tera Mujhse Hain Pehle Ka Nata, Chand Chupa Badal Mein and Chotti Si Zindagi.
The crew of tele-serial C.I.D., including actor Shivaji Satnam, popularly known as ACP Praduman, too shot one of their episodes in Shimla and they have an interesting anecdote to share.
Canning a reel-life chase involving actors on the busy Mall Road left police in cold sweat as unsuspecting onlookers pressed the panic button, mistaking the outdoor sequence to be a real crime.
Police sprang into action as soon as a resident alerted them that some thieves were being chased by people. As they reached the spot, tourists and residents guided them towards the spot where the "action" took place. It took the TV show's crew some effort to convince police and onlookers about the reality.
"But it was quite an experience for all of us when the reel sequence turned into a real one!" said B.P. Singh, creator
of the serial.
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