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Gori Tere Pyaar Mein: Is Gujarat the new Bombay in Bollywood?

By: Shomini Sen


Last Updated: November 23, 2013, 10:20 IST

Gori Tere Pyaar Mein: Is Gujarat the new Bombay in Bollywood?

The trend began a few years back, when filmmakers slowly started basing their stories away from Bombay.

New Delhi: For the greater part of 1990s and early 2000s, Punjab literally dominated Hindi cinema. From its characters to the stories, filmmakers borrowed heavily from the Punjabi culture for films. But this past year (2013, in specific) has seen a break from that trend.

'Kai Po Che!', 'Ram Leela' and the new release of this week 'Gori Tere Pyaar Mein' all have Gujarat as a key element in their story line. Of these, two films have been shot extensively in Gujarat and the characters are based in that state as well.

A gun weilding obscure town of Gujarat go up in arms when the son of the rival clan serenades the enemy camp's daughter sending Gujarati couplets of love over Blackberry. Bhansali's 'Romeo and Juliet' was a riot of colours and music-something that we associate the state with. Bhansali, himself a Gujarati, brought out the boisterous nature of Gujaratis in 'Ram Leela' where everything was celebrated with a dash of garba.

Abhishek Kapoor's 'Kai Po Che!' based on Chetan Bhagat's 'The 3 Mistakes Of My Life' was set in the old part of Gujarat. With 2000 Bhuj Eathquake and Gujarat riot in 2002 as the backdrop, the film gave an insight about the lives of three young 'Amdavadi' friends who were torn apart due to religion. Kapoor shot the film entirely in Ahmedabad, which perhaps gave the film authenticity in terms of its look and local dialect.

In the newly released 'Gori Tere Pyaar Mein', Puneet Malhotra shifts the story from the swanky malls of Bangalore and picturesque roads of Delhi to a fictitious village on the Gujarat- Madhya Pradesh border called Jhumli, where they may not have the basic medical facilities but they sure treat their guests with a plate of Khakra and Dhokla. Produced by Karan Johar, GTPM may have just used Gujarati elements in a very basic way, but it does show a growing influence of the state in the films. In fact, the trend was started by Johar back in 2003 when he put an NRI Gujarati family in the story in 'Kal Ho Na Ho'.

The trend began a few years back, when filmmakers slowly started basing their stories away from Bombay, which is the hub of Hindi cinema in India. Films and their stories slowly started shifting up north making stories more believable for larger part of the audience. In 2012, stories from the hinterland were popular(GOW series, 'Ishaqzaade' to name a few).

Why the change in trend? Considering that for years Bombay has dominated the film industry, it actually comes as a refreshing change to see filmmakers breaking the norm and narrating stories of other places. Perhaps to break the monotony, and make stories more identifiable with a pan India audience, writers are picking up nuances of a particular state and adapting in the story line.

In recent times, Delhi has figured enormously in many films. Primarily because of the plot but also, as many directors point out, there are more open spaces available in Delhi. Bombay has also of late became expensive to shoot. Many directors also state that being a crowded city, outdoor shooting in Bombay is next to impossible and for more authenticity, many prefer to shoot in Delhi. Many a times, shooting outside Bombay, becomes cheaper for the producers.

This is just the beginning. Some of the biggest films in the coming months have infused a local elements of states in their story line. 'Dedh Ishqiya', 'Bullett Raja', 'Gunday' have Lucknow and Kolkata as the backdrop.

Is it safe to say now that the Bombay dominance is slowly going away from Hindi cinema? Maybe not, considering the industry function from that city but yes, filmmakers are slowly moving away from the norm. And that itself is refreshing.


first published:November 23, 2013, 10:20 IST
last updated:November 23, 2013, 10:20 IST