Troupe visits ‘Bobby Hut’ where ‘Ham Tum Ek Kamre Mein’ was shot in 1973 & Shiva Mandir where ‘Jai Jai Shiva Shankar’ was shot in 1974
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR: A 24-member ensemble from Bollywood has arrived in Kashmir to explore the possibilities of shooting a number of films and music videos at the famous tourist resorts and picturesque locales later this year. Weeks after actress Sana Khan enjoyed her honeymoon trip and industrialist Anil Ambani witnessed a snowfall, the Bollywood delegation on Thursday visited the exquisite locations in Gulmarg. This is where many of the top notch producers, directors and matinee idols created the Indian silver screen’s big hits in the halcyon days before 1990.The celebrities who visited Kashmir recently also include singers Jubin Nautiyal, Guru Randhawa and Salman Ali, music composer Salim Merchant of Salim-Sulaiman duo besides TV host, anchor and playback singer Aditya Narayan. With the famous Dal Lake freezing under an unrelenting cold wave, pictures of a video shoot went viral in social media.Srinagar, Gulmarg and Pahalgam were virtually the second home for matinee idols like Shammi Kapoor, Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachhan, Rekha, Hema Malini et al before militancy broke out in 1989-days after classical vocalist Kishori Amonkar performed for Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and others at Gulmarg. It was years after the South Indian stars MG Ramachandran, J Jayalalithaa, Sivaji Ganesan and many others had left their footprints on the lush green meadows.Director Subodh Mukherjee filmed his 1961 magnum opus Junglee’s hit song “Yahoo! Chahe koyi mujhe junglee kahe” on Shammi Kapoor and Saira Banu at the alpine ski slopes of Gulmarg. ‘Junglee’ saw its Telugu version ‘Sarada Ramudu’ being shot on N.T. Rama Rao and Jaya Sudha in 1980.In 1964-65, when Pakistan was pushing in its armed intruders of ‘Azad Kashmir Regular Force’ under Operation Gibraltar, director-producer Ramanand Sagar was shooting ‘Arzoo’ with Rajendra Kumar, Sadhana and Feroz Khan at Gulmarg. Songs like ‘Jab Ishq kaheen ho jata hai’, ‘Aji rooth kar ab’, ‘Bedardi balma tujhko mera dil yaad karta hai’ and ‘Aey nargise mastana’ broke records of popularity.In 1964, director-producer Shakti Samanta completed an extensive shooting schedule of his magnum opus ‘Kashmir Ki Kali’ in the valley even as the rain gods played spoilsport for 21 days, confining the whole crew along with the lead pair Shammi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore.In 1973, director-producer Raj Kapoor filmed parts of his super hit ‘Bobby’, with Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia in the lead roles, at Gulmarg and other locales. ‘Ham tum ek kamre mein bandh houn aur chabi khojaye’ was shot in a hut at Gulmarg that is still known as ‘Bobby Hut’. Betab Valley in Pahalgam was named after a shooting for director Rahul Rawail’s 1983 film ‘Betab’ starring Amrita Singh and Sunny Deol.Director-producer J. Om Prakash filmed parts of his super hit ‘Aap Ki Kasam’ in 1974 at Gulmarg and other places. On Thursday, the Bollywood troupe at Gulmarg was keen to have a look of the Shiva temple where Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz had played ‘Jai jai shiva shankar’ and the ‘Bobby Hut’ where Rishi Kapoor with debutant Dimple Kapadia had immortalised the team of R.D. Burman, Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar. The delegation was thrilled to see both as also Maharaja Palace where a number of films had been shot 1960s through 1980s.The world does still remember Kashmir for the super hit Bollywood songs ‘Kora kagaz tha yeh man mera’ (Rajesh Khanna, Sharmila Tagore/Aradhana), ‘Yeh chaand sa roshan chehra’ (Shammi Kapoor, Sharmila Tagore/Kashmir Ki Kali), ‘Tum se achha kaun hai’ (Shammi Kapoor, Sapna/Janwar), ‘Pardesiyon se na akhiyan milana’ (Shashi Kapoor, Nanda/Jab Jab Phool Khile), ‘Kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khayal aata hai’ (Amitabh Bachhan, Raakhee/Kabhi Kabhi), ‘Likhe jo khat tujhe’ (Shashi Kapoor, Asha Parekh/Kanyadaan) and ‘Bekhudi mein sanam’ (Shashi Kapoor, Babita/Haseena Maan Jayegi).In 1975, director Gulzar created ‘Tere bina zindagi se shikva’ for ‘Aandhi’, his political drama on then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, on Sanjeev Kumar and Suchita Sen at the architectural ruins of the Sun Temple of Martand, exactly where Vishal Bhardwaj picturised ‘Ae dile bulbul bulbule bismil’ for ‘Haider’ on Shahid Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor and Tabu in 2013.While hundreds of the Bollywood films were shot in Kashmir before 1990, Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider (2014) and Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s ‘Mission Kashmir’ (2000) and ‘Shikara’ (2020) are among a dozen-odd films which were made in the valley in the last 31 years of militancy. Significantly, all 18-odd cinema theatres were shuttered down under threats from militants indefinitely on 31 December 1989. Three of these were reopened when Farooq Abdullah was Chief Minister in 1996-2002 but closed down again after two terror attacks.CEO of Producers Guild of India Nitin Tej Ahuja, CEO of Ajay Devgan Films, Meena Iyer, celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor with wife Alyona Kapoor, Rajesh Rawal of Endemol India Pvt Ltd, CEO of LYCA Productions, Aashish Singh, Abhijit Chawathe of Sanjay Dutt Productions, Fatema Nagree of Reliance Entertainment, CEO of Rohit Shetty Films, George Cameron, Pranav Shastri of Zee Studios, Asit Modi of Neela Films (Gujarat) and Kanchan Adhikari from Adhikari Brothers in the Bollywood troupe that is visiting Gulmarg, Srinagar, Pahalgam and other places for four days and exploring the possibilities of resuming shooting in the valley in a big way this year.Officers from the Directorate of Tourism are arranging the troupe’s visits and meetings with the local artists, producers and line producers.
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