Just when things had started looking quite rosy in the Hill town, an undesired incident left a “Bad taste” in director Anurag Basu’s mouth, presently shooting for the film Barfee in Darjeeling. Coupled with this, over enthusiasm of the swelling crowds resulted in the shoot being cancelled on Thursday. The fate of future shoot in Darjeeling hangs on a thin line as Basu remains indecisive.
Writer film director Anurag Basu shot to fame with films Murder, Gangster, Life in a Metro and Kites. At present he is shooting romantic thriller Barfee starring Ranbir Kappoor, Priyanka Chopra and Ileana D’Cruz.
Trouble ensued when school children tried to cross the ropes put up by the shooting crew at the Chowrasta in Darjeeling at around 7.40 am. According to Mahendra Thami a local resident, one of the crew members was directing his colleague to keep stringent vigil as the ropes were being breached (people were crossing over.)
“A lady misunderstood it and thought that the crew member had abused her. She immediately started reacting aggressively and some others in the crowd joined in” stated Thami.
The agitated section of the crowd demanded an apology from the Director and even after he explained things the matter refused to die down. Basu then discontinued the shoot. On the advice of the local hands the Director met Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) President Bimal Gurung. The GJM Chief assured him of all cooperation.
Later in a press conference Basu stated “I was directing my crew members to allow the school students to pass when a section of the crowd started demanding for apologies. Even after I explained matters, they failed to see reason.”
Basu tried to downplay the incident stating that such things were not unheard of during shootings, specially involving high profile stars. However he did not fail to add “it has left a little bad taste in my mouth. I could have shot the film in any hill station in India but I preferred to come to Darjeeling as I have an emotional bonding with this place and I love the place. I have written many scripts here. I had conceptualized Barfee in Darjeeling”.
Basu stated that in the next three days he will decide on the future schedules of the shoot in Darjeeling (till when to continue.) “I will return in September for the next schedule of the shoot. This is no issue” stated Basu.
Binay Tamang, Assistant Secretary, GJM, talking to the media stated “we want to reinstate the past glory of Darjeeling. Some anti social elements tried to disrupt the shoot. We have taken the matter very seriously and will ensure that there is no reoccurrence of such incidents. They are our guests and we apologize. We will even deploy the Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP) to assist in crowd control.”
“We have asked the film unit to lodge a formal complaint and we will take legal action against the trouble makers. The process of identification of the trouble makers has already begun” stated Kunal Agarwal, Additional Superintendent of Police, Darjeeling.
Putting to rest rumors of Priyanka Chopra not arriving yet for the scheduled shoot to Darjeeling, Basu stated “Only Ranbir Kapoor and Ileana D’Cruz were scheduled to shoot in Darjeeling in this part. The shoot is taking place as per schedule.”
With matters being put to rest, Barfee ran into a fresh hurdle with over enthusiastic crowds not willing to budge from the Chowrasta. Matters got worse with Ranbir Kapoor making an appearance.
Despite repeated attempts the crowd could not be cleared. Finally Basu was compelled to call it a day.