The year 2012 has kicked off on a fantastic note for Karan Johar. After producing back-to-back blockbusters — Agneepath and Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, the filmmaker has added another feather to his cap — joining a select clique of directors, who have shot in the picturesque locales of Kashmir.
Currently, Karan is canning a love song for his upcoming directorial venture, Student Of The Year in the Valley. “I always wanted to shoot in Kashmir. And this time, it was a perfect opportunity when we got a love song to shoot,” says Karan, whose song is being choreographed by Farah Khan. “We were keen to capture the snow, so Farah and I decided that shooting in Kashmir would be great.”
The 39-year-old filmmaker feels that movies like Rockstar have helped bring back the beauty of Kashmir on celluloid. “What I am most happy about is that (Bollywood) cinema is revisiting such a stunning location all over again. And I am glad that we are also taking it a step further by presenting a different kind of beauty and energy,” he says.
The filmmaker, who has been shooting at places like Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Srinagar, finds Kashmiris “extremely hospitable.” “We have had the best experience ever (in Kashmir). Also geographically, it goes without saying, it’s stupendous. It’s close to how you would visualise ‘topography perfection,’” says Karan, whose Agneepath is currently making waves in the overseas market. In fact, the film recently crossed the $2 million mark in the US.
Karan, whose films My Name Is Khan (2010), Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (2006) and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001) already feature in the biggest overseas-grosser list, says, “I have been fortunate to break overseas records at the beginning of my career. I’m glad that our banner (Dharma Productions) resonates well with overseas audiences. I feel proud to be part of movies that find a place in archives of overseas (film) business in terms of box office.”
Valley on big screen
Kashmir first hit silver screen in 1949 with Raj Kapoor’s Barsaat. However, the destination gained popularity when late Shammi Kapoor canned about half-a-dozen films like Tumse Achha Kaun Hai (1969), Andaz (1971), Kashmir Ki Kali (1964) or Junglee (1961) in the picturesque locales. Later, Kashmir may have lost its charm among filmmakers due to the outbreak of the militancy, but of late, films like Sadiyaan (2010), Lamhaa (2010) and Rockstar (2011) have put the Valley back on filmmaker’s map.