With two movies, Lamhaa and Saat Khoon Maaf being shot in its picturesque locales, Jammu and Kashmir is finally back in Bollywood. Until the late 1980s, Kashmir had been one of the most sought-after destinations for film shoots, but was deserted after it was hit by insurgency in 1989. Mission Kashmir in 2000 renewed interest in the Valley, followed by Yahaan (2005), Shaurya (2008), Tahaan (2008), Sikander (2009) and Victory (2009).
Lamhaa, which stars Sanjay Dutt and Bipasha Basu is directed by Parzania director, Rahul Dholakia. Although a love story, the film seeks to expose the corrupt nexus of politicians, intelligence and militancy in the state. Due to the controversial subject matter, the shoot of this movie has been stalled several times. “I wanted to capture Kashmir in a way that no film maker had ever done before. The entire unit had to face several hostage-like situations. The environment in Kashmir was very hostile,” says Dholakia.
Some scenes of the Priyanka Chopra starrer, Saat Khoon Maaf, directed by Vishal Bhardwaj, have also been shot in Kashmir. “Unless the state government ensures adequate security, not many would risk shooting in Kashmir,” explains Sidhant Malhotra, a resident of Jammu.
Ladakh is another exotic locale that has been attracting filmmakers. Movies such as Dil Se (1998), Road to Ladakh (2002), Lakshya (2004), Frozen (2007) and Tashan (2008) were all shot there. “It’s time for filmmakers to move beyond the hill stations of Manali and Darjeeling,” Dholakia concludes.
Films shot in Kashmir
The period from 1960 -1990 is regarded as the golden era of Bollywood. During that time, over 90 movies were shot in Kashmir, including Kashmir Ki Kali (1964), Aarzoo (1965), Chirag (1969), Kabhie Kabhie (1976), Rocky (1976), Silsila (1981), Betaab (1983) and Baazi (1984).