The campaigning, the voting and the hostilities over at least for the time being, it’s festive time in Darjeeling. With all the political parties, including the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), taking a break waiting for the results to be announced before embarking on the next phase of the agitation, the Queen of the Hills is buzzing with activity of a different kind. And the weather Gods, too, seem to be smiling.
Darjeeling has always remained a hot favourite with film directors, both from Tollywood and Bollywood, but the endless agitation over the past one decade had kept the filmi folks away. Now that there is a respite from the bandhs and violence, they are all back with a vengeance.
“Only 2% of Darjeeling’s potential as a film destination has been explored till now,” said Kaushik Ganguly, film director, now in Darjeeling shooting his latest thriller, Laptop. Director Anurag Basu was also here recently on a reconnaissance mission for his film, Barfee, a romantic murder mystery staring Ranvir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and debutante Ileana D’Cruz.
Darjeeling was one of the most-sought locations in the Sixties and Seventies with immortal films like Aradhana shot here. In the Eighties and Nineties, too, the verdant hills provided the backdrop for a whole lot of films. However, with the Gorkhaland agitation gathering steam, Tollywood and Bollywood directors shunned the region.
“Now I realize that little-known places like Bijanbari and Sukhiapokhari are yet to be explored by film-makers. This could be the beginning of another revival,” Ganguly told HT. The award-winning director is shooting portions of his film, Laptop, in Darjeeling. Stars include Rahul Bose, Churni Ganguli, Saswata Chatterjee and Sanjay Bhattacharjee.
“I am enjoying shooting here. A festive mood seems to prevail in Darjeeling after the polls,” the director told HT.
Anurag Basu, who was here recently, had said about Darjeeling, “This is such a beautiful place. I want to capture the undying spirit of Darjeeling and its people in my films. I am coming back in June to shoot.”
In May, Darjeeling will also host Anjan Dutta, who will release the music for his forthcoming film in Darjeeling. “Finally Darjeeling is all set to get the publicity for all the right reasons. We all have to help to restore the lost glory of the hills,” said Udaya Mani Pradhan, a resident of the town. “It is because of directors like Anjan Dutta that Darjeeling remained on the map of the filmi people,” added Sujit Sen, a Kolkatan who visits Darjeeling regularly.
With the weather Gods appeased, the bright sunshine only added to the festive atmosphere of Darjeeling, where crowds thronged to watch the cameras roll.