Himachal Pradesh is seeking to revive its love affair with Bollywood, decades after the immaculate beauty of its hills fell out of favour with film-makers who thronged the mountains of Kashmir instead.
The state government is asking prominent filmmakers for help in setting up a film studio in the capital, the Himalayan town of Shimla, which is also known for its gothic architecture dating back to the British era.
“There are two places that we have shortlisted for the film studio. It would be either at Chail, or Andretta in Kangra,” the vice-chairman of Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Board, Vijay Singh Mankotia, told HT.
Surrounded by deodar forests, Chail is a beautiful village. It was founded by Bhupinder Singh, the Maharaja of Patiala, after he was expelled from Shimla in the British era.
Andretta, which offers a breathtaking view of the Dhauladhar range, shot to fame for being home to famous artist Sardar Shobha Singh and playwright Norah Richards.
Mankotia said the government will also be showcasing the state’s beauty and pitch for it as a Bollywood destination to film-makers during the Cinema Summit beginning in Mumbai in the first week of October.
“I would be meeting some of the top most producers of Bollywood during the summit,” Mankotia said, insisting that efforts were on to convince the Bollywood to revive its date with Himachal Pradesh.
Love didn’t last
It was in the 1960s that RK Nayyar’s black and white romantic musical hit “Love in Shimla” attracted Bollywood to Himachal Pradesh.
Several Bollywood movies have been shot here, including some recent ones too like Bang Bang, Black, Jab We Met, 3 idiots, etc.
But on an overview, the state’s beautiful locales continued to attract film-makers only till the late 60s and the 70s, when filmmakers found a new love in the snow-clad Himalayas of the Kashmir Valley and Europe.
Now, apart from infrastructure, the state government has framed a policy that has made getting clearances much easier for film-makers.
It has introduced a single-window system to grant permission to film and TV serial makers (within 3 days) to shoot in the various locales of the region.
‘Start film industry’
Mankotia said when the studio is set up, film-makers will be provided with the latest equipment required for both outdoor and indoor shooting at the proposed film studio.
Rohit Sharma, who has worked as a line producer for many productions, however, said apart from the studios the government should also set up a film institute in Shimla.
He also suggested that a film industry be set up.
“Shimla is a beautiful city, and several movies have been shot here. A film industry will explore the beauty of this hill town and also create jobs for the talent youths in the hill state,” Sharma said.