Ayushmann Khurrana ‘can’t imagine Rishikesh without Lakshman Jhula’
The iconic Lakshman Jhula has been a constant in Bollywood films. From films as old as Ganga Ki Saugandh (1978) starring Amitabh Bachchan, to recent ones including Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety (2018), the landmark has often made its way to the silver screen. Sadly, the Uttarakhand government shut the 96-year-old suspension bridge for the public after a Public Works Department (PWD) report stated that it was out of bounds for pedestrians and traffic — a team of experts termed it unsafe owing to its dilapidated condition.
Actor Ayushmann Khurrana’s film Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015) was one such film to have shot portions on the bridge, and the actor says he was taken aback with the news.
“I had shot for Dard Karara for my film DLKH on Laskman Jhula. It is a special film to me because it was kind of my come back, after Vicky Donor in 2012, my second hit was DLKH. It’s nostalgic, the film is nostalgic for me for all the right reasons. I was quite shocked when I got to know that they are shutting it down!,” says Ayushmann, who starred with the then debutant Bhumi Pednekar, in the film.
On the fond memories he has from the shooting days, he reveals, “We used to cross Laxman Jhula every single morning. I remember I used to have a 6 o’clock call time early in the morning. I used to have my earphones on and listen to the best of music in the winters of 2014 and walk the entire stretch of Laxman Jhula towards the other side to shoot for my film. I cannot imagine Rishikesh without Laxman Jhula.”
In fact, the actor shares it was the first time ever he visited Rishikesh and that was for his film. “During the shoot of DLKH, it was my first ever time, the second one was Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, so I’ve shot two films there. I remember taking Bhumi on the scooter for Moh Moh Ke Dhaage on Laxman Jhula. We were shooting till 4 o’clock in the morning and frankly speaking, the entire Jhula was ‘Jhuloing’ like it was actually swinging a lot. It was very windy, I was on the scooter and Bhumi was 90 kgs, so it was quite a challenging task for me. But in the hindsight, it is all so beautiful.”
Apart from Lakshman Jhula, one more iconic shooting location that has been shut down is Mukesh Mills in Mumbai. Ayushmann feels we should ‘try and restore them’. “Each and every location is important to Bollywood or is iconic, they have a certain texture or they create a certain flavour on the celluloid. Mukesh Mills, is dilapidated, it’s huge and its worn-out structure gives a lot of texture on camera. Same goes with Laxman Jhula — it adds so much character to films and these locations hold a great value,” he signs off.