Bollywood goes off the beaten track
A slew of Hindi films are exploring locations at lesser-known places within the country
There was an era when film shooting meant plush studios with a little bit of outdoors. Soon enough, outdoor shooting under bright sunlight became a norm. In fact, Yash Chopra’s films became synonymous with the pristine white Alps and undulating green meadows abroad. But a wave of Hindi films seem to be willing to explore little-known places within the country. And not just for shooting a song or two. Looking for inspiration within seems to be the latest fad in town.
Film in question: Peekay
Situated 190 km off Jaipur, this town was chosen by Rajkumar Hirani to shoot some parts of his upcoming film. The idea was to have the authentic Rajasthani touch. Interestingly, Hirani suffered from heat stroke during his stay there. On the other hand, Aamir decided to spend some time in Jaipur for leisure, after shoot.
State: Tamil Nadu
Film in question: Barfi!
Nearly 40 km from Coimbatore, this place played parts of West Bengal in the film starring Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra. According to director Anurag Basu, rooms were reserved for both the leading stars in Coimbatore. But the day Ranbir landed only to find out that the unit was staying near the location, he immediately shifted to Pollachi.
Film in question: Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
In a bid to re-create Shardara the biggest refugee partition camp of Delhi Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra decided to shoot in Rewari. Since Shardara has changed over the years and has a lot of dish antennas, telephone wires and so on, the production team decided to build the refugee town away from Delhi.
Film in question: Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster and its sequel
About 44 km from Godhra, this former princely state was visited twice by Tigmanshu Dhulia and the entire crew for keeping the royal air about the films intact. And it definitely worked as far the art direction was concerned. In fact, the royal family was invited for a special screening as a token of appreciation.
State: Madhya Pradesh
Film in question: Satyagraha
Prakash Jha is clearly in love with this hilly region. After Rajneeti and Chakravyuh, this is his third straight film to be shot there. Far removed from the urban milieu, the place added to the story. Ajrun Rampal, who has been part of all the three films, had once invited his kids and wife to Pachmarhi so as to give them an experience of ‘real’ India.
State: Jammu & Kashmir
Film in question: Highway
True to its title, this Imtiaz Ali film has been shot across six Indian states within a span of 52 days. Along the way, the team had to face extreme weather conditions and negotiate very difficult terrain. The team has had to trek 2-3 km every day to reach those picturesque real locations in Kashmir to shoot the small hutments of the local shepherds called Bakarwals.
State: West Bengal
Film in question: Lootera
Infamous for the arms-dropping case, this place was selected to get the 1950s era right on the celluloid. According to director Vikramaditya Motwane, Purulia was worth the recce. On the other hand, five hours drive from Kolkata, Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha would often end up shooting for 8-10 hours straight despite the travel-related fatigue.
Film in question: Rambo Rajkumar
Along with Gondal and Rajkot, this Shahid Kapoor and Sonakshi Sinha-starrer followed the ongoing trend of shooting in Gujarat. The unbearable summer heat doesn’t seem to bother anyone from the crew. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s next starring Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone is also set in the same venue.
State: Madhya Pradesh
Film in question: Singularity
About 15 km away from Jhansi, a section of this time travel film was shot in the region. Roland Joffé, who earlier directed City of Joy in Kolkata (then Calcutta), was apparently keen on this particular location. However, it’s been a long wait. For all the efforts put in, his film is finally set to release — after much delay in October.
State: Uttar Pradesh
Films in question: Gangs of Wasseypur Part 1 & 2
While Wasseypur is an area on the peripheries of Dhanbad (Jharkhand), both the installations of Anurag Kashyap’s epic were shot in a smaller town in the Mirzapur district of UP. The rustic touch was maintained throughout, as the story focuses on the coal mafia prevalent in the ’80s Bihar.