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UP emerging as favourite place for Bollywood movie shoots

From legendary Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman-starrer "Chaudhavi Ka Chaand" to "Shatranj Ke Khilari", "Umrao Jaan" and latest being a Divya Dutta film, the art and architecture of Uttar Pradesh is fast turning into a favourite hunting ground of the tinsel world.

"All said and done UP is the home of art and architecture. The essence of culture and tradition is here," noted filmmaker Muzaffar Ali told PTI.

He said the state has the potential of emerging as a parallel centre to Mumbai in the sphere of filmmaking for producing more meaningful and relevant cinema.

He said whether it is an art form, lyrics or music, UP has always dominated Bollywood.

Ali, who has shot his upcoming venture "Jaanisaar" extensively in Lucknow, said the city has its own beauty.

The trend, which started with veteran actors and directors of the black and white era, is catching up fast with directors and producers of the new age.

"There were times when UP was projected just as a religious place. The perception has changed. With all its beauty and culture, it is becoming a fascinating place," another director said, requesting anonymity.

He said movies like "Sehar", based on real life story of mafia don Shri Prakash Shukla and Amitabh Bachchan and his son Abhishek's "Bunty Aur Babli" are examples of how UP has been attracting the cine world.

"UP has all the spots, whether it is Chambal ravine or marvel of Taj Mahal," he said.

Ali said the Mumbai film industry had become fossilized and the space for "original and regional cinema" should now be occupied by other parts of the country if filmmakers wish to move away from the beaten track.

He said if the aspirations of all sections of the people, including those from different regions, are to be fulfilled, then "there will be no alternative but to create film hubs in different parts of the country instead allowing the Mumbai-based film industry to continue with its own discourse."

He lamented that hardly any effort has been made by filmmakers on the saga of India's first war of independence in 1857.

"The revolt of 1857 was one of the richest sources for examining and projecting the birth of India's nationalism and it was a tragedy that this golden moment of modern Indian history remains untouched by filmmakers," he said.

Ali said in stark contrast to Indian filmmakers, the west, in particular filmmakers in the USA, have effectively used the film medium for re-writing their own history and also indirectly promoting the concept of the "western supremacy" in the rest of the world.

He said Hollywood films have deeply influenced the discourse of American culture, often at the expense of the cultural history of the original inhabitants of that land.

Ali said colonial powers have in a very subtle manner used the film medium for promoting their "divide and rule" policy for polarising different sections of society in the East and "protecting their own interests".

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