New Delhi, Nov. 26 -- The Prime Minister wants Bollywood to show more of Jammu and Kashmir in movies, and filmmakers are happy to have turned the spotlight on the state through the years.
"Our film industry was crazy about Kashmir. They (filmmakers) left and went to New Zealand and other countries. I will have to bring them back. Shooting should happen again in this valley ... the world should see this beautiful sight," said PM Narendra Modi while addressing a rally in Kishtwar in the Jammu region.
Bollywood's affair with Kashmir goes back a long way. Filmmakers have been smitten with the state for decades, shooting hits such as Junglee (1961), Kashmir Ki Kali (1964), Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965), Mere Sanam (1965), Bobby (1973), Kabhie Kabhie (1976) and Silsila (1981) among others, before the current crop of hits came up.
Then, around the late 80s and early 90s, the insurgency began. Shooting became dangerous. It is believed that in 1992, Mani Ratnam had planned to shoot Roja in the state, but terrorism there led him to shift his shoot to other hilly locations. Then, Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Mission Kashmir made news for venturing back into the territory in 2000.
Cut to present - just when Kashmir was re-emerging as a top shooting spot for Bollywood (with movies such as Highway and Haider), the state was hit by floods. Although many shoots stand suspended as a result, filmmakers are waiting to get back their scenic spot. Vivek Agnihotri, who will shoot his next film there, says, "What Kashmir needs right now is more business. For how long can you keep holding back due to the floods?" Among the other directors who will also head north in the near future, are Abhishek Kapoor (to shoot his next with Rekha, Katrina Kaif and Aditya Roy Kapur) and Kabir Khan (to can Salman Khan's film in January).
Art director Subrata Chakraborthy, who was in Kashmir while working on Haider, says, "Apart from a view that is great, the people there are amazing. I was there during Eid and the locals got me some 40 kinds of meats and dishes to eat - this is the kind of love they have for those who visit them, maybe that's why, no matter what happens, Bollywood keeps going back for more," says Chakraborthy.