By Hindustan Times
The aftermath of the execution of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru has impacted recently revived Bollywood's tryst with the Kashmir Valley. The shooting of upcoming flick 'Bang Bang' starring Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif has been shelved after the crew expressed apprehensions about
Filmmaker Siddharth Anand was scheduled to shoot at snow-covered hill station of Gulmarg, 55 km north of Srinagar, from March 16. "Krithik and Kaif and other cast members refused to fly down to Srinagar because of the prevalent situation," a crew member camping in Gulmarg for the shooting told the Hindustan Times on the condition of anonymity.
Ashutosh, assistant director, casting, was camping at Gulmarg's Heaven Resorts to be joined by the director and the cast. However, on March 15 the scheduled shoot was cancelled at the last moment. Sources said the leading stars too have expressed concern over security.
The Kashmir Valley is witnessing more than a month-long street agitation and, of late, a suicide attack after three years, in the wake of Guru's execution on February 9. The recent attack on the CRPF occurred on the highway connecting the Srinagar airport with Gulmarg.
Filmmaker Anand's assistants had done recce of locations in the Valley last year. There was an audition for local cast in February only. The 45-day scheduled shooting in Kashmir had two songs in Gulmarg and Pahalgam. Besides, a fighting sequence on Dal lake. A 40-member crew from America was scheduled to help in the fight sequence. Sources said 40% of the movie would have been shot inside the Valley.
Filmmaker Anand is keen to go ahead with the shooting "Once the situation normalizes," despite reservations by the production house, Fox Movies.
Kashmir revived its lost Bollywood link in the past four years after healthy improvement in tourism, which attracted on an average 10 lakh tourists per year.
Director Rahul Dholakia's 'Lamhaa' was first movie to break the ice and shoot the entire film in Kashmir Valley in 2009. Last year, Yash Chopra revisited the Valley after decades to shoot "Jab Tak Hai Jaan," starring Shahrukh Khan.
Director Imtiyaz Ali was charmed by Kashmir locations to shoot a song of 'Rockstar' in Pahalgam. Around a half dozen film crew from big productions visited the valley last year.
Guru's hanging has come as a major jolt for the winter tourism. "We lost more than 250 nights' bookings since Guru's hanging. Gulmarg is a winter destination and the season was doing good till the hanging. Since then the bookings dipped sharply," said Jehangeer Ahmad, manager of hi-end hotel Gulmarg Vintage.
Sharat Dhall, president, Online, Yatra.com, too has painted a grim picture for upcoming summer tourism. "Early bookings to Kashmir were showing robust growth but in the last few weeks the momentum has come down. If the tensions continue it would spell bad news for the summer travel in Kashmir," said Dhall.