SRINAGAR: The tulips are abloom beside the lake overlooking the hills, a dance sequence is on and the cameras are making the most of the heavenly canvas, reclaiming frame by frame Bollywood’s once-favourite backdrop.
As word spreads about the latest shooting in Srinagar, people don’t scurry for cover. Hundreds gather to watch dance director Saroj Khan guide newcomers Muksh Bharti and Priya Kapoor in Asia’s biggest garden of its kind for their film Kaash Tum Houtay.
At least five film crews are bound for Kashmir this summer, says director tourism Farooq Ahmad Shah. Just before the Asrar Ahmad-directed Kaash Tum Houtay, Assamese suspense thriller 18.11 – A Code of Secrecy was shot here. Karan Johar, Farah Khan and Aamir Khan were in Gulmarg during the snowy months to shoot Student of the Year.
“Since an entire generation grew up in the rest of India without visiting Kashmir, these films help us send out the message to the young population that it is safe,” says a senior officer who does not wish to be named.
“Salman Khan’s indication that his Dabangg-2 will be shot in Kashmir is a great morale booster.”
That is why the state government does not charge any fee from the film crews. Instead, it facilitates shooting to encourage film-makers to return to the valley where some of the most popular films and sequences have been shot.
The tulip garden developed by the state government when Ghulam Nabi Azad was chief minister was first used by a film crew two years ago, says Sunil Mishra, director of floriculture. This year, the garden was opened on March 29, almost a fortnight ahead of schedule. Ticketing rights for the garden have been sold for Rs 32 lakh this season for the garden, which gets about 4,500 visitors a day, says Mishra.
While successive chief ministers have wooed Bollywood – Farooq Abdullah would fly the late Bollywood villain Amrish Puri with him, for example, and ensure that he stayed comfortably while he was in Srinagar – film-makers have started coming in only after the threat of terrorism started receding.
Though tourists are returning to the valley in large numbers, the hospitality industry appreciates the value of catering to the film industry.
Article source: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/media/entertainment-/entertainment/Bollywood-gets-back-its-favourite-backdrop-as-peace-returns-to-Kashmir/articleshow/12904877.cms