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Kashmir Calling! Time and again Bollywood is wooed by the charms of the Valley

Kashmir was, is, and continues to be a favourite of Bollywood filmmakers when it comes to showcasing romance in their films

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NoFathersInKashmir

‘Yaaaahoo’ was Shammi Kapoor’s jubilant call before rolling down the snowy mountains deliriously in the film Junglee (1961). Not only did his stocks soar as a star after that display of uninhibited joy, it also triggered off a major Kashmir-rush for those wanting to experience the ethereal beauty of the place for real. The location became an integral part of Bollywood movies since then, especially with the success of the Shammi-Sharmila Tagore starrer, Kashmir Ki Kali (1964).

The valleys of Kashmir have since then, played a major role in some of the most breezy Hindi film romances, as well as films in other genres too. These include Arzoo (1965), Mere Sanam (1965), Kabhi Kabhie (1976), Noorie (1979),Silsila (1981), Roja (1992), Dil Se (1998), Mission Kashmir (2000), LOC: Kargil (2003), Yahan (2005), Shaurya (2008), Lamha (2010), Rockstar (2011), Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012), Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013), Highway (2014) and Fitoor (2016). The real-life spy thriller, Raazi was shot completely in Kashmir. Vicky Kaushal’s Aditya Dhar-directed UriThe Surgical Strike was shot in the Valley too. And the most recent releases Notebook directed by Nitin Kakkar and Ashvin Kumar’s No Fathers in Kashmir too have been entirely shot there.

Film analyst Dilip Thakur observes that Indian cinema stepped out of the studio for the first time to shoot outdoors in Kashmir. It topped prominent filmmakers’ list, including Ramanand Sagar, BR Chopra and Shakti Samanta who utilised Kashmir in magnificent ways in their cinema. The affair with Kashmir came to a halt post Subhash Ghai’s Karma. With militancy on the rise in the region, Hindi films took a break from their favourite location, only to go back to it for Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Mission Kashmir starring Sanjay Dutt and Hrithik Roshan, a film that was shot under heavy security.

There is much Bollywood lore associated with the place. It was while shooting a song of Karma with Sridevi in Kashmir, that Ghai first noticed Madhuri Dixit, who was also there shooting for the film Aawara Baap, with her hero Raj N Sippy. Ghai and choreographer Saroj Khan called Madhuri and told her not to waste her time in small films. They re-launched her in Ram Lakhan.

Documentary filmmaker Reetu Asrani who is currently shooting in Kashmir for a web-series on the state said that Kashmir as a location continues to be under-explored, and that there are a number of locations that could yet be tapped. Reetu said, “I cannot blame Bollywood for it, but there is lack of infrastructure and no proper approach or roads to the beautiful but remote locations within Kashmir.” Reetu gives full credit to Bollywood for promoting tourism. She said, “Chand sa roshan chehra from Kashmir Ki Kali has immortalised the Dal lake. I feel Bollywood can play a bigger role by shooting in those places which are under-explored. So after these people explore it for movies, tourists who have already visited Kashmir can return to see the newer locations of the paradise called Kashmir.”

A symbol of romance
Kashmir’s fame as a Lovers’ Paradise was amped up by the films and boosted tourism in a big way. Senior writer Chaitanya Padukone said, “The audiences wanted to feel and enact the same romantic aura that was created on the big screen. I have seen people scream ‘Yahoooo’, and roll down the snowy slopes, or jump like Shammi Kapoor in the shikaras on Dal Lake. Though Switzerland replaced the Valley in the nineties, it still remains the first choice for every filmmaker.’’

Kashmir always had an intimate relationship with Bollywood. There is a location named after the film Betaab, after it was shot there. Yash Chopra also made sure that all his hero and heroines romanced in Kashmir. Most of his films, including his 2004 epic, Veer-Zaara were shot there. Sharing an anecdote about Silsila, Dilip Thakur said, “The original heroines of Silsila were Padmini Kolhapure and Parveen Babi. Chopra travelled to Kashmir to meet Amitabh Bachchan who was shooting for a film. The decision to get Rekha and Jaya Bachchan to do the film was made there.”

Kashmir has always been a part of Bollywood’s narrative from the time it entered the film scene. Padukone adds, “Not only stories, even songs promoted Kashmir – be it the song Kashmir ki kali hoon main (Junglee) or Yeh Kashmir hai (Bemisaal). The initial stories that came out of Kashmir were breezy romances, which changed with Roja – romances got replaced by stories of insurgency in Kashmir as the backdrop.”

Faking Kashmir
Bollywood started cheating the audience by showcasing Kulu Manali as Kashmir. The entire Kashmir portion of Roja that highlighted the unrest in the state was actually shot in Kulu Manali. There are some films that were made on the same issue like Yahaan, which was beautifully shot by Shoojit Sircar.

Kashmiri filmmakers like Danish Renzu, who won the Best Director’s Award at the New Jersey Indian International Film Festival, had highlighted the plight of the women there in his film Half Widow (2017) in Kashmir during the insurgency. Says Renzu, “My film explores the real Kashmir with Kashmiri characters that not only show the plight of Kashmiris, but also the way forward.’’ Renzu’s film is yet unreleased in India, even as two more of his films are in the pipeline.

There is one request that this Los Angeles-based filmmaker has for Bollywood. He says, “If they are making films on Kashmir as a topic, and with Kashmiri characters, we would like them to be authentic about the reality in Kashmir. They should tell stories that do justice to the sentiments of people, but at the same time trigger hope and survival. I liked Haider a lot. It was the last film that showed the plight of Kashmiris in the most authentic way possible.’’ There’s hope yet for Danish, Ashvin Kumar’s No fathers In Kashmir is just what he asked for.

Rise of Kashmiri talent in Bollywood
A number of Kashmiri actors have made it big in Bollywood. The filmmakers are also making sure to hire and train local actors and technicians for films that are shot in Valley. Casting director Mukesh Chhabra, who recently cast local talent for Salman Khan’s production Notebook, directed by Nitin Kakkar, informs, “Casting the amazing kids in Notebook was fun. We auditioned more than 300 kids from Kashmir and then narrowed them down. Being from Kashmir, their innocence and purity came through unadulterated and so magically. Their performance in the film speaks for itself.” When asked about Kashmir and Kashmiri talents’ entry in mainstream movies, and what they need to do, Chhabra adds, “They just need to trust us!”

Ashvin Kumar’s teen protagonist Majid in his film No Fathers In Kashmir, is also a local Kashmiri and the filmmaker reveals that the casting took him almost six months. “While the key characters were professional actors, we’ve cast a lot of local talent including the protagonist. The girl however is a Brit Kashmiri since we needed an authentic accent and looks,” shares Ashvin. The filmmaker has also imbibed the Sufi flavour of the Valley’s most-renowned poet Habba Khatoon, and one of the songs in NFIK is an adaptation of the love poetry of the poet. Interestingly, the John Abraham starrer Romeo Akbar Walter that releases on April 5 along with No Fathers in Kashmir, also had a ten-day schedule in the Valley, and also liaised with local-co-ordinators for hiring local talent.

Actors on Kashmir:
Alia, who had shot for Highway and then Raazi, has described it as the warmest place on earth, referring to the native Kashmiris. Mahesh Bhatt’s Jalebi and director Imtiaz Ali’s Laila Majnu are love stories with Kashmir as the backdrop. South Indian films are also being shot in places like Srinagar, Gulmarg and Sonmarg. Dangal star Fatima Sana Shaikh shares a warm connection with the place too and hopes to visit her childhood home someday.

Soni Razdan who hails from Kashmir, also stars in Ashvin Kumar’s No Fathers in Kashmir. Talking about her connection with Kashmir, she exclusively shared with us, “I am part Kashmiri, but I think I am more of a Kashmiri in name, not so much in fact, because I have never lived in Kashmir. But doing a film which is set in Kashmir in these times, my mindset was very in-tune with the kind of role I was playing, the space that we were inhabiting and the sort of situation it was all about.”

The actress however, reveals that working on this film as well as on Raazi, has brought her closer to the state. She adds, “This film has actually drawn me a little closer to the state of Kashmir. And because of this film (NFIK) and then Raazi, I became fascinated with these issues and started travelling there more often. I also made some friends there. It drew me closer to Kashmir than I could have thought of. So very uniquely, after I started this film, I will say that I have started this journey towards Kashmir perhaps, which I didn’t have earlier, and these myths were dispelled and a lot of those fear factors went away. I realised that Kashmiris, like everybody else, just want to have a normal life, they want to have fun like other people do, and not be depressed and dealing with issues all the time. There are not really different from you and me, but of course, it is a very complex place. So a lot is required for people to start getting a better understanding of why things are the way they are in Kashmir.”

HighwayStill

Reality check:
Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit, who hails from Kashmir, informs, “Post 1989-90, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir has been quite volatile. Things went out of control and terrorism took over with the support of local political parties. The film industry like always, kept away from the politics, not only of Kashmir, but of other places also. As far as Kashmir is concerned, terrorism didn’t affect Bollywood as it is the source of their income. They know that we are not going to stay back in the valley, so they didn’t create trouble for those shooting films there. Having said that, the industry should show more concern towards major issues in Kashmir, and not turn a blind eye to realities pertaining to the Valley. The J&K government tried their level best to woo the industry to work there, so that they can tell the world that the situation is normal in the valley.’’

An unfulfilled dream
Bollywood has been wanting to bring to the screen the life of Kashmiri poet Habba Khatoon for a really long time. Mehboob Khan had announced his film with Saira Banu and Dilip Kumar. In the 80s, there were talks of BR Chopra wanting to make the film with Zeenat Aman and Sanjay Khan, with music by the legendary Naushad. The last attempt was by Muzaffar Ali, who was to make the film with Dimple Kapadia and Vinod Khanna. A dream project for the filmmaker, it was supported by the establishment but sadly, could not be made.

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Father’s Day 2019: Here are the real heroes of Salman Khan, Vicky Kaushal, Deepika Padukone’s films

CineBlitz had a crazy idea to celebrate the real heroes – FATHERS – in a unique way and here is the result

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Salman-Deepika-Vicky
Salman Khan, Vicky Kaushal, Deepika Padukone

Today (June 16) is a special day for everyone, not only because is it INDIA – PAKISTAN’s World Cup match but also because people around the globe are celebrating Father’s Day. We at CineBlitz also thought of a unique way to celebrate these real-life heroes with a small memento. How did we do that? Well, we all have seen how Vicky Kaushal, Salman Khan, Deepika Padukone emerge as a hero in their film but what would it look like if the real heroes aka the fathers get the credit for it.

So, we took some posters of hit films of Vicky Kaushal, Salman Khan, Deepika Padukone, Ranbir Kapoor and Tiger Shroff and morphed their father’s faces into the posters. Well, real heroes deserve real quirky posters, right? Check out the poster’s right here:

salim-salman

Salman Khan-Salim Khan

vicky sham 2

Vicky Kaushal – Sham Kaushal

Deepika Prakash Padukone

Deepika Padukone – Prakash Padukone

ranbir Rishi 2

Ranbir Kapoor-Rishi Kapoor

tiger jackie Baaghi

Tiger Shroff – Jackie Shroff

Which poster did you like the most? Let us know in the comments section below. We at CineBlitz also would like to wish all the fathers out there – A Very Happy Father’s Day. Stay tuned to CienBlitz for more news and updates.

 

Picture Editing credits: Sahin Kokitkar

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Father’s Day 2019: From Shah Rukh Khan to Shahid Kapoor, check out 10 super-dads in Bollywood

Bollywood has some amazing stars, who, while impressing us with their performances on the big screen continue to win hearts as doting fathers off it. So today (June 16) on Father’s Day, we list our 10 fave super-dads

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Bollywood stars don’t have it easy. With constant shoots, endless travels and hectic promotions taking a huge chunk of their daily lives, actors often find themselves short-changed for time when it comes to personal lives. And yet there are these doting dads who inspite of a hectic professional life, always take time off to be with their families and children! Shah Rukh Khan, Shahid Kapoor, Anil Kapoor and for many other Bollywood daddies, it’s all about making their children their priority and today on Father’s Day we would like to celebrate these super-dads for being such an inspiration to everyone around.

# Shah Rukh Khan: Shah Rukh Khan is not only famous for his movies, but also for being a hands-on father to his three children – Aryan, Suhana and AbRam Khan. His fun outings with AbRam, his adorable posts about daughter Suhana and being a rock-steady support for Aryan, SRK dotes on his three kids. In fact, his Instagram posts are a lot more about his fun times with his children, than it is about his films.

# Abhishek Bachchan: One look at Abhishek Bachchan’s Instagram accounts and it is easy to understand how much the proud papa dotes on his adorable seven-year-old daughter Aaradhya. Abhishek is often seen accompanying daughter Aaradhya on most of the outings and seeing him take to the stage post her dance performance recently was just too sweet. Clearly a super-dad, Bachchan Jr.

# Hrithik Roshan: If you want to do parenting right, then you’ve got to learn it from Super 30 actor Hrithik Roshan. Although he is separated with Sussanne Khan, he tries to maintain a healthy environment for his two sons Hrehaan and Hridhaan. And how can we not mention the crazy holidays that they take together! It is safe to say that Hrithik, with his duties as a father, is setting some serious parenting goals for many.

# Anil Kapoor: Well, he may still not look like a father to three grown-up kids, but Anil is one dad who’s always been extremely family-oriented. Right from being their strongest support system, to being a fun dad who the three – Sonam, Rhea and Harshvardhan – can just about share anything with, he has always been a friend to them. From his interviews to his social media posts, he has always been an encouraging and a doting dad and we love him not just for his films, but his off screen role as dad too.

# Aamir Khan: Mr Perfectionist is not just about being a perfect actor, but he aces at being a perfect father as well. He is quite protective about his three children – Junaid, Ira and Azad – and his simple and grounded upbringing of his children make him a super-dad.

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Gehri soch 🙂

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# Akshay Kumar: Action star Akshay Kumar is a tough guy on the big screen, but when it comes to his children, he is the mushiest guy we all know. Father to son Aarav and daughter Nitara, he even has their names tattooed. One of the busiest stars in Bollywood, yet he always makes time for family vacations, and even on a daily basis spends quality time with them. He is a perfect role model for his children, constantly motivating them to lead healthy lifestyles and inculcate strong values as a family man.

# Ajay Devgn: A doting and an indulgent father, Ajay Devgn’s heart belongs to his two kids – Nysa and Yug. He is quite a hands-on dad and just like every father is also protective about his family. While he shares fun times with Yug, he shares a rather strong bond with daughter Nysa. A family guy at heart, he’s a super-dad for sure.

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Smiling again looking at this…

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# Shahid Kapoor: Well the award for one of the most handsome dads definitely goes to Shahid Kapoor. But besides being a cutie, Shahid is also a very family-oriented guy. He loves spending time with his kids – Misha and Zain and their pictures that he keeps posting on his social handles are super adorable. We already could guess that he is going to be a fab dad by seeing how he was there for wife Mira during her pregnancy and time is only proving us right.

# Amitabh Bachchan: If you want to see a proud father, well we have Amitabh Bachchan for you. Just like every other father, he is very proud of his two kids – Abhishek and Shweta. While always being modest about his own achievements and star status, the star has never shied away from showing off the achievements of his two children and now even grand-children! His strong bond with both his children Shweta and Abhishek was heart-warming and there for all to see in Karan Johar’s chat show episodes too.

# Karan Johar: Besides being a game-changer in the industry and a style king, this new dad sure knows how to win at the game of parenting as well. Karan Johar is a happy father of two munchkins – Yash and Roohi – and we absolutely love to see how he is raising them up as a single dad, with help from his mother Hiroo of course! Karan loves spending time with his kids and his social media followers love seeing their videos together.

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Baby vogue!!!!! #mylovestory

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# Sanjay Dutt: Sanjay Dutt is an absolute family man and his love for his daughter Trishala and munchkins Shahraan and Iqra is well-known. He is often spotted vacationing with them and he never shies away from showing off the close bond they share. He has often admitted to missing out on Trishala’s childhood that he still regrets, but he now shares a strong bond with her and is every bit a proud dad. He now tries to make sure that he is there for his children as much as possible!

We at CineBlitz would also like to wish every super-dad out there a very Happy Father’s Day. Stay tuned to this space for more news and updates.

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Father’s Day 2019: Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Anil Kapoor – 5 cool dads of B-town that will make you thankful

On-screen dads like Amitabh Bachchan, Anil Kapoor, Shah Rukh Khan, Anupam Kher and Paresh Rawal always make sure to make us laugh

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Pic Courtesy: Instagram

Bollywood has not only had iconic mother characters, but even some amazing father characters. Yes, while we have seen some intense and strict fathers in Hindi films, there have been some really cool on-screen fathers who totally won our hearts. Not only did these exceptional dads break stereotypes, but their cool stance even entertained us to the fullest. On Father’s Day today (June 16), we bring you some quirky on-screen fathers from Bollywood.

1-Amitabh Bachchan

Big B has broken all norms of being the quirkiest father with 102 Not Out. Yes, a happening father sending his old and boring son (Rishi Kapoor) to the old-age home left many of us laughing. But wasn’t that even cool? Well, earlier even in Waqt, Amitabh Bachchan played quite a trendy father to Akshay Kumar. And his flamboyant father avatar in Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna yet again proved that he is way beyond the quintessential dad.

2- Shah Rukh Khan

Well, Shah Rukh Khan is more than just being a king of romance. He made us literally fall in love with his life coach role as Jahangir Khan in Dear Zindagi. But other than that King Khan has also been quite a cool father on screen. Remember, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai while he was a young-widowed father he was also quite cool around his daughter.

3- Anil Kapoor

Right, from being the lovable Arun bhaiyya to the orphan kids, Anil Kapoor was quite an amazing father figure in films. If you still aren’t convinced, then look back at the funny father he played in Biwi No 1. Even in his latest outing Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga, a father with staunch mentality accepting his daughter’s (played by Sonam K Ahuja) sexual orientation cannot get any cooler.

4- Anupam Kher

Dil Wale Dulhania Le Jayenge has been one cult film. And no matter how much we hated Amrish Puri being a daunting dad to Kajol, we totally loved how cool a dad Anupam Kher was to Shah Rukh Khan.  Yes, SRK’s pops was just the kind of dad we all wanted back then.

5- Paresh Rawal

Paresh Rawal has also been quite a notorious father of the big screen. Well, if you remember his character in Judaai, you would surely laugh at the Hasmukhlal who sported a question mark on his forehead. His role in Mere Baap Pehle Aap also was quite the cool father types.

 Let us know which from these was your favourite father? Comment in the section below and stay tuned to CineBlitz for more updates.

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