Bhatts Sign On As Picturesque Jammu And Kashmir All Set To Wow Bollywood Biggies Yet Again

30 June 2014
The New Indian Express
Fayaz Wani

Srinagar: With the drop in militant violence and further improvement in the ground situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Bollywood filmmakers are returning to the pristine state. Noted Bollywood director Mahesh Bhatt and producer Mukesh Bhatt are scheduled to shoot their films in the region this year. 'Well known Bollywood director Mahesh Bhatt and producer Mukesh Bhatt will shoot a portion of their films at different locales here,' director - Tourism Kashmir, Talat Parvez, told Express. Bhatts have directed and produced many hit films including 'Raaz', 'Murder' and 'Gangster'. They have also made sequels to 'Raaz' and 'Murder'. Parvez said shooting of Bollywood films in Kashmir is good news for the state's tourism sector. 'People across the world see Bollywood films, and they will definitely get attracted to the lush green meadows, streams, snow covered mountains, and forests covered with dense vegetation,' he said. After the drop in the militant violence here, many filmmakers, including the late Yash Chopra, have shot films in Kashmir. Karan Johar's 'Ye Jawaani Hai Deewani'(2013), 'Haider', Karan Johar's 'Student of the Year' (2012), Yash Chopra's 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan' (2012), 'Highway', 'Rockstar'(2011), '7 Khoon Maaf' (2011), 'Lamhaa' (2010), 'Yahaan' (2005), 'Mission Kashmir', and few other films were shot in Kashmir. Before eruption of militancy in 1989, Kashmir was the favourite destination for Bollywood filmmakers, and many hit films and songs had been shot here. 'The shooting of Bollywood films in Kashmir definitely helps the tourist industry in Kashmir. In fact, the tourist inflow increases through the promotion of Kashmir in Bollywood films,' said Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Owners Federation (KHAROF) president, G M Dug. 'Shooting of films at different locales of Kashmir can prove to be cost effective for filmmakers and will definitely attract more tourists to the Valley,' he said. Dug added that they had suggested to the officials of the Tourism Department to purchase filmmaking equipment, and give it for hire to the filmmakers interested in shooting in Kashmir. 'This would encourage more and more filmmakers to shoot their films in Kashmir, because most directors and producers hesitate to carry heavy equipment to the Valley,' said Dug. 'Yeah, we had received this suggestion from the tourism stakeholders in the Valley. We told them that most of the filmmaking equipment is already available in the Valley and ready to be hired,' Parvez said. The tourist centre director added that the heavy equipment could only be purchased by private entrepreneurs, who can earn a good chunk of money by giving for hire to the filmmakers.