Bollywood rediscovers Kashmir as ideal shooting destination
Multi-starrer ‘Fitoor’ to be shot in scenic locations in Dal Lake, Pahalgam
Bollywood is fast rediscovering Kashmir as a favourite destination to shoot films with acclaimed filmmakers making a beeline to film their ventures in breathtaking locales in the Valley.
Owing to its natural beauty, Kashmir was an integral part of Bollywood films till 1990. However, due to political instability in Kashmir, the Bollywood lost its connection with the Valley. With improvement in situation, Bollywood over the past few years gradually made a comeback to Kashmir, shooting multi-starrer films.
Buoyed by success of many of these films at the Box Office, Kashmir has reemerged as a preferred shooting destination for Bollywood.
The latest film to be shot in Kashmir is multi-starrer ‘Fitoor’ directed by Abhishek Kapoor of Kai Poi Che and Rock-On fame. Inspired by Charles Dickson’s ‘The Great Expectations’, Fitoor in a multi-starrer with Aditya Roy Kapur of Aashiqui 2 fame, famous Bollywood actress Katrina Kaif and evergreen Rekha in lead roles.
The shooting of the film is scheduled to begin in October in locales of Srinagar including Dal Lake and famous tourist resort of Pahalgam. Fitoor is a story of love lost and realized over the course of two generations.
“Fitoor is my ode to love in all its facets, intricate like the proverbial Kashmiri carpet and form-changing like the graceful Chinar. It is only befitting then that a stellar female cast comprising Rekha and Katrina Kaif, along with a raw powerhouse like Aditya Roy Kapur, be engaged to give this story the best form and voice,” Director of Fitoor, Abhishek Kapoor told Greater Kashmir.
Kapoor did extensive recce of the locales in Dal Lake and Pahalgam.
Asked why he selected Kashmir for shooting, he said: “My favourite memories growing up are associated with Kashmir. These were times well spent on vacation with family and friends and lived the magic of Kashmir vicariously through the movies.”
Kapoor said Fitoor is a love story weaved through closely-knit culture of Kashmir. “Kashmir is synonymous with love itself. It has played muse to me, and fuelled my inspiration as a writer and film-maker. When I think beauty, I think Kashmir. There is magic in the air which permeates the senses from the moment you get there,” he said.
In a philosophical tone, he said: “Kashmir has a purity of soul and a uniqueness of voice borne from Kashmiriyat, a culture that is age-old.”
Praising the natural beauty of Kashmir, Kapoor said, “The omnipotence of the Chinar tree is the single most striking image of Kashmir that pops up in the imagination.”
“It changes hues dramatically with the seasons, defining them. And as it does so, it sparks up the vistas all around. In Kashmir, every season has a story to tell. And every story has a romance woven into it, much like the fabled Kashmiri carpets. There is a silky passion in every thread, which woven together, emerges as art itself,” he said.
Fitoor revolves around 13-year old Noor who’s a Shikara rover living around Dal Lake. “Noor is lured into the world of the Begum- a wealthy woman played by Rekha who stays in her dilapidated Kashmiri mansion in the valley. Noor falls in love with her adopted daughter Firdaus- a gorgeous child who is being raised to break hearts,” said Khawar Jamsheed, who is the line producer of the film in Kashmir.
The story begins in the winters of Kashmir where a beautiful, ordinary boy finds himself in a world where important people, expensive things and social interaction is common.
“Seasons change, years pass and the red, looming Chinars shed their leaves. Noor leaves behind a familiar Kashmir and becomes an artist that is fast grabbing eyeballs in the swanky city of Delhi. He raises the bar for himself and strives to be a part of the upper class circles that Firdaus moves around in. But does Noor really belong to their world? Does Firdaus even love him back?’ he said.
“This film seeks to explore the dominant conflict of classes in our country, the impact that a broken heart can have and what role true love and ambitions play among it,” he said.
Khawar who heads KJ Productions has worked in many films as line producer in Kashmir including Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Highway, Rockstar, Student of the Year, Satya 2, Heropanti, Phantom and Haider—all shot in various locations in the Valley.
Many famous Bollywood films including Kashmir Ki Kali, Jab Jab Phool Khile, Aarzoo, ‘Kabhie Kabhie’ and ‘Bobby were extensively shot in Kashmir. “Films shot in Kashmir promote tourism and brings in greater revenue for our state government and generate employment. The need of the hour is to encourage our youth towards constructive work, and working on a film set not only ensures direct monetary benefit, but also inclines the minds towards creativity,” Jamsheed said.