B-town rediscovers roots

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When Deepika Padukone’s bodyguards forcefully stop the train at the picturesque Dudh Sagar in South India, Shah Rukh is spellbound. And so is the audience at the scenic beauty of Dhudh Sagar. However, Chennai Express is not the only film in recent times to capture the scenic beauty in India splendidly.
Recently released Shuddh Desi Romance explores the lanes of Jaipur’s walled city, upcoming film Gori Tere Pyar Mein will bring alive the Jhumli village of Gujarat, the holy city of Varanasi came alive in Isaaq and Raanjhanaa, while Gulaab Gang has been shot extensively in rustic locales of central India, and streets of Lucknow will be seen in upcoming Bullet Raja. The list of films recently being shot in India is getting longer as filmmakers are ditching foreign locations. The scenic beauty of Darjeeling in Barfi! and snowfall in Dalhousie in Lootera are fresh in public memory. We ask the film fraternity about rediscovering India through its film.
“India is too beautiful and no one needs to go abroad for beautiful backdrops. There are many unexplored places that can be captured. Also, we have come a long way from shooting in foreign locations. In the last decade or two, foreign locations had aspiration value attached to them. Audience used to aspire to the lifestyle and luxury available abroad. And so it made sense to shoot there. However, now as a society we are realising our cultural worth and have starting looking inward for inspiration. And so films are being written about local people and are being shot in India,” says film director Kapil Sharma.
Directors are on a spree to discover India and what it stands for. Abhishek Kapoor’s Kai Po Che was set in old city homes and havelis in Gujarat. Abhishek says he enjoyed capturing the beauty of Ellis Bridge in his film. “We wanted to explore Gujarat in the film. In the film, Gujarat is not just a city but a character. We tried exploring it in the film,” he says.
Not just directors and audience, even actors enjoy rediscovering their roots. Sharaddha Das who is presently shooting in Goa for an upcoming film says that she is discovering Goa through the film. “India is very diverse. From oceans, hills, deserts and valleys, almost every possible backdrop can be found here,” says Sharaddha.
Kapil highlights another angle. He says, “Bollywood is increasingly focusing on youth-based contemporary stories. We don’t have heroes and heroins anymore. We have actors playing characters. And a particular city as backdrop only adds to their character. Shooting in India also increases a film’s relatability with the audience.”

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