Bollywood’s Punjabi Connection

The combination of mustard fields, the golden gaehun ke khet and the Punjabi dum filled ada is perhaps the perfect formula to make Punjab the most sought after state for shooting.

Bollywood filmmakers always went to Europe for shootings. A big budget Bollywood film meant a few romance scenes in the Alps or in London streets. But the same person who popularised such locations also broke the trend by making Veer Zaara in Punjab. The cross-border love story broke the European bounds too…

In the last few years,the top actors- Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgn, Saif Ali Khan, Ranbir Kapoor and Akshay Kumar and the top actresses- Kareena Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Sonakshi Sinha, Priety Zinta, Sonam Kapoor have all shot films there. Some more than once.

“It was ‘Veer Zara’ which set the ball rolling for shootings in and around Chandigarh and inspired others to come here,” Darshan Aulakh, production manager of the super-hit film, told IANS. “In a way, it paved the path for more Bollywood movies to be shot in and around the city after the militancy days (in Punjab),” added Aulakh, whose production house makes arrangements for most Hindi filmmakers in Punjab and Chandigarh.

Bollywood has always had a connection to Punjab, with all the Kapoors, Khannas, Deols, Anands, Chopras and all the other Punjabis who made it big in B-Town. “I feel Punjab and its culture have become the essence of Bollywood films. No Hindi film is complete without a bit of Punjab in it, be it in songs, language, locations or even a small character,” actor Arya Babbar, who has been seen in Hindi and Punjabi films and is the son of actor-politician Raj Babbar, told IANS.

Bollywood actor Govinda, who will soon be seen in a Punjabi movie, shares his love for the state: “I always love coming to Punjab. I make it a point to visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar once every year. People here are so warm and welcoming, which I think is another reason for Bollywood’s obsession to shoot here.”

In the recent years, Salman Khan’s Bodyguard, Shahid Kapur’s Mausam, Akshay Kumar’s Joker, Ajay Devgn’s Son of Sardaar, Imran Khan’s Mere Brother Ki Dulhan and most recently Farhan Akhtar’s super hit sports epic Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, have all been shot in and around Chandigarh, Patiala and other locations in Punjab.

“I am a proud Punjabi and to see Punjab being promoted, as so many films are being shot here, makes me really happy. It will definitely help boost tourism in the region,” Punjabi actor and singer Gippy Grewal said. From the Apne family saga of the Deols (Dharmendra-Sunny-Bobby) to Kareena Kapoor-Shahid Kapur’s refreshing Jab We Met, the vibrancy of Punjab and its rustic locations have captivated all.

“For films which require the scenic beauty of rural parts, open green fields and the village lifestyle, Punjab provides a perfect backdrop,” says Punjabi film actor Binnu Dhillon, known for his comedy roles in recent Punjabi hit films. Big budget films like Rang de Basanti, Love Aaj Kal, Besharam to small budget ones like Mere Dad ki maruti were shot in Punjab.

“Shooting at the locations of Punjab is very cheap. A song shot in the yellow fields of Punjab will look as beautiful as the one shot in a foreign location. Thus, filmmakers prefer to shoot in the region as it saves huge costs,” says Darshan Grewal, producer of super-hit Punjabi movie Jatt and Juliet.

Not just Bollywood, several Hollywood films like Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty were shot in Punjab. Punjabi charm seems to have traveled across the oceans…

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