Bollywood laps up the Punjabi flavour
Chandigarh: When Yash Chopra captured the beauty of Punjab in the Shah Rukh Khan-Preity Zinta starrer 'Veer-Zara', he not only made a classic cross-border love story but also broke free from the cliched European destinations of Hindi cinema.
The snow-kissed mountains of Switzerland or the streets of London now have stiff competition as Punjab is the new-found love for filmmakers in Bollywood.
Punjab and Chandigarh seem to be attracting more filmmakers to come and shoot here. In the last five years or more, Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgn, Saif Ali Khan, Ranbir Kapoor and Akshay Kumar - the A-listers of Bollywood’s male superstars - have all shot in Chandigarh and nearby areas of Punjab. Some of them have done it more than once.
Among the top heroines, the likes of Kareena Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Sonakshi Sinha, Preity Zinta, Sonam Kapoor and others have shot films here.
"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 us.
"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.
Punjab has a strong filial connection with Bollywood - given all the Kapoors, Chopras, Deols, Khannas, Anands and other Punjabis who have made it big over the past five decades.
"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 us.
Punjab provides production houses a bevy of opportunities to capture all things Punjabi that reflect in their films' scripts and characters. So, big Bollywood banners and a galaxy of stars are becoming a common sight in the region.
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