Devastating floods and landslides flattened houses and left hundreds dead in Uttarakhand a month ago, but for Bollywood filmmakers like Subhash Ghai and Karan Malhotra, the state will remain a location as picturesque as always. They're sure they will return there to roll the cameras.
"A tragedy happened in Uttarakhand and it gives me grief, but the state will always be a lucrative place for producers to shoot because of its undying beauty," Subhash Ghai, who shot his new film "Kaanchi" in Nainital, told IANS.
A recent report quoted Uttarakhand line producers talking about film shootings being cancelled post the flash-floods in the Garhwal region while the Kumaon region was unscathed. Shocking images of the destruction caused by thundering cloudbursts and torrential rains were seen across the media but filmmakers say there's still scope to capture scenic shots, albeit after a few months.
Ghai said: "Though I shot my film 'Kaanchi' in Nainital and at other places in May, I shall always look forward to picturise other locales (in Uttarakhand) in my future projects".
"Kaanchi", slated to release Aug 30, features Kartik Tiwari and newcomer Mishti in the lead roles.
In the past, the nature-endowed environment of Uttarakhand, complete with greenery, hills, rivulets and rivers, has served as the backdrop for films like "Koi... Mil Gaya" (2003), "Kisna" (2005) and "Bunty Aur Babli" (2005), and even "Student of the Year" (2012).
Director Karan Malhotra, who helmed the remake of 1990 film "Agneepath", is considering adding Uttarakhand as one of the shooting destinations of his forthcoming film "Shuddhi", after Ladakh and Mumbai.
"I feel Uttarakhand is one state which is not yet explored fully. I had gone with my team sometime back to explore the beautiful locations there. We finally decided to shoot at Gangotri and Rudraprayag," Malhotra told IANS.
"But now we'll go there once the state is back in shape... may be after a couple of months. Till then we will wind up shooting in Mumbai and Ladakh," he added.
In the meantime, TV channels, producers, filmmakers and actors from all quarters have been lending a helping hand to alleviate the situation in the state.
While some like actors Shatrughan Sinha, Anupam Kher, Ram Charan Teja, Allu Arjun and yesteryear Tamil actress Sripriya Rajkumar, made monetary contributions, some, like the team of popular TV show "C.I.D." actually went on the spot to provide aid.
Veteran director-producer B.P. Singh of "C.I.D." fame, said that on their way, they came across "depressing" sites in places like Banswada, which was "wiped out".
"It was too chaotic and the pathway was blocked," he said, adding that it is not the best time to visit Uttarakhand as no administration or system is in place to help you out with shooting permissions.
"It's not because of the fear that one should not go, but because of the general depression surrounding the place. We saw hundreds of dead bodies lying there. Also, it's the monsoon season, and people usually shoot there in summer or winter," Singh added.
However, he feels brighter days will shine upon the state after "four or five months".
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