Kashmir is known for its enchanting gorgeousness. It is bordered by three mountain ranges of the Himalayas- Karakoram, Zanaskar and Pir Panjal, running from northwest to northeast. The snow-capped ranges surrounding Kashmir look like a portrait straight out of a myth. Dazzling rivers, serene lakes, splendid gardens and flowering meadows are some prominent features of the landscape of the Kashmir valley. The spectacular beauty of Kashmir has led to it being called “The Switzerland of the East”. Nothing describes the beauty of Kashmir better than the following words of the Mughal emperor, Jehangir:
“Gar Bar-ru-e-Zamin Ast; Hamin Ast, Hamin Ast, Hamin Ast.”
It translates to “If there is paradise on this earth, this is it, this is it, this is it”, and these words still hold true! Owing to its picturesque beauty, Kashmir is a place adored by film makers for filming a variety of scenes, though most are romantic in nature. It was a favorite of directors and producers during the 1960s and 1970s but as insurgency in the area grew shooting in the valleys of Kashmir become a dangerous trade. But now after many years, when peace has finally started to return to this region, Bollywood giants have again set their eyes back on Kashmir. Not only does the mesmerizing beauty of Kashmir leaves the viewers astounded, it also saves the studios tons of money as its more expensive to shoot outside of the country. It also has the added bonus of promoting tourism in Kashmir which is essential to keep the peace in this area and boost the economy of this war torn region. Here we have listed some famous movies that were shot at top tourist spots in Kashmir.
- JAB TAKK HAI JAN – DAL LAKE
Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharma and Katrina Kaif starred in this film of which portions were shot in Kashmir. The song ‘Jiya Re’ saw Anuskha Sharma dancing on a shikara, in the middle of the Dal Lake. The Dal Lake being one of Kashmir’s most popular tourist locations is regularly referred to as the ‘Jewel in the crown of Kashmir’ for its apparent loveliness. Located at Srinagar, the splendor of this lake attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world.
- AAP KI KASAM – SHANKARACHARYA TEMPLE
The Rajesh Khanna – Mumtaz starrer Aap ki Kasam had a very famous song ‘Jai Jai Shiv Shankar’ that was shot at the Shankaracharya Temple of Kashmir. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is an essential pilgrim spot for Buddhists as well. With 243 stairs to the temple vicinity, journey to this complex is considered to be tough but very rewarding.
- FITOOR – NISHAT BAGH, DAL LAKE
This Abhishek Kapoor directed venture, starring Aditya Roy Kapoor and Katrina Kaif, has parts that have been shot at the Nishat Bagh which is a terraced Mughal garden. It is built on the eastern side of the Dal Lake and is the second largest Mughal garden in Kashmir. The garden has twelve terraces which are very impressive.
- SAAT KHOON MAAF – SHALIMAR BAGH
The film based on the short story ‘Susanna’s Seven Husbands’ by Ruskin Bond, had Priyanka Chopra as its lead. Segments with Irrfan Khan and Priyanka, were shot at Shalimar Bagh, which without a doubt, stands among the top tourist spots in Kashmir. This pretty garden was built by Mughal Emperor Jahangir for his wife Nur Jahan, in 1619. Shalimar is the largest Mughal garden in Jammu and Kashmir.
- JAB JAB PHOOL KHILE
This 1965 picture tells the story of a boatman in love with an heiress. The film is remembered for capturing the beauty of Srinagar’s Dal Lake.
- KASHMIR KI KALI
The evergreen song, “Yeh Chand Sa Roshan Chehra” that Shammi Kapoor dedicated to Sharmila Tagore in the lush valleys of Kashmir has delighted many generations. The song was shot at Dal Lake with principal shooting of the rest of the movie at Srinagar.
Nargis Fakhri’s character is from Kashmir, so a portion of the film was shot at various locations of Srinagar such as Pari Mahal and Dal Lake, the top tourist spots in Kashmir. She even shows off the garb of a traditional Kashmiri bride in this 2011 musical drama.
- BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN – SONMARG
The much awaited Salman Khan – Kareena Kapoor starrer movie, was shot in certain notable locations of Kashmir, one of them being Sonmarg. Salman Khan and BeBo posted pictures on their official Twitter accounts from their shooting schedule in Sonmarg which is a hill station in the Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir. This beautiful hill station lies amidst the imposing Himalayan Ranges and is thus, particularly scenic.
DIFFERENT LOCATIONS (SRINAGAR, GULMARG, PAHALGAM, ANANTANG, etc.)
Counted amongst one of the most crucial movies set in Kashmir, this Vishal Bhardwaj directed movie was an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet. The critically acclaimed song ‘Bismil’ from the movie was shot at the Martand Sun Temple of Kashmir which was dedicated to the Sun God and is said to be built during the 8th century. The Martand temple was built on top of a plateau from where one can have a panoramic view of the entire Kashmir valley.
- STUDENT OF THE YEAR – GULMARG, SRINAGAR, PAHALGAM
Remember that song, “Ishq wala love” that we enjoyed so much? It was shot in Kashmir with the exquisite backdrop of snowcapped mountains.
- HIGHWAY – ARU VALLEY, ANANTANG
Directed by Imtiaz Ali, Alia Bhatt captured the hearts of many with her powerful performance in this movie. Parts of the film were shot at the Aru Valley of Kashmir which is admired for its scenic meadows. Aru Valley is a peaceful trekking and camping site for those interested. During heavy snowfall, the Aru Valley, being one of the top tourist spots in Kashmir, is thronged with visitors inclined towards skiing and heli-skiing.
This Kabir Khan venture starring Saif Ali Khan is set against the background of terrorism. Portions of this movie have been set in Gulmarg, a hill station in Kashmir. A popular skiing destination, Gulmarg attracts a string of tourists from around the globe every year. This serene town is within the Himalayas and falls within miles of the Line of Control between India and Pakistan.
- YEH JAWANI HAI DEEWANI
This coming of age love story with Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone as lead actors, had stills which were shot in Pahalgam, Gulmarg and Srinagar. The movie ran into a controversy with the Jammu and Kashmir tourism when it referred to Gulmarg as Manali. Omar Abdullah even tweeted about this deliberate mistake, after the J&K tourism made every effort to make the film’s shooting comfortable.
- BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG
If you’ve seen the Milkha Singh biopic, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, you would remember the song Zinda where Farhan Akhtar undergoes passionate training at this high altitude location. The rustic beauty of vast cold desert landscapes and sapphire lakes has been steadily gaining attention from Bollywood.
- 3 IDIOTS
Majority of the audience was introduced to the beauty of Ladakhi landscape by the blockbuster Aamir Khan’s movie 3 Idiots, which opened a world of discovery for those who were new to the captivating beauty of Ladakh, known to be one of the top tourist spots in Kashmir.
- DIL SE
It showed the disparity between a terror ridden Kashmir while showcasing the beauty of the state. Kashmiri scenes were mostly shot in Ladakh.
A military based movie shot primarily in Kargil, Lakshay is based on Kargil war of 1999. It revolves around a soldier (Hritik Roshan) and a journalist (Priety Zinta) both of whom end up being involved in the Kargil war.
- LOC KARGIL
Though this place has been affected by border issues, its beauty never dies. The unending mountains astonish all with its sheer magnitude. This 2003 movie is also based on Kargil War fought between India and Pakistan. It gives detailed account of “Operation Vijay”.