Darjeeling and Bollywood seem to be in perfect liaison while capturing romantic moments on celluloid. Time and again I have always regarded Darjeeling as one of the most romantic places of India. No wonder, even our very own Bollywood holds the place dear. Starting from Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore to the new age Ranbir Kapoor, all are quite at ease while romancing Darjeeling. Let me now take you through a nostalgic journey where Darjeeling and Bollywood had come together to deliver masterpieces.
The first thing I remember about Darjeeling and Bollywood is the famous song “Mere sapno ki rani” from Aradhana. With Rajesh Khanna behind the wheels singing for Sharmila Tagore who is travelling by the toy train. I think there are very few people who will not be humming this song while riding the Darjeeling toy train.
More recently, Sharmila Tagore’s son Sail Ali Khan relieved the toy train song in the film Parineeta while playing to the tunes of “Kastomaza le”. With Vidya Balan looking like the quintessential Bengali bride, the song captured the moment of longing to perfection.
Even before Aradhana was shot in Darjeeling, superstar Dev Anand and Asha Paresk had shot a similar song “Jiya Ho Jiya Kuch Bol Do” in the movie Jab Pyar Kisi se Hota Hain. It had Dev Anand serenading Asha Parekh in a similar way, or shall I say it was the reverse! Bollywood clearly had a love affair with the toy trains of Darjeeling!
How can megastar Amitabh Bachchan be immune to the charms of Darjeeling? He had shot two movies here – Do Anjane with Rekha and the superhit Barsat ki ek Raat with Rakhee. Remember the song “Apne Pyarke” from Barsat Ki Ek Raat”? This film was also shot in Bengali as Anusondhan.
The Badshah of Bollywood started his career with Raju Ban gaya Gentleman. The song “Dil hai mera Deewana” was shot in Darjeeling. In 2012, superstar SharRukh Khan was back in Darjeeling with his blockbuster Main Hoon Na. Remember the scene where Shah Rukh emerging from the smoke of the steam engines. I know many who have tried to take that particular shot in front of a steam engine!
During the late 1990’s, a film “Bada Din” was released. It had the song “Mere saanson me tum Ho” featuring the hunk Marc Robinson and beautiful Tara Deshpande. The song had become the song of the year and was also one of my favorites during that time. I think this song had captured the beauty of Darjeeling like never before.
And finally, Barfi featuring Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Illena D’Cruz recreated magic in Darjeeling. Be it Keventer’s or the alleys or the iconic St. Pauls School, the toy trains, the movie of Anurag Basu showcased the place in an outstanding way. Whenever I visit Darjeeling, I seem to connect the places with the scenes!
It is not only Bollywood, but our Bengali film industry has also been besotted with Darjeeling. The place has been explored well by the Bengali movie industry as well.
Satyajit Rays “Kanchanjungha” had Darjeeling at its backdrop. Jani Dekha Hobe, Highway and more recently Shudhu Tomari Jonyo are movies shot here.
Darjeeling with its pleasant and scenic beauty has always attracted filmmakers. The Toy train is always synonymous with romanticism, while the St. Pauls School with its picturesque settings has attracted many filmmakers time and again. Hope this post reminded you about your trip to Darjeeling, or may be, about those wonderful movies you watched. Iwe might have missed many, let us know about any other films. We will be happy to update the list.