Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan concluded his weeklong shooting in Kashmir with a promise of coming back to the valley with his family and close friends. Khan was in Kashmir to shoot sequences for Yash Raj Chopra’s yet-to-be titled romantic film starring Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma in the lead role opposite him.
Though not much is known about the plot, promos suggest that Khan plays an army officer named Samar. During interaction with the local media, Khan said that by visiting Kashmir, he has fulfilled a family dream. Khan revealed that his father’s mother was from Kashmir. When asked by a reporter that had he tried to trace his roots in Kashmir during his weeklong visit. “No, I have no idea. I do not remember even their name. It is something that starts with a T,” he said. Khan remembers his father telling him that “If you will go to Kashmir, it will enter in your mind and soul.”
Khan said that his father was right about Kashmir. “It is a strange feeling that I cannot explain. In Pahalgam, I was depressed because my son is abroad. But once I reached Gulmarg, I forgot everything and I was so happy and cheerful to look at the natural beauty of Gulmarg that all my worries faded away in a jiffy.”
When asked by a reporter that conflict ridded Kashmir is often exploited for its beautiful locations by Bollywood filmmakers who only follow an ultra nationalistic theme while depicting Kashmir on screen, Khan cautiously refused to be dragged into K-issue. “Story-telling is not my part. I am just an actor and my job is to act,” Khan said.
Khan’s visit has generated interest among locals who saw it as a major step towards revival of Kashmir’s lost connection with Bollywood. Previously actor Amir Khan’s short visit to Kashmir for shooting his television debut, Satyamav Jaytey, made star-struck state government hopeful that Bollywood is finally going to revive its lost love with Kashmir. But nothing has changed so far!
On the other hand, people associated with tourism sector in Kashmir, which is nowadays largely dependent on Indian tourists, hope that Khan’s visit will create same post DDLJ kind of magic for Kashmir which made Switzerland a must visit place for Indians. “I am not so big that my visit would get people to fly to Kashmir,” Khan said. “But yes, I am confident that people who have been shooting in Mauritius, London, Switzerland, in South Asia and South East Asia may visit the valley after they watch this movie that was extensively shot in Kashmir.”
It would be interesting to see that how SRK’s much hyped visit to Kashmir will help in lifting the tourism sector or at least convince the Indian filmmakers to shoot in Kashmir. For the time being Kashmir is high on super-star SRK’s one liners.