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The Pooja Bhatt’s Love for the Hills: A Tale of Quaint Locale Expedition

AN ELGIN EXCLUSIVE FEATURE

Born in a Gujarati-speaking Bhatt family on February 24, 1972, to Mahesh and Kiran Bhatt, Pooja Bhatt, infiltrated the showbiz at a period when the nepotism discourse was generations away and was usual, nay anticipated, that a star kid will inevitably be an icon. With Mahesh Bhatt’s filmography, Pooja’s debut, at the age of 17, was also a niche movie, Daddy (1989), directed by Bhatt himself- a cult classic.

17-year-old, Pooja Bhatt’s debut with Anupam Kher in the movie ‘Daddy’’

Alongside Aamir Khan in ‘Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin,’ she soared to stardom and again portrayed Anupam Kher’s daughter in this flick. The film, and even the majority of its songs, were a hit at the box office. She was indeed lauded in the movies ‘Zakhm’ and ‘Sadak’- the epics. The lady being unstoppable leaned towards other possibilities and ended her acting profession thru the year 2001. 

The Piscean, slender and charming, established her own production house, ‘Pooja Bhatt Productions,’ in 1996 and released the film ‘Tamanna’ under its umbrella. The oddball tale follows an orphan who is raised by a eunuch. Alas, this drama did not fare well in cinemas. Not to forget the movie ‘Jism’ which created a buzz at the box office and the sequel was long awaited. 

In 2012, Pooja with her father travelled to Darjeeling for a film festival, surely, it was a search expedition for the sequel ‘Jism 2’ for the colonial beauty Darjeeling’s known for. “I have fond memories of shooting in Darjeeling and Kalimpong in 1978 for “Lahu Ke Do Rang” Mahesh Bhatt reminisced.

Image by filmi-contrast

The shooting of Mahesh Bhatt’s film ‘Lahu ke Do Rang’ in Darjeeling starring Shabana Azmi.

‘Lahu ke Do Rang’ stared Shabana Azmi, Vinod Khanna and Danny Denzongpa. “That was my first time shooting in the alps. When I was asked to attend this film festival, I was thrilled to experience everything it has to offer. Darjeeling is the jewel of West Bengal” Mr. Mahesh explained. Mamata Banerjee had substantially de-escalated tensions in the Hills, and Mahesh believed it was a past time to reconsider the hill station as a shooting destination.  

Pooja, hardly 4 years old, accompanied her father first time for the shoot of Lahoo Ke Doo Rang. In 1989, she returned to Darjeeling to shoot ‘Chor Aur Chaand’, in which she had starred alongside Aditya Pancholi. ” When I had accompanied my father, I had taken back with me an Aapso pup” Pooja guffawed, “This time my spouse has cautioned me not to take anything back.”

The epic father- daughter duo’s always on search for ideal locations and Darjeeling was one of them.

Pooja, following her father’s footsteps, aspired to explore Darjeeling for her next film, Jism 2. My films were shot in exotic locales like Lahaul Spiti and Puducherry. Now I’d like to revisit Darjeeling for my upcoming movie Jism 2. The film mandates a delicate balance among nature and colonial architecture- Darjeeling flawlessly fits the bill. We’re taking a look around. Though we have other locales in consideration, Darjeeling has been at the top of the list. 

Darjeeling was admired by Papa Bhatt. “As we were filming Lahoo at the Chowrasta, the relationship between the actors and the crowd was amazing. The people were so pleasant and keen to assist us that they followed our instructions to the letter.” 

Bhatt reckons that a single successful film can smack start Darjeeling as a valuable cine locale. “Young filmmakers are always on the quest for novel settings to record at. Darjeeling will undoubtedly pique their imagination. Even the district administration’s eager to work with the film industry to make shooting smoother in the region “Bhatt acknowledged.