Over the years, Bollywood producers have preferred to log air miles to East European nations or traverse from Alaska to New Zealand. But Still its seems that North East has been off Bollywood’s radar as a shoot locale. There are Hindi Blockbuster films which were set in the Northeast India but got filmed somewhere else. This including Dil Se (1998), Tango Charlie (2005), Bum Bum Bole (2010) and Mary Kom (2014).
As National award-winning filmmaker Jahnu Barua, points out, “The rest of India has been allergic to the North East since independence. There is this fear psychosis as it is the border area. They just do not want to take notice of the region.” Fortunately, that seems to be changing now.
Recently team Rock On 2 completed their shoot in Shillong, while Vishal Bhardwaj’s film Rangoon starring Saif Ali Khan, Shahid Kapoor and Kangana Ranaut also shoot in Arunachal and in Assam.
Here are few Bollywood movies that were shot in NorthEast
Ek Pal, 1986, Assam
Directed by Kalpana Lajmi, starring Naseeruddin Shah, Farooq Shaikh and Shabana Azmi. The 2.15 hours long movie was shot in Shillong and Jorhat (Assam)
Jewel Thief, 1967, Sikkim
This spy thriller movie starring the Dev Anand was shot in Sikkim, but that time it was not a part of North-East then. It’s One of the first spy thriller films in India which left the audience at tenterhooks.
Kurbaan, 1991, Meghalaya
Directed by Deepak Bahry. The family drama film starring Salman Khan and Ayesha Jhulka was filmed in Shillong. Few scenes were shot at Eastern Air Command Campus, Upper Shillong.
Koyla, 1997, Arunachal Pradesh
Rakesh Roshan’s ‘Koyla’ (1997) starring Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit was shot in Arunachal Pradesh. One of the film’s tracks, Tanhai Tanhai, was filmed in the Shungetser Lake and Nuranang Falls in the Tawang district of the state. After the shoot, Shungetser Lake came to be referred to as the Madhuri Lake.
Daman, 2001, Assam
Directed by Kalpana Lajmi, the Bollywood drama film “Daman” starring Raveena Tandon was partially shot in Guwahati. Raveena Tandon won Best Actress award at the distinguished National Film Award for her role as Durga Saikia.
Har Pal, 2001, Shillong
Jahnu Barua’s film starring Preity Zinta and Shiny Ahuja in leading roles was shot in Shillong. But as the film’s lead got some legal trouble, the release of this film got delayed.
Saaya, 2003, Nagaland
‘Saaya’ starring then John Abraham and Tara Sharma was shot in Mokokchung district of Nagaland. The film was directed by Anurag Basu.
Dansh, 2005, Mizoram
‘Dansh’ was directed by Kanika Verma and written and produced by Anish Ranjan based on Mizo Nationalist Front agitation which found nomination in various Indian and international film festivals. Kay Kay Menon, Sonali Kulkarni and Aditya Srivastava was in lead roles for Dansh.
Aisa Yeh Jahaan, 2015, Assam
Directed by Biswajeet Bora ‘Aisa Yeh Jahaan’, starring Palash Sen and Ira Dubey in the Golaghat district of Assam.
Rock On 2, 2016, Shillong
The drama film revolving around a rock band starring Farhan Akhtar, Arjun Ramp and Shraddha Kapoor is shot at the country’s most scenic and pristine hill station Shillong last year.
Rangoon, 2016, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam
Vishal Bharadwaj, who is shooting his Saif Ali Khan-Shahid Kapoor-Kangna Ranaut starter ‘Rangoon’ in Arunachal Pradesh and Dhemaji (Assam)
Yeh Gulistan Hamara, 1972, Arunachal Pradesh
Yeh Gulistan Hamara is a 1972 Bollywood drama film directed by Atma Ram. The film stars Dev Anand, Sharmila Tagore, Pran, Sujit Kumar, and Johny Walker, and music by S. D. Burman. Dialogue and Screenplay are by Wajahat Mirza. The films depicts a tribal community living on the border with China; the song “Mera Naam Aao” was considered particularly offensive to the Ao Naga community in Nagaland.
Well, from last few years, things are slightly changing for North East. With films like Mary Kom and the back to back shoot of Rock On 2 and Rangoon we can really hope for something big next. In November 2013, when Aamir Khan chose to bring in his wife Kiran Rao’s 40th birthday in Assam, it at least made Bollywood realize the region’s tourist potential.
Thanks to Bibhuti Bh.Das for the update
Note: Dil Se and Mary Kom were not shot in Northeast although they were based on Northeast India. Dil Se was shot in Himachal Pradesh and Mary Kom in Dharamshala and Manali.