Bollywood in Kashmir and Popular Shooting Locations

Recreate Bollywood's most cherished moments with Kashmir Tourism

Blog Home | Surbhi Mishra | 11-09-2022

As much as there is a craze for Bollywood movies, it is also true for Kashmir. From the era of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, the region has always been a famous movie hub. From films such as Junglee (1961), Kashmir ki Kali (1964), and Silsila (1981) to the movies such as Rockstar (2011), Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013), Haider (2014), Kashmir’s astounding beauty has always bewitched the world of cinema. 

It is through these Bollywood movies again that the audience at large gets a glimpse of the Valley’s verdant beauty. When Sunny Deol-Amrita Singh’s starred debut movie ‘Betaab’ (1983) got hit, the Valley where it was shot took the eponymous name. Since then, Hajan Valley has been known as Betaab Valley. Such was the visceral effect of Bollywood on Kashmir and vice-versa. 

Betaab Valley is 15 km away from Pahalgam in Kashmir. Image: Shutterstock

Indubitably, as and when opportunities have presented themselves, filmmakers didn’t miss out on shooting memorable songs against the picturesque backdrop of the Heavenly Valley. Remember the song ‘Ishq Wala Love’ from the movie Student of the Year (2012), featuring the trio Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Sidharth Malhotra? The scene was filmed in Kashmir during the snowy season. That was merely a song. In the recent past, a whole movie was shot in this picturesque Valley. The movie Notebook (2019) has garnered praise for its visual treat showcasing Kashmir’s breathtaking beauty. Presenting a romantic story in Paradise on Earth, the love for Kashmir is real. 

A still from the song ‘Ishq Wala Love,’ shot in Kashmir. Image: First India

However, the love that is Kashmir has its share of conflict. The Bollywood representation of the paradisiacal Valley was never the same after the 80’s. Terror and guns engulfed the Valley. Bollywood romance with Valley neared an end. And so does the playful portrayal of Bollywood in Kashmir. The politics of the state gave rise to serious subject matters. The movies, based on the premise of love and light, soon turned into a plot of a more tragic and conflicting state of the Valley. Movies like Roza (1992), Mission Kashmir (2000), Maa Tujhe Salaam (2002), Fanaa (2006), Lamhaa (2010), Haider (2014), and The Kashmir Files (2022); all had their plot submerged under the pretext of terrorism, infiltration, spy and the power-hungry politicians. 

Fanaa, starring Aamir Khan, casts him as an insurgent on his mission to Kashmir. Image: IMDb

Bollywood portrayals of Kashmir have only evolved with time. Enveloped in times of uncertainty, the sentiment is always to see Kashmir in its absolute raw, pure and blissful form. And if one ever wants to go back to the Valley, it’s to receive the same sentiment of love and happiness. 

Bollywood & Kashmir: Famous Shooting Locations

Now that Kashmir tourism is booming again, travellers can look forward to visiting the scenic locations of the famous Bollywood movies & songs. We know that so many Bollywood songs have been shot in the Valley but can you correctly guess the Kashmir locations of these Bollywood songs? From the bygone era to modern times, songs that you sometimes hum or sing for others are most likely from Kashmir. Top tourist places in Kashmir, from Srinagar to Pahalgam, and Gulmarg, have always been the first choice for shooting some awe-inspiring and soul-stirring songs. Let’s see how good you’re at recognising locations of other songs in Kashmir.

A still from the song “Yeh Chand Sa Roshan Chehra,” shot in Dal Lake’s Floating Market. Image: Youtube

Where in Kashmir do you think songs from “Yeh Chand Sa Roshan Chehra” to “Bhar do Jholi meri ya Muhammad” have been shot? The world-renowned Dal Lake in Srinagar was immortalised by Shammi Kapoor’s performance in ‘Kashmir ki Kali.’ The scene where he serenaded Sharmila Tagore on a Shikara in the Dal Lake is one that is still talked about today. Whereas Bajrangi Bhaijan’s (2015) song “Bhar do Jholi” was shot inside Aishmuqam Dargah, one of the famous shrines of Kashmir.

Anushka Sharma from the song “Jiya Re” in Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Image: YouTube

Likewise, the Bollywood songs “Jiya re” and “Pashmina” from the movie Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012) and Fitoor (2016) were also shot in the city of lakes (Srinagar). Not only are the locations stunning, but these songs complement the serene and scenic beauty of Kashmir, time and again. The next time you plan a trip to Kashmir, make sure you tick off the favourite location to the songs shot in Kashmir and most likely have you under its spell.

About the author

Surbhi Mishra
A travel lover and moody chef, Surbhi loves to read & write and doodle in her free time. For her, being able to write is a blessing, and to keep at it—a work-in-progress. When not working, you can find her swimming her worries away, dancing to the beats, or filling up her bucket list to tick them off.