The Telegraph
Tuesday , September 25 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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A Barfi bridge in Darjeeling? Possible

- GTA mulls sprucing up shooting spots & naming them after films & actors

Darjeeling, Sept. 24: The success of Barfi!, which was shot here, has prompted the GTA to toy with the idea of beautifying the spots where films have been shot and name them after movie titles or lead actors to woo tourists.

Bollywood films used to be shot in Darjeeling from the 1960s through the early ’80s, but most of the locations are forgotten.

The GTA believes if it can turn these locations into landmarks, it will boost tourism. “We have found out that authorities in Switzerland usually mark the area where films are shot for the benefit of tourists. I have been told that the Jammu and Kashmir government has named a valley Betaab Valley where the film Betaab was shot,” said Binay Tamang, the GTA executive member in charge of information and culture.

“Since Bollywood films are deeply loved by all Indians, we are confident that tourists would love to visit the locations, maybe, simply to take a photograph. We have already formed a team to scout all these locations so that we can beautify them and put up sign boards there,” Tamang said.

It won’t be surprising if a road or a bridge is named after Barfi!.

Many tourists visiting the hills want to visit St Paul’s School, where Shah Rukh Khan starrer Main Hoon Na was shot. “There is already much interest among tourists to visit places in and around Darjeeling where Barfi! was shot,” said Suraj Adhikari, a hotelier in town. Some scenes of Barfi! were also shot outside St. Paul’s. The mall, Ghoom railway station and Tindharia are among the other places where the film was shot.

The GTA plans to complete the beautification of Bollywood locations in a year. “We have already worked out a proposal to name roads leading to these locations either after the film or the protagonist.

For example, as Vinod Khanna-Shabana Azmi starrer Lahoo Ke Do Rang was shot extensively in Lebong near Darjeeling, the road leading to the location could be named after Vinod Khanna,” Tamang said.

One problem that the authorities could face is the beautification of all the locales because of the large number of films shot in the hills.

Sanjay Biswas, a writer from Darjeeling, said: “Over 200 films in Hindi, Bengali and Nepali have been shot in the Darjeeling hills.”

The list of Bollywood blockbusters which were shot in Darjeeling is impressive. Raj Kapoor was in Darjeeling for Barsat, Dev Anand visited the town many times to shoot for Mahal, Joshila and Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai.

Amitabh Bachan was here with Rekha for Do Anjane and with Rakhi for Barsat Ki Ek Raat. “Anurodh, which had Rajesh Khanna, was also shot in Darjeeling. Sunil Dutt, too, had visited Darjeeling for Hamraaz,” said Biswas. The Rajesh Khanna-Sharmila Tagore starrer Aradhana and Shah Rukh Khan’s, Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman were also shot here.

A senior official said the GTA was trying to tie up with the Union information and broadcasting ministry to organise a film festival in Darjeeling. “The response is positive but since a confirmation is yet to come, we are not in a position to announce the details of the festival,” he said.