As Jaane Jaan starring Kareena Kapoor Khan, and Bejoy Nambiar's Kaala gear up for release, the alluring magic of North Bengal's picturesque locales is back on the big screen... after a decade-long hiatus.
Jaane Jaan, for example, is set in the charming town of Kalimpong. The Sujoy Ghosh-directed this film is an official adaptation of Keigo Higashino's bestselling novel, Devotion of Suspect X.
From towering mountains that kiss the sky to the warm-hearted locals, Kalimpong presents nothing short of a paradise.
Also in the offing is Disney+ Hotstar's Kaala, directed by Bejoy Nambiar. Parts of the series were shot in and around Siliguri.
During the filming of this series, the iconic Sevoke Coronation Bridge was in the news. This bridge links the picturesque districts of Darjeeling and Kalimpong, and the shoot of Kaala sent the residents of the area into a brief moment of panic when a thunderous explosion ripped through the bridge in March 2022.
While Kaala got into a bit of a tussle with the locals over adequate permissions for filming on the pre-Independence Coronation Bridge, it was later resolved with the line producer being arrested. Videos of the 'blast' on the bridge went viral on social media back then.
The return of big Bollywood to North Bengal comes after a decade-long gap. The last movie shot in the area was Anurag Basu's Barfi in 2012.
From the evergreen Mere Sapno Ki Rani (Aradhana, 1969) to the foot-tapping Main Chali Main Chali (Professor, 1962), and the melodious Kasto Maza Hai (Parineeta, 2005), the region has been a wellspring of inspiration for filmmakers going as far back as the groovy 1960s.
It's a place where classics like Aradhana, suspenseful dramas like Humraaz, romantic tales like Mausam, mysterious rendezvous like China Town, and enchanting nights like Barsaat Ki Ek Raat have all found their cinematic magic.
Take a look at some of the timeless classics filmed in North Bengal:
Who can forget the classic scene where Rajesh Khanna pursued the ever-graceful Sharmila Tagore in a car, while she, in turn, embarked on the Darjeeling toy train!
It's safe to say that very few can resist humming this timeless tune while on that same picturesque journey.
Can anyone, even the legendary Amitabh Bachchan, resist the magnetic allure of Darjeeling? Not once, but twice, this iconic actor graced the picturesque Darjeeling with his presence.
It was an absolute delight for audiences to witness the magic of this cinematic gem unfold against the backdrop of Darjeeling's captivating hills.
Years after Sharmila Tagore and Rajesh Khanna's song on the Darjeeling toy train, her son Saif Ali Khan recreated that memorable journey aboard the UNESCO world heritage Darjeeling Himalayan Railways train for the Pradeep Sarkar-directed film Parineeta, in 2005.
With Vidya Balan portraying the quintessential Bengali bride, the song impeccably captured the essence of yearning.
It's at this very location that the iconic song Chale Jaise Hawaayein came to life, adding an extra layer of fun to this cinematic masterpiece.
The film's visual allure is further enhanced by the presence of familiar sights such as the iconic Capital Clock Tower, lush tea gardens, vibrant prayer flags, and charming wooden houses.
The 1970s also witnessed several other Bollywood productions choosing Darjeeling as their backdrop, including films like Joshila, Sagina, Do Anjane, Anurodh, and Lahu Ke Do Rang.
Big Bollywood returning to North Bengal means more visibility for this enchanting slice of India.