I have a favorite song for every situation! When I am driving particularly in heavy traffic or on hot days when waiting for the traffic light to change seems eternal I love to listen to “Kasto Mazaa hai railei ma”. The song has a breezy and a real retro feel to it and it makes me want to get out of my car and hop into the toy train Saif was travelling in, chugging through the gorgeous mountainside, taking in the scenic wonders of Darjeeling and feeling the cool breeze in my face.
For those who love the 70s will argue that Saif’s mom who sat by the window of a toy train and was wooed by Rajesh Khanna who was in a jeep and was chasing her singing “Mere Sapno Ki Rani Kab Aayegi Tu” was more romantic, melodic and catchy. BTW if you didn’t know- Sharmila Tagore and Rajesh Khanna were not even in the same frame or same city while they were shooting this super romantic number. Sharmila Tagore couldn’t make it to Darjeeling, thus, only Rajesh Khanna’s portions in the song were shot in Darjeeling showing him driving the jeep across the hills. (img source – tehelka)
And for the 60s fans the ultimate toy train romance song would be the peppy number “Main Chali Main Chali” picturized on Bollywood’s ultimate romantic hero Shammi Kapoor and Kalpana in the movie “Professor”. The majority of the rom-com flick was shot in the picturesque town of Darjeeling.
The Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila’s toy train romance reminds many of the evergreen romantic hero Dev Anand, singing “Jiya o Jiya o Kuch Bol Do” from the roof of a car moving alongside the toy train to Darjeeling, to woo Asha Parkeh, who is on the train.
It’s kind of difficult to zero in on any particular song and term it as the most romantic toy train song shot in Darjeeling! But there’s one thing that every fan would agree – and that is Bollywood loves Darjeeling!
The latest hype around Mahesh Bhatt’s interview where he said that he might shoot parts of the sequels to blockbusters Jism and Jannat amidst the breathtaking natural beauty of Drajeeling bears the testimony to what I said – Bollywood loves Darjeeling and it just can’t get enough of it.
Recently Anurag Basu shot for his upcoming flick Barfee starring Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra in Darjeeling. The locales include Tindharia, Bhotey Bustee, Hotel Windamere, Chowrasta and the Planters Club in Darjeeling. A big budget film of this sort starring mega stars like Kapoor and Chopra will undoubtedly play an important role in boosting Darjeeling tourism.
For Kapoor, it appears that he fell in love with the place. “Darjeeling is an excellent place. I am loving it here” said Ranbir Kapoor in one of his interviews to a leading newspaper in India. The shooting in Darjeeling also gave the young heartthrob to gorge on Tibetan delicacies including Pork Momos, at a local restaurant “Kungas” in Darjeeling. (img source- reviews)
Well, Ranbir Kapoor isn’t the first one from the Kapoor khandaan to fall in love with ‘Queen of Hills’. Dadaji Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor and dad Rishi Kapoor had shot in Darjeeling as well. Raj Kapoor’s Barsaat which portrayed the love stories of two couples – Raj- Nargis and Prem Nath- Nimmi was shot in the hills.
Shammi Kapoor’s China Town in 1962 also used the beautiful misty locales of Darjeeling. Barsaat ki Ek Raat starring none other than Big B and Rakhee extensively shows Darjeeling and its magical ambience as the story was based on tea gardens. It was shot in Darjeeling Tea Gardens, Tiger Hills and Kalimpong.
The romantic flick Aaye Din Bahar ke (1966) with Dharmendra and Asha Parekh did wonders at the box office and Darjeeling as the backdrop added to the charm of the film. Baharon ki Manzil (1968) amnesia thriller starring Dharmendra, Meena Kumari, Rahman utilized the exquisite scenery of Darjeeling to the most. Mausam (1975), the poignant love story starring Sanjeev Kumar and Sharmila was also shot in Darjeeling.
Bengali Movies Shot in Darjeeling
It’s not only Bollywood but Tollywood is also enamored by the romantic and idyllic locales of Darjeeling. Satyajit Ray’s Kanchenjunga had this magical place as the backdrop. BTW when Ray was shooting for Kanchenjunga Mr Lekh Tandon was there to shoot for Professor starring Shammi Kapoor.
(img source- omarsfilmblog)
The Professor’s unit shared the location with that of Satyajit Ray’s Kanchenjunga. Lekh Tandon reminisces – “I wanted to shoot the song Aawaz de ke hume when it was cloudy, but it didn’t happen. Ray was at the same mountain but jab woh shoot karte thay, badal apne aap aa jaate thay aur hume sooraj milta tha.”
Other Bengali movies been shot in the astonishingly beautiful locales of Darjeeling include – Titli, Darjeeling Darjeeling, Sei Gorkha Chelata, Rono and Vicky, Nine Miles et al.
St Paul’s School in Darjeeling – Popular Shooting Location
Speaking of shooting locales Darjeeling has much to offer – the beautiful hills, dooars and the terai region, the toy train exuding a vintage sort of vibe and much more. The list, however, would not be complete if I don’t mention the revered St Paul’s school.
(img source – exploredarjeeling)
What’s common between the school scenes where Raju (played by Rishi Kapoor) of Mera Naam Joker gets his first taste of adolescent love and the college scenes showing all the camaraderie, fun, romance and the songs Chale Jaise Hawaein and Kiska Hay Ye Intezaar in Main Hoon Na? They were shot in St Paul’s school.
The King Khan of Bollywood who starred in Main Hoon Na while shooting in Darjeeling got all nostalgic as it was the same place where he shot for his first Bollywood break – Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman! Remember the song “Dil Hai Mera Deewaana” bidding adieu to Darjeeling riding on a Toy train.
For those who have a special fondness for offbeat movies will remember Bada Din starring Shabana Azmi, Tara Deshpande and droolworthy Marc Robinson. Well, some parts of the movie were shot in St Paul’s school. The school scenes in the movie Do Anjaane starring Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha were also shot here.
Well, St Paul’s School Darjeeling’s connection to films is not just limited to Bollywood! The beautiful and famed Hollywood actor Vivien Leigh, who played Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, was born in the school campus, in a place which is now known as Dawkins.
Update: Among the latest films Yaariyan starring Himansh Kohli and Rakul Preet Singh was shot in St Joseph’s School, North Point. In an interview the director Divya Khosla Kumar says “The film is set in a boarding school. While researching boarding schools across India, I found the best boarding school in Darjeeling (St Joseph’s School, North Point). I couldn’t take my eyes off that building.”
If you know of any other film shot in Darjeeling then do let me know! I will include it in the post.