Friday, December 12, 2008

Sikkim behind the moving cameras

When I am writing down this article I take notice of about the talks of the documentary film Sikkim directed by the maestro Satyajit Ray. Had Sikkim not remained a thumb sized state of mighty India and had Ray not been the larger than life character after receiving the ultimate dream in film making (the Oscars) in today's scenario, I am sure no one could had ever talked about Sikkim, the long lost documentary film made on the monarchy rule of Sikkim then in 1971. It was thought to be lost and how a single copy was found in the lab of British films archives and how it been converted into DVD format is still more of a mystery but all thanks to technology, I am sure some days later we shall watch Ray's fantasy of Sikkim on screen. So when everyone is talking about this small documentary why not refresh ourselves regarding few other Hindi films that were picturised on this spectacular and serene part of Sikkim.
The panoramic beauty of the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Sikkim had always attracted the Hindi cinema to capture its unparalleled beauty. It was 1967 Dev Anand starter Jewel Thief that manages to have an everlasting impact of the natural beauty of Sikkim recorded on Hindi celluloid. Jewel Thief was shot at Gangtok, the then capital of an Independent country called Sikkim. This film is regarded as one of the milestones of Hindi cinema.
Apart from Jewel Thief, I want to mention names of two Hindi films that were made within few years of the making of each other, while both the film's titles share an interesting coincidence. I had tried to trace more information about both but little could be found. Road to Sikkim was released on 1969. Directed by Ravindra Dave, music by Vijay S and produced by Kriti Films, it had stars in the caliber of Dev Kumar, Anju Mahendru, Helen, David, Jayant, Asit Sen and Tuntun.
Other film Romeo in Sikkim directed by Harikrishan Kaul was released in 1975 is believed to be produced by a local financier of Sikkim and had the central character of the movie played by Shyam Pradhan, a noted name in Sikkim. The other actors of the film were Amina Kundan, Seema Kapoor, K. N. Singh, and Om Prakash.
The oblivious question arises how I know all this, nothing to be surprised off. I am a die-hard fan of Singer Mukesh and in my collection of more than thousand songs; I had these two film's name that had always grew my excitation.
I still remember I had watched Twinkle Khanna shoot her debut film Uff Yeh Mohabbat at Gangtok while I was studying at Tashi Namgyal SSS. The actor opposite her was Abhishek Kapoor. The film had very beautiful songs especially the song "Utra nah dil mein koi" shot at Rumtek Monastery. Other than that i had seen Rani Mukherjee and Shadbad Khan, son of Amjad Khan Visit Sikkim for Raja Ki Ayegi Baraat.
Let's not forget our own Danny Denzongpa whose successful Nepali venture Saino shot at various places of Sikkim was highly accepted by the audience. It was later remade in Bengali and after that converted into much famed Hindi serial "Ajnabi" where Danny Denzongpa himself acted. Today more and more commercial Nepali films are shot in Sikkim with production units coming from Nepal, thus promoting Sikkim Tourism. Myth, a 24 minutes short film made by Prashant Rasaily lured him to bollyhood where he is assisting a Hrithik Roshan starer.
While I close this small and exciting information on Sikkim and Hindi movies, I would surely like to mention there are numerous Bengali and other regional films shot in Sikkim that had stars like Mithun Chakraborty, Bishwajit, Prosenjit and others making its presence but nothing more could be heard of those films in larger scale.

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