Alia Bhatt who shot for her new film Raazi in Kashmir for a lengthy schedule has come back from the Valley as a fan.
Says Alia enthusiastically, “One had always heard of Kashmir as paradise on earth. But when I actually went there for shooting I realized this was really the most beautiful place I had seen on earth.”
So spellbound is Alia by the natural beauty of the Valley that she wishes to visit again in the near future. “And this time not for work but simply to look around. I had hardly got any time away from the shooting to actually see the place. That is sad, because my mother(actress Soni Razdan) was with me, and it would have been fabulous to explore the landscape.”
Alia got a sightseeing opportunity only once in the Valley. “On a rare occasion when I had time off from shooting for Raazi , my mother and I took a long shikara ride. That was unbelievably enjoyable and exhilarating. I didn’t get a chance to do it a second time. But I will be going back. Because I want to just take in the stunning beauty of Kashmir.”
What about all the militancy activity and disturbance in the Valley?
Alia vehemently opposes the view of the Valley as violent. “I know people are scared to go to Kashmir because from the outside we’ve heard so much about the violence. But believe me, I saw no stress or violence anywhere while we shot for Raazi. Throughout, it was peaceful and invigorating.We had irreproachable securitybandobast. But it was all tranquil, not a single untoward incident happened during the entire shooting schedule ofRaazi.”
Alia urges Bollywood to rebuild touristic confidence in Kashmir. “We saw no strife or tension anywhere. Everywhere we went we were treated with love and affection. I know Hindi films were shot extensively in Kashmir during the 1970s and 80s.Then with militancy on the rise it stopped. Now I can tell all the film crew in Mumbai who are interested in visiting Kashmir to shoot. ‘Please don’t go by what you’ve read and heard. It is absolutely safe to shoot in Kashmir.Go by all means.’ We need to go there more often to shoot our films. Only then will the rest of the people feel confident enough to visit the Valley and make it the tourists’ paradise it once used to be.”